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Sacajawea, also spelled Sacagawea (1788-1812) was a Shoshone Indian who guided, and acted as interpreter and negotiator for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their exploratory expedition. She traveled with them from North Dakota to the Oregon coast and back.
For more information on Sacajawea, click here.
Carl Sagan (1934-1996) was an American astronomer who discovered that the surface of Venus was extraordinarily hot and noxious (contrary to previous models of a mild Venusian surface). Sagan also showed that the universe has many organic (carbon-based) chemicals and that life is likely to exist throughout the cosmos. He was a great popularizer of astronomy, was also involved in many NASA flights and SETI, and he pioneered the field of exobiology.
Jonas Salk (1914-1995) was a research physician who formulated a vaccine against the devastating disease polio. Poliomyelitis, also called infantile paralysis, had crippled thousands of children during an epidemic that hit the world during the 1940's and 1950's. It is estimated that one of every 5,000 people (mostly children) fell victim to polio. Some victims were totally paralyzed and need to live in "iron lungs" (a large apparatus that helped the patient breathe). Salk's developed his vaccine in 1947, while working at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. The vaccine was made from killed polio virus. In 1955, after many trials of the new vaccine, the vaccine was made public, and put an end to the polio epidemic. Salk wrote many books, including: "Man Unfolding" (1972), "The Survival of the Wisest "(1973), "World Population and Human Values: A New Reality" (1981), and "Anatomy of Reality" (1983). When Salk died, he had been working on a vaccine for the AIDS virus.
|Sandage, Allan R.
Allan Rex Sandage (1926-) is an astronomer who, in the 1950's, measured the rate of the expansion of the Universe, Hubble's constant (H), which he calculated to be 50 km/sec/mpc. From this, Sandage estimated of the age of the Universe (T) to be 19.2 billion years [T = 2/3 x (1/H) ]. These calculations have changed through the years and now, H=~ 75 (T=12.9 billion years) is more generally accepted. Sandage also discovered quasars in 1964.
Joseph Gayetty invented toilet paper in 1857. His new toilet paper was composed of flat sheets. Before Gayetty's invention, people tore pages out of mail order catalogs - before catalogs were common, leaves were used. Unfortunately, Gayetty's invention failed. Walter Alcock (of Great Britain) later developed toilet paper on a roll ( instead of in flat sheets). Again, the invention failed.
In 1867, Thomas, Edward and Clarence Scott (brothers from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) were successful at marketing toilet paper that consisted of a small roll of perforated paper . They sold their new toilet paper from a push cart - this was the beginning of the Scott Paper Company.
Dred Scott (1795-1858) was a a slave who sued for his freedom in court, since he had been taken to a "free" state (Wisconsin). He lost his case in St. Louis, Missouri, but won it on appeal. His case was again appealed and Scott lost. The results of his court case led to major political upheavals in the USA and eventually, the Civil War.
|The Seal of the President of the USA
This seal represents the President of the USA. The seal of the President of the United States of America is based upon the Great Seal of the USA. The Presidential seal pictures an American bald eagle holding a ribbon in its beak; the ribbon has the motto of the USA, "E PLURIBUS UNUM," meaning "Out of many, one." The eagle is clutching an olive branch (with 13 olives and 13 leaves) in one foot (symbolizing peace) and 13 arrows in the other (the 13 stands for the original 13 colonies and the arrows symbolize the acceptance of the need to go to war to protect the country).
|Seely, Henry W.
The electric iron was invented in 1882 by Henry W. Seeley, a New York inventor Seeley patented his "electric flatiron" on June 6, 1882 (patent no. 259,054). His iron weighed almost 15 pounds and took a long time to warm up.
Other electric irons had also been invented, including one from France (1882), but it used a carbon arc to heat the iron, a method which was dangerous.
