Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It All Started With Columbus

I received a book in the mail yesterday. It is an old book, a paperback that is no longer in print. I read it when I was in High School back in Derby, Kansas and my recent post about how George W Bush caused Hurricane Katrina reminded me of it, so I googled the name of it and found a site that had some copies of it, and ordered it. It is called, "It All Started With Columbus" by Richard Armour. This is a book about American history but should never be confused with serious study.

It cost less than the shipping.

Here is an excerpt:


The thrifty English had an unwritten constitution, which saved them a large printing bill. But the Americans decided to write theirs out in order to have something for the Supreme Court to interpret. The Constitution provided for the following:

1. Two houses, a lower and an upper, with a stairway, or escalator clause, between. Bills, which were afterwards to be sent to the taxpayers for collection, would first be thrown in a large hopper and allowed to age. Members of the lower house were to be elected according to population, that is, according to whether enough of the population voted for them. Members of the upper house were to represent the states instead of the people. To get into the upper house, it was necessary to have:

(a) A broad-brimmed hat
(b) A flowing bow tie
(c) A good name
(d) A key or a ladder

2. Congressional immunity: A special health program under which senators were inoculated against lawsuits.

3. A system of checks and balances, which led to the national debt.

4. Committees: Smaller groups which killed bills, tabled proposals, played poker, and generally ran things.


The first flag of the United States was made by Betsy Ross, assisted by Molly Pitcher ( a little woman who had big ears ), Barbara Frietchie, and other members of the Philadelphia Sewing Circle. In the original flag there were thirteen stars, but since many persons were superstitious, more stars were quickly added.


George Washington was the first president. He might have stayed in office for life, but he wanted to get out for some fresh air. He also wanted to get back to the farm. In this, Washington set a precedent. Almost every figure in American public life has expressed a desire to go back to the farm, even when he didn't come from one. Furthermore, he had prepared an eloquent address, which he was impatient to deliver.

He was followed, at a respectful distance, by John Adams. Although Adams was the second president, he was the first vice-president, and that was some consolation.

It even has tests at the end of each section. Here is an example of some test questions:

1. Look into the mirror. Examine the whites of your eyes. What if the redcoats at Bunker Hill had been suffering from pinkeye?

2. Was King George resentful because he was always third?

3. Quote at length

4. Come to some sort of conclusion.

The book includes 72 illustrious illustrations for those who can't read, and if I had a scanner I would add some of the pictures to this post. The only thing I can find is a picture of the book itself.

I'll post more from it later. Maybe.


Fitch said...

To get into the upper house, it was necessary to have:

(a) A broad-brimmed hat
(b) A flowing bow tie
(c) A good name
(d) A key or a ladder

Did it really say that? That's funny. By todays standards anyway. I guess it's still the same in a way though. You have to have money, and lot's O'.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...


Dana said...

I love it. Too funny.

Poison Pero said...

That's some funny stuff. So much so I just bought one at Amazon.

What's really funny is the picture of the guy holding the American Flag actually looks like Jack ChIraq.

Mark said...

It's Lyndon B. Johnson