Articles on US history

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Donald Trump and Paul Manafort in 2016. Mark Reinstein/MediaPunch /IPX

Will Trump pardon Manafort?

Presidents past have used a nearly limitless power of pardon to halt criminal prosecutions before. What's to stop Trump?
‘Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor’ by William Halsall (1882). Pilgrim Hall Museum

Why the Pilgrims were actually able to survive

The Pilgrims repeatedly thanked God for their good fortune. But without two earlier developments, the entire undertaking at New Plymouth would have likely failed.
Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to seven people, including former NFL quarterback Roger Staubach. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

What Trump’s picks for the Presidential Medal of Freedom say about him

Researchers have analyzed data from the last 50 years of medals to learn what presidents consider important and what legacy they hope to leave behind.
The Fort Hood military base in Killeen, Texas. AP Photo/ Tamir Kalifa

10 US military bases are named after Confederate generals

In scrutinizing statues honoring Confederate figures, journalists have overlooked military bases named after generals who fought to defend the slavery of black people.
John F. Kennedy’s assassination shocked the world in the 1960s and arguably played a part in the rise of Donald Trump today. Abbie Rowe/AAP

World politics explainer: the assassination of John F. Kennedy

The reverberations of JFK's assassination can still be felt to this day in the paranoid and racialised politics of the American right
Prison jobs are always low paid, often difficult, and produce many of the foodstuffs and services many Americans use every day. Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

Prisoner strike exposes an age old American reliance on forced labor

Enslaved workers used to grow cotton and mill flour. Now prisoners grind beef and crate eggs. Here, a historian explores Americans' troubling habit of consuming the products of slave labor.
The 2016 Maple fire (photographed in July 2017) reburned young forests that had regenerated after the 1988 Yellowstone fires. More frequent high-severity fires are expected in the future as climate warms, which may change patterns of forest recovery. Monica Turner

Here’s how forests rebounded from Yellowstone’s epic 1988 fires – and why that could be harder in the future

Huge fires roared through Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 1988, scorching one-third of the park. Since then the park has been a valuable lab for studying how forests recover from fires.
‘Early Days.’ Detail of Frank Happersberger’s pioneer monument, San Francisco, California, 1894. Photo by Lisa Allen. Cynthia Prescott

Think Confederate monuments are racist? Consider pioneer monuments

Many cities are removing their Confederate statues. But pioneer monuments represent a racist past, too. There are at least 200 of them, and their future is now being debated.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation seal. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

FBI brought down foreign agents in the past

An American pilot. A German aide on Capitol Hill. In the first and second world wars, the FBI effectively uprooted foreign influence campaigns. Today, the agency faces an uphill battle.
The 1947 and 1956 editions of the ‘Green Book,’ which was published to advise black motorists where they should – and shouldn’t – frequent during their travels. Image on the left: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library. Image on right: Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.

‘Traveling while black’ guidebooks may be out of print, but still resonate today

From the 1930s to the 1960s, 'The Negro Motorist's Green Book' and 'Travelguide: Vacation and Recreation Without Humiliation' offered African-American roadtrippers lists of black-friendly businesses.
‘Earthrise,’ which appeared on the cover of the second and third Whole Earth Catalog, was taken by Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders during lunar orbit, Dec. 24, 1968. NASA

Thing-makers, tool freaks and prototypers: How the Whole Earth Catalog’s optimistic message reinvented the environmental movement in 1968

The Whole Earth Catalog was a blueprint for sustainability that envisioned humans living in balance with nature. Its creative spirit was welcomed in a year riven by war, assassinations and riots.
A 1950s photograph of Emmett Till and his mother Mamie Till Mobley, during a visit to Jackson, Miss. AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Emmett Till’s life matters

A historian explains the significance of the Emmett Till murder for the civil rights movement.

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