The Senate is part of Congress. Senators propose and vote on legislation (laws). There are 100 members of the Senate (two Senators for each state). Senators are elected to a term of 6 years.
|Separation of Powers
The separation of powers is the idea that the powers of a government should be split between two or more independent groups, so that any one person or group cannot gain too much power. For example, in the US Constitution, governmental power is split among the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches
|Sereno, Paul C.
Paul C. Sereno (1958 - ) is a US paleontologist from the University of Chicago who has worked in South America, Asia and Africa. He discovered the first complete skull of Herrerasaurus, excavated a giant Carcharodontosaurus (1996), found and named Afrovenator (with others, 1994), named the oldest-known dinosaur, Eoraptor (with others, 1993), Suchomimus, found the second oldest fossils bird, Sinornis ("Chinese bird"), in 1991, Jobaria, and Nigersaurus. Sereno named: Deltadromeus (1996) and Marasuchus (with Arcucci, 1994). He has rearranged the dinosaur family tree, reorganizing the ornithischians and naming the clade Cerapoda (1986), formed from the ornithopods and marginocephalians.
Father Junipero Serra (1713-1784) was a Spanish Franciscan priest who traveled to Mexico in 1749 to do missionary work and perform other church functions.
In 1767, Serra went north from Mexico to what is now California and continued his missionary work, converting native Americans zealously (sometimes forcibly). He founded many missions in California, including the Mission of San Diego (founded in 1769) and 8 other missions, which were often built by the forced labor of Indians who were rounded up by Spanish soldiers. The death rate of Native Americans at Serra's missions was tremendously high; many more died than were baptized. Serra also helped an expedition in locating San Francisco.
Father Serra was well-known for his acts of mortification of the flesh; he wore heavy hair shirts with sharp wires that rubbed against his skin, he whipped himself, and he burned himself with candles. Although the Catholic church bestowed sainthood on Serra in 1988 for his missionary work, his cruelty and the tremendously negative effect he had on Native Americans have made him a very controversial saint to many people.
Harlow Shapley (1885-1972) was an American astronomer who was the first person to accurately estimate the size of the Milky Way Galaxy and our position in it.
Alan B. Shepard Jr. (1923-1998) piloted America's first manned space mission. This astronaut briefly flew into space on May 5, 1961, in Freedom 7, a Mercury space capsule. The capsule splashed down at sea and was retrieved by helicopter. Shepard also piloted Apollo XIV to the moon, accompanied by Edgar D. Mitchell and Stuart A. Roosa. They took off on January 31, 1971. Shepard and Mitchell landed on the moon in the lunar module (landing near the Fra Mauro Crater) on February 5, 1971, while Roosa orbited the moon in the command module. Shepard hit golf balls on the moon during this historic trip
The first typewriter was invented in 1867 by the American printer and editor Christopher Latham Sholes (Feb. 14, 1819 - Feb. 17, 1890). Sholes' prototype had the user hit a key (for each letter and number), which struck upward onto a flat plate, producing a carbon impression of the letter or number on the paper. He made the prototype using the key of an old telegraph transmitter. There was no way of spacing the letters, no carriage return, and no shift keys; these features would be added to later models.
Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soulé also worked in the Kleinstuber Machine Shop with Sholes, and they helped with his inventions. Their first patent was obtained on June 23, 1868. Sholes and Glidden sold the rights to their invention to the investor James Densmore, who eventually had the machine commercially manufactured. Their first commercial model was called the "Sholes & Glidden Type Writer," and was later called the Remington typewriter. It was produced by the gunmakers E. Remington & Sons in Ilion, NY, from 1874-1878. The first author to submit a typed book manuscript was Mark Twain. Sholes' typewriter was the beginning of a revolution in communication.
Sitting Bull, Tatanka-Iyotanka (1831-1890) was a great Sioux (Hunkpapa Lakota) Indian chief and the last chief to surrender to the U.S. government.
