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american old west Robert Edward Lee

They say you had to see him to believe that a man so fine could exist. He
was handsome. He was clever. He was brave. He was gentle. He was generous
and charming, noble and modest, admired and beloved. He had never failed at
anything in his upright soldier's life. He was born a winner, this Robert
E. Lee. Except for once. In the greatest contest of his life, in a war
between the South and the North, Robert E. Lee lost (Redmond). Through his
life, Robert E. Lee would prove to be always noble, always a gentleman, and
always capable of overcoming the challenge lying before him.
Robert Edward Lee was born on January 19, 1807 (Compton's). He was born
into one of Virginia's most respected families. The Lee family had moved to
America during the mid 1600's. Some genealogist can trace the Lee's roots
back to William the Conqueror. Two members of the Lee family had signed the
Declaration of Independence, Richard Lee and Francis Lightfoot. Charles Lee
had served as attorney General under the Washington administration while
Richard Bland Lee, had become one of Virginia's leading Federalists.
Needless to say, the Lees were an American Political dynasty (Nash 242).
Lee's father was General Henry Light-Horse Harry Lee. He had been a
heroic cavalry leader in the American Revolution. He married his cousin
Matilda. They had four children, but Matilda died in 1790. On her death bed
she added insult to injury upon Henry Lee by leaving her estate to her
children. She feared Henry would squander the family fortune. He was well
known for poor investments and schemes that had depleted his own family's
fortune (Connelly 5).
Henry Lee solved his financial problems by marrying Robert's mother Anne
Carter, daughter of one of Virginia's wealthiest men (Nash 242). Henry Lee
eventually spent his family into debt. Their stately mansion, Stratford
Hall, was turned over to Robert's half brother. Anne Lee moved with her
children to a simple brick house in Alexandria. Light Horse Harry was
seldom around. Finally, in 1813 he moved to the West Indies. His self-exile
became permanent, and he was never seen again by his family (Thomas).
Young Robert had other family problems. His mother became very ill. At the
age of twelve he had to shoulder the load of not only being the family's
provider, but also his mother's nurse. When time came for Robert to attend
college, it was obvious his mother could not support him financially. She
was already supporting his older brother at Harvard and three other
children in school. In 1824 he accepted an appointment to the United States
Military Academy. During his time at West Point Lee distinguished himself
as a soldier and a student. Lee graduated with honors in 1829 (Nash 245).
His graduation was dampened by a call to the bedside of his ailing mother.
When he arrived home he found his fifty-four year old mother close to
death. A death caused by struggles and illnesses of her difficult life.
Robert was always close to his mother. He again attended to her needs until
her death. On July 10, 1829, Anne Lee died with Robert, her closest son, at
her side. Forty years later Robert would stand in the same room and say,
It seems but yesterday that his beloved mother died (Connelly 6).
While awaiting his first assignment, Lee frequently visited Arlington, the
estate of George Washington Parke Custis. Custis was the grandson of Martha
Washington and the adopted son of George Washington. After Martha's death
Custis left Mount Vernon and used his inheritance to build Arlington in
1778. Arlington was set on a hill over looking the Potomac river and
Washington D.C. (NPS Arlington House). Custis had only one daughter, Mary
Anna Randolph. Mary had been pampered and petted throughout her life. Lee's
Courtship with Mary soon turned serious, before long they were thinking of
marriage. However, before Robert could propose he was assigned to Cockspur
Island, Georgia.
Robert returned to Arlington in 1830. He and Mary decided to get married.
The two were married on June 30, 1831(Nash 248). Shortly there after the
Lees went to Fort Monroe. Mary was never happy here. She soon went back to
Arlington. Mary hated army life. She would, for the most part, stay at
Arlington throughout the rest of Robert's time in the United States Army.
The fact that he was separated from his family, and that he was slow to
move up in rank, left Lee feeling quite depressed a great deal of ... more

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Earth As Living Machine


We live in an extraordinary era of exploration. We are now able to reach far out
into space and deep down into the ocean. We have the advantage with technology
such as computers and satellites. We can now simply understand the dynamic
forces that shape our Earth. Our Earth is constantly destructing and recreating.
It balances through a continuous rebirth cycle. The Earths dynamic shape can
be summed up very simply-Transfer Of Energy. This "Big Idea" helps to
explain many things such as plate tectonics, ocean floor spreading, continental
drift, volcanoes, earthquakes, just about everything that happens naturally on
earth. Plate Tectonics links together Alfred Wegeners theory of continental
drift and Harry Hesss theory of ocean floor spreading. Alfred Wegener was a
German meteorologist living in the first half of this century. He thought that
long, long ago at one time all of the continents had been joined together as one
gigantic land mass he called Pangaea. Finally after a long period of time the
huge land mass had broken apart and slowly became what it is today and was
believed to be still changing. Many scientists did not accept Wegeners
theory, but he kept on collecting evidence to support it. Finally, fossils of
the same organism on many different continents were found. This helped to
support his idea even more then fitting the continents together like a puzzle.
Glossopteris fossils, which are found in rocks, were found in South America,
Australia, India, and Antarctica. These organisms were too large to be carried
continent to continent by wind and were not tough enough to survive a trip
across the ocean. This made scientist confused. One of the clearest sets of
evidence is found in the rocks of Africa and South America. The rock formations
in Africa lined up with matching ones in South America. Several years after
Wegener had died, the theory of Continental Drift was finally accepted. It was
very hard for many of the scientists to accept that the continents would have to
plow through hard, solid ocean floor. During the 1950s and 1960s new
equipment and methods enabled scientists to make better observations of the
ocean floor. With special mapping techniques the scientists discovered a very
large rift valley in the center of the ocean. These chains of underwater
mountains are called the midocean ridges. This 80,000 kilometer long mountain
chain is the largest in the world! Ocean floor spreading is when lava erupts
from the rift valley that runs the length of the ridge. As the ocean floor moves
away on both side of the ridge lava wells up and hardens. The hardened lava
forms a new ocean floor. As a piece of the ocean floor moves it takes the
continent with it. As the ocean floor spreads, the older rocks move further away
from the ridge. New deep-sea drilling machines also provide evidence to support
this idea. Scientists have now also discovered that the hardened lava is leaving
magnetic stripes. Some minerals have magnetic properties and in molten rock the
magnetic mineral particles line up in the direction of the Earths magnetic
poles. This phenomenon has cause the poles to reverse themselves nine times!
Because of ocean floor spreading it might make you think that the Earth is
getting bigger. Well, that wrong, heres why. The oldest rock on land is about
400 billion years old, while the oldest rock on the ocean floor is only about
200 million years old. The ocean floor is being destroyed as fast as it is being
created by ocean floor spreading. The compelling evidence for continental drift
and ocean floor spreading caused many of the old theories about the Earth to be
forgotten. Soon a new theory about the evolution of the Earth came about and it
was named Plate Tectonics. This theory states that there are many, many plates,
or irregularly shapes slabs that fit together, that float on top the mantle.
These plate are carried along and bring along the continent, country or island
that sit atop it. This theory help to explain the formation, movement, collision
and destruction of the Earths crust. This links continental drift and ocean
floor spreading and explains how the earth has evolved over time. There are
seven major plates of the Earth, some are very large and some are very small.
These plates seem to be moving in all different directions and speeds. The
plates will have one of the three types of plate boundaries. Either the
divergent, convergent, or strike-slip. The divergent boundary occurs ... more

american old west

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