Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Man Who Declared Himself Emperor of the US.

The Emperor of The US and The Protector of Mexico



Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I'm Shirley Griffith. This week on our program, we answer a question from a listener in Brazil. Tino Therezo in Sao Paulo wants to know about Joshua Norton. Who is that? Oh, just the man who declared himself emperor of the United States. Here are Steve Ember and Robert Cohen with the story of Emperor Norton.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

The small city of Colma, California is just a few kilometers south of San Francisco. Many people visit the city each year to see the burial place of one very unusual man in Colma's Woodlawn Cemetery. These visitors come to see a memorial stone placed on his grave.

The writing on the stone says in large letters: Norton the First, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.

VOICE TWO:

Anyone who has studied American history knows that the United States is a democracy. The president and other political leaders of the United States are elected to office by the citizens. There is no royal family, no king, and no emperor.

Yet, Joshua Abraham Norton declared himself to be Emperor of the United States on September seventeenth, eighteen fifty-nine.

He sent an announcement to the newspapers of San Francisco saying he was Emperor Norton the First of the United States and the Protector of Mexico. The newspapers did not publish it.

VOICE ONE:

Many people in San Francisco knew Joshua Norton. He was born in England in eighteen nineteen. He moved to San Francisco from South Africa. He arrived with a lot of money. He later lost all his money in a very bad financial deal. His many friends knew that this greatly affected him.

Joshua Norton no longer was the same man. Most of his friends believed the shock of losing all his money had taken away his ability to reason and to live in the real world. Poor Joshua Norton was not dangerous or violent, but he no longer knew what was real and what was only imaginary.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

Soon after he declared himself Emperor of the United States, Joshua Norton began wearing blue military clothing. A soldier at the Army base in San Francisco gave him gold colored buttons and gold cloth. It made his uniform seem as if it belonged to a general. Or perhaps a king. Or even an Emperor.

Emperor Norton the First soon became the best known man in San Francisco. He always wore his uniform and a tall hat. When people saw him they would show the respect given a king or emperor.

Emperor Norton usually did not have any money. But he did not need any. If Emperor Norton went to a restaurant, he was served a meal -- free. If he needed something little from a store, that was also freely given. Sometimes he paid with his own kind of money. It was paper money with his picture on it.

Some stores began placing a small sign in the store window. The sign said, "By Appointment to His Majesty, Emperor Norton the First." The sign meant the store or restaurant had been approved by the emperor of the United States. Stores with the signs noted that their business increased.

VOICE ONE:

Emperor Norton began sending royal orders -- called decrees -- to the newspapers of San Francisco. The newspapers began publishing them. Many people thought they were funny. Some bought the newspapers just to read about the latest decree from the emperor of the United States.

Many of the decrees, however, made people think. For example, Emperor Norton said that Governor Wise of Virginia was to be removed from office by royal decree. Emperor Norton said this was necessary because Governor Wise had ordered the death by hanging of John Brown. John Brown was a rebel who had tried to start a war to free slaves.

Emperor Norton's decree said John Brown had tried to capture the state of Virginia with only seventeen men. That was evidence, Emperor Norton said, that John Brown was mentally sick and should have been put in a hospital for treatment.

Emperor Norton said John Brown never should have been executed. Many people in San Francisco agreed with Emperor Norton. The execution of John Brown was one of the many issues that led to the American Civil War.

VOICE TWO:

Another Emperor Norton decree had to do with the name of the city. Some people often use a short name for city of San Francisco. They call it Frisco. Emperor Norton did not like this short name. He decreed that anyone found guilty of using the word Frisco must pay a penalty of twenty-five dollars. Even today many citizens of San Francisco warn visitors never to call the great city Frisco.

Perhaps Emperor Norton's most famous decree ordered the city government to build a bridge from the city of Oakland to a small island in San Francisco Bay. It said the bridge should extend from the little island to San Francisco.

