Thursday, September 13, 2007

Influencial Americans

We've been having a huge discussion in the office about who some of the most influential Americans are....(I'm working on an NIE project).

Here's a cool quote I found....

"Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration." - Thomas Alva Edison, Harper's Monthly (September 1931).

Here's the list (I was limited by space).....
Who would you put on this list? What makes someone a person of influence?
Do you agree with the people on this list?

• Sacagawea (c. 1787 to 1812). Shoshone guide who accompanied the Corps of Discovery with Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in their exploration of the Western United States, traveling thousands of miles from North Dakota to the Pacific Ocean between 1804 and 1806. She was nicknamed Janey by some members of the expedition. A 71-acre park dedicated to Sacagawea is located in Salmon, Idaho by the rivers and mountains of Sacajawea’s homeland

• George Washington (Feb. 22, 1732 to Dec. 14, 1799). Commonly called the father of the nation, George Washington led America's Continental Army to victory over Britain in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). In 1789 was elected the first President of the United States of America. He served two four-year terms from 1789 to 1797, winning reelection in 1792.

• Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12, 1809 to April 15, 1865). The 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln served from March 4, 1861, until his death on April 15, 1865. During his presidential term, Lincoln helped preserve the United States by leading the defeat of the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War. He introduced measures that abolished slavery, issuing an Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and promoting the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865.

• Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931). Thomas Edison developed many long-lasting devices of great influence — including the phonograph and a long lasting light bulb. Edison is credited with creating the first industrial research laboratory. Considered one of the most prolific inventors in history, Edison had 1,093 U.S. patents in his name, as well as many in the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

• Jane Addams - (Sept. 6, 1860 to May 21, 1935). In 1889, Jane Addams and her friend Ellen Gates Starr co-founded the Hull House in Chicago, Ill., — one of the first settlement houses in the United States.
Until her death in 1935, Addams built her reputation as the country's most prominent woman through her writing, settlement work and international efforts for peace. As a result, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

• Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947). Founder of the Ford Motor Company and father of modern assembly lines used in mass production, Henry Ford introduced the Model T, which revolutionized transportation and American industry. Ford's commitment to lowering costs resulted in many technical and business innovations, including a franchise system that put a dealership in every city in North America, and in major cities on six continents.

• The Wright Brothers: Orville (Aug. 19, 1871 to Jan. 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 to May 30, 1912). The two American brothers are generally credited with building the world's first successful airplane; as well as making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight on Dec. 17, 1903.
Although not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft, the Wright brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made mechanical fixed wing flight practical.
• Amelia Mary Earhart (July 24, 1897, missing July 2, 1937, declared deceased Jan. 5, 1939) . A noted American aviation pioneer and women's rights advocate, Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean during an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight in 1937. Fascination with her life, career and disappearance continues to this day.

• Ronald Wilson Reagan (Feb. 6, 1911 to June 5, 2004). The 40th President of the United States (1981–1989) and the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975), Ronald Reagan became involved in politics during his work for G.E. He switched parties from the Democratic to the Republican in 1962. After delivering a rousing speech in support of Barry Goldwater's Presidential candidacy in 1964, he was persuaded to seek the California governorship, winning two years later and again in 1970. The second term of his presidency was marked by significant steps toward ending the Cold War and the eventual re-unification of Germany.

• Rosa Parks (Feb. 4, 1913 to Oct. 24, 2005). Rosa Parks was an African American civil rights activist whom the U.S. Congress later called "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement." On Dec. 1, 1955, Parks became famous for refusing to obey bus driver James Blake's order that she give up her seat. This act led to the beginning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott — one of the largest movements against racial segregation. In addition, this launched Martin Luther King, Jr., who was involved with the boycott, to prominence in the civil rights movement.

• Samuel Moore Walton (March 29, 1918 to April 6, 1992). Born in Kingfisher, Okla., Sam Walton was the founder of two American retailers Wal-Mart and Sam's Club. The first true Wal-Mart opened in 1962 in Bentonville, Ark. The company has grown to become the largest private employer in the world and fourth largest utility or commercial employer, only trailing the People's Liberation Army of China, the National Health Service of the United Kingdom and the Indian Railways. Wal-Mart is also largest grocery retailer in the United States, with an estimated 20 percent of retail grocery and consumable business. It is also the largest toy seller in the U.S., with an estimated 45 percent of the retail toy business, having surpassed Toys "R" Us in the late 1990s.

• Martin Luther King, Jr. (Jan. 15, 1929 to April 4, 1968). One of the main leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Jr., was a political activist, a Baptist minister and is regarded as one of America's greatest orators. His most influential and well-known public address is the "I Have A Dream" speech, delivered in 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. In 1964, King became the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize — for his work as a peacemaker, promoting nonviolence and equal treatment for different races). On April 4, 1968, King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn.

• Sandra Day O'Connor (born March 26, 1930). The first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Sandra Day O’Conner served for over 24 yars, from 1981 to 2006. President Ronald Regan nominated her to the Supreme Court. O’Conner is now the Chancellor of the College of William and Mary.

• Oprah Gail Winfrey (born January 29, 1954). Oprah Winfrey is a multiple-Emmy Award winning host of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the highest rated talk show in television history, an influential book critic, an Academy Award-nominated actress and a magazine publisher. Winfrey has invested $40 million to establish the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls near Johannesburg, South Africa. Opening in January 2007, it has more than 152 students.

• Sally Kristen Ride (born May 26, 1951). In 1978, Sally Ride became a member of the first astronaut class, which included women. In 1983, as a member of the STS-7 mission, aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, Ride became the first American woman to reach outer space. At the time, she was the youngest American to enter outer space.

• Bill and Melinda Gates. William Henry Gates (October 28, 1955) and Melinda Ann French Gates (Aug. 15, 1964). Using income from Microsoft, Bill and Melinda Gates have established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest transparently operated charitable foundation in the world. Organized in 2000, it strives to enhance healthcare, reduce extreme poverty, expand educational opportunities and provide access to information technology, with an endowment of approximately $33 billion.

• The "Miracle on Ice" men’s hockey team (Feb. 22, 1980). The popular nickname for the U.S. Men’s Hockey Team which competed in the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. During the Olympics, the team beat the long-dominant and heavily-favored Soviet Union during the Feb. 22, 1980 match in Lake Placid, NY. The American team went on to win the gold medal by beating Finland 4-2 in the final game. The Soviet Union took the silver by beating Sweden in their final game. Sweden received the bronze medal, and Finland finished fourth.

1 comment:

  1. you seem to have a dead president thing going... how about FDR. Leading us out of the Great Depression with the New Deal - a job for everyone and a chicken in every pot...


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