Jedediah Smith (1798-1831) was an American mountain man, hunter, trapper, and explorer. Smith was from New York and was the first European American to reach California overland from the east (though the Rocky Mountains and the Mojave Desert). He was also the first European American to cross the Great Basin Desert via the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Great Salt Lake (on his return from California). During this trip, the heat was so unbearable that Smith and his men resorted to burying themselves in the sand during the hottest parts of the day. Smith was killed by Comanche Indians on the Santa Fe Trail near the Cimarron River in 1831. His body was never found. Smith never published an account of his travels, so little is known about them.
John Smith (January 9, 1580 - June, 1631) was an English adventurer and soldier, and one of the founders and leaders of the Jamestown, Virginia, settlement. Smith also led expeditions exploring Chesapeake Bay and the New England coast.
Smith was one of 105 settlers who sailed from England on December 19, 1606, and landed in Virginia on April 26, 1607. When they reached North America, the group opened sealed instructions and found that Smith was chosen as one of the seven leaders of the new colony.
South Carolina is a state in the southeastern United States of America. Its capital is Columbia.
South Carolina was the 8th state in the USA; it became a state on May 23, 1788.
South Dakota is a state in the northern United States of America. Its capital is Pierre.
South Dakota was the 40th state in the USA; it became a state on November 2, 1889.
Squanto (Tisquantum) was a Patuxet Wampanoag Indian who helped the Pilgrims in the Plymouth settlement in Massachusetts. In 1608, Squanto and other Wampanoags were kidnapped and brought to Spain by the English trading ship captain Thomas Hunt; Hunt captured the Indians in order to sell them as slaves in Europe. In Spain, Squanto was rescued by priests, who tried to convert him and the others to Christianity. In 1617, Squanto traveled to London, where he learned English. In 1618-1619, he found a ship back to America, but his village had disappeared -- smallpox had killed almost everyone. In 1620, the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower had arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts. These new colonists had a very difficult time surviving in the new environment and almost starved to death during the harsh New England winter. The English-speaking Squanto helped show the colonists how to survive in this new land. Squanto showed them how to fertilize the poor soil with fish so that corn could be grown, how to fish, and how to trade and negotiate with the nearby Indians (although later, Squanto was kidnapped and was almost executed by the Massasoit tribe before being rescued by the Pilgrims). Squanto died of fever in November, 1621.
|Stanton, Elizabeth Cady
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (November 12, 1815-October 26, 1902) was a writer, a proponent for women's rights and an anti-slavery crusader. One of Stanton's major causes was suffrage, the right of women to vote.
Although Stanton faced opposition from many people throughout her life, especially on her radical proposal that women should be allowed to vote, she worked her entire life trying to obtain rights for women. In 1920, long after Stanton's death, Congress adopted the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, giving women the right to vote.
The largest US state in terms of area is Alaska (656,425 square miles); the smallest is Rhode Island (1,545 square miles).
Each of the 50 US states has an official state bird. The bald eagle is the national bird of the USA.
Many US states have an official state dinosaur and some have a state fossil.
Each of the 50 US states has an official state flag.
The largest US state in terms of population is California (33,871,648 people, 2000 Census figure); the smallest is Wyoming (493,782 people, 2000 Census figure).
|Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a huge sculpture that is located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. This monument was a gift to the USA from the people of France in recognition of the French-American alliance during the American Revolution. Liberty was designed by the French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi.
|Sternberg, Charles H.
A fossil hunter who found many dinosaurs for E.D. Cope, mostly in Alberta, Canada from 1912-1917. He worked with his sons Charles M., George, and Levi.
|Sternberg, Charles M.
Charles M. Sternberg (son of Charles H. Sternberg, who collected fossils for E. D. Cope, working mostly in Alberta, Canada from 1912-1917) was a US fossil hunter who named the following dinosaurs: Brachylophosaurus (1953), Edmontonia (1928), Macrophalangia (1932), Montanoceratops (1951), the Pachycephalosaurid family (1945), Pachyrhinosaurus (1950), Parksosaurus (1937), and Stenonychosaurus (1932).
|St. Louis Gateway Arch
The St. Louis Gateway Arch is an elegant monument to westward expansion in the USA. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri, the 630-foot tall stainless steel arch rises above the city skyline. The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial consists of the Gateway Arch, the Museum of Westward Expansion, and St. Louis' Old Courthouse. The architect Eero Saarinen (August 20, 1910 - September 1, 1961) designed the arch.