City leaders did nothing about building the bridge. So Emperor Norton ordered them removed from office. Nothing happened, of course, to the city leaders or about the bridge.

Many years later, after Emperor Norton's death, a bridge was built extending from San Francisco to the city of Oakland. It was placed almost in the exact spot that Emperor Norton had decreed. It is called the Bay Bridge. Thousands of cars pass over it every day.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

San Francisco has always been home to many Chinese people. It still is today. One story about Emperor Norton involves the Chinese. In his time many people did not like Chinese people. One group of people organized an anti-Chinese committee. They believed too many Chinese lived in San Francisco. They decided to cause violence in the Chinese area of the city.

Many people knew about the committee's plans but no one did anything to stop the planned violence. One night members of the committee left a meeting and walked toward the area of the city where most of the Chinese lived. As they got close to the area, one man stood in the street blocking their way.

He said nothing. He did not move. His head was low on his chest and he seemed to be praying. The mob of troublemakers stopped. They looked at the old blue uniform with its gold colored buttons. They said nothing. They did nothing. Slowly, the mob turned and walked away. Emperor Norton had prevented the planned violence.

VOICE TWO:

One night, a new member of the San Francisco Police Department arrested Emperor Norton. The young policeman thought anyone who claimed to be the emperor of the United State might be a danger to the public. Very soon a judge and the chief of police arrived at the police station. The judge said. "The emperor has hurt no one that I know of." He quickly ordered the emperor freed and apologized for the mistake. From that time on, the San Francisco policemen showed respect to Joshua Norton by giving a military salute.

VOICE ONE:

On January eighth, eighteen eighty, Emperor Norton was walking along California Street inspecting his city as usual. People in the area saw him fall down. Several rushed to his aid. Moments later it was clear that Joshua Norton was dead.

The next day, the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper printed four words in French across the front of the paper. They were "LE ROI EST MORT." The King is Dead.

The newspaper reported the death of the city's most famous citizen. The report said that Joshua Norton had no real money -- not even enough to pay for his burial. Almost immediately, wealthy members of a San Francisco business group collected enough to pay for the funeral.

Businesses closed in San Francisco the day of the funeral. Newspapers reported that more ten thousand people attended the burial ceremony for Emperor Norton. One newspaper said that the world would be a much better place if all kings and emperors were as kind and honest as Joshua Norton.

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER:

Today, some stores and restaurants in San Francisco still have signs that say, "By Appointment to His Majesty, Emperor Norton the First." And each year in January, a group of people gather at Joshua Norton's grave to remember him. Then they gather at a nearby tavern to continue the remembrance.

These are local members of E Clampus Vitus, a historical society whose members like to have a good time. They do not want people in Frisco -- oops, make that San Francisco -- to forget the first and only emperor of the United States.

Our program was written by Paul Thompson and Nancy Steinbach. The narrators were Steve Ember and Robert Cohen. I'm Shirley Griffith. You can find transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs at voaspecialenglish.com. We hope you join us again next week for THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Difficult Life of Early English Settlers. VOA History Series.

Historic Jamestown, Early 1600s





VOICE ONE:

This is Rich Kleinfeldt.

VOICE TWO:

And this is Sarah Long with the MAKING OF A NATION, a VOA Special English program about the history of the United States. Today, we tell about the first permanent English settlements in North America.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

England was the first country to compete with Spain for claims in the New World, although it was too weak to do this openly at first. But Queen Elizabeth of England supported such explorations as early as the fifteen seventies.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert led the first English settlement efforts. He did not establish any lasting settlement. He died as he was returning to England.

Sir Walter Raleigh
Gilbert's half brother Sir Walter Raleigh continued his work. Raleigh sent a number of ships to explore the east coast of North America. He called the land Virginia to honor England's unmarried Queen Elizabeth.

In fifteen eighty-five, about one-hundred men settled on Roanoke Island, off the coast of the present day state of North Carolina. These settlers returned to England a year later. Another group went to Roanoke the next year. This group included a number of women and children. But the supply ships Raleigh sent to the colony failed to arrive. When help got there in fifteen-ninety, none of the settlers could be found.

