The People, Voyage, and Arrival of the Mayflower

The pilgrims in the Atlantic crossing on the Mayflower were religious separatists inspired by the Protestant Reformation. Introduction The Mayflower is the name of the cargo ship that brought the Puritan separatists (known as pilgrims) to North America in 1620 CE. It was a type of sailing ship known as a carrack with three masts[…]

Jefferson and Hamilton, Political Rivals in Washington’s Cabinet

Washington had to deal with the personal nature of the differences between two of his cabinet members – Jefferson and Hamilton. Originally published as “Jefferson and Hamilton, Political Rivals in Washington’s Cabinet”, by Dr. Joanne Freeman, at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, republished for educational, non-commercial purposes. Differences of opinion didn’t concern President Washington. They could[…]

The Presidential Cabinet: An Invention of America’s First President

How George Washington shaped the group of advisors as an institution to meet his own needs. The President’s cabinet, the heads of the executive branch departments, is one of the most constant and durable parts of the United States government. From George Washington to Donald Trump, the chief executive has used the institution to collect[…]

A History of New York City from the Precolonial Era to the Present

Inhabited by Algonquian Native Americans in the precolonial era, the city was named in honor of the Duke of York in 1664. Introduction New York City (NYC), often called simply New York, is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 distributed over about 302.6 square miles (784 km2),[…]

New York from the First Arrival of Humans 12,000 Years Ago to Today

The history of New York begins around 10,000 BCE when the first people arrived. Introduction The history of New York begins around 10,000 B.C. when the first people arrived. By 1100 A.D. two main cultures had become dominant as the Iroquoian and Algonquian developed. European discovery of New York was led by the Italian Giovanni[…]

How to Lose: A Brief History of the Presidential Concession Speech

Over the past 120 years, there have been 32 concession speeches. By Joe Richman and Nellie Gilles Presidential campaigns are essentially dramas, and for the past century, the moment of closure has come in the form of one simple act: the public concession. There is no legal or constitutional requirement that the loser of a[…]

John Adams, America’s Second President and First One-Term President

Adams’s legacy is one of reason, virtuous leadership, compassion, and a cautious but vigorous foreign policy. Life in Brief Overview Before becoming President in 1797, John Adams built his reputation as a blunt-speaking man of independent mind. A fervent patriot and brilliant intellectual, Adams served as a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress between[…]

America Comes of Age, 1876–1900

The United States solidified its place as an industrial and agricultural power in the late nineteenth century. In the three decades following the Civil War, a nation once predominantly agricultural became the world’s preeminent economic power. Between 1869 and 1899, the nation’s population nearly tripled, farm production more than doubled, and the value of manufacturing[…]

Alexander Jackson Davis and Architecture in Mid-19th Century America

Alexander J. Davis was America’s greatest architect of the mid-nineteenth century. America’s greatest architect of the mid-nineteenth century, a designer of picturesque buildings in myriad styles, Alexander J. Davis was born in New York City on July 24, 1803. The son of a relatively poor bookseller and publisher of religious tracts who moved around the[…]

The First Commercial Radio Broadcast of Election Results in 1920

With the advent of radio, the ability of politicians to engage and entertain became crucial components of their candidacies. Introduction Only 100 people were listening, but the first broadcast from a licensed radio station occurred at 8 p.m. on Nov. 2, 1920. It was Pittsburgh’s KDKA, and the station was broadcasting the results of that[…]

Election Night as a Big Media Event since Electric Lights in 1892

Journalists have always wanted to be first to tell the public who won. Introduction As election night approaches, Americans will turn to their televisions, computers and smartphones to watch results come in for local, state and national races. Over the years, news coverage of winners and losers has become must-watch programming – even if it[…]

Contested Presidential Elections since Samuel Tilden in 1876

The elections of 1876, 1888, 1960 and 2000 were among the most contentious in American history. Introduction As states continue to count their ballots in the 2020 election, it seems possible that Democrats and Republicans will end up in court over whether President Trump will win a second term in the White House. President Trump[…]

Looking at the Origins of the Electoral College

Three approaches were debated at the Constitutional Convention: election by Congress, by state legislatures, or a popular vote. Introduction The delegates in Philadelphia agreed, in the summer of 1787, that the new country they were creating would not have a king but rather an elected executive. But they did not agree on how to choose[…]

Patriots and Loyalists: Differing Opinions and Sides in the American Revolution

Loyalists comprised 15-20% of the colonial population during the Revolutionary War. The Patriots “Patriots,” as they came to be known, were members of the 13 British colonies who rebelled against British control during the American Revolution, supporting instead the U.S. Continental Congress. These Patriots rejected the lack of representation of colonists in the British Parliament[…]

Who Would China Prefer in the White House – Biden or Trump?

