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Parks, Gordon
Gordon Parks
Gordon Parks (Nov. 30, 1912- March 7, 2006) was a photographer, writer, film director, composer, and musician. His works document the 20th century and have been seen by millions of people around the world. Parks was the youngest of 15 children, born to impoverished parents in Kansas. Parks was the first African-American photographer to work at Life magazine and Vogue magazine. He wrote 12 books, produced many documentaries and Hollywood films (including Shaft), produced, directed, and scored a major Hollywood film (The Learning Tree, 1960), wrote a ballet about Martin Luther King (called Martin), and composed other music (including a symphony, a concerto, blues and other popular songs).

Parks, Rosa
Gordon Parks

Rosa Parks (February 4, 1913 - October 24, 2005) was a pivotal figure in the fight for civil rights. On December 1, 1955, a Montgomery, Alabama, bus driver ordered Mrs. Parks to give up her seat to a white man. When she refused, she was fined and arrested. This incident prompted a city-wide bus boycott, which eventually resulted in a Supreme Court ruling that segregation on city buses is unconstitutional.

For more on Rosa Parks, click here.

Peary, Robert E.
Robert Edwin Peary (May 6, 1856 - Feb. 20, 1920) was an American explorer and Naval officer who led the first expedition to the North Pole. In 1909, Peary, Matthew A. Henson, and four Eskimos were the first people to reach the North Pole.

For more information on Peary, click here.

Pemberton, John
Dr. John Stith Pemberton (1830-1888) was an American pharmacist, soldier, and inventor. He invented Coca-Cola on May 8th, 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He had invented many syrups, medicines, and elixirs before, including a very popular drink called French Wine of Coca, which contained French Bordeaux wine, coca leaves, and caffeine (from the kola nut).

When Atlanta banned alcohol consumption in 1885, Pemberton had to change the formula of his French Wine of Coca, omitting the French wine. He added sugar, citric acid and essential oils of many fruits to the drink, and the original Coca-Cola was created. It was named for its main ingredients, coca leaves and the kola nut. Coca-Cola quickly became a very popular soda fountain drink.

Pemberton became partners with Frank Robinson and David Roe, but the partners soon began to quarrel and Pemberton soon sold his interest in Coca-Cola. The formula for Coca-Cola is a closely-guarded secret.

Pennsylvania is a state in the eastern United States of America. Its capital is Harrrisburg.

Pennsylvania was the 2nd state in the USA; it became a state on December 12, 1787.

Perez, Juan
Juan Perez (ca.1725-1775) was a Spanish navigator who explored the northwest coast of North America. He sailed from Port San Blas, Mexico up the coast of North America in 1774, in a ship named the Santiago. He had been ordered to sail as far north as Alaska (60 degrees north latitude), but only made to what is now British Columbia because of bad weather. He anchored his 82-foot ship off the Queen Charlotte Islands, by northern Vancouver Island. On two occasions, Native Americans canoed to Perez's ship to trade and invite Perez ashore. Perez never went ashore, and so wasn't able to claim the land for Spain. He made detailed reports of the shoreline and his reports prompted later expeditions.
Pierce, Franklin
Franklin Pierce (1804-1869) was the 14th president of the United States. Pierce was born on November 23, 1804, in Hillsboro, New Hampshire. During his term (1853-1857) his greatest accomplishment was the Gadsden Purchase (1853), this added parts of northern of Mexico to the United States (now parts of southern Arizona and New Mexico). President Pierce supported the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), which repealed the Missouri Compromise, creating two new teritories, Kansas and Nebraska, and let the new settlers decide whether they would have slavery in the new territories. Pierce died on October 8, 1869, in Concord, New Hampshire.
Pike, Zebulon M.
Zebulon Montgomery Pike (January 5, 1779 - April 27, 1813) was an American explorer and military officer (he served in the War of 1812). Pike tried to find the source of the Mississippi River; he also explored the Rocky Mountains and southwestern North America. Pike's Peak in Colorado is named for him.

For more information on Pike, click here.

The Pilgrims were a group of 102 settlers who sailed from England to what is now Massachusetts, USA. They sailed on the ship called the Mayflower. They landed on December 11, 1620.
Pinzon, Martin Alonzo
Martin Alonzo Pinzon (1441? - 1493) was a Spanish explorer and navigator who sailed with Christopher Columbus on his first voyage to the New World, as captain of the Pinta (he was also the co-owner of the Nina and the Pinta). He is remembered for being disloyal and competitive with Christopher Columbus.

For more information on Martin Alonzo Pinzon, click here.

