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Showing posts from November, 2019

Bill Gates: The Billionaire Nerd

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Bill Gates (1955), American businessman and philanthropist, he is the founder of the technology firm Microsoft and he also founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, committed to promoting health and education in the neediest regions of the world, this is why he and his spouse won the Príncipe de Asturias  Award for their labor in international cooperation, in 2006. According to Forbes magazine, he is right now (November 2019) the second wealthiest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $96.5 billion, behind Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com Inc. William Henry Gates III (Bill Gates)

From the Camera Obscura to the Magic Lantern

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Could it be that by using a machine, a mechanical device created by humans, we were able to create art? In Aristotle's age, the word techné  referred to mastery, art, ability, creativity; in other words, to the group of necessary skills to carry out activities such as navigation, war or writing a poem. The etymology of the word ars (art) drives us to the Greek word techné (technique), which, as one can observe, provides a vague meaning. Over the centuries, the use of the term "art" was limited to those activities aimed to provide an aesthetic look and to those acts through which the human being was seeking emotions, expressing fears, anguish, and spiritual aspirations. Illustration of the camera obscura  or pinhole camera

Professor Michael Porter: Be Different, Look For Your Weirdness

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Michael Porter (1947) is a professor at Harvard Business School, specialized in topics about business strategy, economic development of nations and regions, and about the implementation of business competitiveness in the resolution of social, environmental and health issues. He is the chairman of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness (in the same school) and also manages, once again at Harvard University, the program directed to new deputy counselors and presidents of large corporations. He has been awarded on different occasions due to his trajectory and he is the author of numerous books, among which stand out "Competitive Advantage" and "Competitive Strategy". Professor Michael Porter

The Grateful Matter

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Matter doesn't enjoy great prestige in our scale of values. We are so persuaded by platonic reminiscences and we consider the matter as the last tier of reality, an abstract to look at with contempt. If we change the word into an adjective, it gets even worse. To call someone a "materialist" is an insult in almost the entire world. The adjective "materialist" always involves the reproach of the selfishness, of the lack of altruism, of the kingdom of the interest above any other consideration. All of this, despite always carrying with us a precious load of matter that we call "body". Although it is true that in this case, we talk about living matter. There is even an inferior tier, the inert matter, for example, the minerals, those bodies that have never been alive. Tabela VIII from De Sphaera estense - Cristoforo de Predis (1460 circa)

John C. Maxwell: A True Mentor

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John C. Maxwell (1947) is a public speaker, educator, and author of several books about leadership and personal development. He has written, in fact, more than 50 books, having sold millions of copies all over the world, some of them have even appeared in the bestseller lists of the New York Times. Among others, stands out: "The Power of Influence", "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership", "Developing the Leader within You" and "25 Ways to Win with People". John C. Maxwell - Leadership Mentor

Fascination for the Ten

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The most obvious dimension of the objects that surround us is the length. To measure it, taking a pattern length as a unit is enough. The election is arbitrary and every extension could be used. For example, the foot size. If we walk from one edge of a room to the other, making sure that the heel of the right foot always touches the end of the left one and always walking on a straight line, we should know how many feet are from one wall to the other. But if a friend does the same thing, we shall obviously find some differences: he likely has larger or smaller feet than yours and, therefore, the result of the measurement won't be the same. The room would have more or less feet of theirs than ours. Imagine that this example is repeated by many different people, so each measurement would be different. So, due to these discrepancies, it is required to have a "foot" of reference, a patterned foot. "Use of the New Measures"

Brian Tracy: Take the Frog and Eat It!

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Brian Tracy (1944) is a public speaker, coach, and writer on topics related to personal development. He has worked with more than a thousand companies from different economic sectors and he has carried out hundreds of seminars. He is the author of multiple books, like "Eat That Frog!", "Kiss That Frog!", "Psychology of Selling" and "No excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline". Some of his most popular quotes, which we will proceed to analyze are the following: Brian Tracy, Motivational Speaker

Oprah Winfrey: A Woman Leader

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Oprah Winfrey (1954) is a tv hostess, producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She has won on several occasions the Emmy award for her show "The Oprah Winfrey Show", the most successful tv talk show in history. According to Forbes magazine, she was the richest African American person of the 20th century and the only black person who has possessed a net worth of more than 1 billion dollars for 3 consecutive years. She was also the most powerful woman in 2005, according to the same publisher. Life magazine has classified her as the most influential woman of her generation, and Time magazine has included her in the list of the 4 people who have given shape to the 20th century and early 21st century. In 2005, the Business Week magazine called her the most relevant African American philanthropist in the history of the U.S. And, in 2010, Forbes magazine categorized her as the most influential famous woman in the world. Her biography is in the book "Oprah: A Biography",

