American History

June 2019 Newsletter

March – Jim Lyons did a presentation about the Lewis and Clark Expedition between 1804 and 1806 when the two explorers met up in St Louis , mainly to find a water route to the Pacific. A number of interesting historical facts emerged, including the fact that a slave who came along with the expeditionary party, and an Indian with her baby were allowed to vote with the group on where to camp – this being the first time a black man and a woman were allowed a vote on anything! The route covers some amazing American scenery and has become a famous trail, now managed by the National Park Service.

April – the second part of Richard Taylor’s presentation about Colonial America, this one covering from 1620 to 1763 and up to the American Revolution. This period was covered in a series of themes which covered the relationship with England, the growth of towns, religion, government and slavery. There was so much information included here, and we all learned such a lot about this period of American history.

May – the Watergate incident, and a study of a corrupt President. What did he know and when did he stop knowing it? All the president’s men were clearly deeply involved in the great cover-up. So Nixon bugged his own office and refused to release the tapes. It forced the president to resign in disgrace, although he seemed to never have any remorse for what he and his henchmen did.

If you wish to join the group, please email Celia on

Celia Billau

March 2019 Newsletter

December – we had a talk from David Coy all about The Dust Bowl which was the devastating drought and wind which affected a number of southern states during the 1930s leading to the loss of agricultural land and dust piling up on to houses and cars. Woody Guthrie songs linked to the Dust Bowl accompanied the talk.

January – and the subject was The First Settlers which took us back to the 1400’s and the European explorers who happened upon this great continent in their search for a passage to the far East. Richard Taylor presented the first part of two talks which will cover the period during which the first migrant arrived and settled in America.

February – there is no chronological sequence here, as we move back to 1929 and the Wall Street Crash which occurred in the New York stock exchange. Mike Norman gave us an interesting talk about the run up to the crash and the aftermath. How disappointing that the lessons weren’t learnt in 2008!

If you wish to join the group, please email Celia on

Celia Billau

December 2018 Newsletter

The first meeting of this new group took place on Tuesday 13th November and we discussed a programme for the next few months, exploring everyone’s individual interests. We decided to meet on the second Tuesday of each month at 2.30 to 4pm at the Pearson Centre. We then had a short talk and discussion on the American mid-term elections, where we learned quite a bit about the American political system. The sample voting booklet was quite an eye-opener, to think that the electorate have so many different things to vote for in one election. No wonder they have to provide seats at the voting booths!

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday December 11th when we will have a talk from David Coy about “The Dust Bowl” which occurred during the 1930’s. We are looking for new recruits to this group which promises to offer a variety of historical and political perspectives on the USA.

Please email Celia on if you are interested.

Celia Billau