Six American Politicians You’ve Never Heard of Who Changed Everything
Most Americans graduated from high school with approximately the same information about history: George Washington was the first president, Abe Lincoln freed the slaves, FDR started the New Deal, John Kennedy was shot and Ronald Reagan won the Cold War. This rudimentary knowledge of U.S. history leaves out some of the most significant politicians in American history, people who actually had an impact on the way we live now. Here is a list of people you probably never heard of who changed the world.
Maine is a state because of William King. Did you know that Maine was not always on its own? It was just another region of Massachusetts until 1820, when King championed statehood for Maine. He became its very first governor. How did Maine become a state Well, the country was struggling to decide how to admit new states to the Union. Slaveholders wanted to add Missouri, which allowed slavery. King’s Missouri Compromise admitted Maine as a free state to balance the ledgers.
Shirley Chisholm was the first African American to run for President of the United States in a major party. In 1972 she entered the Democratic primary for president. Chisolm was already the first black woman elected to the House of Representatives, which she served in for seven terms. Chisolm was a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus and was a champion of the Equal Rights Amendment. Chisolm wrote two books, Unbought and Unbossed (1970) and The Good Fight (1973). Eleven years after her death, in November 2015, President Obama posthumously awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Although Chisolm is remembered for her firsts, she stated “When I die, I want to be remembered as a woman who lived in the 20th century and who dared to be a catalyst of change.” And Chisolm bought that change. By running for office, Chisolm opened the doors of change. “In this country everybody is supposed to be able to run for President, but that’s never been really true. I ran because most people think the country is not ready for a black candidate, not ready for a woman candidate. And the next time a woman runs, or a black, a Jew or anyone from a group that the country is ‘not ready’ to elect to its highest office, I believe he or she will be taken seriously from the start. The door is not open yet, but it is ajar.”