Stopping the Sun: The Revolution of Copernicus

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There's no other daily experience as common as the movement of the sun. That displacement of Helios, the king star, across the sky indicates us the time of the day, and this way we distinguish the morning sun, which shines in a fresh and stimulant environment, from the midday sun, which nails its rays with all its strength, and from the melancholic sun in the sunset. Who hasn't got moved by a sunset's beauty? In our everyday-life language we talk about the "sunrise", "sunset"; we get interested in the cast shadows that the star produces, in order to protect us from its rigors; we admire the sundials because their gnomon keeps track of the time and we look for the beauty of its light which morphs differently in each corner of the planet. For millenniums, and even up to this date, the sun has been ruling the world with its solemn and formidable march. Map of the World - Martin Waldseemüller, 1507

Carlos Slim: The 5th Richest Person in the World

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Carlos Slim (1940), a Mexican businessman and philanthropist, is considered by Forbes Magazine the 5th world's richest man, having reached the first position from 2010 to 2013. A civil engineer, from an early age, started investing in different businesses. In the early 80's and in the middle of a crisis that paralyzed the Mexican economy and which produced unprecedented capital leaks, Slim made huge investments in the country, acquiring several companies. The businesses of Slim are part of the Mexican conglomerate (owned by Slim) called "Grupo Carso", employing around 250,000 people directly and more than 500,000 indirectly. He has been awarded and decorated several times. Carlos Slim Helú

Collaboration Boosts Knowledge: The Birth of Universities

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Perhaps, the most primitive invention of humanity had been the notion that collaboration always increases the possibilities of survivance in any given circumstance. The joint effort by itself wouldn't be a reviewable invention; however, the collaboration for the aim of transmission of knowledge and encouraging learning, is one of the most peculiar characteristics of the human being. Today, it's surprising to see both the speed of the individual learning process and the capacity of the disciples to surpass their masters. There's a very old and popular quote that says: "the accumulation of knowledge produces more knowledge". Laurentius de Voltolina - University of Bologna (14th cent.)

Richard Branson: A Lover of Risk

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Richard Branson (1950) is an entrepreneur known by his brand Virgin , a conglomeration of nearly 400 companies from different sectors. He is included in the list of the world's richest people by Forbes magazine and has written several books about business, like "Screw it, let's do it". He has also been awarded on different occasions both for his entrepreneurial and social labor and is known for his unique lifestyle. He has participated in different TV shows and even movies like "Superman Returns". Richard Branson in 1975 - Image from Virgin.com

The Enemy is Far Away!

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At first sight, the war wouldn't constitute for anyone an invention worth to mention because we have the impression that, from its remote origins, war has been an inherent part of humanity. Therefore, we are not going to talk about war and nothing else. However, it could be reviewed the making of the enemy as a category itself, a fundamental element of any war. Human creativity has been prodigal in creating inventions that have transformed entire collectives into enemies. To belong to a different clan or unknown tribe has been always a motif to awaken distrust; to speak different languages, a constant source of mistrust as well; and the voice tones or the different phonological modulations could raise big suspicions among those who didn't share the same language, even making them believe that they were roughly called, with mockery or aggressiveness. At the same time, the different ways of dressing up, praying, eating and behaving have always contributed to the mutation of neigh

Henry Ford: An American Pioneer

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Henry Ford (1863-1947) was the founder of the company Ford Motor Company. He invented the so-called "Fordism" a system that, thanks to chain production, allowed the fabrication of a large number of automobiles at a low price. The launch of the Ford Model T in the car market revolutionized the transport industry in the United States. Ford was a prolific inventor who registered nearly 200 patents. As the only owner of the Ford company, he became one of the world's richest people in his time. Now, let's talk about some of his famous quotes here. I remind you it is important that you read very carefully the following lines and you give yourself time to think about them. Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company

Let There Be Light!

