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a US presidential slave ownership reference table

Which US presidents owned slaves? [more inside]
posted by threeants on Dec 30, 2013 - 82 comments

 

But, Mr. Adams!

Need to argue with your crazy uncle about what the Founders really intended? Or maybe you're wondering what an 18th Century AskMe might have looked like. The National Archives has launched Founders Online, a searchable collection of over 100,000 annotated and transcribed documents including letters, speeches, diaries and more from the collected papers of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and family, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison.
posted by HonoriaGlossop on Sep 19, 2013 - 23 comments

"the coal operators hired private planes to drop homemade bleach bombs"

"On August 25, 1921, the largest labor insurgency in American history and the largest civil uprising since the Civil War began in Logan County, West Virginia when 10,000 miners and their supporters went to war with 3000 coal mine executives and their hired thugs. The Battle of Blair Mountain is one of the least known major events in American history." -- America's long labour history, even such spectacular events like the Battle of Blair Mountain, is largely unknown, but historian Erik Loomis is trying to change that with his This Day in Labor History series for Lawyers, Guns and Money.
posted by MartinWisse on Aug 25, 2013 - 40 comments

Before there was a [US] national museum, we had a nation of savers

"In the early 1800s, a hammer was kept near Plymouth Rock for the pilgrim who had forgotten to bring one. By the end of the 19th century, what was left of the rock was fenced off within a memorial." "The United States, it turns out, was a nation of casual plunderers from the start. Visitors to Mount Vernon snapped splinters from the moldings; beachgoers in Massachusetts chiseled off chunks of Plymouth Rock; tourists snipped fabric from the White House curtains. By the early 19th century, newspapers were referring to illicit souvenir hunting as a “national mania.” " [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 12, 2013 - 49 comments

"Misplaced Honor"

NYT Editorial Filter -- "Now African-Americans make up about a fifth of the military. The idea that today we ask any of these soldiers to serve at a place named for a defender of a racist slavocracy is deplorable; the thought that today we ask any American soldier to serve at a base named for someone who killed United States Army troops is beyond absurd. Would we have a Fort Rommel? A Camp Cornwallis?" [more inside]
posted by bardic on May 27, 2013 - 767 comments

Backstory with the American History Guys

Hosted by three professors of US history (one a specialist in the 18th Century, one in the 19th, and one in the 20th), each episode of the radio show and podcast Backstory takes a subject from the news and looks at the American history behind it. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Nov 17, 2012 - 34 comments

What was the weather like on a certain day in April, 1891?

USF's collection of maps of America. Includes killing frost dates from 1911, Hog production circa 1860, 1900, Paths of Western Exploration and many more.
posted by Grandysaur on Oct 21, 2012 - 7 comments

"One thing about living in New England I never could stomach, all the damn vampires."

Ever heard of the Jewett City Vampires? Sure, you know about Salem and its witches, but New Englanders also went through several vampire panics that come far closer to the present than any Salem shenanigans. But who were the real people behind the modern legends? One common thread in the American myths: Tuberculosis (PDF).
posted by Ghostride The Whip on Sep 25, 2012 - 9 comments

'I thought they were there for my protection'

Fifty-five years ago this month, nine black students attempted to integrate Little Rock Central High School. [more inside]
posted by Snarl Furillo on Sep 25, 2012 - 11 comments

Pantyhose during WWII

The unexpectedly fascinating story of pantyhose in wartime, via Smithsonian Magazine (part 1, part 2).
posted by mudpuppie on Sep 19, 2012 - 4 comments

Straw Hat Riots

While courts say you can wear them in a snowstorm if you want to, yesterday was the last acceptable day to wear straw hats unless you're willing to offend someone and risk your life. Top hats and Sheath Skirts might be risky too.
posted by drezdn on Sep 16, 2011 - 61 comments

History Remixed.

