Jonathan Pollard Pleads Guilty to Espionage Charges (1986)

After leaving graduate school in 1979, Pollard immediately began applying for intelligence positions, and landed one at the US Naval Investigative Service (NIS). In 1985, after he had attained a high level of clearance, coworkers noticed that he was accessing a huge number of documents for seemingly no reason. He was arrested and, the following year, pled guilty to selling secrets to Israel. He was sentenced to life in prison. What early clues nearly derailed his career before it started? Discuss
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“Casey at the Bat” Published in the

“Casey at the Bat” was one of the most popular poems in late 19th-century America. Recited in vaudeville performances and later taken up by many celebrities, the poem tells the story of an overconfident baseball player—the “mighty Casey”—who strikes out while trying to show off. Ernest Thayer, who wrote the poem, avoided acknowledging authorship for many years because he thought it was embarrassingly bad. Which two real-life towns have laid claim to being the Mudville mentioned in the poem? Discuss
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US President Grover Cleveland Gets Married in the White House (1886)

Though President Cleveland entered the White House a notorious bachelor—having allegedly fathered a child out of wedlock—he did not remain single for long. Having become the executor of his deceased law partner’s estate a decade earlier, Cleveland had supervised the upbringing of his partner’s daughter, Frances. She visited him in the White House in 1885, and the two were married in the Blue Room a year later, making him the only president to be married there. He was how many years her senior? Discuss
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Court Martial of Benedict Arnold Begins (1779)

When Arnold was court-martialed in 1779, it was not for the treason that would later make his name synonymous with betrayal. The charges involved fiscal irregularities and were relatively minor. Though he was largely exonerated, the trial sullied his reputation. Despite having distinguished himself in various American military campaigns—he was wounded more than once—Arnold was subsequently passed over for promotion. Embittered, he hatched what plot to aid the British in the American Revolution? Discuss
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Copyright Act of 1790 Signed into US Law (1790)

After the US Constitution was ratified in 1788, one of the first issues that the fledgling government faced was the lack of a copyright law. Without it, Congress would be swamped with individual petitions for protection from piracy. Modeled on Britain’s Statute of Anne, the Copyright Act of 1790 was soon signed into law by President Washington. Instituted to encourage learning by securing US authors the sole rights to their work for 14-year periods, it drew what complaint from Charles Dickens?
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