These polls, conducted from 2002-2010, asked over 1,500 AMERICAN EXPERIENCE viewers about their families' stories, time at school, work, and favorite activities.
What's in a Name?
Back when Ulysses was a teenager, the 1840 census counted 12.7 million people. But only a handful -- about 107,000 people -- were listed as "foreigners." Soon, huge waves of immigrants would change this picture, coming from other nations to make America their home.
When Ulysses S. Grant was young, not all kids went to school. Those who went spent an average of 25 hours there every week. Tell us about your time at school, and describe your favorite subject.
74% :more than 30 hours
25% :fewer than 30 hours
12th grade (high school diploma or G.E.D.): 19%
College, graduate school, or professional school: 80%
Back in the 19th century, kids as young as seven or eight worked to help support their families. The children of slaves were expected to work as soon as they were able. Ulysses Grant hated working in his father's tannery -- it was really stinky, messy, awful work. Do you work, doing chores or working for pay? Describe what you do and what you think of it.
In Ulysses' time, kids did some of the same fun things they do today: sports, music, reading, playing with toys. Of course, many of their toys and activities were different. After all, plastics, computers, and television hadn't been invented yet!
5: spending time with friends
7: watching TV
8: something else
Gaze into the Crystal Ball...
Back in Ulysses' time, some kids left home before their late teens. Some went to work in factories. Others worked on ships. Still others stayed home, especially the kids who did farming and other agricultural work -- including slaves, who had no choice about where they'd live.
My American Experience
Do you admire Ulysses S. Grant? Or perhaps Robert E. Lee? Tell us who is your favorite and why.