The flag that flew over Fort McHenry when American troops were under attack by the British in 1814, inspiring Francis Scott Key to compose the hymn that became the national anthem.

History for a Post-Fact America

A review of Jill Lepore's new book, which she has called the most ambitious single-volume American history written in generations.
A stack of books, including biographies of John Adams and Ulysses S. Grant.

Arguing Biography

An university press editor considers the merits and limitations of biography as a scholarly form.
Confederate General Robert E. Lee, photographed in May 1869.

At 63, I Threw Away My Prized Portrait of Robert E. Lee

I was raised to venerate Lee the principled patriot—but I want no association with Lee the defender of slavery.
Former Kmart in Burlington Township, NJ.

The Archivists of Extinction

Architectural history in an era of capitalist ruin.
An original drawing for

Were the Founders Against Slavery All Along?

A new book argues that despite certain compromises, the Constitution’s writers were careful to plant the seeds of abolition.
Geronimo's Grave at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, 2005.

Forgiving the Unforgivable: Geronimo’s Descendants Seek to Salve Generational Trauma

Traveling to the heart of Mexico for a Ceremonia del Perdón.
Depiction of Pocahontas saving the life of John Smith (c. 1870).

How Pocahontas—The Myth and the Slur—Props Up White Supremacy

The roots of the attacks on Elizabeth Warren.
Makeshift memorial to Hispanic Civil War Union soldiers who fought in the Battle of Glorieta Pass in Northern New Mexico outside Santa Fe.

America's Few Latino Historical Sites Languish, Forgotten and Decaying

A makeshift memorial in New Mexico dedicated to Hispanic Union soldiers "looks like just a taco stand, without any tacos."
Robert E. Lee statue in New Orleans being removed, May 19, 2017.

Not Even Trump Wants to Praise Robert E. Lee

Most of President Donald Trump's 20th-century predecessors expressed profound admiration for Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old college student whose murder in 1998 turned him into a symbol of violence against gay people.

Matthew Shepard Will Be Interred at Washington National Cathedral, 20 Years After Death

After he was murdered, Shepard became a symbol of violence against gay people. He has never been laid to rest.
A Polish boy holds up a portrait of Adolf Hitler. (ca. 1940)

How Americans Described Evil Before Hitler

Commentators compared the Nazi leader to Napoleon, Philip of Macedon, and Nebuchadnezzar.
Christopher Columbus lands on Watling Island and meets the natives, while three of his shipmates erect a cross (1492)

Columbus Day Is the Most Important Day of Every Year

Acknowledging the truth about colonialism is crucial if we want to comprehend the world around us today.