The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition of the Louisiana territory of New France by the United States from France in 1803. The U. S. paid fifty million francs and a cancellation of debts worth eighteen million francs for a total of sixty-eight million francs. The Louisiana territory included land from fifteen present U. S. states and two Canadian provinces. The territory contained land that forms Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma and Nebraska, its non-native population was around 60,000 inhabitants. The Kingdom of France controlled the Louisiana territory from 1699 until it was ceded to Spain in 1762. In 1800, Napoleon the First Consul of the French Republic, hoping to re-establish an empire in North America, regained ownership of Louisiana. However, France's failure to put down the revolt in Saint-Domingue, coupled with the prospect of renewed warfare with the United Kingdom, prompted Napoleon to sell Louisiana to the United States to fund his military; the Americans sought to purchase only the port city of New Orleans and its adjacent coastal lands, but accepted the bargain.
The Louisiana Purchase occurred during the term of the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Before the purchase was finalized, the decision faced Federalist Party opposition. Jefferson agreed that the U. S. Constitution did not contain explicit provisions for acquiring territory, but he asserted that his constitutional power to negotiate treaties was sufficient. Throughout the second half of the 18th century, Louisiana was a pawn on the chessboard of European politics, it was controlled by the French, who had a few small settlements along the Mississippi and other main rivers. France ceded the territory to Spain in the secret Treaty of Fontainebleau. Following French defeat in the Seven Years' War, Spain gained control of the territory west of the Mississippi and the British the territory to the east of the river. Following the establishment of the United States, the Americans controlled the area east of the Mississippi and north of New Orleans; the main issue for the Americans was free transit of the Mississippi to the sea.
As the lands were being settled by a few American migrants, many Americans, including Jefferson, assumed that the territory would be acquired "piece by piece." The risk of another power taking it from a weakened Spain made a "profound reconsideration" of this policy necessary. New Orleans was important for shipping agricultural goods to and from the areas of the United States west of the Appalachian Mountains. Pinckney's Treaty, signed with Spain on October 27, 1795, gave American merchants "right of deposit" in New Orleans, granting them use of the port to store goods for export. Americans used this right to transport products such as flour, pork, lard, cider and cheese; the treaty recognized American rights to navigate the entire Mississippi, which had become vital to the growing trade of the western territories. In 1798, Spain revoked the treaty allowing American use of New Orleans upsetting Americans. In 1801, Spanish Governor Don Juan Manuel de Salcedo took over from the Marquess of Casa Calvo, restored the American right to deposit goods.
However, in 1800 Spain had ceded the Louisiana territory back to France as part of Napoleon's secret Third Treaty of San Ildefonso. The territory nominally remained under Spanish control, until a transfer of power to France on November 30, 1803, just three weeks before the formal cession of the territory to the United States on December 20, 1803. A further ceremony was held in Upper Louisiana regarding the New Orleans formalities; the March 9–10, 1804 event is remembered as Three Flags Day. James Monroe and Robert R. Livingston had traveled to Paris to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans in January 1803, their instructions were to purchase control of New Orleans and its environs. The Louisiana Purchase was by far the largest territorial gain in U. S. history. Stretching from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains, the purchase doubled the size of the United States. Before 1803, Louisiana had been under Spanish control for forty years. Although Spain aided the rebels in the American Revolutionary War, the Spanish didn't want the Americans to settle in their territory.
