Some Things Are Worth Forgetting
In a provocative new book, David Rieff questions whether remembering the past can really spare us from repeating it.
America’s Lost History of Border ViolenceTexas Rangers and civilian vigilantes killed thousands of Mexican-Americans in a campaign of terror. A century later, will the state finally acknowledge the bloodshed?
The Art of the New DealHow an inexperienced New Yorker famous for his name emerged from the contested 1932 convention to win the presidency.
America’s Other Original SinEuropeans didn’t just displace Native Americans—they enslaved them, and encouraged tribes to participate in the slave trade, on a scale historians are only beginning to fathom.
Who Was Hugh Glass?The Revenant is just the latest in a long history of retellings of Glass’ ordeal. Why does every generation of Americans revisit his story?
The Road Trip That Made the Modern American Highway PossibleHow a group of enterprising auto executives convinced the nation to pave its dusty paths.
Masters of the AtlanticThe forgotten contest between colonists and seafaring Indians for command of the American coast.
When People Flee to America’s ShoresWe are a nation of immigrants and refugees. Yet we always fear who is coming next.
At Home With HitlerLife’s scathing 1939 feature on Hitler’s design sensibilities caused a reader outpouring that spanned from Hitler fan mail to wild conspiracy theories.
How Do You Write History for Teenagers?M.T. Anderson writes erudite books about serious topics—and young adults love them.
Runaway RailroadHistory of American Slavery, Episode 8: Our sometimes mythical memory of the Underground Railroad, and why the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 propelled the country toward war.
Andrew Jackson’s Adopted Indian SonWas bringing home an Indian boy—after slaughtering his family—an act of compassion or of political expedience?
Roller Skating Socials and a Black Rosie the RiveterDiscovering a different side of black history in the archives of the black press.
How Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. Won the 1964 New Hampshire Primary Without Lifting a Finger Four friends thought running the “old man” would be a fun thing to do.
Native American Slaves in New FranceAs many as 10,000 Indians were enslaved between 1660–1760. Here are the names we know.
Is History Written About Men, by Men?A careful study of recent popular history books reveals a genre dominated by generals, presidents—and male authors.
A New History of ProhibitionHow the ban on booze gave rise to prejudiced policing, the penal system, and the modern American right wing.
Federalist No. 2The text of Publius’ article on America’s national character—with a commentary on its relevance to the immigration debate today.
How the Nuremberg Trial Bore Witness to the Nazis’ Worst CrimesOn the 70th anniversary of the world’s most famous trial, the prosecutors’ wise approach still offers a lesson for us.
How Did American Slavery End?History of American Slavery, Episode 9: The long process of emancipation.
The Banality of GoodWhy individuals who rescued Jews during World War II found it so difficult to explain their motives.
Slavery Myths DebunkedThe Irish were slaves too; slaves had it better than Northern factory workers; black people fought for the Confederacy; and other lies, half-truths, and irrelevancies.
History’s True WarningHow our misunderstanding of the Holocaust offers moral cover for the geopolitical disasters of our time.
The Case of the Piglet’s PaternityThe 1642 bestiality trial of New Haven colonist George Spencer reveals the horrifying growing pains of our modern justice system.