5 Strange But True Tidbits About The American Revolution.

5 Strange But True Tidbits About The American Revolution.

Your high-school history teacher probably didn't cover this in lecture.
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The War for Independence has always been an event greatly romanticized by the American people, but there are a lot of interesting things about it that you might not know. This past semester, I took a class over the Revolution-era, and it inspired me to share with you a list of #5 strange but true tidbits I learned about the American Revolution.

1. There was not one, but TWO Boston Tea Parties.

The tea party you've probably learned about happened in December of 1773, in which an anti-Loyalist extremist group called the Sons of Liberty dressed up as Native Americans and dumped approxiametly 90,000 pounds (342 chests worth!) of tea into the Boston harbor to protest taxation without representation. What you probably didn't learn about is that they reproduced the event one year later, albiet on a much smaller scale, and with a lot less flash.

2. Congress voted independence from Great Britain on July 2nd, not July 4th.

July 4th was when John Hancock donned the Declaration with its first signature; the actual vote that seperated the colonies from Britain passed two days earlier, on July 2nd.

3. We've basically always had a two-party system.

But instead of Democrats and Republicans, it was Federalists and Anti-Federalists. 'Federalist' was a term that meant a person was against a strong federal government; during the time when Alexander Hamilton and Co. were trying to raise support for the Constitution, they called themselves Federalists in an attempt to decieve people into thinking that they were not attempting to create a strong central government (which, of course, they totally were). What aided them further was the fact that their oppostition called themselves Anti-Federalists, which would mean that they were against anti-government -- and that was the opposite of what they were and people got confused.

4. Alexander Hamilton was involved in ELEVEN different duels.

Fun Fact for all you HAMILTON musical fans out there: the duel between Alex and Burr might have been his last, but it definitly wasn't his first. According to my professor, he was involved to various degrees in eleven other duels, including conflicts with James Montroe (1797), John Adams (1800), and George Clinton (1804). Son-of-a-gun just couldn't stay out of trouble.

Disclaimer: I myself couldn't find the sources to back up the fueds between anyone but Burr and Monroe, so take my professor's claim with a grain of salt.

5. The 'shot heard round the world' may have been fired by us. Whoops.

British soldiers had heard rumors of weapon stockpiling in the city of Concord, and, naturally, they went to shut it down. The whole 'ride of Paul Revere' thing happened, and so they were intercepted by members of the local militia at the nearby town of Lexington. The standoff was only broken when a bullet was fired -- the shot heard around the world; to this day, it is still unclear as to which side actually took the shot that effectively jumpstarted the War for Independence. In order to spur on support for the new Revolution, the tale had been retold so that the British soldiers were the ones that began the shooting.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Why You Actually Don't Want To Be Prescribed Adderall

ADD isn't all that it's cracked up to be.
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As I'm writing this, I can feel my concentration slipping. Noises have become enticing, I feel distanced from my phone, and every time someone walks by me in the library, I turn around seeing if it's someone I know. My extended-release Adderall is starting to wear off and my brain is starting to relax back to its natural state. My ADD is climbing out from underneath the blanket of focus I had for 10 hours today.

ADD is not all that it's cracked up to be. Sure, we get prescribed the precious Adderall so many people want, but at what cost? Let me put this in context for you. You know when you're at the library and there's a one really, really loud girl talking on the phone? You know the one. The girl that, for some reason, thinks it's OK to have a full-fledged conversation with her mom about her boyfriend in the middle of the quiet section. The girl that's talking so loud that it's all you can think about, occupying all of your focus. Well, that's what every single person in the room is like when you have ADD.

Distractions that are easy to ignore to someone without ADD are intensified and, instead of focusing on the task at hand, I'm listening to the girl three seats down from me eat her barbecue kettle chips. When you have ADD, it's not just schoolwork you can't focus on. You can't focus on anything. I tried to watch a foreign film one time without my medicine, and I forgot to pay attention to the subtitles. I realized about halfway through the movie that I had no idea what was going on.

What almost everyone that asks me for my Adderall doesn't understand is that I take Adderall to focus how you would normally. When you take my Adderall you feel like you can solve the world's problems. You can bang out an entire project in one night. You can cram for an entire exam fueled by this surge of motivation that seems super-hero-like.

You take my Adderall and ask me, “Is this how you feel all the time?" And, unfortunately, my answer is no. I'll never feel like a limitless mastermind. When I take Adderall, I become a normal human being. I can finish a normal amount of work, in a normal amount of time.

My brain works in two modes: on Adderall, and off Adderall. On Adderall, I'm attentive, motivated and energetic. Off Adderall, I can barely get up the motivation and focus to clean my room or send an email. And it's frustrating. I'm frustrated with my lack of drive. I'm frustrated that this is how my brain operates. Scattered, spastic and very, very unorganized. There's nothing desirable about not being able to finish a sentence because you lost thought mid-way through.

The worst thing that you can say to anyone with ADD is, “I think I should start taking Adderall." Having ADD isn't a free pass to get super-pills, having ADD means you have a disability. I take Adderall because I have a disability, and it wasn't a choice I had a say in. I was tested for ADD my freshman year of college.