Although the purchase was thought of by some as unjust and unconstitutional, Jefferson determined that his constitutional power to negotiate treaties allowed the purchase of what became fifteen states. In hindsight, the Louisiana Purchase could be considered one of his greatest contributions to the United States. On April 18, 1802, Jefferson penned a letter to United States Ambassador to France Robert Livingston, it was an intentional exhortation to make this mild diplomat warn the French of their perilous course. The letter began: The cession of Louisiana and the Floridas by Spain to France works most sorely on the U. S. On this subject the Secretary of State has written to you fully, yet I cannot forbear recurring to it s
Union Pacific Railroad
Union Pacific Railroad is a freight hauling railroad that operates 8,500 locomotives over 32,100 route-miles in 23 states west of Chicago and New Orleans. The Union Pacific Railroad system is the second largest in the United States after the BNSF Railway and is one of the world's largest transportation companies; the Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of the Union Pacific Corporation. Union Pacific is known for pioneering multiple innovative locomotives the most powerful of their era; these include members of the Challenger-type, the Northern-type, as well as the famous Big Boy steam locomotives. Union Pacific ordered the first streamliner, the largest fleet of turbine-electric locomotives in the world, still owns the largest operational diesel locomotive; the Union Pacific legacy began in 1862 with the original company, called the Union Pacific Rail Road, part of the First Transcontinental Railroad project known as the Overland Route. The railroad would subsequently be reorganized thrice: as the Union Pacific Railway, as the Union Pacific "Railroad", as a renamed Southern Pacific Transportation Company.
The current Union Pacific corporation began in 1969 as the Southern Pacific Transportation Company, itself created in a reorganization of a railroad whose legacy dated to 1865. Over the years it would grow to include the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad and the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, in addition to its eponymous railroad; the 1998 Union Pacific-Southern Pacific merger was not UP's first: Union Pacific had merged with Missouri Pacific Railroad, the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company, the Western Pacific Railroad and the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad. However, because the merger with Southern Pacific changed the scope of the Union Pacific railroad, this article will refer to the unmerged system as Union Pacific, the merged system as Union Pacific. Union Pacific's main competitor is the BNSF Railway, the nation's largest freight railroad by volume, which primarily services the Continental U. S. west of the Mississippi River. Together, the two railroads have a duopoly on all transcontinental freight rail lines in the U.
S. The original company, the Union Pacific Rail Road was incorporated on July 1, 1862, under an act of Congress entitled Pacific Railroad Act of 1862; the act was approved by President Abraham Lincoln, it provided for the construction of railroads from the Missouri River to the Pacific as a war measure for the preservation of the Union. It was constructed westward from Council Bluffs, Iowa to meet the Central Pacific Railroad line, constructed eastward from Sacramento, CA; the combined Union Pacific-Central Pacific line became known as the First Transcontinental Railroad and the Overland Route. The line was constructed by Irish labor who had learned their craft during the recent Civil War. Under the guidance of its dominant stockholder Dr. Thomas Clark Durant, the namesake of the city of Durant, the first rails were laid in Omaha; the two lines were joined together at Promontory Summit, Utah, 53 miles west of Ogden on May 10, 1869, hence creating the first transcontinental railroad in North America.
Subsequently, the UP purchased three Mormon-built roads: the Utah Central Railroad extending south from Ogden to Salt Lake City, the Utah Southern Railroad extending south from Salt Lake City into the Utah Valley, the Utah Northern Railroad extending north from Ogden into Idaho. The original UP was entangled in the Crédit Mobilier scandal, exposed in 1872; as detailed by The Sun, Union Pacific's largest construction company, Crédit Mobilier, had overcharged Union Pacific. In order to convince the federal government to accept the increased costs, Crédit Mobilier had bribed congressmen. Although the UP corporation itself was not guilty of any misdeeds, prominent UP board members had been involved in the scheme; the ensuing financial crisis of 1873 led to a credit crunch, but not bankruptcy. As boom followed bust, the Union Pacific continued to expand; the original company was purchased by a new company on January 24, 1880, with dominant stockholder Jay Gould. Gould owned the Kansas Pacific, sought to merge it with UP.