MOMENTUS is an artistic collaboration to visualize and reinterpret defining moments in US history.
posted by mean cheez on Jul 25, 2011 - 6 comments

"An assault on unions is an assault on democracy itself"

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says the National Guard is prepared to respond to unrest among state workers: "Gov. Scott Walker says the Wisconsin National Guard is prepared to respond if there is any unrest among state employees in the wake of his announcement that he wants to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights." NY Times offers more reporting on Walker's proposals here. Notably, Walker is reportedly refusing even to negotiate with the public employee unions. Though Walker's carefully worded announcement avoided any specific commitments about how guard troops might be used much beyond noting the Wisconsin Governor's concern that "some union leaders will try to incite their members," a look back at the history of the labor movement in the US reveals that this wouldn't be the first time in US history the National Guard has been called upon to respond to labor unrest, and that the results haven't always been pretty. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on Feb 13, 2011 - 222 comments

Everything you wanted from an 1860

The Long Recall is a daily news aggregator chronicling the buildup to the U.S. Civil War. The daily posts are "digests of the news and commentary that an intelligent American might have had accessible 150 years ago."
posted by lalex on Dec 1, 2010 - 11 comments

Just another counterfactual Monday

Hite's Law: "All alternate histories produce zeppelins." Kenneth Hite has been featuring alternate Mondays on his livejournal.What if Tewodros II hadn't unified Ethiopia? What if Bonnie Prince Charlie had been worth the powder it would take to blow him out of a cannon barrel? How could Carthage have won the Punic Wars? What if King Kalakaua of Hawai'i had succeeded in forging a Union and Federation of Asiatic Nations and Sovereigns with Japan? How could 20th century North America have ended up ruled by rival warlords? How could things have gone not quite so badly for the Huguenots? What if the Suez Crisis and the invasion of Hungary hadn't been contemporaneous? [more inside]
posted by Zed on Dec 1, 2010 - 30 comments

"They're selling postcards of the hanging."

On June 15th, 1920 in Duluth, Minnesota, three young, black circus workers, Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Issac McGhie, were lynched. The Minnesota Historical Society has a great site devoted to the terrible event, Duluth Lynchings Online Resource. I'd especially like to point out the Oral Histories section, which has short interviews with African-Americans who lived through the event. In 2001 Minnesota Public Radio covered the story, inspired by a campaign to build a memorial to the three men, which was dedicated in October of 2003. The Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial has a fine website which is well worth visiting.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 10, 2010 - 10 comments

Yo AP grader, Imma let you finish, but this is the best essay of all time. OF ALL TIME.

England viewed the colonies as nothing more than a back-talking teenager that needed smacked. The Japanese were put in concentration camps, so we could concentrate on them. During this time, Lespians came out of their nests. [more inside]
posted by katemonster on Jun 9, 2010 - 53 comments

Freed by the Civil War

In 1865, after the end of the Civil War, Col. P. H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee, wrote to his former slave, Jourdon Anderson, asking him to return to work for him. In reply, Jourdon Anderson told Colonel Anderson exactly where he could stick his offer. This letter was part of The Freedmen's Book (full download in many different formats) which was distributed to those freed after and during the Civil War, so that they would know stories of other freedmen who had done well, including Touissant L'Ouverture, Phillis Wheatley and Frederick Douglass. The book was put together and published by Lydia Maria Child, abolitionist, women's rights activist, Indian rights campaigner and all around awesome person. She became famous in her own time for her cookbook The Frugal Housewife, but today her best known work is Over the River and Through the Woods. The Freedmen's Book was part of an effort by abolitionists after the war to educate freed slaves. The American Antiquarian Society has a great website about that movement, Northern Visions of Race, Region and Reform, which has plenty of primary sources and images galore.
posted by Kattullus on Apr 22, 2010 - 92 comments

I wonder if Roy has seen the President. Aunt Winifred says she does not doubt it.

About 2% of the US population died while serving in the military during the US Civil War, roughly equivalent to about six million people today. A few years after the war the best selling book at 100,000 copies was Elizabeth Stuart Phelps' The Gates Ajar, which deals mainly with heaven and what exactly happens there. Spoilers follow. [more inside]
posted by shothotbot on Jan 27, 2010 - 29 comments

"The original Port Huron Statement . . . Not the compromised second draft."

