Mnemonic Device of the Day – Income Senators with Wine and Women

How to remember the U.S. constitutional Amendments 16-19

Income Senators with Wine and Women.

16 – Income – Allows the Federal Government to collect Income Tax
17 – Senators – Espablishes the direct election of U.S. Senators by popular vote
18 – Wine – Espablishes prohibition of alcohol (repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment) Thank Goodness
19 – Women – Establishes Women’s Suffrage

Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper (1882-1967) painted one of the most famous works of art in American History, the gloomy 1942 canvas Night Hawks. The painting, which shows three men and a woman at an all-night diner in an unidentified city, was the most successful work of Hopper’s long and distinguished career.

Born in New York, Hopper enrolled in art school at age eighteen. His style, influenced by the Ashcan school, epmphasized plain, realistic portraits of scenes from everyday life. Hopper’s prosaic subjects included fire hydrants, bridges, gas stations, and people reading newspapers.

In the early twentieth century, however, Hopper’s stark realist paintings were unfashionable on the art scene, and he spent the first twenty years of his career toiling in relative obscurity. To make ends meet, he painted propaganda posters during World War I (1914-1918) and even won a $300 prize for his 1918 poster Smash the Hun. By 1931, at age forty-nine, Hopper had sold only two of his paintings.

The Great Depression, however, caused a seismic shift in the art world and a major reappraisal of Hopper’s work. Suddenly, interest among art connoisseurs in European modernism waned, while painting that addressed the country’s social problems became popular.

Edward Hopper

Night Hawks perfectly illustrates the sense of urban despair and loneliness that recurs throughout Hopper’s work. The four figures in the painting each appear lost in their own thoughts and are not looking at one another. The diner is brightly lit, but the light seems harsh and artificial, in implicit contrast to the cozy glow of a fireplace.

Hopper’s paintings of forlorn cityscapes have held an enduring appeal. In recognition of his lifetime achievement, shortly before his death, Hopper was one of eleven artists whose work was selected for display at the White House by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1929-1994).

Nighthawks is now on permanent display at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Upton Sinclair

Muckraking journalist Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) published his most well-known book, The Jungle, in 1906 to draw attention to the dangerous working conditions for and poor wages of slaughterhouse workers in Chicago. As Sinclair intended, the book created an uproar – but not for the reasons he expected. To many readers, Sinclair’s graphic descriptions of the unsanitary slaughterhouses were horrifying, and they led to major new food safety regulations. “I aimed at the public heart,” Sinclair complained, “and by accident I hit it in the stomach.”

Sinclair was born in Baltimore, Maryland and, at age 24, wrote a successful novel about the Civil War. A lifelong devotee of left-wing politics, he used the considerable proceeds from The Jungle to indulge in various socialist causes, including a short-lived commune in New Jersey. During this time, Sinclair also made the first of what would be dozens of unsuccessful runs for public office, losing a New Jersey congressional race by an overwhelming margin.

As a writer, Sinclair’ style was often dramatic, sincere, and emotional, unlike the arch cynicism of his contemporary H.L. Mencken (1880-1956). The Jungle was written to create sympathy for the poor and oppressed, and modern readers expecting a tirade against injustive are sometimes surprised by the book’s sentimentalism.

Nevertheless, the book was a runaway success and perhaps the most well-known example of muckraking journalism in the early twentieth century. President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) read it, summoned Sinclair to a meeting in the White House, and dispatched aides to investigate his allegations. The result, later that year, was the Food and Drug Administration, extablished to assure the purity of American food.

Sinclair continued to write for the next six decades, championing dozens of progressive causes from workers’ rights to vegetarianism in the ninety books he published. He also ran for office several more times. coming closest to victory in the 1934 California governor’s race, in which he ran as a left-wing Democrat in the midst of the Depression and came within 200,000 votes of victory.

In 1943, Sinclair won a Pulitzer for Dragon’s Teeth.

Battle of Antietam (American Civil War)

The Battle of Antietam, fought on September 17, 1862, was the single bloodiest day of the American Civil War and remains the deadliest day in the history of American warfare. Total Union and Confederate casualties at Antietam, a small creek in Maryland about fifty miles northwest of Washington D.C., exceeded 23,000 men. The battle, a Union victory, halted a planned Confederate invasion of Maryland.

On September 3, 1862, Confederate general Robert E. Lee (1807 – 1870) decided to invade Maryland, a border state where slavery was still legal. Lee and Confederate president Jefferson Davis (1808 -1889) hoped that a Southern victory on Northern soil would deal a crippling blow to Union morale before the 1862 midterm elections.

Lincoln with McClellan and staff at the Grove Farm after the battle.

However, the warm welcome from Marylanders that Lee expected never materialized, and U.S. President Lincoln (1809=1865) immediately sent Union general George McClellan (1826-1885) with troops to repel the invasion. The Union troops caught up with Lee near the town of Sharpsburg on the evening of September 16.

The battle the next day lasted twelver ferocious hours. Nearly 100,000 soldiers participated in the battle – a force of greater size that the entire army that had fought the American Revolution seventy years earlier.

Although both parties suffered awful casualties, it was Lee who decided to withdraw from the fight, retreating back to Virginia. Lincoln, sensing an opportunity to finish off Lee’s army once and for all, ordered McClellan to pursue Lee into Virginia, but McClellan enraged Lincoln by dragging his feet. For the Union, McClellan’s failure to follow Lee into Virginia was one of the great lost opportunities of the war.

1.In the South, the clash is known as the Battle of Sharpsburg.
2.Six General were killed – Three on each side – during the battle.
3.After the battle, the dead were buried in shallow graves, many of which soon became exposed. In 1867 the army finally established a cemetery on the site and gave its fallen proper burials.