Articles on US history

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Eastman Johnson’s ‘A Ride for Liberty’ (ca. 1862) depicts a family of slaves galloping for the safety of the North in the early morning light. Brooklyn Museum

In a digital archive of fugitive slave ads, a new portrait of slavery emerges

With Freedom on the Move, historians hope to reveal patterns of escape and capture, while giving anyone the chance to learn about the individual heroism of runaway slaves.
Half Dome, Yosemite National Park. Lorcel/Shutterstock

How John Muir’s incessant study saved Yosemite

John Muir, born on April 21, 1838, was one of America's first great conservation advocates. His letters and diaries convey the emotions Muir felt in Yosemite Valley, his 'sanctum sanctorum.'
Sunrise on Angel’s Window, North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park. National Park Service/Wikimedia

How the Grand Canyon changed our ideas of natural beauty

Why do Americans revere the Grand Canyon? It taught us to look at nature in a new way, and to respect iconic places by leaving them alone.
Joe Louis and Neil Scott help Isaac Woodard up a set a stairs soon after a beating left him blind. Ossie Leviness/New York Daily News

The police beating that opened America’s eyes to Jim Crow’s brutality

Seventy years ago, a horrific beating left a black World War II vet blind. His determined fight for justice would earn the support of Orson Welles, Woody Guthrie – and even the president.
Protector in chief: Theodore Roosevelt with conservationist John Muir at Yosemite in 1906. U.S. Library of Congress

Who politicized the environment and climate change?

Historically, environmental causes enjoyed bipartisan support but gains by NGOs and the emergence of climate change as a social issue have created a sharp political divide.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was often referred to as the Bureau of Livestock and Mining in the 19th century. U.S. Bureau of Land Management

The twisted roots of U.S. land policy in the West

What explains the anger behind the Malheur occupation in Oregon, and why does the BLM own so much land in the West?

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