Three Days That Shocked America
In this presentation, we will examine three major historical events, starting with Shays’ Rebellion in 1786-87: a tax revolt by Massachusetts farmers that led to the Constitutional Convention. Then we’ll jump ahead to 1876 and the annihilation of General George A. Custer and his Seventh Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn: an event that helped justify a harsher policy towards Native Americans and contributed to the mythology of the American West. Finally, we’ll explore the impact of the Soviet Union’s detonation of their first atomic bomb in 1949: an event that took America by surprise and prompted a radical shift in US Cold War policy.
American history has been punctuated by many jarring moments that grabbed the nation’s attention and triggered emotions of fear and outrage, as well as sympathy and compassion. The significance of these events—ranging from assassinations, murders, and riots, to hoaxes, scandals, and trials—goes far beyond the details of what transpired. They often provide us with a window into the key issues and dynamics of society at that time.