1. In the 19th century, industry bloomed in the (rich) Northern states. Railroads and factories popped up everywhere. The main industry in the Southern states however still lay in (cotton) farming. Whereas the North had already realized that slaveholding is immoral and had abolished slavery in the late 18th century, the Southern economy was still heavily dependent of slaves.
2. Anti-slavery Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States in 1860 without carrying a single Southern state. The Southern states felt they were losing representation in the Union, and that in turn would mean they would lose power in the slavery question and other policies. Because their economy would fall apart when slavery would be forbidden, the only option left for them seemed to leave the Union.
They all laughed at him mockingly, his fellow people from the Cherokee tribe. But Sequoyah, son of a white father and a Cherokee mother, continued on his project rigidly, with success: he ultimately presented the Cherokee syllabary, making it possible for Cherokee to write and read in their language for the first time.
Sequoyah was born a son of an unidentified white (or half-white, as sources differ) father and a Cherokee mother around 1770. The young boy was raised by his mother alone, didn’t go to school and never learnt English. He spent time farming and tending cattle before he was injured and lamed, making it impossible for him to be a successful farmer or warrior. When he came in contact with white men, he learned the art of forging jewelry and became to work as a silversmith. Later he took on the profession of a blacksmith as well, repairing iron farm implements in his village.
As jewelry was popular among whites, Sequoyah stood in regular contact to them. He was impressed by their ability to transmit information to people in distant places: by letters. Among Cherokees, people tend to believe that writing was sorcery, and weren’t much interested in doing it themselves. Sequoyah, however, set a goal: he wanted to be able to write down his Cherokee language.
In 2017, it's been 200 years since the very first bicycle, invented by Karl Drais, was patented in Germany. Time to take a look at some historic cycle designs that are as curious as genius (or utterly stupid).
1. Karl Drais's Dandy Horse
The first bicycle-like vehicle was the Laufmaschine ("running machine"), later called velocipede or draisine, invented by Karl Drais in 1817 in Germany. It was nicknamed “dandy horse”.
The Laufmaschine was the first vehicle that allowed fast, horseless transportation. But rutted roads were difficult to balance on, and dandy horse riders were forced to take the sidewalks. But because they moved far too quickly (~15 km/h), pedestrians were endangered, complained, and the dandy horse lost its popularity.
2. Frederick Myers's UnicyclE