U.S. History

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Debating Who Actually Won the Civil War

Wars are won and lost for thousands of reasons. Civil wars, because of the bitterness and cruelty they entail, often result in long debates about why one side defeated the other. No one is ever satisfied [more…]

World War II Comes to America: Pearl Harbor

Japan's ambassadors delivered the first part of a final Japanese diplomatic note to U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull on December 6, 1941. On the morning of December 7, the final portion of the note [more…]

Examining the Leaders of North and South Vietnam

You can get a better understanding of the Vietnam War by taking a look at the leaders of North Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh) and South Vietnam (Ngo Dinh Diem). Getting to know more about the two leaders in Vietnam [more…]

Exploring How the Civil War Began

Wars have many causes. No one should ever forget that wars are fought for political reasons and objectives. Essentially, people or nations go to war to protect a vital interest, defend territory from an [more…]

Lewis and Clark: Wooing the Sioux

On their expedition, Lewis and Clark knew from their investigations in St. Louis that support and cooperation from the Sioux bands was vital to the success of American trade with the Missouri River tribes [more…]

Examining Rap's Origins

The rap music of today is an outgrowth of the mid-1970s hip-hop, a brash mixture of rhythm and boastful talking. Out of nowhere, the Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight, [more…]

Declaring Independence for America

Starting in 1763, England and her American colonies began to irritate each other almost incessantly. Once blood was spilled at Lexington and Concord, war became inevitable, even though there were some [more…]

Examining the Beginnings of World War II

Officially, World War II began when Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939 and the French and English declared war against Germany as a result of that invasion. But the war's beginnings came long [more…]

How Historians View the American Revolution

In the 200 years that historians have written about the American Revolution, four major arguments, or schools of thought,have emerged. Each of them presents a firm argument about what the Revolution really [more…]

The Vietnam War Opposition in America Finds Meaning

Had the Vietnam conflict in 1964 been a brushfire, the war in 1967, by comparison, was a raging inferno. The United States had committed more than 365,000 troops to Vietnam by the beginning of 1967, and [more…]

True Conspiracy: The Ford Pinto Memorandum

The Pinto automobile was marketed by Ford from 1971 to 1980 to try to feed the new American appetite for smaller cars. With its dinkster four-cylinder engine, the Pinto was battling the Volkswagon Beetle [more…]

Facing Racism and Sexism: Black Women in America

From the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, black women were in a difficult position. Between the civil rights and feminist movements, where did they fit in? They had been the backbone of the civil rights movement [more…]

Lewis and Clark: Profiling Meriwether Lewis

President Thomas Jefferson never appeared to waver in his decision to send Meriwether Lewis to lead the Corps of Discovery into the American West. Though he had turned Lewis down to lead a similar trip [more…]

The Good, the Bad, and the Mortal: The Deities of Norse Mythology

The Norse deities came in two flavors, the Vanir and the Aesir. The Vanir were the older, fertility gods; they included Freyr, Freya, and Njord. The Aesir were more modern, warlike gods, which included [more…]

Diseases Decimate Native American Populations

From the 16th century through the early 20th century, no fewer than 93 confirmed epidemics and pandemics — all of which can be attributed to European contagions — decimated the American Indian population [more…]

Lewis and Clark: William Clark for Expedition Co-Captain

Thomas Jefferson was leaning on Lewis to find a second in command for the expedition. Lewis went a step further than naming a second: He wrote to William Clark in June of 1803 and offered him co-command [more…]

SAT II U.S. History: Taking a Look at Format and Content

The SAT II U.S. History exam usually contains about 90 questions that you have to answer in one hour. The questions tend to get harder as you move through the test [more…]

Debunking the Beatles Conspiracy: "Paul Is Dead"

One of the strangest events surrounding the Beatles was the rumor in 1966 that band member Paul McCartney was dead. Not only was he dead, but was replaced with a double. More amazing was that the band [more…]

Rushing for Gold and Statehood in California

On the chilly morning of Jan. 24, 1848, a man looked down into a sawmill ditch off the American River, about 40 miles east of Sacramento, California, (or 120 miles east of Yerba Buena, which soon became [more…]

Finding a Voice during the Harlem Renaissance

No period of African American literary history receives as much attention as the Harlem Renaissance, which ranged roughly from the beginning of World War I to the Great Depression. For the first time, [more…]

Escalating the Vietnam War: The Tet Offensives of 1968

The Tet holiday is revered in Vietnamese society as a series of days to visit with and enjoy family and friends. It has also been a time of great victories over previous foreign invaders in Vietnam. Almost [more…]

Enter a War Hero: President Ulysses Simpson Grant

Ulysses Grant's two terms as president are usually considered the most corrupt of any of the presidencies in U.S. history. Why did an honest man suffer such horrible terms in office? For one reason, Grant [more…]

Examining the Life of Malcolm X

Although best known for slogans such as "By Any Means Necessary" as well as posters depicting him with a gun, Malcolm X was a very complex man. An ex-convict, Malcolm X's strength, charisma, and intelligence [more…]

Scrutinizing Naval Warfare during the Civil War: The Ironclad

In April 1861, after Fort Sumter, Union navy personnel hurriedly attempted to destroy its most important facility in Norfolk, Virginia, to prevent it from falling into the hands of the newly seceded state [more…]

Remembering What a Buck Could Buy in the 1960s

A dollar really went far in the 1960s — much farther than it does today. Before you get too nostalgic, remember that the median household income in 1967 was [more…]

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