American History

The Importance of Experimenting: The Wright Brothers

At the turn of the century, The Wright brothers’ ground-breaking inventions captured the spirit of innovation in our nation. Even today, their methods illustrate the importance of experimenting during the process of inventing. […]

photo of Colosseum in Rome
Hobby and Lifestyle

Italy Travel Tips: 5 Roman Sites Not To Miss

Ever walked through a Roman sewer? Have you found the source of light that illuminates a stained glass window? In The Guide to Essential Italy, the Great Courses and Smithsonian Journeys take you on a rich and diverse tour that explores the crown jewels of Italian civilization. These 5 Italy travel tips are just the beginning of what this course offers. […]

photo of Ben Franklin's walking stick; gold top represents his fur cap
American History

Symbol of Liberty: Benjamin Franklin’s Walking Stick

Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s Founding Fathers, cherished his walking stick. This relatively simple object, adorned with a liberty fur cap at the top, conveys a powerful message about America’s national character at its inception and reveals the success of Franklin’s diplomatic efforts with France during Revolutionary times. […]

American History

Who Helped Fund America?

Money issues abounded in the new United States. Why was the abundance of land (and lack of hard coin) such a problem? What compelled states to print so much of their own unsecure paper money? how did Robert Morris attempt to restore the links between commerce, agriculture, and government finances? […]

American History

From Radio to Television: The History of Electronic Communication

In 1900, the invention of the radio was patented thereby cutting the cord of the great invention of the telegraph and allowing news and music to be broadcast to many people simultaneously. It wasn’t long before inventors figured out how to include picture with the audio and soon the television was born. By 1955, television had made its way into the living rooms of half of the American population. […]

Image of books, glasses, candles, and quill
American History

Thomas Jefferson’s Books

The story of America’s founding—great men who debated, argued, persuaded, and negotiated their way to the U.S. Constitution—is as dramatic and instructive as any in the nation’s history. Read how Thomas Jefferson was influenced by Enlightenment politics and which books influenced the author of The Declaration of Independence. […]

History

Japanese Family Life: A Historical Perspective

Japan’s 2,000-year-old civilization grew through periods of seclusion and assimilation to cultivate a society responsible for immeasurable influences on the rest of the world. Here, we’ll take a peak at how Japanese family life evolved over ten centuries. […]

photo of interior of Thomas Jefferson's bible
American History

An Icon of History: Thomas Jefferson’s Bible

Jefferson’s bible is an amazing artifact. It provides insight into Jefferson’s views and his handiwork, an amazing illustration of how this founding father himself practiced the freedom of religion so avidly sought for all Americans. […]

Image of Marian Anderson singing at Lincoln Memorial
American History

Sing Out for Justice — Marian Anderson

On Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939 African American contralto Marian Anderson performed an unprecedented open-air concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. What she wore on that day illustrated that, despite stereotypes and obstacles, an African American woman could transcend entrenched social and cultural barriers to achieve fame, fortune, and success. […]

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