Conestoga Wagon displayed at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution (Image: Kevin Burkett from Philadelphia, Pa/Public domain)
American History

The Conestoga Wagon: The Road Westward

September 6, 2017

Conestoga wagons originated in the mid-1700s, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania and the Conestoga River. They were used to carry people and goods westward and ultimately paved the way for modern highways like U.S. Route 40. […]

Postcard of the original star spangled banner
American History

The Star-Spangled Banner: Stitch by Stitch

September 4, 2017

The star-spangled banner tells the story of how our fledgling country was in peril in 1814; how the defense of a small fort in Baltimore gave heart to a people; and how we have defined, loved, and almost destroyed, and saved a national treasure. […]

space shuttle Discovery's orbiter tribute (Image: By NASA/Amy Lombardo)
American History

Project Mercury, a Chimp, and the Moon: The Cold War in Space

August 31, 2017

On October 4, 1957, the Soviets launched Sputnik I putting pressure on the United States space program as the cold war played out in space. The Mercury Seven was a group of test pilots recruited as the first American astronauts. Before launching a human into space, NASA successfully sent Ham, a chimpanzee, into orbit and assured his safe return. NASA and the United States were now ready to grow their space program to the moon and beyond. […]

Alexander Hamilton portrait on a ten dollar bill
American History

Alexander Hamilton: His Ideal Republic

August 24, 2017

Alexander Hamilton believed the most natural form of government was a republic in which everyone would have the freedom to exercise their natural rights, but his childhood in the West Indies taught him that some may be excluded. […]

American Bison (Image: Nagel Photography/Shutterstock)
American History

American Bison: A Story of Near Extinction and Conservation

July 26, 2017

With the American bison nearing extinction, William Temple Hornaday, a Smithsonian taxidermist, took it upon himself to lead a conservation effort to save the buffalo. His pioneering efforts led to the founding of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. […]

First flight of Wright (Brothers) 1903 Flyer
American History

The Importance of Experimenting: The Wright Brothers

July 8, 2017

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. […]

image of Benjamin Franklin's walking stick
American History

Symbol of Liberty: Benjamin Franklin’s Walking Stick

June 19, 2017

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? — 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. […]

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