Pinzon, Vincente
Vincente Yáñez Pinzon (1460? - 1523?) was a Spanish explorer and navigator who sailed with Christopher Columbus on his first voyage to the New World, as captain of the Niña. His older brother, Martin Pinzon, was captain of the Pinta and the co-owner of both the Nina and the Pinta.

In 1499, Vincente Pinzon sailed to the Brazilian coast (at a cape he named Santa María de la Consolación). From there, he sailed northwest to the Amazon River, whose mouth he explored. He sailed north to northeastern Venezuela (to the Gulf of Paria) and then returned to Spain.

In 1508, he sailed to the New World twice with Juan Díaz de Solís, trying to find a a passage to the Spice Islands. They sailed to Central America, but the exact locations of these explorations are unknown (they either sailed to Honduras and the Yucatán peninsula or to Venezuela and Brazil).

A pioneer is a person who is the first to do something, like settle in a new area or do new research. In early US history, the pioneers were people who moved to and settled in the west, like Daniel Boone.
Pocahontas (1595?-1617) was a member of the Powhatan tribe and the daughter of Chief Wahunsonacock (aka Chief Powhatan).

When she was a young girl, Pocahontas (whose Indian name was Matoaka) saved the life of John Smith, a founder of the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia. Chief Powhatan was about to kill Smith, but Pocahontas intervened, made peace, and saved Smith's life.

Pocahontas was captured by the Jamestown colonists in 1613; during that time, she converted to Christianity, changed her name to Rebecca, and married the colonist John Rolfe (he was a tobacco farmer). Pochahontas and Rolfe has a son, Thomas Rolfe (he was born in Virginis in 1615); Thomas became a tobacco farmer like his father. In 1616, Pocahontas traveled with Rolfe to England; she died later that year and is buried in England.

political party
A political party is an organized group of people with common values and goals, who try to get their candidates elected to office. The Democrats and the Republicans are the two major political parties in the USA today.

Polk, James K.
James K. Polk (1795-1849) was the eleventh president of the United States. Polk was born on November 2, 1795, near Pineville, North Carolina. Serving as US President from 1845 until 1849, Polk was the first president who didn't seek a second term in office. In 1845, Polk convinced Congress to declare war on Mexico to continue the expansion of the US westward (the Mexican War lasted from 1846-1848). During his term, much of the Southwest and California became part of the United States. Polk died on June 15, 1849, in Nashville, Tennessee, only three months after leaving office.
Pontiac, Chief
Chief Pontiac (1720 - April 20, 1769) was a great leader of the Ottawa Indian tribe. He organized his and other tribes in the Great Lakes area to fight the British, in what is known as Pontiac's War (1763-1764).

For more information on Pontiac, click here.

popular vote
The popular vote is the result of the votes of the eligible voters. The winner of the popular vote usually wins the election (but not always - sometimes the outcome of the vote of the Electoral College is different).
Portola, Gaspar de
Gaspar de Portolá (1767-1784) was a Spanish soldier, leader, and explorer. Portolá was appointed Governor of Las Californias from 1768-1770 and founded Monterey and San Diego (California). As governor, Portola was ordered to arrest and expel all Jesuits from their well-established colleges and 14 missions; many of these missions were given to the Franciscans. In 1768, Portola volunteered to lead a large expedition of settlers, missionaries, and soldiers up the California coast to San Diego and Monterey (in California) in order to establish new Franciscan missions; the expedition was planned by Jose de Galvez. Portolá's overland expedition began on July 14th, 1769, and included Father Junipero Serra and 63 other men. They reached Los Angeles on August 2, 1769, Santa Barbara on August 19, Santa Cruz on October 18, and the San Francisco Bay area on October 31 (they missed Monterey). They again failed to find Monterey on their return trip to San Diego (both by land and by sea), so Portolá, Father Serra, and others tried another expedition, arriving at Monterey on May 24, 1770. In 1776, Portolá was chosen governor of the city of Puebla; he served for eight years, until his death.
Preamble of the US Constitution
The preamble is the short introduction to the US Constitution, which reads, "We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
President of the USA
The President of the United States is the elected leader of the USA. The first President of the the USA was George Washington. The President and Vice-President are elected every four years. They must be at least 35 years of age, they must be native-born citizens of the United States, and they must have been residents of the U.S. for at least 14 years. (Also, a person cannot be elected to a third term as President.)
President's Day
Presidents Day (also called Washington's Birthday) is celebrated in the USA on the third Monday of February. It is a Federal holiday in the USA. George Washington was the first President of the United States.
primary election
A primary election is an election that chooses a political party's candidate for office. The winning candidates from each party will later go up against each other in the general election.

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