The Sixties Project - The Sixties Project began as a collective of humanities scholars working together on the Internet to use electronic resources to provide routes of collaboration and make available primary and secondary sources for researchers, students, teachers, writers and librarians interested in the Sixties. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Oct 23, 2009 - 9 comments

Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800

Fire destroyed the office of the War Department and all its files in 1800, and for decades historians believed that the collection, and the window it provided into the workings of the early federal government, was lost forever. Thanks to a decade-long effort to retrieve copies of the files scattered in archives across the country, the collection has been reconstituted and is offered here as a fully-searchable digital database.
posted by Knappster on Jan 13, 2009 - 10 comments

Oral History of Black Leadership

Explorations in Black Leadership is a collection of video interviews with prominent African-Americans, focusing on activists of one sort or another. 34 people are interviewed, including Nikki Giovanni, John Lewis, Barbara Lee, Bobby Rush, Dorothy Height and Amiri Baraka. There are full transcripts of every interview. Here's an excerpt from the Nikki Giovanni interview: "The kids today have to have a voice. I'm amazed that they found it. I remember Sugarhill Gang with Sylvia, you know: "Uptown, Downtown, the Holiday Inn." You know, things like that. Then, of course, I remember the explosion of Tupac Shakur. Losing Tupac was a great loss for this generation. I have a tattoo--it says "Thug Life" --because I wanted to mourn with this generation. I don't see how people can knock the kids…paying so little attention. I had deep regrets--and I know Rosa Parks, you know, we don't hang out but I know her--I so regretted that she lent her name to be used against Outkast, because Rosa Parks is a wonderful--is a wonderful tune. And they were giving her problems. If people don't--if the younger generation doesn't sing the praises of the older generation they get forgotten."
posted by Kattullus on Oct 25, 2008 - 8 comments

Thomas Jefferson's Library On Exhibit

WWJD (Which Words Jefferson Digested) Some Flash
posted by Rykey on Jul 9, 2008 - 4 comments

Slavery in the North

Slavery in the North is a website covering the 200-year history of slavery in the northern colonies in what would become the United States.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 11, 2008 - 49 comments

The Legacy of Lynching

African American Holocaust [Warning: contains graphic material] Nearly 5,000 black Americans were lynched between 1890 and 1960. In her new book, On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-First Century, University of Maryland School of Law Associate Professor Sherrilyn Ifill traces the ongoing impact of these crimes. While the lynchings were devastating, Professor Ifill argues that the little-known contemporary consequences, such as the marginalization of political and economic development for blacks, are equally pernicious, and that there's still a great deal of education and reconciliation that still needs to happen. [Previous Links]
posted by psmealey on Nov 6, 2007 - 70 comments

The slow death of an American institution

Grange Halls are common landmarks in America's rural communities. But what is a "Grange"? The Order of Patrons of Husbandry is a fraternal agricultural organization, but it's not just a social group for farmers; Grange lobbying fought railroad monopolies and led to Rural Free Delivery, the Farm Credit System, and other "progressive legislation that will benefit U.S. agriculture, rural America, and the nation in general". But after 140 years, the Grange is fading away.
posted by litlnemo on Jul 30, 2007 - 30 comments

"Your Superfluous Excellency" no more... more like Capo di tutti i capi

'A Different Understanding With the President' The first of four chapters in this week's Washington Post on how Dick Cheney became the most influential and powerful man ever to hold the office of vice president. This series examines Cheney's largely hidden and little-understood role in crafting policies for the War on Terror, the economy and the environment. By Barton Gellman and Jo Becker.
posted by psmealey on Jun 24, 2007 - 83 comments

Excerpts from Reagan's diaries

Excerpts from and pictures of Ronald Reagan's diaries while president, with a brief intro from historian Douglas Brinkley.
posted by ibmcginty on May 24, 2007 - 15 comments

McKinley Assassination Ink

McKinley Assassination Ink: "The goal [...]: to gather the largest possible selection of full-text primary source documents relating to the assassination of William McKinley and the immediate aftermath of that event, including the succession of Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency and the incarceration, trial, and execution of [anarchist] assassin Leon Czolgosz."
posted by OmieWise on Aug 18, 2006 - 9 comments

Teenage Hoboes in the Great Depression.