History experts still are not sure what happened. Some research suggests that at least some of the settlers became part of the Indian tribe that lived in the area.

VOICE TWO:

One reason for the delay in getting supplies to Roanoke was the attack of the Spanish Navy against England in fifteen eighty-eight. King Phillip of Spain had decided to invade England. But the small English ships combined with a fierce storm defeated the huge Spanish fleet. As a result, Spain was no longer able to block English exploration.

England discovered that supporting colonies so far away was extremely costly. So Queen Elizabeth took no more action to do this. It was not until after her death in sixteen-oh-three that England began serious efforts to start colonies in America.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

In sixteen-oh-six, the new English King, James the First, gave two business groups permission to establish colonies in Virginia, the area claimed by England. Companies were organized to carry out the move.

Jamestown
The London Company sent one hundred settlers to Virginia in sixteen-oh-six. The group landed there in May, sixteen-oh-seven and founded Jamestown. It was the first permanent English colony in the new world.

The colony seemed about to fail from the start. The settlers did not plant their crops in time so they soon had no food. Their leaders lacked the farming and building skills needed to survive on the land. More than half the settlers died during the first winter.

VOICE TWO:

The businessmen controlling the colony from London knew nothing about living in such a wild place. They wanted the settlers to search for gold, and explore local rivers in hopes of finding a way to the East. One settler knew this was wrong. His name was Captain John Smith. He helped the colonists build houses and grow food by learning from the local Indians. Still, the Jamestown settlers continued to die each year from disease, lack of food and Indian attacks.

The London Company sent six thousand settlers to Virginia between sixteen-oh-six and sixteen twenty-two. More than four thousand died during that time.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

History experts say that all the settlers surely would have died without the help of the local Powhatan Indians. The Indians gave the settlers food. They taught them how to live in the forest. And the Powhatan Indians showed the settlers how to plant new crops and how to clear the land for building.

The settlers accepted the Indians' help. Then, however, the settlers took whatever else they wanted by force. In sixteen twenty-two, the local Indians attacked the settlers for interfering with Indian land. Three hundred forty settlers died. The colonists answered the attack by destroying the Indian tribes living along Virginia's coast.

The settlers recognized that they would have to grow their own food and survive on their own without help from England or anyone else. The Jamestown colony was clearly established by sixteen twenty-four. It was even beginning to earn money by growing and selling a new crop, tobacco.

VOICE TWO:

The other early English settlements in North America were much to the north of Virginia, in the present state of Massachusetts. The people who settled there left England for different reasons than those who settled in Jamestown. The Virginia settlers were looking for ways to earn money for English businesses. The settlers in Massachusetts were seeking religious freedom.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

King Henry The 8th
King Henry the Eighth of England had separated from the Roman Catholic Church. His daughter, Queen Elizabeth, established the Protestant religion in England. It was called the Church of England, or the Anglican Church. The Anglican Church, however, was similar to that of the Roman Catholic Church.

Not all Protestants liked this. Some wanted to leave the Anglican Church and form religious groups of their own. In sixteen-oh-six, members of one such group in the town of Scrooby did separate from the Anglican Church. About one hundred twenty-five people left England for Holland. They found problems there too, so they decided to move again...to the New World.

These people were called pilgrims, because that is the name given to people who travel for religious purposes.

VOICE TWO:

About thirty-five pilgrims were among the passengers on a ship called the Mayflower in sixteen twenty. It left England to go to Virginia. But the Mayflower never reached Virginia. Instead, it landed to the north, on Cape Cod Bay. The group decided to stay there instead of trying to find Jamestown.

The pilgrims and the others on the Mayflower saw a need for rules that would help them live together peacefully. They believed they were not under English control since they did not land in Virginia. So they wrote a plan of government, called the Mayflower Compact. It was the first such plan ever developed in the New World.

