Bill of Rights was ratified by New Jersey in 1789. New Jersey was the first state to approve the amendments. The process was completed on December 15, 1791, when Virginia ratified the amendments. Children can learn more at: Bill of Rights.
North Carolina became the twelfth state of the United States by ratifying the Constitution in 1789. Its founders named the state after Charles I. Carolus means Charles in Latin. The state’s nicknames are the Tar Heel State and Old North State. Raleigh is the state capital. The state ranks 28th in size and 9th in population. In colonial times the state raised rice and tobacco. Leading sources of income today are tobacco, textiles, and furniture. The Wright Brothers flew their first airplane in Kittyhawk, North Carolina. Children could learn more at: North Carolina. They could also find out what a tar heel is.
Thanksgiving Day was celebrated nationally for the first time in 1789. President Washington issued a proclamation declaring that the day should be one of prayer and thanksgiving. Children could research what the first Thanksgiving meal was. How does it compare to what they eat on the holiday today? In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. In 1941 Congress passed a resolution changing Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in November. Children can read about “The Year We Had Two Thanksgivings” at: Two Thanksgivings.
Presidential elections occurred in the United States for the first time in 1789. Basically George Washington ran unopposed. He received 69 electoral votes. John Adams won 34 electoral votes. Therefore, according to the Constitution at that time, Washington became president, and Adams became vice president. Children can check out an absolutely amazing website and see ANY presidential election result at: http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/.
Bounty’s crew mutinied in 1789. Captain Bligh was attempting to transport breadfruit plants from Tahiti to the West Indies when the crew mutinied. Children could read a concise but interesting account at: Bounty Mutiny.
George Washington was inaugurated President of the United States in 1789 in New York City. Idea: Present Presidents are inaugurated on January 20 in Washington, DC. Children could try to figure out why George Washington’s inauguration was in April (instead of January) and in New York City (instead of Washington, DC). They could also read a transcript of his speech at: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/american_originals/inaugtxt.html.
James Madison suggested the Bill of Rights in 1789. He realized that many people felt the new Constitution was not strong enough without some statements about individual rights, including freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The Bill of Rights added the first ten amendments to the Constitution and became effective December 15, 1791. Children could read a kid-friendly version of the rights: Bill of Rights.
France celebrates Fête de la Fédération, also known as Bastille Day. In 1789 the Bastille fell to the rioting people, marking the beginning of the French Revolution. France is a bit smaller than Texas, and the Mediterranean Sea, the Bay of Biscay, and the English Channel all border the country. Almost 66 million people live in France. Paris is the capital. Idea: Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities gives great insight into the French Revolution. Children could learn more at: France.
Department of State, under the name Department of Foreign Affairs, was created by Congress in 1789. Thomas Jefferson served as the first Secretary of State from March 22, 1790, to December 31, 1793. Older children could visit the department’s website at: http://www.state.gov/.
United States War Department was created in 1789 by Congress. In 1949 it was renamed the Department of Defense. Retired General Henry Knox was the first Secretary of War and a member of President George Washington’s five-person cabinet. Children could visit the Defense Department’s website at: http://www.defense.gov/.