While China is trying to find ways to become the dominant superpower around the world, Donald Trump’s re-election would likely prove favorable for China’s growth. Trump has been consistently enraged with China following the spread of the virus and the resultant pandemic. He has consistently blamed the Chinese authorities, to an extent where the novel[…]

Voter Intimidation in the 19th Century and Its Legacy

Voters were threatened and even physically forced to vote a particular way. Introduction Author Edgar Allan Poe, the 19th-century master of American macabre, may have died of dirty politics. According to legend, a gang of party “poll hustlers” kidnapped and drugged him. They forced him to vote, then abandoned him near death. Details are murky,[…]

American Election Campaigns in the 19th Century

Political parties in the 19th century thought of themselves as armies – disciplined, hierarchical fighting organizations. Introduction In the 19th century, a number of new methods for conducting American election campaigns developed in the United States. For the most part the techniques were original, not copied from Europe or anywhere else.[2] The campaigns were also[…]

A History of the Architecture of the United States Supreme Court

Initially, the Court met in the Merchants Exchange Building in New York City. Building History “The Republic endures and this is the symbol of its faith.” These words, spoken by Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes in laying the cornerstone for the Supreme Court Building on October 13, 1932, express the importance of the Supreme Court[…]

The History and Traditions of the United States Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is deeply tied to its traditions. Introduction Established by the United States Constitution, the Supreme Court began to take shape with the passage of the Judiciary Act of 1789 and has enjoyed a rich history since its first assembly in 1790. The Supreme Court is deeply tied to its traditions: Of the[…]

The Foundations of American Government

The Enlightenment of 17th-century Europe had the most immediate impact on the framers of the United States Constitution. Introduction Democracy was not created in a heartbeat. In a world where people were ruled by monarchs from above, the idea of self-government is entirely alien. Democracy takes practice and wisdom from experience. The American colonies began[…]

A Modern Republic: The Ideals of the Founders

Like the Greeks and Romans of antiquity, Americans believed that government must concern itself with the character of its citizenry. By Dr. Stephen M. KlugewiczHistorian As Benjamin Franklin left Philadelphia’s Convention Hall in September 1787, upon the completion of the work of the Framers of the Constitution, a woman approached him and asked the old[…]

Myths of the American Revolution

A noted historian debunks the conventional wisdom about America’s War of Independence. Introduction We think we know the Revolutionary War. After all, the American Revolution and the war that accompanied it not only determined the nation we would become but also continue to define who we are. The Declaration of Independence, the Midnight Ride, Valley[…]

Paul Revere and the Boston Massacre as a Flashpoint for Revolution

What do the ghosts of that bloody history whisper to us now? At this moment that feels like a hinge in history—when America will swing either toward authoritarianism or toward a more just and liberal democracy—the ghosts of history rise up and speak to us. Five of those ghosts lay in the snowy gutters of[…]

A History of Presidents Hiding Health Problems since Grover Cleveland

How U.S. presidents and their administrations have handled information about presidential health problems. At a press briefing in 1893, President Grover Cleveland’s secretary of war told inquiring journalists that their speculations about the president having surgery were wrong. The nation was in a recession, and Cleveland feared that his economic plan would be doomed if[…]

The Navigation Acts and the Boston Revolt of 1689

A group of well-organized militia and citizens rose up to arrest officials in response to the Navigation Acts ignoring land titles. Introduction The 1689 Boston revolt was a popular uprising on April 18, 1689 against the rule of Sir Edmund Andros, the governor of the Dominion of New England. A well-organized “mob” of provincial militia[…]

American Scenes of Everyday Life, 1840–1910

Examining how representations of American life changed in art over the course of 70 years. Between the eve of the American Revolution and World War I, a group of modest British colonies became states; the frontier pushed westward to span the continent; a rural and agricultural society became urban and industrial; and the United States—reunified[…]

The Real Birth of the American Republic

This week, nearly 225 years ago, the lofty ideals of the Constitution passed their first test. By Joseph Stromberg The dawn of American democracy didn’t come in 1776, with the Declaration of Independence. It didn’t come in 1788, when the Constitution was ratified by the states, or in 1789, when George Washington took office. According[…]

The New Deal: FDR’s Attempt to Deliver the Chickens Hoover Promised

Roosevelt felt the needs of people took precedence over a strict budget in times of hardship. Roosevelt’s Election In 1928, Herbert Hoover ran for office at the height of American prosperity. He promised “a chicken in every pot,” and there was every indication he could deliver. A short four years later, the nation had plummeted[…]

Americans and Isolationism during the Great Depression of the 1930s

A worldwide economic depression and domestic problems bolstered the idea that the U.S. should isolate itself from events in Europe. Introduction During the 1930s, the combination of the Great Depression and the memory of tragic losses in World War I contributed to pushing American public opinion and policy toward isolationism. Isolationists advocated non-involvement in European[…]

American Women of the Colonial Period and the Nineteenth-Century City

All opportunities for education, prospect, liberation and development were closed to women. By Khelifa Arezki and Katia Mahmoudi Introduction The aim of the present paper is to shed light on women’s condition within the American society during the colonial period and the 19th century. The study will center on the gendered place that women were[…]