They elected a man called William Bradford as the first governor of their Plymouth Colony. We know about the first thirty years of the Plymouth Colony because William Bradford described it in his book, Of Plymouth Plantation.

As happened in Jamestown, about half the settlers in Plymouth died the first winter. The survivors were surprised to find an Indian who spoke English. His name was Squanto. He had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and had lived in England before returning to his people.

Squanto
The Pilgrims believed Squanto was sent to them from God. He made it possible for them to communicate with the native people. He showed them the best places to fish, what kind of crops to plant and how to grow them. He provided them with all kinds of information they needed to survive. The settlers invited the Indians to a feast in the month of November to celebrate their successes and to thank Squanto for his help. Americans remember that celebration every year when they observe the Thanksgiving holiday.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Other English settlers began arriving in the area now called New England. One large group was called the Puritans. Like the pilgrims, the Puritans did not agree with the Anglican Church. But they did not want to separate from it. The Puritans wanted to change it to make it more holy. Their desire for this change made them unwelcome in England.

The first ship carrying Puritans left England for America in sixteen thirty. By the end of that summer, one thousand Puritans had landed in the northeastern part of the new country. The new English King, Charles, had given permission for them to settle the Massachusetts Bay area.

VOICE TWO:

The Puritan Exodus

The Puritans began leaving England in large groups. Between sixteen thirty and sixteen forty, twenty thousand sailed for New England. They risked their lives on the dangerous trip. They wanted to live among people who believed as they did, people who honored the rules of the Bible. Puritans believed that the Bible was the word of God.

The Puritans and other Europeans, however, found a very different people in the New World. They were America's native Indians. That will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

This MAKING OF A NATION program was written by Nancy Steinbach. This is Rich Kleinfeldt

VOICE TWO:

And this is Sarah Long. Join us again next week for another Voice of America Special English program about the history of the United States.

For more VOA articles on American History, Click Here!

COMPREHENSION CHECK

1. One of the problems the first permanent settlement at Jamestown in 1607 didn't have was ______________________ .
a: lack of building skills
b: lack of farming skills
c: lack of trees for building
d: lack of food

2. Mostly, the London Company wanted the settlers to ___________________ .
a: raise families
b: search for gold
c: become successful tobacco growers
d: conquer native Americans

3. Captain John Smith helped the settlers because he _________________ .
a: understood how to live in a wild place
b: had more money than the other settlers
c: learned building and farming skills from the Indians
d: had previously lived on Roanoke Island

4. The main difference between the settlers in Virginia and the settlers in Massachusetts was that the Virginia settlers were looking for ways to earn money while the Massachusetts settlers ___________________________ .
a: were former prisoners
b: were seeking religious freedom from Anglican domination
c: were seeking to establish a Catholic settlement
d: were artists and writers

5. The state of Virginia was named after __________________________ .
a: Queen Elizabeth who was not yet married
b: the wife of Sir Walter Raleigh whose name was Virginia
c: the novelist Virginia Woolf
d: the untouched land that reminded Sir Walter Raleigh of an unmarried young woman

6. Many settlers in the Plymouth colony died the first winter. Many more would have died, but a Native American named Squanto (Tisquantum) ______________________ .
a: taught them English
b: knew how to fight the Indians
c: showed them the best places to fish and how to raise corn
d: learned English from them

7. Spain could no longer block English exploration of the New World _____________________ .
a: after Sir Walter Raleigh's exploration of North America
b: after English colonists settled on Roanoke Island
c: after the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603
d: after an English victory over the Spanish Navy in 1588

8. Unlike the Pilgrims who simply wanted religious freedom, the Puritans wanted ________________________ .
a: to succeed in business
b: to transform the Anglican church
c: to convert the Native Americans
d: to raise tobacco

9. The Puritans _______________________________________ .
a: settled in Massachusetts before the Pilgrims
b: settled in Virginia
c: believed that the Bible was the word of God
d: named Jamestown after King James

10. Settlers on Roanoke Island off the coast of North Carolina in 1586 __________________ .
a: returned to England one year later
b: were not found when supply ships finally reached them in 1590
c: developed a thriving community
d: were all slaughtered by Native Americans




Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas in America During the 19th Century.