Teenage Hoboes in the Great Depression. During the Great Depression over 250,000 young people left home and began riding freight trains or hitchhiking across America. Most of them were between 16 and 25 years of age. Many finally found work and shelter through the Civilian Conservation Corps, a government relief project that Franklin D. Roosevelt established in 1933 as part of the New Deal. From 1933 to 1942, CCC enrollees built new roads, strung telephone wires, erected fire towers, and planted approximately 3 billion trees. By 1935, the program was providing employment for more than 500,000 young men.
posted by matteo on Jul 7, 2006 - 25 comments

"The drama of our times seems to have upstaged even you". "Not Booth".

America's First Superstar. He was the highest paid actor in the world, beloved by fans so passionate about his performances that a riot (23 people killed, more than a hundred wounded) ensued when a rival dared to perform the role that had made him famous. He enjoyed all the trappings of a superstar's life: portraits taken by America's most famous photographer, a large mansion (now a historic landmark), and of course a scandalous divorce trial (he lost). He was also one of the most prominent book collectors in the country. Edwin Forrest was born 200 years ago.
posted by matteo on Mar 21, 2006 - 19 comments

Ben Franklin Slept Here

Jefferson has his Monticello; Washington, Mount Vernon. Now, Benjamin Franklin's only surviving residence, Number 36 Craven Street, London, opened its doors to the public. More inside.
posted by matteo on Mar 16, 2006 - 13 comments

“Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution” -- an online exhibit

“Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution” -- an online exhibit
posted by matteo on Mar 7, 2006 - 10 comments

Jackie Robinson, Civil Rights Advocate

Beyond the Playing Field: Jackie Robinson, Civil Rights Advocate. (more inside)
posted by matteo on Jan 16, 2006 - 12 comments

Edmund Wilson and American culture

"When I read his work, I forgive him all his sins". Edmund Wilson disliked being called a critic. He thought of himself as a journalist, and nearly all his work was done for commercial magazines, principally Vanity Fair, in the nineteen-twenties; The New Republic, in the nineteen-twenties and thirties; The New Yorker, beginning in the nineteen-forties; and The New York Review of Books, in the nineteen-sixties. He was exceptionally well read: he had had a first-class education in English, French, and Italian literature, and he kept adding languages all his life. He learned to read German, Russian, and Hebrew; when he died, in 1972, he was working on Hungarian.
Edmund Wilson and American culture. (more inside)
posted by matteo on Aug 25, 2005 - 12 comments

The Senate Apologizes For Its Historical Inaction In Regards To Lynching

About Lynching
The Negro Holocaust: Lynching and Race Riots in the United States,1880-1950
Lynching in America: Carnival of Death
The Press and Lynchings of African Americans
U.S. Senate apologizes for shame of lynchings
On a voice vote and without opposition, the Senate passed a resolution expressing its regrets to the nearly 5,000 Americans -- mostly black males -- ...documented as having been lynched from 1880 to 1960. No lawmaker opposed the measure, but 20 of the 100 senators had not signed a statement of support of it shortly before a vote was taken on a nearly empty Senate floor.
posted by y2karl on Jun 13, 2005 - 135 comments

"We could make this great land of ours a greater place to live"

"Approximately 250,000 persons viewed and passed by the bier of little Emmett Till. All were shocked, some horrified and appalled. Many prayed, scores fainted and practically all, men, women and children wept". Chicago Defender, September 1, 1955.
Federal officials this morning erected a white tent over the grave of Emmett Till in Alsip, Ill., in preparation to exhume the body to shed light on the Chicago teenager's death 50 years ago. Till, 14 years old at the time, was killed in a hate crime in Money, Miss., that sparked the Civil Rights movement. (previous Emmett Till MeFi threads here and here)
posted by matteo on Jun 1, 2005 - 5 comments