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Light is life, darkness is death. Light is an act of creation and darkness is correlated with ignorance. These notions have always appeared in the metaphors which explain how this world was created. The fire was a gift from the gods, and also the light: the light of faith, of reason, the Century of Lights; lights are the lighthouses that guide the sailors when they approach the coastline, as an example of the wonderful guidance of the human being. This has always been the case, the dark night of the soul, and the dark night of the cities for millenniums. In the night, better to stay at home and let the world create its ghosts and uncertainties. Most of the people went out during the day, they were solar people, shining people. The doubtful people dominated the night. When the sun hid in the middle of an eclipse, a concern of shadows spread throughout the Earth, reaching even the people who knew their astronomical background. Thomas Alva Edison holding one of his lightbulb models

Entrepreneurship Quotes: Donald Trump

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Well, today we are going to start with this new section called "Entrepreneurship" where we will post 10 quotes of a wide range of leaders from different fields, we will review them and explain them to you so that they can serve as an inspirational source for many people. We will be talking about famous entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Henry Ford, Brian Tracy, Robert Kiyosaki... We recommend reading these quotes and their explanations very carefully and thinking about them for a while. The quotes are extracted from different sources: books, tv, videos, speeches... If you find some of these quotes to be untrue or you think they have been said by other people, please let us know in the comments. Ok, so now let's jump into the character of today: Donald Trump. Donald Trump (1946) is nowadays very well known for becoming the 45th president of the United States of America, after winning the 2016 presidential elections. But before entering politics, he was a

A World Connected: Information Becomes Power

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To know what's happening in a specific place could be highly valuable. If someone denies it, they only have to think in the origin of some net worths earned in little time for discovering some events before anyone else. The legends about the sources of many fortunes point to privileged information that made some people very rich in a short period of time. The same can be said about the value of communication in the army and in politics which nowadays translates into the saying according to which information is power.  Telegraph designed by Samuel Morse

Invention of the Masses: The Consequences of the Industrial Revolution

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Today, we are going to talk about how the capital and capitalism were originated, the human accumulations in the cities, in which circumstances did the commerce emerge, as well as how it was found out that the exploitation of other human beings could be a very profitable activity. We are going to walk through all the moments and circumstances when the urban population exploded, along with the technological revolution in the 19th century, and the new philosophical notions which started to value the human being as part of a social mass. Gin Lane - William Hogarth, 1751

Smoky Machines: A 20th Century Revolution

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No other gadget is so associated with inventors as the machines, apparatuses which show pretty well the human designing skills. It seems like a curse that humans imagine activities that exceed their forces; but if it turns out to be that, a curse, if that urge makes them cursed for their dream, also it's true that they possess an ability to invent mechanisms which allowed them to multiply their forces up to, sometimes, fulfilling those dreams. No sensitive person would ever imagine that is reasonable to build a pyramid, or a big wall using giant stones, like the Great Wall of China. However, Egyptians, Chinese, Aztecs, Incas, and Greeks built pyramids and raise walls, using forces that outperformed theirs. It's true that they mobilize large groups of slaves and serfs, but without brains, without gadgets which allowed them to improve, modify or direct their forces would have been almost impossible to build all the great constructions that we today admire. James Watt's St

Gulliver's Other Travels

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The Irish writer Jonathan Swift wrote in 1726 a book titled "Gulliver's Travels", a satire of the society of the time. From all stories in this book, the most famous are the ones which sent the main character, doctor Lemuel Gulliver, first to Lilliput, little people's land, and thereafter to the giants' land. The traveler always found human beings of different size from the standard, both bigger and smaller, who often had the same moral and social problems as any "real" political community of the context and age when the author lived (1667-1745); in his opinion, all human societies, wherever he went to, presented the same ethical issues. Swift lived during the so-called "Enlightened Period" and, without a doubt, he wrote "Gulliver's Travels" using the metaphor of travel, a comprehensible resource in a time of journeys and expeditions to remote places which started to look as more accessible and closer territories. A Look Into

Painkillers: The Problem of Pain

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Pain has accompanied humans throughout their history, as a loyal but importunate ally. Popular punishments like the one that must suffer a woman while giving birth were seen as unavoidable. Without the necessity of appearing in any religious book, it existed different types of pain associated with the unbearable. Imagine that 300 years ago, teeth were extracted without anesthesia, and surgeons had to cut limbs with knives and saws, again, without any drug to kill the pain. Moreover, there was a 60% chance of dying in some interventions. This was the reason why many people with huge tumors (according to records, some of them were so big that they have to be carried using a wheelbarrow) refused to be taken to an operation. During centuries, it was believed that a creature located in the teeth roots, was the cause of pain, like a woodworm but it ate away the teeth and bones. The Morphine - Santiago Rusiñol (1894).