Thusly was the original "Union Pacific Rail Road" transformed into "Union Pacific Railway."Extending towards the Pacific Northwest, Union Pacific built or purchased local lines that gave it access to Portland, Oregon. Towards Colorado, it built the Union Pacific and Gulf Railway: both narrow gauge trackage into the heart of the Rockies and a standard gauge line that ran south from Denver, across New Mexico, into Texas; the Union Pacific Railway would declare bankruptcy during the Panic of 1893. Again, a new Union Pacific "Railroad" was formed and Union Pacific "Railway" merged into the new corporation. In the early 20th century, Union Pacific's focus shifted from expansion to internal improvement. Recognizing that farmers in the Central and Salinas Valleys of California grew produce far in excess of local markets, Union Pacific worked with its rival Southern Pacific to develop a rail-based transport system, not vulnerable to spoilage; these efforts came culminated in the 1906 founding of
Colby is a city in and the county seat of Thomas County, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 5,387. In 1882, a post office was established near the center of Thomas County. Area homesteaders lived under harsh conditions in sod houses, creating demand for a town to provide lumber and other provisions to incoming settlers. J. R. Colby, a local land assessor and preacher, obtained a patent to establish the town in April 1884, land was acquired for the town site three miles north of the post office in March 1885; the following month, the Kansas Secretary of State issued the Town Charter. Kansas Gov. John Martin named Colby the county seat in 1885, the city was incorporated in 1886; the Union Pacific Railroad reached the city in 1887, the Rock Island Railroad followed the next year. In 1941 the St. Thomas Hospital was built as part of the Works Progress Administration plan to build hospitals; this was one of 130 new hospitals to be built with these funds, it was one of two built in Kansas alone.
Within the last couple of years, it was renovated to apartments under the name St. Thomas Historic Residences. Interstate 70 reached Colby in 1965. Colby is located at 39°23′32″N 101°02′51″W at an elevation of 3,159 feet, it lies on the south side of Prairie Dog Creek, a tributary of the Republican River, in the High Plains region of the Great Plains. A small tributary of the creek flows northeast through the town. Located at the interchange of Interstate 70 and K-25 in northwestern Kansas, Colby is 212 mi east-southeast of Denver, 232 mi northwest of Wichita, 347 mi west of Kansas City. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.38 square miles, all land. Colby has a transitional climate between a humid continental climate and a semiarid climate with hot summers and cold, dry winters; the average temperature in Colby is 50 °F, the average relative humidity is 61%. Over the course of a year, temperatures range from an average low of 12 °F in January to an average high of 90 °F in July.
The high temperature reaches or exceeds 90 °F an average of 50 days a year and reaches or exceeds 100 °F an average of 6.5 days a year. The minimum temperature falls below the freezing point 32 °F an average of 166.5 days a year. The first fall freeze occurs between mid-September and the second week of October, the last spring freeze occurs between the fourth week of April and the third week of May. Colby receives nearly 21 inches of precipitation during an average year with the largest share being received from May through July. During a typical year, the total amount of precipitation may be anywhere from 15 inches to 29 inches. There are, on average, 72 days of measurable precipitation each year. Annual snowfall averages 29 inches. Measurable snowfall occurs an average of 70 days a year with at least an inch of snow being received on nine of those days. Snow depth of at least an inch occurs an average of 31 days a year. January is the coldest month, July is both the hottest and wettest month.
The hottest temperature recorded in Colby was 113 °F in 2012. As of the census of 2010, there were 5,387 people, 2,211 households, 1,320 families residing in the city; the population density was 1,593.8 inhabitants per square mile. There were 2,423 housing units at an average density of 716.9 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 95.7% White, 0.7% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.3% from other races, 1.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.0% of the population. There were 2,211 households of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.0% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.5% had a male householder with no wife present, 40.3% were non-families. 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.89. The median age in the city was 34.5 years.
22.2% of residents were under the age of 18. The gender makeup of the city was 48.0% male and 52.0% female. As of the census of 2000, there were 5,450 people, 2,223 households, 1,367 families residing in the city; the population density was 1,632.8 people per square mile. There were 2,405 housing units at an average density of 720.5 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 96.73% White, 0.64% African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.01% from other races, 0.83% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.98% of the population. There were 2,223 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.3% were married couples living together, 8.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 38.5% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.6% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.96. In the city, the population was spread out with 24.1% under the age of 18, 16.4% from 18 to 24, 24.3% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, 15.4% who were 65 years of ag
Kingdom of France
The Kingdom of France was a medieval and early modern monarchy in Western Europe. It was one of the most powerful states in Europe and a great power since the Late Middle Ages and the Hundred Years' War, it was an early colonial power, with possessions around the world. France originated as West Francia, the western half of the Carolingian Empire, with the Treaty of Verdun. A branch of the Carolingian dynasty continued to rule until 987, when Hugh Capet was elected king and founded the Capetian dynasty; the territory remained known as Francia and its ruler as rex Francorum well into the High Middle Ages. The first king calling himself Roi de France was Philip II, in 1190. France continued to be ruled by the Capetians and their cadet lines—the Valois and Bourbon—until the monarchy was overthrown in 1792 during the French Revolution. France in the Middle Ages was a feudal monarchy. In Brittany and Catalonia the authority of the French king was felt. Lorraine and Provence were states of the Holy Roman Empire and not yet a part of France.