Herbert O. Yardley and the Birth of American Codebreaking

The Reader of Gentlemen's Mail In the spring of 1919, when the father of American cryptography, Herbert O. Yardley, drew up a plan for a permanent State Department codebreaking organization — a "black chamber — he estimated that a modest $100,000 a year would buy a chief (Yardley) and fifty clerks and cryptanalysts. Yardley rented a three-story building in New York City: on East 38th Street just off Fifth Avenue, he put two dozen people to work under civilian cover—as the Code Compiling Company. His summary dismissal happened in 1929 at the hand of incoming Secretary of State Henry Stimson, who closed down the Cipher Bureau with the casual observation that "gentlemen do not read each other's mail". The son of a railroad telegrapher, a man with a lively Jazz Age interest in money, good-looking women, and drinks at five, Yardley not only taught his country how to read other people's mail but wrote two of the enduring American books—the memoir The American Black Chamber (1931), and The Education of a Poker Player (1957).
posted by matteo on Apr 22, 2005 - 6 comments

Sarah Robert's long walk

Sarah Roberts vs. Boston In 1848, five-year-old Sarah Roberts was barred from the local primary school because she was black. Her father sued the City (.pdf file). The lawsuit was part of an organized effort by the African-American community to end racially segregated schools. The book "Sarah's Long Walk: The Free Blacks of Boston and How Their Struggle for Equality Changed America" tells the story of the case of Roberts v. City of Boston, that remains a little-known landmark in the civil rights movement.
posted by matteo on Feb 24, 2005 - 4 comments

Sleeping with the president is not a good idea.

Sleeping with the president is not a good idea. Bush had no answers to big questions, such as 'what happens on the morning after.' The Daily Telegraph reports that documents show Prime Minister Tony Blair signed up to the U.S. policy of regime change in March 2002, a year before the conflict started... after he was warned that postwar stability would be difficult and the U.S. had few answers. Oh, no problem. This week, Bush said he is 'pleased with the progress' in Iraq.'
posted by fleener on Sep 19, 2004 - 14 comments

America in the 1930s

America in the 1930s : on film, in print, on the air. Some highlights : War of the Worlds, the Robert Johnson notebooks, Superman's identity crisis, Babe Ruth, a female evangelist, building the Chrysler Building.
posted by plep on Jul 9, 2003 - 7 comments

The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard M. Helms, former CIA director, is dead.

The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard M. Helms, former CIA director, is dead. "We're not in the Boy Scouts," Richard Helms was fond of saying when he ran the Central Intelligence Agency. He was involved in many suspicious covert operations -- in 1970's Chile for example -- and JFK consipracy nuts even linked him to the president's assasination. George Tenet now calls Helms "a great patriot". He was fired by President Nixon when he refused to block an FBI probe into the Watergate scandal. Want to know more about the man? Check out Thomas Powers excellent story in "The Atlantic" Oh, and his niece was the semi-official Taliban ambassador to the USA
posted by matteo on Oct 23, 2002 - 14 comments

Know-Nothings, Bible Riots and the Catholic Church

Know-Nothings, Bible Riots and the Catholic Church Take a break from priest abuse news with this detailed history of anti-Catholic bias in the United States. In 1834, an angry Boston mob burned down a convent after Harriet Beecher Stowe's father preached that Catholic immigrants were a threat to democracy. In Philadelphia, the 1844 Bible Riots lasted for days, destroying Irish-Catholic churches and neighborhoods. In 1855, Louisville Know-Nothings went on a "Bloody Monday" rampage that left dozens of Catholics dead. Even telegraph inventor Samuel Morse got into the act with a series of anonymous anti-Catholic letters. Fascinating stuff, but oops, break's over. We now return to our regularly scheduled program.
posted by mediareport on Jun 13, 2002 - 25 comments

A few laughs at the expense of a "pretty great state"

A few laughs at the expense of a "pretty great state"
Legislators' Ignorance Is Embarrassing
Few would argue that "a proper understanding of American history and government is essential to good citizenship," as stated in a bill written this year by the Utah Legislature and signed into law March 18 by Gov. Mike Leavitt.
But in its zeal to put God back in government, the Legislature revealed an embarrassing ignorance of America's history and its Constitution.
posted by onegoodmove on Apr 7, 2002 - 23 comments

The only "war" I can think of in U.S. history anything like the present situation is the U.S. Navy's war on Caribbean piracy (1814-1825). Stateless, decentralized foe, no defined fields of battle, no "high-value targets"...Again, 1814-1825: eleven years. Any U.S. history majors out there?
posted by luser on Sep 19, 2001 - 19 comments

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