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Articles on US history

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This man visited the Soviet embassy in Mexico City while Lee Harvey Oswald was in Mexico in 1963. Officials thought it might be Oswald. Corbis via Getty Images

JFK conspiracy theory is debunked in Mexico 57 years after Kennedy assassination

In 1967 a Mexican reporter told the CIA he had met Lee Harvey Oswald in Mexico City just before the JFK assassination. New research and recently declassified intelligence pokes a hole in his story.
Trump falsely declaring a win in the early hours of Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the US election, as ballot counting continued in Pennsylvania and other battleground states. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

History tells us that a contested election won’t destroy American democracy

Five of the six disputed presidential elections in US history were resolved and the country moved on -- but one ended in civil war. What will happen if the 2020 election is contested?
Donald Trump’s current term as president began on Jan. 20, 2017. It will end on Jan. 20, 2021, with the start of a new term – for him, or someone else. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The president’s term ends at noon on Jan. 20

The framers of the Constitution were very clear that presidential terms have time limits. Not four years and a day. Not three years and 364 days. Four years.
China has clashed with neighbors over its fishing in the contested South China Sea, pictured here. Controversially, Chinese fishermen also venture as far as Argentina and Ecuador. Yao Feng/VCG via Getty Images

US-China fight over fishing is really about world domination

Chinese fishermen are illegally trawling South American waters, inflaming tensions with the US. But for centuries Washington used aggressive fishing to expand its overseas presence, too.
Mayflower ashore on the banks of the Thames in 1624, being broken for parts. Dr Mike Haywood (used with the kind permission of The General Society of Mayflower Descendants)

Mayflower 400: the science of sailing across the ocean in 1620

When a shipload of puritan colonisers set sail for the New World, maritime science and navigation were fairly unsophisticated.
Charlottesville city workers drape a tarp over the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in 2018. Debate over removing the statue continues today. AP Photo/Steve Helber, File

Monuments ‘expire’ – but offensive monuments can become powerful history lessons

Once stripped of their symbolic power, problem monuments offer what educators call 'teachable moments,' helping people assess society's current values and compare them with what mattered in the past.
Plimoth Plantation, in Plymouth, Mass., is a living museum that’s a replica of the original settlement, which existed for 70 years. Wikimedia Commons

The complicated legacy of the Pilgrims is finally coming to light 400 years after they landed in Plymouth

Descendants from the Pilgrims were keen to highlight their ancestors' role in the country's founding. But their sanitized version of events is only now starting to be told in full.
John James Audubon relied on African Americans and Native Americans to collect some specimens for his ‘Birds of America’ prints (shown: Florida cormorant), but never credited them. National Audubon Society

American environmentalism’s racist roots have shaped global thinking about conservation

US ideas about conservation center on walling off land from use. That approach often means expelling Indigenous and other poor people who may be its most effective caretakers.
These boys working in a Georgia cotton mill were photographed in 1909. Lewis Hine/The National Child Labor Committee Collection via Library of Congress

Abolishing child labor took the specter of ‘white slavery’ and the job market’s near collapse during the Great Depression

More than a fifth of US children were working in 1900, and many Americans saw nothing wrong with that. It took decades of activism and court battles plus economic upheaval to change course.
During a protest, federal police officials stand inside a fence at the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, July 25, 2020. (Photo by Ankur Dholakia / AFP via Getty Images

Don’t want federal agents in your city or town? Then protect federal property

No one involved in local government wants to see federal law enforcement agents take over their policing. But a mayor who's also a legal scholar says there's history and precedent for it.

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