Articles on US history

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Were muskets in 1777 better regulated than assault rifles in 2017? Jana Shea/Shutterstock.com

Five types of gun laws the Founding Fathers loved

A leading historian of constitutional thought says the contemporary Second Amendment debate is founded on serious misunderstandings.
A U.S. soldier fires a Colt M16 in Vietnam in 1967. U.S. Army

How the US government created and coddled the gun industry

While advocates of gun control may feel powerless in the wake of mass shootings like the one in Las Vegas, the history of government support for the industry shows Americans have more sway than they think.
The 2016 Standing Rock protest was only the most recent manifestation of the indigenous American values inherited by European settlers on this land. James MacPherson

Indigenous people invented the so-called ‘American Dream’

Anti-immigrant policies ignore that American ideals like liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness can be traced back to the indigenous pioneers who once moved freely across North America.
Agricultural Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, Illinois, circa 1893. University of Maryland Digital Collections

How Columbus, of all people, became a national symbol

An anthropologist tells the story of how Columbus actually came close to falling into historical obscurity, until American hubris got in the way.
NFL players from many teams have knelt or linked arms in protest during the playing of the national anthem. Reuters/Paul Childs

Why US sports stars are taking a knee against Trump

Donald Trump’s ill-timed comments on protests by America's elite athletes have given legitimacy to claims of his racial animus.
Marines help the wounded man to an evacuation helicopter near Van Tuong,1965. AP Photo/Peter Arnett

How Vietnam dramatically changed our views on honor and war

Is there honor in a losing battle? The US military faced this question in Vietnam. Its response would eventually change how the media covered war and how Americans perceive it.
Old West, as seen through 1967 Orange County eyes. Orange County Archives

Old West theme parks paint a false picture of pioneer California

Knott's Berry Farm and others romanticize the state's past and influence visitors’ sense of history. But their ideology reflects mid-20th-century political conservatism more than settlers' reality.
Celebrity cows: Southern Girl and Iceberg enjoy a ‘hay cocktail’ at the Commodore Hotel in New York. Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, contact for re-use

Cows in Antarctica? How one expedition milked them for all their worth

What would possess an Antarctic expedition to take dairy cows to the icy continent? Back in 1933, Admiral Byrd did so for reasons of image-making, publicity and territorial ambition.
A National Guardsman stands at a Detroit intersection during the summer riots of 1967. AP Photo/David Stephenson

Why Detroit exploded in the summer of 1967

Fifty years ago, Jeffrey Horner watched news broadcasts of the riots that erupted just miles from his home. But he was worlds apart from the racial tensions that had been festering for decades.

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