In which John Green teaches you about the election of 1860. As you may remember from last week, things were not great at this time in US history. The tensions between the North and South were rising, ultimately due to the single issue of slavery. The North wanted to abolish slavery, and the South wanted to continue on with it. It seemed like a war was inevitable, and it turns out that it was. But first the nation had to get through this election. You'll learn how the bloodshed in Kansas, and the truly awful Kansas-Nebraska Act led directly to the decrease in popularity of Stephen Douglas, the splitting of the Democratic party, and the unlikely victory of a relatively inexperienced politician from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's election would lead directly to the secession of several southern states, and thus to the Civil War. John will teach you about all this, plus Dred Scott, Roger Taney, and John Brown.
Hank bursts our ideal gas law bubble, er, balloon, and brings us back to reality, explaining how the constants in the gas law aren't all that constant; how the ideal gas law we've spent the past two weeks with has to be corrected for volume because atoms and molecules take up space and for pressure because they're attracted to each other; that Einstein was behind a lot more of what we know today than most people realize; and how a Dutch scientist named Johannes van der Waals figured out those correction factors in the late 19th century and earned a Nobel Prize for his efforts.
In which John Green teaches you about the presidency of Andrew Jackson So how did a president with astoundingly bad fiscal policies end up on the $20 bill? That's a question we can't answer, but we can tell you how Jackson got to be president, and how he changed the country when he got the job. Jackson's election was more democratic than any previous presidential election. More people were able to vote, and they picked a doozie. Jackson was a well-known war hero, and he was elected over his longtime political enemy, John Quincy Adams. Once Jackson was in office, he did more to expand executive power than any of the previous occupants of the White House. He used armed troops to collect taxes, refused to enforce legislation and supreme court legislation, and hired and fired his staff based on support in elections. He was also the first president to regularly wield the presidential veto as a political tool. Was he a good president? Watch this video and draw your own conclusions.
Gases are everywhere, and this is good news and bad news for chemists. The good news: when they are behaving themselves, it's extremely easy to describe their behavior theoretically, experimentally and mathematically. The bad news is they almost never behave themselves.
In this episode of Crash Course Chemistry, Hank tells how the work of some amazing thinkers combined to produce the Ideal Gas Law, how none of those people were Robert Boyle, and how the ideal gas equation allows you to find out pressure, volume, temperature or number of moles. You'll also get a quick introduction to a few jargon-y phrases to help you sound like you know what you're talking about.
Table of Contents
Ideal Gas Law Equation 0:50
Everyone But Robert Boyle 1:35
Ideal Gas Law to Figure Out Things 6:16
Jargon Fun Time 7:46
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In which John Green teaches you about America's "peculiar institution," slavery. I wouldn't really call it peculiar. I'd lean more toward horrifying and depressing institution, but nobody asked me. John will talk about what life was like for a slave in the 19th century United States, and how slaves resisted oppression, to the degree that was possible. We'll hear about cotton plantations, violent punishment of slaves, day to day slave life, and slave rebellions. Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, and Whipped Peter all make an appearance. Slavery as an institution is arguably the darkest part of America's history, and we're still dealing with its aftermath 150 years after it ended.
In which John Green teaches you about the War of 1812. The War of 1812 was fought between the United States and its former colonial overlord England. It started in, you guessed it 1812. The war lasted until 1815, and it resolved very little.
In which John Green teaches you about founding father and third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson is a somewhat controversial figure in American history, largely because he, like pretty much all humans, was a big bundle of contradictions. Jefferson was a slave-owner who couldn't decide if he liked slavery. He advocated for mall government, but expanded federal power more than either of his presidential predecessor. He also idealized the independent farmer and demonized manufacturing, but put policies in place that would expand industrial production in the US. Controversy may ensue as we try to deviate a bit from the standard hagiography/slander story that usually told about old TJ. John explores Jefferson's election, his policies, and some of the new nation's (literally and figuratively) formative events that took place during Jefferson's presidency. In addition to all this, Napoleon drops in to sell Louisiana, John Marshall sets the course of the Supreme Court, and John Adams gets called a tiny tyrant.
In the beginning, soon after the US constitution was adopted, politics were pretty non-existent. George Washington was elected president with no opposition, everything was new and exciting, and everyone just got along. For several months. Then the contentious debate about the nature of the United States began, and it continues to this day.
Washington and his lackey/handler Alexander Hamilton pursued an elitist program of federalism. They attempted to strengthen the central government, create a strong nation-state, and leave less of the governance to the states, They wanted to create debt, encourage manufacturing, and really modernize the new nation.
The opposition, creatively known as the anti-federalists, wanted to build some kind of agrarian pseudo-paradise where every (white) man could have his own farm, and live a free, self-reliant life. The founding father who epitomized this view was Thomas Jefferson. By the time Adams became president, the anti-federalists had gotten the memo about how alienating a name like anti-federalist can be. It's so much more appealing to voters if your party is for something rather than being defined by what you're against, you know? In any case, Jefferson and his acolytes changed their name to the Democratic-Republican Party, which covered a lot of bases, and proceeded to protest nearly everything Adams did.