West Frankish kings were elected by the secular and ecclesiastic magnates, but the regular coronation of the eldest son of the reigning king during his father's lifetime established the principle of male primogeniture, which became codified in the Salic law. During the Late Middle Ages, the Kings of England laid claim to the French throne, resulting in a series of conflicts known as the Hundred Years' War. Subsequently, France sought to extend its influence into Italy, but was defeated by Spain in the ensuing Italian Wars. France in the early modern era was centralised. Religiously France became divided between the Catholic majority and a Protestant minority, the Huguenots, which led to a series of civil wars, the Wars of Religion. France laid claim to large stretches of North America, known collectively as New France. Wars with Great Britain led to the loss of much of this territory by 1763. French intervention in the American Revolutionary War helped secure the independence of the new United States of America but was costly and achieved little for France.
The Kingdom of France adopted a written constitution in 1791, but the Kingdom was abolished a year and replaced with the First French Republic. The monarchy was restored by the other great powers in 1814 and lasted until the French Revolution of 1848. During the years of the elderly Charlemagne's rule, the Vikings made advances along the northern and western perimeters of the Kingdom of the Franks. After Charlemagne's death in 814 his heirs were incapable of maintaining political unity and the empire began to crumble; the Treaty of Verdun of 843 divided the Carolingian Empire into three parts, with Charles the Bald ruling over West Francia, the nucleus of what would develop into the kingdom of France. Charles the Bald was crowned King of Lotharingia after the death of Lothair II in 869, but in the Treaty of Meerssen was forced to cede much of Lotharingia to his brothers, retaining the Rhone and Meuse basins but leaving the Rhineland with Aachen and Trier in East Francia. Viking advances were allowed to increase, their dreaded longships were sailing up the Loire and Seine rivers and other inland waterways, wreaking havoc and spreading terror.
During the reign of Charles the Simple, Normans under Rollo from Norway, were settled in an area on either side of the River Seine, downstream from Paris, to become Normandy. The Carolingians were to share the fate of their predecessors: after an intermittent power struggle between the two dynasties, the accession in 987 of Hugh Capet, Duke of France and Count of Paris, established the Capetian dynasty on the throne. With its offshoots, the houses of Valois and Bourbon, it was to rule France for more than 800 years; the old order left the new dynasty in immediate control of little beyond the middle Seine and adjacent territories, while powerful territorial lords such as the 10th- and 11th-century counts of Blois accumulated large domains of their own through marriage and through private arrangements with lesser nobles for protection and support. The area around the lower Seine became a source of particular concern when Duke William took possession of the kingdom of England by the Norman Conquest of 1066, making himself and his heirs the King's equal outside France.
Henry II inherited the Duchy of Normandy and the County of Anjou, married France's newly divorced ex-queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, who ruled much of southwest France, in 1152. After defeating a revolt led by Eleanor and three of their four sons, Henry had Eleanor imprisoned, made the Duke of Brittany his vassal, in effect ruled the western half of France as a greater power than the French throne. However, disputes among Henry's descendants over the division of his French territories, coupled with John of England's lengthy quarrel with Philip II, allowed Philip II to recover influence over most of this territory. After the French victory at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214, the English monarchs maintained power only in southwestern Duchy of Guyenne; the death of Charles IV of France in 1328 without male heirs ended the main Capetian line. Under Salic law the crown could not pass through a woman (Philip IV's daughter
General of the Army Philip Henry Sheridan was a career United States Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War. His career was noted for his rapid rise to major general and his close association with General-in-chief Ulysses S. Grant, who transferred Sheridan from command of an infantry division in the Western Theater to lead the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac in the East. In 1864, he defeated Confederate forces under General Jubal Early in the Shenandoah Valley and his destruction of the economic infrastructure of the Valley, called "The Burning" by residents, was one of the first uses of scorched-earth tactics in the war. In 1865, his cavalry pursued Gen. Robert E. Lee and was instrumental in forcing his surrender at Appomattox. Sheridan fought in years in the Indian Wars of the Great Plains. Both as a soldier and private citizen, he was instrumental in the development and protection of Yellowstone National Park. In 1883, Sheridan was appointed general-in-chief of the U.