Levi Strauss (1829-1902) was an entrepreneur who invented and marketed blue jeans. Trained as a tailor in Buttenheim, Bavaria, Germany, Strauss went to San Francisco, USA from New York in 1853. Strauss sold dry goods, including tents and linens to the 49ers (the people who came to the California gold rush, which began in 1849). In 1873, Strauss and Jacob Davis, a Nevada tailor, patented the idea (devised by Davis) of using copper rivets at the stress points of sturdy work pants. Early levis, called "waist overalls," came in a brown canvas duck fabric and a heavy blue denim fabric. The duck fabric pants were not very successful, so were dropped early on. His business became extremely successful (and still is), revolutionizing the apparel industry.
Peter Stuyvesant (1592-1672) was a Dutch colonial governor of New Amsterdam (now called New York City). Stuyvesant was born in Holland and began working for the Dutch West India Company in 1632. In 1643, Stuyvesant was appointed the director of Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire (islands in the Caribbean). Fighting against the Portuguese in the Caribbean, Stuyvesant lost his right leg when it was crushed by a cannonball, and thereafter walked on a silver-tipped wooden leg.
In 1645, Stuyvesant became the director general of the extensive Dutch lands in North America, including islands in the Caribbean. He went to New Amsterdam (New York City, New York) as governor in 1647, succeeding Willem Kieft. Stuyvesant ruled the chaotic colony in a harsh, despotic manner that was often resented by the colonists. After the colonists demanded self-governance, Stuyvesant appointed a 9-man advisory board based on a model of Dutch government (this was the first municipal government in New Amsterdam), but Stuyvesant was still in charge. In a boundary dispute, Stuyvesant gave up a large tract of land between New Netherland and Connecticut in 1650. He also conquered New Sweden, driving Swedish colonists from their land along the Delaware River.
Stuyvesant lost New Amsterdam to the British in 1664, when the colonists decided to surrender to the British without a fight (against Stuyvesant's wishes). New Amsterdam was renamed New York, and the British Captain Richard Nicholls became governor. Stuyvesant later retired to his 62-acre farm on Manhattan, called the Great Bouwerie. (Bouwerie is the old Dutch word for farm, from which the modern-day Bowery gets its name.) Stuyvesant died in August, 1672.
Suffrage is the right to vote. Early in US history, only white men were allowed to vote. The 15th Constitutional Amendment (1870) gave the right to vote to all citizens, regardless of color or race -- but women were not mentioned, so they continued not to be allowed to vote. Women were not granted the right to vote until 1920 (when the 19th Constitutional amendment was ratified).
Tea bags were invented by Thomas Sullivan around 1908. The first bags were made from silk. Sullivan was a tea and coffee merchant in New York who began packaging tea sample in tiny silk bags, but many customers brewed the tea in them (the tea-filled bag was placed directly into the boiling water where the tea brewed, instead of the traditional way of brewing loose tea in a teapot). Later tea bags were made of thin paper.
The zipper was improved by the Swedish-American engineer, Gideon Sundbach, in 1913. Sundbach was also successful at selling his "Hookless 2." Sundbach sold these fasteners to the US Army, who put zippers on soldiers' clothing and gear during World War I.
The word zipper was coined by B.F. Goodrich in 1923, whose company sold rubber galoshes equipped with zippers. Goodrich is said to have named them zippers because he liked the zipping sound they made when opened and closed.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the USA. Nine justices serve lifetime appointments to the court - the Chief Justice is the presiding judge.
|Symbols of the USA
There are many symbols that represent the USA, including the US flag, the Great Seal of the USA, the American bald eagle, the Liberty Bell, the Washington Monument, Mt. Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, and the White House.
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