Greatest Facts Contest: The Winners!

We've just been handed an envelope that contains the results of our Greatest Facts contest that coincided with the release of our new American History book. The winners are...

1) The U.S. Army suffered its worst defeat in 1791 on the Wabash River to a confederation of Eastern Woodlands tribes under Miami Chief Little Turtle. General Arthur St. Clair's force suffered nearly 900 casualties out of 1400 men, effectively wiping out 25% of the standing army at the time. (Submitted by Ross G. Shaw)
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2) Martha Washington is the only woman whose portrait has appeared on U.S. paper currency. It appeared on $1 Silver Certificates, Series 1886, 1891, and 1896. (Submitted by Darrin Ambrose)
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3) Alexander Hamilton was involved in America's first sex scandal. He had an affair with Maria Reynolds and paid nearly $1000 to her husband, who had been demanding blackmail money from Hamilton in exchange for sleeping with his wife. When Maria finally divorced her husband, her lawyer was Aaron Burr. (Submitted by Erica Ma)
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4) Jimmy Carter was the first US President born in a hospital. (Submitted by Abhinav Praneet)
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5) At 53 square miles, the Denver airport is larger than the land area of Boston (48 square miles). (Submitted by Danny Groner)

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6) Smokey the Bear is the only fictional character to have his own ZIP code - 20252. (Submitted by Brian A. Henegar)
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7) The inventor of Lincoln Logs, John Lloyd Wright, is the son of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. John was also an architect, and was inspired by the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, which his father designed. (Submitted by Jana Warner)
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8) Ben Franklin composed his own epitaph when he was 22 years old. (It wasn't used on his tombstone, though.) (Submitted by Kanika Wahi)
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9) During Lincoln's campaign for the presidency, a Democrat named Valentine Tapley from Missouri swore that he would never shave again if Abe was elected. He didn't shave from November 1860 until he died in 1910. His beard reached a length of 12 feet 6 inches. (Submitted by Haley Jackson)
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10) Jimmy Carter is the only president to serve a full term without nominating a Supreme Court justice. (Submitted by Kimberly Campbell)

Congrats, everyone! We'll be in touch shortly about how to claim your prizes. If this has inspired you to go on an American History binge, check out our new book!

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College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy
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One would be forgiven for thinking that the Ides of March are upon us, because Julius Caesar is being taken out once again—this time from the Advanced Placement World History exam. The College Board in charge of the AP program is planning to remove the Roman leader, and every other historical figure who lived and died prior to 1450, from high school students’ tests, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit board recently announced that it would revise the test, beginning in 2019, to make it more manageable for teachers and students alike. The current exam covers over 10,000 years of world history, and according to the board, “no other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year.”

As an alternative, the board suggested that schools offer two separate year-long courses to cover the entirety of world history, including a Pre-AP World History and Geography class focusing on the Ancient Period (before 600 BCE) up through the Postclassical Period (ending around 1450). However, as Politico points out, a pre-course for which the College Board would charge a fee "isn’t likely to be picked up by cash-strapped public schools," and high school students wouldn't be as inclined to take the pre-AP course since there would be no exam or college credit for it.

Many teachers and historians are pushing back against the proposed changes and asking the board to leave the course untouched. Much of the controversy surrounds the 1450 start date and the fact that no pre-colonial history would be tested.

“They couldn’t have picked a more Eurocentric date,” Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who previously helped develop AP History exams and courses, told The New York Times. “If you start in 1450, the first thing you’ll talk about in terms of Africa is the slave trade. The first thing you’ll talk about in terms of the Americas is people dying from smallpox and other things. It’s not a start date that encourages looking at the agency and creativity of people outside Europe.”

A group of teachers who attended an AP open forum in Salt Lake City also protested the changes. One Michigan educator, Tyler George, told Politico, “Students need to understand that there was a beautiful, vast, and engaging world before Europeans ‘discovered’ it.”

The board is now reportedly reconsidering its decision and may push the start date of the course back some several hundred years. Their decision will be announced in July.

[h/t The New York Times]

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North America: East or West Coast?
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