Could you imagine having important American documents right at your fingertips?
Recently I downloaded a new application (app) on my iPhone called American Dreams, which does just that. The app has all documents and speeches in American History including the full Constitution, the inaugural addresses of all the Presidents from Washington through Obama, and every Supreme Court decision from the beginning of our history.
Now I’m not a big history buff, but I found this app really interesting. I was checking out the Mayflower Compact, the first charter of New Netherlands (which later became New York) and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.
Then I read Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address as he spoke about the Civil War and abolishment of slavery, and listened to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inaugural address as he discussed the problems with the Great Depression. It was fascinating. I felt as if I were standing in the audience as they spoke. I also listened again to President Obama’s speech and had the same feeling of hope for our county’s economic situation as the day he said it.
This app includes a wealth of knowledge from the very beginning of American history to today. It’s amazing how much information is here and restored to the actual wording.
The Supreme Court cases were also of interest to me. I’m not a lawyer but I remember learning about some famous cases in school like Roe v. Wade (the abortion case) and Plessy v. Ferguson (separate but equal case).
I looked up the very first case, which was Chisholm v. Georgia (1793). This case explored the issue of American people forming a nation. It also discussed if the constitution had any jurisdiction over the state of Georgia. (You’ll have to read the case on American Dreams to find out the answer.)
Then, I looked at the most recent case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This case was argued and resolved last year and talks about how federal law prohibits corporations and unions from using their “general treasury fund” to make contributions to a party or candidate.
I went to the search feature and looked up the Pledge of Allegiance. Where did that come from? Why do we cross our hearts when we recite it? Do we cross our hearts when we sing the National Anthem?
Unfortunately, I found nothing. The search feature only works on titles already in the app. So I looked it up online and found that the Pledge of Allegiance was developed in 1892 as a tribute to Christopher Columbus’ 400th anniversary on the voyage that discovered America.
I also looked up the etiquette for crossing your heart during the National Anthem. It wasn’t in American Dreams app, but it was on Google as saying that the proper etiquette is to stand at attention and cross your heart while the song is sung.
In any event, American Dreams did provide me with ample information so the next time someone quizzes me about a particular inaugural address or Supreme Court decision, I will know the answer.
The app is $2.99 and available through iTunes.Powered by Sidelines