My parents were skeptical because they didn't know exactly what ADD was. To them, the kids with ADD were the bad kids in school that caused a scene and were constantly sent out of class. Not an above average student in her first year at a university. I went to a counselor and, after I was diagnosed with ADD, told me with a straight mouth, “Marissa this is something you're going to have to take for the rest of your life."

When the late-night assignments and cramming for the tests are over, and we're all out in the real world, I'm still going to be taking Adderall. When I'm raising a family and have to take the right kid to the right place for soccer practice, I'm still going be taking Adderall. And when I'm trying to remember the numbers they just said for bingo at my nursing home, I'm still going to be taking Adderall.

So you tell me you're jealous that I get prescribed Adderall? Don't be. I'm jealous that you can drink a cup a coffee and motivate yourself once you lose focus. I'm jealous that the success of your day doesn't depend on whether or not you took a pill that morning. The idea of waking up and performing a full day without my medicine is foreign to me.

My brain works in two modes, and I don't know which one is the right one. I don't know which mode is the one the big man upstairs wants me to operate in. So before you say you want to be prescribed to Adderall, ask yourself if you need and want to operate in two different modes.

Ask yourself if you want to rely on medicine to make your entire life work. If I had a choice, I would choose coffee like the rest of the world.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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Rich White Parents Can Bribe Their Kids' Ways Into College But People Are Still Mad About Affirmative Action

For years, the rich have been using their personal connections and vast wealth to continue bringing in opportunities for their lackluster children, yet for some reason, no one seems to bat an eye.

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Wealthy people are paying for their kids to get into college?

*Gasp*

Honestly, tell me something I don't know.

On Tuesday, the FBI exposed a multimillion-dollar college admissions scam executed by some of the most wealthy and prominent families in the U.S., two of which happen to be Hollywood household names. These overzealous and exceedingly wealthy parents participated in scandalous and unethical behavior, such as paying others to take their teen's admissions exams, as well as bribing college officials to say that their children were athletic recruits when they weren't athletes at all.

The most notable names from the list of 50 individuals charged are Lori Laughlin, former cast member of TV's "Full House," and Felicity Huffman, known for her role in "Desperate Housewives" as Lynette Scavo. These women appeared innocent on TV, but it's clear that the cookie-cutter demeanor their characters displayed couldn't be further from their true colors.

If we're being honest here, the only reason this is newsworthy is that the wealthy people being indicted are celebrities — not because college admissions scams are a new occurrence.

It's no surprise that the colleges where these scams have taken place have all been prestigious universities like Yale, Stanford, and UCLA. These institutions have a history of being exclusive, as well as placing money above intellect and ability. As the saying goes, "It's not about what you know, but who you know."

For years, people have been using their personal connections and vast wealth to continue bringing in opportunities for their lackluster children, yet for some reason, no one seems to bat an eye.

We all know it's going on, but no one is complaining and no one tries to stop it. It's almost as if we've just accepted that that's the way things are. Meanwhile, I hear at least one ignorant comment about affirmative action a year.

I'm being serious. It's like clockwork.

As a minority, you constantly feel as though you have to "prove" that you belong in certain spaces, especially those that are typically seen as reserved for the white, wealthy majority. With this country's history of limiting minorities' access to education, colleges and universities are definitely included in the list of those spaces. The idea that we don't belong in these spaces, nor are we good enough for them, is still highly prominent in our society, even though there have been vast increases in the percentage of minorities enrolled in postsecondary education.

As a minority student, your talents and abilities are constantly undermined, while your success is seen as the result of some type of "help."

Even though the majority of minority students busted their asses to get into college (and bust our asses every day to stay there), we are always verbally assaulted with the "affirmative action" slander. I once went to see a lecture by a distinguished marine biologist. He told us a story about someone harassing him during the early days of his career, telling him "it's because of affirmative action and people like you that I didn't get into [Harvard]." In 2008, a clueless and grossly privileged young white woman tried to sue the University of Texas for using affirmative action to discriminate against her (but the truth is that she was just a mediocre student). And for a personal example, I once sat across from one of my peers at the Honors College and heard him say "I have to look super good on my med school application or else I won't get in... Because, ya know, I'm white."

The idea that the only reason Blacks and other minorities receive opportunities is because of affirmative action needs to die.

Not only is it the furthest thing from the truth, but it is just another way to denigrate an entire group of people and diminish their accomplishments. Why are minorities always blamed when a white person doesn't receive the opportunity they think they deserve? The same people who think it's preposterous to say that white privilege exists are the same people claiming how "unfair" affirmative action is.

The truth of the matter is that affirmative action is not some sort of privilege to minorities (Blacks are still the smallest population of those currently attending college), and minorities aren't "stealing" opportunities from anyone. Perhaps if we acknowledged that the biggest threat to integrity in college admissions are wealthy and elite, we could end this tired debate around affirmative action and stop the actually mediocre kids from getting into colleges they don't deserve to attend.

Clint Smith / Twitter

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