24 Weekly Letter

WEEK 23 CARD 1 Marie and Pierre Curie and the Discovery of Polonium and Radium

Marie Curie wasn’t always a famous scientist. First, she was a little girl born in Poland. Her family had five children and her parents were both teachers. They loved poetry, books and learning and taught their children many things. Marie had a very loving family, but they weren’t always happy.

Their country was ruled by Russia. Marie’s family did not like the rules the Russian government made. It was against the law to speak Polish. It was against the law for girls to go to school. But Marie’s parents did not care. They sent Marie to a secret school. Marie and her sister made a pact to help each other go to college. Marie worked as a governess to pay for her sister’s school. She secretly taught poor children how to read, which was against the law. She thought all people should be educated. Later, Marie went to college. She became a brilliant scientist.

Fun Facts about Madame Curie

  • Marie discovered radium and polonium. These two substances are radioactive.
  • Marie and her husband won a Nobel Prize for their work. She later won another Nobel Prize.
  • Marie’s family ran a secret school.
  • Marie’s sister, Bronia, became a doctor – something unheard of for women then.
  • Marie’s husband, Pierre, was a scientist too. He and Marie often worked together.

Madame Curie Q&A

Question: What were the benefits of Madame Curie’s discoveries?

Answer: Madame Curie invented the x-ray. During World War 1, she made x-ray machines that could go on trucks. She sometimes drove the trucks herself to wounded soldiers.

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Question: When did Madame Curie die?

Answer: Madame Curie was born in 1867. She died in 1934. She died of leukemia, caused by exposure to radiation.

WEEK 23 CARD 2    Plessy v. Ferguson

Plessy v. Ferguson, case in which the U.S. Supreme Court, on May 18, 1896, by a seven-to-one majority (one justice did not participate), advanced the controversial “ separate but equal” doctrine for assessing the constitutionality of racial segregation laws.

Plessy v. Ferguson was the first major inquiry into the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment’s (1868)  equal-protection clause, which prohibits the states from denying “equal protection of the laws” to any person within their jurisdictions. Although the majority opinion did not contain the phrase “separate but equal,” it gave constitutional sanction to laws designed to achieve racial segregation by means of separate and supposedly equal public facilities and services for  African Americans and whites. It served as a controlling judicial precedent until it was overturned by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954).

Background

The case originated in 1892 as a challenge to Louisiana’s Separate Car Act (1890). The law required that all railroads operating in the state provide “equal but separate accommodations” for white and African American passengers and prohibited passengers from entering accommodations other than those to which they had been assigned on the basis of their race. In 1891 a group of Creole professionals in New Orleans formed the Citizens’ Committee to Test the Constitutionality of the Separate Car Law. They hired Albion Tourgée, a Reconstruction-era judge and social reformer, as their legal counsel.

– The lone dissenter, Kentuckian and former slave owner Justice John Marshall Harlan, denied that a legislature could differentiate on the basis of race with regard to civil rights. He wrote: “The white race deems itself to be the dominant race,” but the Constitution recognizes “no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens.” Harlan continued: “Our Constitution is color-blind…. In respect of civil rights all citizens are equal before the law.” The Court’s majority opinion, he pointed out, gave power to the states “to place in a condition of legal inferiority a large body of American citizens.”

Following the Plessy decision, restrictive legislation based on race continued and expanded steadily, and its reasoning was not overturned until Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954.

Image result for plessy v ferguson

WEEK 23 CARD 3 Boxer Rebellion

By the end of the 19th century, the Western powers and Japan had forced China’s ruling Qing dynasty to accept wide foreign control over the country’s economic affairs. In the Opium Wars (1839-42, 1856-60), popular rebellions and the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95), China had fought to resist the foreigners, but it lacked a modernized military and suffered millions of casualties.

In 1900, in what became known as the Boxer Rebellion (or the Boxer Uprising), a Chinese secret organization called the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fists led an uprising in northern China against the spread of Western and Japanese influence there. The rebels, referred to by Westerners as Boxers because they performed physical exercises they believed would make them able to withstand bullets, killed foreigners and Chinese Christians and destroyed foreign property.

In 1900, the Boxer movement spread to the Beijing area, where the Boxers killed Chinese Christians and Christian missionaries and destroyed churches and railroad stations and other property. On June 20, 1900, the Boxers began a siege of Beijing’s foreign legation district (where the official quarters of foreign diplomats were located.) The following day, Qing Empress Dowager Tzu’u Hzi (or Cixi, 1835-1908) declared a war on all foreign nations with diplomatic ties in China.

The Boxer Rebellion formally ended with the signing of the Boxer Protocol on September 7, 1901. By terms of the agreement, forts protecting Beijing were to be destroyed, Boxer and Chinese government officials involved in the uprising were to be punished, foreign legations were permitted to station troops in Beijing for their defense, China was prohibited from importing arms for two years and it agreed to pay more than $330 million in reparations to the foreign nations involved.

The Qing dynasty, established in 1644, was weakened by the Boxer Rebellion. Following an uprising in 1911, the dynasty came to an end and China became a republic in 1912.

WEEK 23 CARD 4 Spanish–American War

The Spanish-American War (1898) was a conflict between the United States and Spain that ended Spanish colonial rule in the Americas and resulted in U.S. acquisition of territories in the western Pacific and Latin America.

The war originated in the Cuban struggle for independence from Spain, which began in February 1895Image result for The Spanish-American War

Spain declared war on the United States on April 24, followed by a U.S. declaration of war on the 25th, which was made retroactive to April 21. The ensuing war was pathetically one-sided, since Spain had readied neither its army nor its navy for a distant war with the formidable power of the United States. Commo. George Dewey led a U.S. naval squadron into Manila Bay in the Philippines on May 1, 1898, and destroyed the anchored Spanish fleet in a leisurely morning engagement that cost only seven American seamen wounded. Manila itself was occupied by U.S. troops by August.

The elusive Spanish Caribbean fleet under Adm. Pascual Cervera was located in Santiago harbour in Cuba by U.S. reconnaissance. An army of regular troops and volunteers under Gen. William Shafter (and including Theodore Roosevelt and his 1st Volunteer Cavalry, the “Rough Riders”) landed on the coast east of Santiago and slowly advanced on the city in an effort to force Cervera’s fleet out of the harbour. Cervera led his squadron out of Santiago on July 3 and tried to escape westward along the coast. In the ensuing battle all of his ships came under heavy fire from U.S. guns and were beached in a burning or sinking condition. Santiago surrendered to Shafter on July 17, thus effectively ending the war.

By the Treaty of Paris (signed Dec. 10, 1898), Spain renounced all claim to Cuba, ceded Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States, and transferred sovereignty over the Philippines to the United States for $20,000,000. The Spanish-American War was an important turning point in the history of both antagonists. Spain’s defeat decisively turned the nation’s attention away from its overseas colonial adventures and inward upon its domestic needs, a process that led to both a cultural and a literary renaissance and two decades of much-needed economic development in Spain.

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