From the Cow to the Vaccine

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200,000 years ago, the Homo neanderthalensis , the Neanderthal, occupied the hostile and cold lands in Europe, seeking for food and easily dying, very frequently, because of traumas, as a result of falls, accidents, and skirmishes while hunting or walking through long inhospitable trails; other times, they died simply due to starvation. It was very weird that individuals passed the 50-year-old mark and, as a consequence, there's no evidence that they suffered from degenerative illnesses. In the Neolithic, things changed; around 8,000 b.C., the climate became more benign and the necessity to move from one place to another to survive was vanishing, so the Homo viator finally settled, starting an appearing process of the first civilizations, intrinsic to the domestication of the beasts and plants. Louis Pasteur in his Laboratory - 1885

The Mongol Empire: The Largest Contiguous Empire in History

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The Mongols, a semi-nomadic ethnicity dedicated to grazing and hunting, have always been considered as the "lords of the steppe". Between the 13th and 15th centuries, the Mongol tribes unified under the authority of a single leader, or Khan, and they managed to conquest the entire Asian continent, including China. At its peak, the Mongol Empire had dominated all Asian commerce, controlling a territory that went from the Great Wall of China to Persia and southern Russia, even threatening countries and regions in Europe, like Poland or Bohemia in the current Czech Republic. The Mongol Empire at its Peak under Kublai Khan's leadership

Measuring Time: Challenging the Stars

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Since Eratosthenes' age, humans know that we live on a sphere. In the 2nd century b.C., Greeks thought that it was only inhabitable a zone in the northern hemisphere, that nobody could live in the southern hemisphere, known by them as the " terra incognita ", or "unknown land". In the 15th century, expeditions across the Globe proved that the South existed and that it was inhabitable as the North. The Earth was filled up with plenty of sailors who traveled from one place to another. The seas, outside the Mediterranean, turned out to be immense. First, the Atlantic until arriving to the new continent. Secondly, the Pacific, which spreads towards the west and managed to circumvent the Earth, passing through Japan, the Philippines, and the entire Asian continent. Compared to these, the Indic Ocean looked like a small, "homely" sea. The Astronomer by Johannes Vermeer, circa 1668

The Printing Press: Knowledge Becomes Independent

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In 1455 a craftsman called Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden, known by the name of Johannes Gutenberg finished the task of composing the Bible using a device he called "printing press". We don't know many things about the life of this character, neither his born or death date, but generally, experts believe he was born in 1400 and died in 1467. What we know for sure is that he carried out his work in the city of Mainz (Germany) and he was born in the middle of a family of smiths dedicated to issuing the coins of the city. However, despite the scarce information we have about his life and works, the printing of the Bible is considered an extraordinarily important event in our culture, a primordial invention which separated our history in two halves, marked a watershed in the way we spread information and knowledge and, as a consequence, the opportunity to formulate it and to visualize it. Printing Workshop in the 16th Century. Author: Jost Amman

Alchemy, Distillates and other Loves

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Why the ice melts in the water? Why the rays can set on fire the dry tree branches? Why the flavor and texture of food change after cooked? Why you can obtain bronze from the fusion of copper and tin? Why, Why and Why. You can imagine thousands of questions of this kind, which were formulated many years ago. They are primitive questions, of course, and today they would be formulated inside the more sophisticated minds, but not the most surprised ones. The mother of all questions would be: why some things convert into others, why from some substances can derive many others? For instance, at that time they might be asking themselves: Why you can get wine from grapes if you store the juice for some time? or why the gold structure doesn't change whereas the iron oxidizes? What is the force that moves all of these transformations? Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1525-1569)  An Alchemist at work , mid. 16th cent.

Arkansas: The Natural State

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It is one of the southern states of the United States of America. It has an area of around 53,179 square miles, being the 29th largest state in the country. It has a population of 3,013,835 inhabitants, ranking 33rd, and a population density of 56.4 people per square mile, low in comparison with the average density in the country. Its capital, Little Rock (198,606 inhabitants) lies in the center of the state. Official Flag of the State of Arkansas

Arizona: The Grand Canyon State

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State of the United States of America situated in the southwestern part of the country. It covers an area of 113,990 square miles, making it the 6th largest state in the country. Its population is 7,171,646, being Arizona the 14th most populous state and the 33rd one in terms of population density (57 people per square mile). Its capital is Phoenix. The metropolitan area of the capital contains 3/4 of the total Arizona population. The Grand Canyon, The Treasure of Arizona