S. Army, in 1888 he was promoted to the rank of General of the Army during the term of President Grover Cleveland. Sheridan claimed he was born in Albany in the State of New York, the third child of six of John and Mary Meenagh Sheridan, Irish Catholic immigrants from the parish of Killinkere in County Cavan, Ireland, he grew up in Ohio. Grown, he reached only 165 cm tall, a stature that led to the nickname, "Little Phil." Abraham Lincoln described his appearance in a famous anecdote: "A brown, chunky little chap, with a long body, short legs, not enough neck to hang him, such long arms that if his ankles itch he can scratch them without stooping."Sheridan worked as a boy in town general stores, as head clerk and bookkeeper for a dry goods store. In 1848, he obtained an appointment to the United States Military Academy from one of his customers, Congressman Thomas Ritchey. In his third year at West Point, Sheridan was suspended for a year for fighting with a classmate, William R. Terrill; the previous day, Sheridan had threatened to run him through with a bayonet in reaction to a perceived insult on the parade ground.
He graduated in 34th in his class of 52 cadets. Sheridan was commissioned as a brevet second lieutenant and was assigned to the 1st U. S. Infantry Regiment at Fort Duncan, Texas to the 4th U. S. Infantry at Fort Reading, California. Most of his service with the 4th U. S. was in the Pacific Northwest, starting with a topographical survey mission to the Willamette Valley in 1855, during which he became involved with the Yakima War and Rogue River Wars, gaining experience in leading small combat teams, being wounded, some of the diplomatic skills needed for negotiating with Indian tribes. He lived with a mistress during part of his tour of duty, an Indian Rogue River woman and daughter of Chief Harney, named Frances by her white friends, he was promoted to first lieutenant in March 1861, just before the Civil War, to captain in May after Fort Sumter. In the fall of 1861, Sheridan was ordered to travel to Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, for assignment to the 13th U. S. Infantry, he departed from his command of Fort Yamhill, Oregon, by way of San Francisco, across the Isthmus of Panama, through New York City to home in Somerset for a brief leave.
On the way to his new post, he made a courtesy call to Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck in St. Louis, who commandeered his services to audit the financial records of his immediate predecessor, Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont, whose administration of the Department of the Missouri was tainted by charges of wasteful expenditures and fraud that left the status of $12 million in debt. Sheridan sorted out the mess. Much to Sheridan's dismay, Halleck's vision for Sheridan consisted of a continuing role as a staff officer. Sheridan performed the task assigned to him and entrenched himself as an excellent staff officer in Halleck's view. In December, Sheridan was appointed chief commissary officer of the Army of Southwest Missouri, but convinced the department commander, Halleck, to give him the position of quartermaster general as well. In January 1862, he reported for duty to Maj. Gen. Samuel Curtis and served under him at the Battle of Pea Ridge. Sheridan soon discovered, they demanded payment from Sheridan. He confiscated the horses for the use of Curtis's army.