VOICE ONE:

I'm Steve Ember.

VOICE TWO:

And I'm Shirley Griffith with THE MAKING OF A NATION – American history in VOA Special English. Today we present a special program on Christmas traditions in the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century.

VOICE TWO:

A German postcard.
Christmas trees were
small in the 19th Century.
During this period, Christmas was a very different kind of holiday than it is today. There was no set way of celebrating the day, which was not yet an official holiday. Communities around the country honored the day in different ways. Some observed Christmas as an important Christian religious day honoring the birth of Jesus. Others celebrated the day with parties, music, drinking and eating. And, some communities did not celebrate the day at all.

VOICE ONE:

But, it was during this period that Americans began to reinvent the holiday by combining ancient Christmas traditions from different cultures with modern American influences. You can think about the historical people we have been talking about, Andrew Jackson, Martin van Buren and others, and the ways they too might have celebrated Christmas.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

Geoffrey Crayon and Guests
In eighteen nineteen, the popular American writer Washington Irving wrote a series of five essays published in a book called "The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent."

VOICE TWO:

The essays describe a wealthy British landowner who invites his farm workers into his home to celebrate Christmas. The landowner recreates a traditional Christmas as it would have been celebrated in the distant past. Irving praised this looking back to ancient traditions. He liked the idea of different levels of society coming together to enjoy a festive and peaceful holiday. Washington Irving seemed to express concern about the lack of such unifying Christmas traditions in modern America.

VOICE ONE:

Penne Restad wrote a book "Christmas in America: A History." It shows how Americans began to slowly shape Christmas into a unifying national holiday during the first half of the nineteenth century. She describes how Christmas had different meanings for Americans who came from different cultural and religious backgrounds. Many immigrants brought Christmas traditions from their own countries.

VOICE TWO:

Religion played a big role in how an American might celebrate the holiday. Calvinist Christians banned the celebration of Christmas. But groups such as Episcopalians and Moravians honored the day with religious services and seasonal decorations.

VOICE TWO:

By mid-century, Christian groups began to ignore their religious differences over the meaning of Christmas and honored the day in special ways.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Christmas became an important time for families to celebrate at home. More and more Christian Americans also began to follow the European traditions of Christmas trees and giving gifts. Christians believed that the tree represented Jesus and was also a sign of new beginnings. German immigrants brought their tradition of putting lights, sweets and toys on the branches of evergreen trees placed in their homes.

VOICE TWO:

This tradition of setting up a Christmas tree soon spread to many American homes. So did the practice of giving people presents. As these traditions increased in popularity, the modern trade and business linked to Christmas also grew.

VOICE ONE:

Louisiana Snowless
Sleigh Ride
As Christmas became more popular, some states declared the day a state holiday. Louisiana was the first state to make the move in eighteen thirty-seven. By eighteen sixty, fourteen other states had followed. It was not until eighteen seventy that President Ulysses Grant made Christmas a federal holiday.

VOICE TWO:

Americans already knew old Christmas songs that came from England and other areas of Europe. But many new American Christmas songs started to become popular. For example, in eighteen forty-nine, a religious leader from Massachusetts wrote the words to "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear." The song "Jingle Bells" appeared seven years later. And, a year later, a religious leader in Williamsport, Pennsylvania wrote the song "We Three Kings of Orient Are."

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Santa, napping on the job
And of course, no discussion of Christmas would be complete without talking about of one of the holiday's most famous representations, Santa Claus.

VOICE ONE:

This character is based on the story of Saint Nicholas, a Christian holy person believed to have lived in the third century. Saint Nicholas became known as a protector of children. In his role as a Christmas hero, different cultures have given him different names. These include Sinterklaas, Kris Kringle and Father Christmas. But for most Americans his most popular name would become Santa Claus.

