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Poinsett: the Man Behind the Flower



Poinsett: the Man Behind the Flower
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.49

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    nullification, winter-blooming, entice, czar, envoy, solidify, best, statesman, legislator, arrival, poinsettia, military, independence, confidential, shortly, botanist
     content words:    Joel Roberts Poinsett, South Carolina, United States, In December, Russian Empire, South America, Latin American, Special Commissioner, American Minister, Andrew Jackson


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Poinsett: the Man Behind the Flower
By Mary Lynn Bushong
  

1     In spite of his work as a physician, state legislator, statesman, Secretary of War, and the first Minister to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett is best remembered for one thing: the Christmas flower we call the poinsettia.
 
2     Poinsett was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1779. His early years were spent in England. He returned to the United States when he was nine. Then his studies over the next few years carried him back to Europe.
 
3     After returning to Charleston in 1800, Poinsett announced that he wanted to join the military. Instead, his father tried to interest him in studying law. After trying to get interested in it for several months, Joel gave up. He lost interest in the military and decided to travel instead.
 
4     In 1801, Poinsett left his home for a long tour of Europe. He stayed in France, Italy, Switzerland, and then Austria. In December 1803, he got word that his father had died, and his sister was ill. She died shortly after his arrival in Charleston.
 
5     A couple of years later, Poinsett again traveled to Europe. This time he spent about a year in Russia. The czar was very impressed with the young traveler and tried to entice him into serving the Russian Empire. Poinsett declined. He had heard there was to be war with Britain, and he wanted to get home.

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