When Curtis ordered him to pay the officers, Sheridan brusquely retorted, "No authority can compel me to jayhawk or steal." Curtis had Sheridan arrested for insubordination but Halleck's influence appears to have ended any formal proceedings. Sheridan performed aptly in his role under Curtis and, now returned to Halleck's headquarters, he accompanied the army on the Siege of Corinth and served as an assistant to the department's topographical engineer, but made the acquaintance of Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman, who offered him the colonelcy of an Ohio infantry regiment; this appointment fell through, but Sheridan was subsequently aided by friends, who petitioned Michigan Governor Austin Blair on his behalf. Sheridan was appointed colonel of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry on May 27, 1862, despite having no experience in the mounted arm. A month Sheridan commanded his first forces in combat, leading a small brigade that included his regiment. At the Battle of Booneville, July 1, 1862, he held back several regiments of
Depopulation of the Great Plains
The depopulation of the Great Plains refers to the large-scale migration of people from rural areas of the Great Plains of the United States to more urban areas and to the east and west coasts during the 20th century. This phenomenon of rural-to-urban migration has occurred to some degree in most areas of the United States, but has been pronounced in the Great Plains states, including Texas, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming and New Mexico, where many counties have lost more than 60 percent of their former populations. Depopulation began in the early 1900s, accelerated in the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s, has continued through the most recent national census in 2010; the population decline has been broadly attributed to numerous factors changes in agricultural practices, rapid improvements in urban transit and regional connectivity, a faltering rural job market. Definitions vary as to what land comprises the Great Plains, but the Plains are agreed to consist of all or part of ten states: Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
The eastern boundary is about 97 degrees W longitude and the Plains extend westward to the Rocky Mountains and southward from the border with Canada to the approximate latitude of Austin, Texas. A somewhat more restrictive definition by the U. S. Census Bureau gives a total area of the Great Plains in the United States as 533,100 square miles, 18 percent of the area of the entire United States; the Great Plains are distinguished by flat land and a natural vegetation cover consisting of expansive grasslands. The eastern part of the Great Plains is nearly dominated by agriculture, with wheat being the most common and important crop; the western part is more arid and is used for grazing cattle and irrigated agriculture. Large-scale settlement of the Great Plains by farmers and ranchers began with the end of the Civil War in 1865. By the late 1870s the Plains Indians had been defeated militarily and were confined to reservations. Drawn by the free land made available by the Homestead Act, pioneer families settled the region such that nearly all of the arable land was owned or on Indian reservations by 1900.
The initial rush to settle the Great Plains by hundreds of thousands of farmers and ranchers has been reversed because of several factors. The most significant reasons have been economic. Over the course of the 20th century, farm economies saw dramatic shifts from small-scale family subsistence farming to larger commercial farms utilizing more equipment and less labor. Many family farms proved to be too small to survive. Farmers used farming techniques which were unsuited to the dry, windy climate and the frequent droughts of the Great Plains; this became manifest during the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s, in which rural flight from the Great Plains accelerated, although the decline in population of some counties had begun as early as 1900. Better roads and the automobile permitted many farmers to live in larger towns and cities rather than on the farm itself. While urban areas on the Great Plains more than doubled in population, thousands of small towns and communities disappeared. Two-thirds of counties lost some part of their population between the early 1900s and the 2010 census, and, as the table below demonstrates, many rural counties lost more than 60 percent of their population.
A few counties lost more than 80 percent of their population. Population density of some Great Plains counties dipped below two persons per square mile. Governments have tried a variety of methods to stem the outflow of population from rural areas in the Great Plains; some towns have offered free building lots to prospective residents, but the program has met with only limited success. The fundamental problem appears to be the few employment opportunities available in these small and isolated communities; the population decline has led to proposals to return the land to its natural state and under public ownership. The Buffalo Commons proposal calls for large portions of the drier regions of the Great Plains to be returned to their original condition as pasture land for American bison and other plains animals. Sources: "County Population Census Counts, 1900-1990", accessed 29 April 2013.
Penny (United States coin)
The United States one-cent coin called the penny, is a unit of currency equaling one one-hundredth of a United States dollar. The cent's symbol is ¢, its obverse has featured the profile of President Abraham Lincoln since 1909, the centennial of his birth. From 1959 to 2008, the reverse featured the Lincoln Memorial. Four different reverse designs in 2009 honored Lincoln's 200th birthday and a new, "permanent" reverse – the Union Shield – was introduced in 2010; the coin is 0.75 inches in diameter and 0.0598 inches in thickness. Its weight has varied, depending upon the composition of metals used in its production; the U. S. Mint's official name for the coin is "cent" and the U. S. Treasury's official name is "one cent piece"; the colloquial term penny derives from the British coin of the same name, the pre-decimal version of which had a similar place in the British system. In American English, pennies is the plural form. In the early 2010s the price of metal used to make pennies rose to a noticeable cost to the mint which peaked at a $0.02 for $0.01 ratio.
