Fugitive Slave Ads and the Roots of Black Resistance in the United States

Freedom on the Move is a database collecting these ads, which help form a more complete picture of slavery and the enslaved. a more than 200-year-old fugitive slave ad reads:  “Run away from the subscriber in Albemarle, a Mulatto slave called Sandy. His stature is rather low, inclining to corpulence, and his complexion light; he[…]

A Summer of Protest: Unemployment and Presidential Politics, 1932

Marches, demonstrations, civic unrest, attacks by law enforcement and the military on protesting civilians – in 1932. Introduction An election looms. An unpopular president wrestles with historic unemployment rates. Demonstrations erupt in hundreds of locations. The president deploys Army units to suppress peaceful protests in the nation’s capital. And most of all he worries about[…]

Roanoke Colony: First Contact to Disappearance, 1585-1590

Doomed to failure, this early colonial project lacked adequate planning and logistical support. Introduction The Roanoke Colony was England’s first colony in North America, located in what is today North Carolina, USA. Established in 1585 CE, abandoned and then resettled in 1587 CE, the colonists had little regard for their new environment and were soon in[…]

How Charleston Celebrated Its Last July 4th Before the Civil War

As the South Carolina city prepared to break from the Union, its people swung between nostalgia and rebellion. In the cooling evening air, Charleston, South Carolina’s notable citizens filed into Hibernian Hall on Meeting Street for the traditional banquet to close their July 4th festivities. The year was 1860, and the host, as always, was[…]

Mapping a Growing Nation: From Independence to Statehood, 1784-1890

By the end of the century, Congress had authorized a national archive of maps. Introduction In the nineteenth century, Americans began to use maps in radically new ways. For the first time, medical men mapped diseases to understand and prevent epidemics, natural scientists mapped climate and rainfall to uncover weather patterns, educators mapped the past[…]

Mapping a New Nation: Abel Buell’s Map of the United States, 1784

This was the first map of the newly independent United States compiled, printed, and published in America by an American. Introduction Abel Buell, born in Killingworth, Connecticut, was a goldsmith, silversmith, jewelry designer, engraver, surveyor, printer, type manufacturer, mint master, textile miller, and counterfeiter in the American colonies. Buell’s New and Correct Map of the[…]

I Spy Something Free

Women spies of the American Revolution. Introduction Throughout the Revolutionary War, there are stories of heroism; those who sacrificed to save others, those who put their lives on the line to warn of impending danger. The vast majority of these stories involve men. But there are countless extraordinary women who risked and sacrificed just as[…]

Love and the Revolution

Two wives of the American Revolution – one a patriot, one a spy. By Victoria Cooney Lucy Flucker of Boston and Peggy Shippen of Philadelphia were beautiful, well-born, and well-bred specimens of the ideal eighteenth-century American lady when love altered the course of their lives and thrust them into the action and intrigue of the[…]

Mythbusting the Founding Mothers

Examining some myths about women during the Revolutionary War and trying to find the truth. We all can picture the Founding Fathers, gathered in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, debating what to do about tyrannical Britain, and finally signing their names onto the Declaration of Independence. But what about the Founding Mothers? Often the women of[…]

The Cookbook That Declared America’s Culinary Independence

An 18th-century guide taught Americans how to eat simply but sumptuously. By Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald American Cookery, published by the “orphan” Amelia Simmons in 1796, was the first cookbook by an American to be published in the United States. Its 47 pages (in the first edition) contained fine recipes for roasts—stuffed goose, stuffed[…]

What Did the Founding Fathers Eat and Drink as They Started a Revolution?

They may not have been hosting a cookout, but they did know how to imbibe and celebrate. As we commence celebrating July 4th with the time-honored traditions of beer, block parties and cookouts, it’s fun to imagine a cookout where the Founding Fathers gathered around a grill discussing the details of the Declaration of Independence.[…]

Big Alex McKenzie and the Last Great Fraud of the Gilded Age

Alexander McKenzie’s plot to corner Alaska’s gold proved to be the last great swindle of the original gilded age. Gold! With the discovery of this treasure in bountiful quantities, the Alaska gold rush of 1900 became the maddest dash of its kind since the 49ers swarmed California a half century earlier. The gold fields of[…]

LGBTQ history in the United States since the 18th Century

LGBTQ history in the United States spans the contributions and struggles of individuals as well as the coalitions they’ve built. 18th and 19th Centuries With the establishment of the United States following the American Revolution, such crimes as “sodomy” were considered to be a capital offense in some states, while cross-dressing was considered a felony[…]

A History of Evangelicalism in the United States

After World War II, conservative Protestants rejected the separatist stance and began calling themselves evangelicals. Introduction In the United States, evangelicalism is an umbrella group of Protestant Christians who believe in the necessity of being born again, emphasize the importance of evangelism, and affirm traditional Protestant teachings on the authority and the historicity of the[…]

Protest and the Great Upheaval of 1877

The issue that started the 1877 affair was not police brutality and institutional racism but economic inequality. One hundred and forty-three years ago the nation was shaken by a nationwide series of strikes almost amounting to a mass rebellion. Though there are clear and obvious differences between the issues, modes of collective action, and the[…]

A History of Domestic Military Intervention in the United States

The use of federal troops in a law enforcement role has a twisted and often anti-working class and racist history. In his controversial “Send in the Troops” New York Times op-ed, Senator Tom Cotton (Republican-Arkansas) misquoted the Constitution of the United States. New York Times editors, who are under fire for running the essay, either failed to fact-check the[…]

Presidential Rivalry and Bad Blood in American History

Rivalries, conflict, and “bad blood” between presidents are part of the story of American history. Most of the time, the presidents involved have been direct rivals in the same election, but not always. Sometimes their conflicts and “bad blood” receded over time, but at other times, the presidents go to the grave with strong unresolved[…]

Thomas Jefferson: One Man, Two Legacies

How different things may have been if Jefferson, Washington, and Madison had freed their slaves. When 75 Americans Who Tell the Truth portraits were shown at numerous locations around Charlottesville, Virginia, from January through April of this year, three of them, Frederick Douglass, John Lewis and Fannie Lou Hamer, were exhibited at Monticello, the celebrated[…]

Remembering, History, and Identity: The Sculpted Life of Benjamin Franklin

The statues of Benjamin Franklin perfectly exemplify the interrelation between history and memory. By Mert DenizPhD StudentAmerican Culture and Literature DepartmentHacettepe University Abstract History and memory are always in interaction as history is the craft of composing fragments of memory into an understandable narrative, so it serves as a medium of transferring memories between individuals,[…]

Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend

The most famous event of Pocahontas’ life, her rescue of Captain John Smith, did not happen the way he wrote it. By Sarah J. Stebbins Introduction Not much is known about this memorable woman. What we do know was written by others, as none of her thoughts or feelings were ever recorded. Specifically, her story[…]

The Roosevelt Bond: Distant Cousins Franklin and Theodore

Politics and war brought Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt ever closer. Introduction On May 26, 1914, Teddy Roosevelt ventured to Washington, D.C., to deliver a lecture at the National Geographic Society. Only a week before, Roosevelt had appeared in New York a jaundiced, frail version of his legendary robust self, after a seven-month trip[…]

Bartram’s Garden and a Compromise of the Founders in 1787

During the contentious deliberations in 1787, an excursion into the country provided a welcome diversion for a handful of delegates. By Diane M. Bitting Their destination on that July morning: the nearby garden of renowned Quaker botanist John Bartram. According to an account in the 2011 book Founding Gardenersby Andrea Wulf, that visit may have led[…]