Political cartoon of Andrew Johnson holding a leaking kettle labeled "The Reconstructed South" towards a woman representing liberty and Columbia, carrying a baby representing the newly approved 14th Amendment.
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The Pro-Democratic Fourteenth Amendment

At the heart of recent US Supreme Court decisions, the Fourteenth Amendment was framed to require free speech and free elections in the South.
Photograph of women from the Women's Christian Temperance Union gathered at a bar wearing protest signs.
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The Forgotten Temperance Movement of the 1950s

Despite the repeal of Prohibition, alcohol consumption was an enormous political issue for many white American Protestants.
A collection of flags, games, and printed matter from the Civil War
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Patriotism and Consumerism in the Civil War

For a burgeoning consumer society, store-bought flags and bonnets offered proof that commercialism could go hand in hand with heartfelt emotion.
Debt written on a blackboard
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How We All Got in Debt

Consumer debt shapes American lives so thoroughly that it seems eternal and immortal, but it’s actually relatively new to the financial world.
Studio portrait of American violinist Maud Powell, c. 1909
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Women, Men, and Classical Music

As more women embraced music as a profession, more men became worried that the world of the orchestra was losing its masculinity.
Horse and rider at 1917 Kentucky Derby
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Fast Horses and Eugenics

The breeding of race horses validated those aspiring to belong to an American elite while feeding into racist beliefs about genetic inheritance.
People collecting sap from trees for maple sugar
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Praising Maple Sugar in the Early American Republic

In Early America, some prestigious residents advocated for the replacement of cane sugar, supplied by enslaved workers, with maple sugar from family farms.
Map of Freedmans Village
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The Long Afterlife of Freedman’s Village

Freedman's Village, created in Arlington, VA at the end of the Civil War, became a thriving community of Black residents as part of Reconstruction.
Man playing drum
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Music and Spirit in the African Diaspora

The musical traditions found in contemporary Black U.S. and Caribbean Christian worship originated hundreds of years ago, continents away.
Johnny Cash performing with band
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The Radicalism of Johnny Cash

The best-selling musical artist in the world in 1969, Johnny Cash sang of (and for) the "forgotten Americans": the imprisoned men of all races.
Painting of an airship flying over a rural countryside.
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Whatever Happened to Airships?

In moving away from fossil fuels, some in aviation are thinking of bringing back helium-assisted flight.
Aged photograph of Chinese laborers working on the railroad.

Artifacts Used by Chinese Transcontinental Railroad Workers Found in Utah

Researchers discovered the remains of a mid-19th century house, a centuries-old Chinese coin and other traces of the short-lived town of Terrace.
William Burnet meeting with Native American leadership
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The Native American Roots of the U.S. Constitution

The Iroquois, Shawnee, Cherokee, and other political formations generally separated military and civil leadership and guarded certain personal freedoms.
Head of a man with a severe disease affecting his face by Christopher D' Alton, 1858. One of a collection of drawings by D' Alton of patients at the Royal Free Hospital, Grays Inn Road, London.
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The Ugly History of Chicago’s "Ugly Law"

In the nineteenth century, laws in many parts of the country prohibited "undeserving" disabled people from appearing in public.
Woman recycling glass, Wallingford neighborhood, Seattle, Washington, 1990
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You'll Never Believe Who Invented Curbside Recycling

Far from ushering in a zero-waste world, the switch from returnables to recycling provided cover for the creation of ever more packaging trash.
Political cartoon of a man being taken away from his family.
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The Role of Naval Impressment in the American Revolution

Maritime workers who were basically kidnapped into the British Royal Navy were a key force in the War of Independence.
Comic book cover
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The Propaganda of World War II Comic Books 

A government-funded group called the Writers' War Board got writers and illustrators to portray the United States positively—and its enemies as evil.
Drawing of dog in front of landscape
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The Dogs of North America

Dogs were prolific hunters and warm companions for northeastern Native peoples like the Mi'kmaq.
A map of the eastern US, with a line from Washington DC to St. Louis.

The Ill-Fated Idea to Move the Nation's Capital to St. Louis

In the years after the Civil War, some wanted a new seat of government that would be closer to the geographic center of a growing nation.
Lithograph of Native Americans, 1870.
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Polygamy, Native Societies, and Spanish Colonists

Having more than one wife was an established part of life for some Native peoples before Europeans tried to end the practice.
Cotton Mather.
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The Hellfire Preacher Who Promoted Inoculation

Three hundred years ago, Cotton Mather starred in a debate about treating smallpox that tore Boston apart.
Two people playing mahjong in black-and-white photo
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White Women and the Mahjong Craze

Travelers brought the Chinese game to American shores in the early 1920s. Why was it such a hit?
The Battle of Fort Sumter.
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How the Civil War Got Its Name

From "insurrection" to "rebellion" to "Civil War," finding a name for the conflict was always political.
Roald Dahl
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Roald Dahl's Anti-Black Racism

The first edition of the beloved novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory featured "pygmy" characters taken from Africa.