Massachusetts: A Historic State in the Eastern Coast

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A state located in the northeastern United States. It has an area of 10,565 square miles, which makes it the 7th smallest state of the country, and a population of 6,902,000 inhabitants, making it the 15th most populous state and the 3rd with a higher density of population. The capital of the state is Boston. Due to the exiguity of its territory, physical characteristics, industrial activity, urban centers and its density of population, Massachusetts shares similar features with the states of Rhode Island and Connecticut, neighboring states. Harvard University, in Cambridge (Massachusetts)

Ohio: An Industrial State from the Midwest

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American state located in the Great Lakes region. It has an area of 44,825 square miles, being the 34th largest state by area. Ohio contains a population of 11,689,442 inhabitants what makes it the 7th most populous state. The capital of the state is Columbus, which lies on the center of the state. It is recognized nationwide by its industries, specially the motor industry as it is the second largest producer of automobiles behind Michigan.  The third part of the eastern sector belongs to the Appalachian Plateau. The old eroded surface has been occupied by numerous valleys and tributaries of the great river Mississippi or of the Lake Erie; Ohio has a very rugged topography.  Columbus, Capital of Ohio and the Scioto River

The Rothschild: Banking Pioneers

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The Rothschild is a prominent family that has amassed a huge fortune in the banking industry. It is one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in the world. Coat of arms granted to the Barons Rothschild by Emperor Francis I of Austria

Mark Rothko: Emotions through Color

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American painter originated from Russia (Dvinsk 1903 - New York 1970.) After Gorky and Pollock, he is one of the best well-known American painters of the 20th century, and his influence and reputation continues to be studied by art experts from all over the world. Red, White, Brown. 1957. Museum of Fine Arts, Basel.

Louisiana: A Huge European Colony Converted into a State

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Louisiana is a state of the United States of America, which lies on the South, near the Mexican Gulf. It has an area of 52,377 square miles and a population of 4,660,000 inhabitants. Its capital is Baton Rouge. Map of Louisiana in 1803 when it was sold to the U.S by the French

Lyndon B. Johnson: Free Fall of a Political Star

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American statesman (near Stonewall, Texas, 1908 - near Austin, Texas, 1973.) Lyndon Baines Johnson was a descendant from a family of colonists. His parents were in a good economic and social position; his father had been elected 5 times for the state legislature and was a good friend of Samuel Taliafero Rayburn (1882-1961) the future speaker of the House of Representatives. The young Lyndon hadn't done too many studies, but in 1927 he started again in order to become a teacher. Since his childhood, he should have held a certain insecurity, mixed with jealousy, towards the patricians and intellectuals of the northeast. Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States of America

Theodore Roosevelt: A Political Lion

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American statesman (New York, 1858, Oyster Bay - state of New York, 1919). He was born to a high-class family, and carried out his studies at the University of Harvard, where he studied law and stood out for his maturity. However, with all evidence, he was not so much interested in the law career; On the contrary, he was very passionate about History, a passion that he will keep throughout his entire life: he wrote The Naval War of 1812 , published in 1882. He was also interested in politics, and wanted to enter into the political scenario, not in order to accept the statu quo , but to commit acts of generosity, to express his willingness to change how things worked. He was a pragmatic man who appointed himself a special mission and despised the rich men: "the merchant classes have too much tendency to consider everything, wondering exclusively: is it profitable?; and more than a merchant don't participate in politics because they lack insight, up to the point where they think

Thomas Jefferson: A Legacy Man

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American statesman (Shadwell, Virginia, 1743 - Monticello, Virginia, 1826.) He became the 3rd President of the United States of America. Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U.S President

Abraham Lincoln: A Revolutionary

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North American politician (near Hodgenville, Kentucky, 1809 - Washington 1865). Abraham Lincoln In 1816, his family settled in Indiana, and in 1830, they translated to Illinois. Lincoln was, as a consequence, a man from the west who carried the print of Jackson's democracy. He worked in different posts, but he didn't abandon his law studies, which allowed him to enter the Bar Association. In 1837, he opened a buffet in Springfield, city which he managed to transform into the capital of the state. Tall, strong, with an ungrateful face, unworried about elegance, Lincoln was a simple and humble man. Moreover, he didn't try to hide his simplicity and humbleness. However, he wasn't short of powerful friends. After his marriage, he was linked to a very rich family. The businesses which he took up, were mainly related to commerce houses and to transports societies. In 1834, he made his entry in politics: he was elected in the Illinois General Assembly, occupying a seat

Andrew Jackson: The Face of the 20-dollar Bill

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American statesman (Waxhaw, South Carolina 1767- l'Hermitage 1845). A 20-dollar bill with the face of former president Andrew Jackson