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James F. D. Lanier twice came to the rescue when Indiana desperately needed his help. Without him, state history might have turned out differently.
On the morning of Sept. 4, 1838, 859 Potawatomi were forced at gunpoint from their homes in northern Indiana and sent on foot and horseback to the “Unorganized Territory” of Kansas to begin a new life.
James Whitcomb Riley was the most acclaimed, but he wasn’t the first Hoosier poet to gain national fame. Sarah T. Bolton deserves that honor. Even today her poem “Paddle Your Own Canoe” is cited and recited, though few know anything about its origins.
In 1825, the Erie Canal was completed to great fanfare. Cannon fire, parades, balls and speeches celebrated the speed and skill with which New Yorkers built “the longest canal in the world,” as one eyewitness erroneously called it. The Grand Canal of China is longer.
It is one of Indiana’s best-kept secrets.
A drive across Indiana on the National Road is a trip back in time. This was the route taken in the 19th century by pioneers hauling household goods west in Conestoga wagons, by stagecoaches carrying mail and by farmers moving crops to markets.
Like other pioneers, they came to Indiana in search of land and liberty and, for the most part, found both. Beginning in the 1820s and continuing until the eve of the Civil War, free African-Americans migrated in family groups to Indiana and established farming societies that valued hard wor…
When the first classes were held in 1824, Indiana University had one professor, 10 male students, and no building to call its own. The only subjects offered were Latin and Greek. Today, more than 3,000 professors teach 47,000 students on a campus graced by limestone buildings and woodland pa…
A half-century after the Declaration of Independence was issued, the Frenchman who helped the United States win the American Revolution returned to this country on a victory tour. It was a landmark event for cities on his itinerary. Jeffersonville, Ind., was one of them.
In 1975, Jessamyn West wrote a novel based on a true yet astonishing Indiana story. The Massacre at Fall Creek recounts the 1824 murders of nine Indians in Madison County and the ensuing trial and death sentences of the white male perpetrators.
Anyone who’s ever served on a committee can relate to the old laugh line: A committee is a group of people who keep minutes and waste hours.
Although the state Constitution expressly prohibited it, slavery existed in early Indiana. Two court cases filed by enslaved black women put an end to the practice.
In the rough-and-tumble world of frontier politics, Jonathan Jennings experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
It’s a date every Hoosier should know: Dec. 11, 1816. On that day, Indiana became the 19th state.
James Madison, Benjamin Franklin and colleagues spent almost four months debating, writing and editing the document that would become the U.S. Constitution. It took James Brownlee, Benjamin Parke and associates only 18 days to write Indiana’s.
It’s little wonder that today’s political discourse is polarized. The folks doing most of the arguing know so little about the past that they cannot justify their views with historical evidence or data. So they appeal to emotion, name calling, stereotypes and hyperbole.
Three states claim Abraham Lincoln as a favorite son, but only Indiana can take credit for his formative years.
For one shining moment in the early 19th century, a group called the Harmonists achieved utopia on the Wabash River. Two hundred years later, their experiment continues to inspire visitors to New Harmony, Ind.
On Sept. 3, 1812, a Native American war party killed more than 20 settlers living in a wooded outpost near present-day Scottsburg. Motivated by bounties offered by the British, the perpetrators scalped women and children, torched their log cabins and left the village in ashes.
In the drizzling pre-dawn rain of Nov. 7, 1811, on high ground near modern-day Lafayette, Gen. William Henry Harrison squashed Tecumseh’s dream of an Indian confederacy that could resist the white man’s westward advances.
In 1796, John James Dufour left his native Switzerland to seek a new life and opportunity in the United States. Less than a decade later, he opened the country’s first successful winemaking business – in southeastern Indiana.
In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson asked Meriwether Lewis to lead an exploration of the Louisiana Territory in search of a Northwest Passage. Lewis invited William Clark to join him. It would become one of the most famous partnerships in history, and it started in Indiana.
History remembers William Henry Harrison as the first president to die in office. Hoosiers should remember him as the man who shaped the Indiana Territory.
For 30 years he was a dominating figure on the Indiana frontier, at first resisting the white man’s encroachment and later giving in to the inevitable. The historian Calvin Young called him “one of the greatest Indian chiefs of all time.”
Indiana's political values, moral compass and physical boundaries were shaped by the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.
If not for George Rogers Clark, we Hoosiers might snack on scones with jam and clotted cream and speak with cockney accents.