This pushed the mint to look for alternative metals again for the coin, brought the penny debate into more focus. There are no firm plans to eliminate the penny as arguments for and against the coin continue to be debated. In honor of Lincoln's 200th anniversary, special 2009 cents were minted for collectors in the same composition as the 1909 coins; the isotope composition of early coins spanning the period 1828 to 1843 reflects the copper from Cornish ores from England, while coins after 1850 reflect the Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan ores, a finding consistent with historical records. In 1943, at the peak of World War II, zinc-coated steel cents were made for a short time because of war demands for copper. A few copper cents from 1943 were produced from the 1942 planchets remaining in the bins; some 1944 steel cents have been confirmed. From 1944 to 1946, salvaged ammunition shells made their way into the minting process, it was not uncommon to see coins featuring streaks of brass or having a darker finish than other issues.
During the early 1970s, the price of copper rose to the point where the cent contained one cent's worth of copper. This led the Mint to test alternative metals, including aluminum and bronze-clad steel. Aluminum was chosen, over 1.5 million of these pennies were struck and ready for public release before being rejected. The proposed aluminum pennies were rejected for two reasons: vending machine owners complained the coins would cause mechanical problems. One aluminum cent was donated to the Smithsonian Institution; the cent's composition was changed in 1982 because the value of the copper in the coin started to rise above one cent. Some 1982 pennies used the 97.5% zinc composition, while others used the 95% copper composition. With the exception of 2009 bicentennial cents minted for collectors, United States cents minted after 1982 have been zinc with copper plating. In Fiscal Year 2013, the average one-cent piece minted cost the U. S. Mint 1.83 cents, down from 2.41 cents apiece in FY 2011. The bronze and copper cents can be distinguished from the newer zinc cents by dropping the coins on a solid surface.
The predominantly zinc coins make a lower-pitched "clunk", while the copper coins produce a higher-pitched ringing sound. In addition, a full 50-cent roll of pre-1982/3 coins weighs 5.4 oz compared to a post-1982–83 roll which weighs 4.4 oz. Mintage figures for the penny can be found at United States cent mintage figures; the coin has gone through several designs over its two-hundred-year time frame. Until 1857 it was about the size of the current U. S. dollar coins. The following types of cents have been produced: Large cents: Flowing Hair Chain 1793 Flowing Hair Wreath 1793 Liberty Cap 1793–1796 Draped bust 1796–1807 Classic Head 1808–1814 Coronet 1816–1839 Braided Hair 1839–1857, 1868 Small cents: Flying Eagle cent Indian Head cent Lincoln cent Lincoln Wheat Lincoln Memorial Lincoln Bicentennial 4 reverse designs Lincoln Union Shield Throughout its history, the Lincoln cent has featured several typefaces for the date, but most of the digits have been old-style numerals, except with the 4 and 8 neither ascending nor descending.
The only significant divergence is that the small 3 was non-descending in the early history, before switching to a descending, large 3 for just one year in 1934 and permanently in 1943. The digit 5 was small and non-descending up to 1945 from 1950 and on, it became a large descending 5. From 1959 until 2008, the Lincoln Memorial was shown on the reverse of the United States cent; because the Lincoln Memorial was shown in sufficient detail to discern the statue of Lincoln on the reverse of cent, Abraham Lincoln was at that time the only person to be depicted on both the obverse and reverse of the same United States coin. In 1999, the New Jersey state quarter was released, which depicts George Washington on both sides, crossing the Delaware River on the reverse side and in profile on the obverse. (The state quarter for South Dakota, released in 2006 features Washington on both sides: the typical profile on the obverse, Washington within Mount Rushmore on the re