Lest you think this week is all boring politics,you'll be thrilled to hear this episode has a Whiskey Rebellion, a Quasi-War, anti-French sentiment, some controversial treaties, and something called the XYZ Affair, which sounds very exciting.
In which John Green teaches you about the United States Constitution. During and after the American Revolutionary War, the government of the new country operated under the Articles of Confederation. While these Articles got the young nation through its war with England, they weren't of much use when it came to running a country. So, the founding fathers decided try their hand at nation-building, and they created the Constitution of the United States, which you may remember as the one that says We The People at the top. John will tell you how the convention came together, some of the compromises that had to be made to pass this thing, and why it's very lucky that the framers installed a somewhat reasonable process for making changes to the thing. You'll learn about Shays' Rebellion, the Federalist Papers, the elite vs rabble dynamic of the houses of congress, and start to find out just what an anti-federalist is.
In which John Green teaches you about the American Revolution. And the Revolutionary War. I know we've labored the point here, but they weren't the same thing. In any case, John will teach you about the major battles of the war, and discuss the strategies on both sides. Everyone is familiar with how this war played out for the Founding Fathers; they got to become the Founding Fathers. But what did the revolution mean to the common people in the United States? For white, property-owning males, it was pretty sweet. They gained rights that were a definite step up from being British Colonial citizens. For everyone else, the short-term gains were not clear. Women's rights were unaffected, and slaves remained in slavery. As for poor white folks, they remained poor and disenfranchised. The reality is it took a long time for this whole democracy thing to get underway, and the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness weren't immediately available to all these newly minted Americans.
Turn on the captions, you'll like them.
John Green teaches us about the roots of the American Revolution. The Revolution did not start on July 4, 1776. The Revolutionary War didn't start on July 4 either. (as you remember, I'm sure, the Revolution and the Revolutionary War are not the same thing) The shooting started on April 19, 1775, at Lexington and/or Concord, MA. Or the shooting started with the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770. At least we can pin down the Declaration of Independence to July 4, 1776. Except that most of the signers didn't sign until August 2. The point is that the beginning of the Revolution is very complex and hard to pin down. John will lead you through the bramble of taxes, royal decrees, acts of parliament, colonial responses, and various congresses. We'll start with the end of the Seven Years War, and the bill that the British ran up fighting the war. This led to taxes on colonial trade, which led to colonists demanding representation, which led to revolution. It all seems very complicated, but Crash Course will get you through it in about 12 minutes.
John Green teaches us about how a war and a religious revival set the groundwork for an rebellion against British rule in the North American colonies.
The Seven Years' War was actually a global war that went on for nine years. I think I'm having trouble making this clear. Anyway, the part of this global war that happened in North America was the French and Indian War. The French and Indian tribes were the force opposing the British, so that's the name that stuck.
Meanwhile, the Great Awakening religious revival was sweeping the country, introducing new ideas about religion and how it should be practiced. At the same time thinkers like John Locke were rethinking the relationship between rulers and the ruled. So in this highly charged atmosphere, you can just imagine what would happen if the crown started trying to exert more control over the colonies. The colonists would probably just rise up, right? We'll see what happens next week.
John Green teaches us about some of the colonies that were not in Virginia or Massachussetts. Old New York was once New Amsterdam. Why they changed it, I can say; ENGLISH people just liked it better that way, and when the English took New Amssterdam in 1643, that's just what they did. Before the English got there though, the colony was full of Dutch people who treated women pretty fairly, and allowed free black people to hold jobs.
John also discusses Penn's Woods, also known as Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania was (briefly) a haven of religious freedom, and William Penn dealt relatively fairly with the natives his colony displaced. Of course, as soon as Penn died, the colonist started abusing the natives immediately. We venture as far south as the Carolina colonies, where the slave labor economy was taking shape. John also takes on the idea of the classless society in America, and the beginning of the idea of the American dream. It turns out that in spite of the lofty dream that everyone had an equal shot in the new world, there were elites in the colonies. And these elites tended to be in charge. And then their kids tended to take over when they died. So yeah, not quite an egalitarian paradise. In addition to all this, we get into the Salem Witch Trials, the treatment of women in the colonies, and colonial economics.
John Green covers relations between the early English colonists and the native people the encountered in the New World. In short, these relations were poor. As soon as they arrived, the English were in conflict with the native people. At Jamestown, Captain John Smith briefly managed to get the colony on pretty solid footing with the local tribes, but it didn't last, and a long series of wars with the natives ensued. This pattern would continue throughout US history, with settlers pushing into native lands and pushing the inhabitants further west. In this episode, we learn about Wahunsunacawh (who the English called Powhatan) his daughter Pocahontas, King Philip's (aka Metacom) War, and the Mystic Massacre.
So, what is chemistry, anyway?
Hank does his best to convince us that chemistry is not torture, but is instead the amazing and beautiful science of stuff. Chemistry can tell us how three tiny particles - the proton, neutron and electron - come together in trillions of combinations to form ... everything. In this inaugural episode of Crash Course Chemistry, we start out with one of the biggest ideas in chemistry ever - stuff is made from atoms. More specifically, we learn about the properties of the nucleus and why they are important to defining what an atom actually is.