American History

Who Helped Fund America? — The History of Robert Morris

June 12, 2017

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? […]

The Torch Allen Guelzo
American History

America’s Founding Fathers: The Torch Podcast

June 10, 2017

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. And there is no better way to tell the story of the Founding Fathers than by pairing an eminent U.S. historian with the very institution that is most synonymous with American history, the Smithsonian. […]

Commemorative print of Abraham Lincoln with the text of the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863. Print published in 1865. (Image: Everett Historical/Shutterstock)
American History

Dismantling Slavery: The Emancipation Proclamation

June 5, 2017

President Lincoln knew he had a moral obligation to abolish slavery. But as Commander-in-Chief of the Union army, the timing of emancipation had military consequences that would require careful consideration. […]

American family watching TV, 1958
American History

From Radio to Television: The History of Electronic Communication

May 20, 2017

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. […]

Photo of old books with candles, a feather, and round framed glasses
American History

Thomas Jefferson’s Books

May 9, 2017

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. […]

American History

An Icon of History: Thomas Jefferson’s Bible

April 13, 2017

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 Mt Vernon estate for the Islam in America article
American History

Islam in America — The American Revolution

April 12, 2017

Former President Barack Obama stated “Islam has always been a part of America.” History confirms this to be undeniably true. Read more from The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington & The Great Courses Daily. […]

Image of Marian Anderson singing at Lincoln Memorial
American History

The Smithsonian Collection—Marian Anderson’s Mink Coat

April 7, 2017

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. […]

The Hope Diamond (Image: Unknown/Public domain)
American History

The Curse of The Hope Diamond

March 12, 2017

There had been, over the years—even decades—numerous stories about how the Hope Diamond carried an ancient curse. Several commentators questioned the wisdom of accepting the diamond. If the Smithsonian was the national museum of the United States and it acquired the Hope Diamond, then the country would own it. Would the American people then be cursed? […]

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