Weird History
1.3k voters

Events In American History Our Teachers Never Taught Us About

June 23, 2020 8.5k votes 1.3k voters 90.1k views15 items

List RulesVote up the surprising stories your history teachers failed to mention.

Though a relatively young nation, the United States boasts some fascinating history. Of course, it's impossible to squeeze every interesting tidbit of the last few centuries into the average history class, so there are parts of US history that are simply not taught in school. That's led some folks to ask the various history subreddits to fill in the gaps in their knowledge.

History-loving Redditors are happy to share their favorite stories from America's more obscure - and sometimes less-than-savory - past. From overlooked tragedies to government coverups, this is the American history not taught in schools.

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  • 1

    The Black Tom Explosion (1916)

    From Redditor u/finlay_mcwalter:

    A terrorist attack, a massive explosion, a huge pall of smoke hangs over New York harbor. Debris scattered across Manhattan, windows shattered in Times Square, people in Maryland feel the tremors, it's later called "one of the worst acts of terrorism in American history." Domestic insurgents are suspected, but the blame falls quickly on foreign foes, moving freely in the unsuspecting homeland. Not the World Trade Center, but the 1916 Black Tom explosion.

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  • 2

    Onion Futures Trading Is Illegal In The US

    From Redditor u/kikeljerk:

    Onion futures trading is illegal in the united states because a pair of entrepreneurs completely cornered the market and flooded it with onions.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onion_Futures_Act#History

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  • 3

    The US Civil War Led To A Boom In Egyptian Cotton

    From Redditor u/Bassboy9764:

    This one is a global ramification of the US Civil war.

    The British textile industry was huge. Pretty much the marvel of the world. And its biggest supplier of cotton was the American south. The Civil War disrupted the supply of cotton, so the British turned to Egypt instead to buy cotton grown in the Nile River valley. The influx of British money literally transformed the Egyptian economy overnight. That increase in wealth was one of the things that led to Egypt breaking off from the Ottoman Empire.

    Theres more to the story but it's been a long time since I've read up on the details. But I like how it shows how connected everything is in a globalized economy, and also how it highlights the massive size of British industry, which was so big that trade with Britain could literally double or triple a nation's entire economy.

    Nowadays Egypt is still a major cotton grower and Egyptian cotton has a reputation for being some of the best in the world. And that whole cotton industry sort of emerged as a result of the US Civil War.

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  • 4

    President Richard Nixon Attempted To Pass A Basic Income For Families

    From Reddtior u/sh1nes:

    Nixon tried to get a universal basic income for all Americans through congress.

    From Redditor u/Seklauri:

    It was called the Family Assistance Program and it was intended to give nonworking poor families a "negative income tax". Obviously it didn't get past congress. Many people forget that Nixon had many liberal social programs and was a firm supporter of Affirmative Action as well with acts such as the Philidelphia Plan.

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