Roman Catholics claim bragging rights to Indiana’s oldest church. Jesuit missionaries visited the French fort at Vincennes within months of its establishment in 1732. A resident priest, Sebastian Meurin, arrived in 1748. People have been worshiping at St. Francis Xavier Church ever since.
Bison made Indiana’s first highway. It started at the Falls of the Ohio near modern-day Clarksville, where the beasts came together to cross the Ohio River at its shallowest point. It ended near Vincennes, where they scattered to graze on Illinois prairie grass.
Storied in literature and song, the Wabash is Indiana’s most important river.
It’s no coincidence that Indiana’s second largest city occupies land that once served as a capital of the Miami Indian Nation. Native Americans chose Fort Wayne for its strategic location. The confluence of three rivers — St. Joseph, St. Marys and Maumee — would prove equally appealing to Fr…
Historians aren’t sure which white man stepped first on Hoosier soil, but he most certainly was French and he likely arrived in the 1670s — 150 years before Indiana statehood.
By the time Europeans reached Indiana in the 1600s, our economic future was already set. Cornfields stretched for miles along the river valleys and colorful vegetables filled gardens tended by Native Americans.
Indiana’s name means “Land of the Indians.” A trip to Mounds State Park in Anderson reminds us why.
Long before Indiana was Indiana, a river of ice glided across the state, bringing with it monsoon-like rains, mudflows to rival Mount St. Helens and rich sediment deposits that to this day nourish the crops that are the backbone of the Hoosier economy.
“For First Time, Majority in U.S. Supports Public Smoking Ban.” That was the headline in July 2011 as cigarette bans swept the country. In 2000, just one major U.S. city banned smoking at work sites, restaurants and bars. As of last year, 60 percent of the 50 largest cities did, including In…
The nation’s eyes are on Indiana as it reconsiders the Common Core academic standards that are supposed to raise student achievement and standardize what children learn across the country.
Otis Bowen will go down in history as the governor who delivered landmark property tax relief to Hoosiers. He also deserves mention for what happened on Gov. Mitch Daniels’ watch: a tax reform amendment to the state Constitution.
A recent survey ranked newspaper reporter as the worst career of 2013, just below meter reader and lumberjack, but you wouldn’t guess it from the stories told by journalists who gathered in Bloomington to see six of their own inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.
Only three months into his term, Gov. Mike Pence has taken a beating for failing to lead. Opinion writers, Democrats, even fellow Republicans, have offered all manner of conflicting counsel.
When right and left wing activists find themselves on the same side of a controversy, it’s worth probing why. Such is the case with the Common Core academic standards being implemented in Indiana and 45 other states. Conservatives and progressives alike see problems with them.
Popular perception to the contrary, Indiana is not a low-tax state. When you add up all the different taxes – property, sales and income assessed by federal, state or local government – we rank right in the middle.
Indiana Senate President David Long says he's trying to be a leader, not a dictator. That's why he assigned Senate Bill 230 to the Rules Committee, where it is not to see the light of day.
Mitch Daniels’ recent letter to the Purdue University community was the equivalent of a 12-page research paper on the state of higher education, so Boilermakers can be forgiven if they didn't read every word of it. The content merits attention from all Hoosiers, no matter their college loyalties.
There is one inescapable reason that a regional mass-transit system will not succeed in the Indianapolis area.
For a country saturated 24/7 in media, our ignorance of politics is stunning. Sixty-two percent of us can't identity the governor, according to a survey by Xavier University. Three-fourths can't answer the question, "What does the judiciary branch do?"
When the officers of Grote Industries sat down to discuss a possible legal challenge to the contraceptive mandate in the national health care law, the vote was immediate and unanimous. “We decided that it was definitely against our beliefs,” says Chairman and CEO William Grote III.
Dick Lugar set a record as the longest-serving U.S. senator in Indiana history, yet his career can be summed up in a single word: visionary. During 50 years in Indiana politics his chief concern was never the next election but the next generation and the common good.
Steven Spielberg’s "Lincoln" couldn't have come out at a better time. With congressional leaders hunkered down in fiscal-cliff negotiations, the film offers a useful example of politics based on principle.
It’s ludicrous to equate Tony Bennett’s defeat in the school superintendent’s race with public rejection of a school reform agenda, as many in the education bureaucracy are trying to do.
Mitch Daniels used his first term to get Indiana’s fiscal house in order. His second term sealed his reputation as the education reform governor.
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Does political infighting hamper economic development in NWI?