VOICE TWO:

In the nineteenth century, many Dutch immigrants living in the United States celebrated the feast of Saint Nicholas on December sixth. Saint Nicholas was especially important to New Yorkers because of their history as a Dutch colony. In eighteen-oh-nine, Washington Irving published his "History of New York." It lists Saint Nicholas as the patron saint of New Yorkers. He describes the saint wearing a low hat, large pants, and smoking a pipe. Does this description sound familiar?

VOICE ONE:

Clement Clarke Moore
In eighteen twenty-two, an American professor named Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem that redefined the image of Saint Nicholas. It was called "Account of a Visit from Saint Nicholas." He did not expect it to be published. He wrote it as a Christmas present for his young children. In recent years, experts have questioned whether Moore actually wrote the poem.

VOICE ONE:

Some believe it was written by Henry Livingston, a map maker in New York who wrote and published funny poems in his spare time.

VOICE TWO:

But whoever wrote this classic poem, it has since become a favorite around the world. This poem combines the traditions of Santa Claus, seasonal decorations and gift-giving that have come to define Christmas in America. We leave you with Clement Clarke Moore's poem, popularly known as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

(MUSIC)

VOICE THREE:

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and Saint Nicholas, too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Saint Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Our program was written and produced by Dana Demange. Jim Tedder read the poem. I'm Steve Ember.

VOICE TWO:

And I'm Shirley Griffith. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs are online at voaspecialenglish.com. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION. And happy holidays from all of us in VOA Special English.

COMPREHENSION CHECK

1. Saint Nick says, "Now dash away, dash away, dash away all". Who is he talking to?
a: the people in the house
b: the man who is spying on him
c: the objects below
d: his eight reindeer

2. The new American Christmas song "Jingle Bells" was written in ____________.
a: 1849
b: 1856
c: 1870
d: 1860

3. Saint Nicholas, a Christian holy person from the 3rd Century AD is the basis for today's famous mythic figure: ____________________ .
a: Sinterklaas
b: Kris Kringle
c: Father Christmas
d: Santa Claus

4. Washington Irving, in "The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent" applauds a wealthy British landowner who _____________________ .
a: creates the first Christmas tree farm
b: gives his farm workers the day off
c: invites his farm workers into his home to celebrate a traditional Christmas
d: turns on electric Christmas lights to make his mansion look festive

5. In 1870, President _________________ made Christmas an official national holiday.
a: Ulysses Grant
b: Abraham Lincoln
c: Woodrow Wilson
d: Franklin Roosevelt

6. From this article, you can probably conclude that, in the 19th Century, Christmas was more ________________ it is today.
a: popular than
b: religious than
c: expensive than
d: important than

7. The tradition of putting up a Christmas tree with lights and decorations comes from immigrants from _________________ .
a: Spain
b: Italy
c: Germany
d: Ireland

8. "Twas the Night Before Christmas" was probably written by ____________________ .
a: Santa Claus
b: Michael Jackson
c: Clement Clarke Moore
d: Henry Livingstone

9. Penne Restad wrote a book called "Christmas in America: A History". In it, she tells how in the first half of the 19th Century ________________________ .
a: many immigrants brought Christmas traditions from their own countries
b: Americans decided Christmas shouldn't be a national holiday
c: Christmas had the same meaning for everyone, regardless of their backgrounds
d: Most Americans didn't celebrate Christmas

10. "The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow gave a lustre of mid-day to objects below" means that ______________________________________
a: the moon was not full so that objects outside were not clearly visible
b: snow covered everything so, even though there was a full moon, nothing could be seen
c: the combination of the full moon and the white snow made it seem like noon outside, so that it was easy to see anything on the lawn as though it were daytime
d: the strange light from the moon reflected by the snow made objects appear to be different from what they really were

'Twas the Night Before Christmas from Youtube: