Articles on US history

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George Washington would have thought wearing a mask was manly. National Portrait Gallery, Gilbert Stuart portrait/A. Papolu, illustration

George Washington would have so worn a mask

A biographer of George Washington says that the father of the country would have no problem wearing the kind of protective gear that President Trump shuns.
Artisanal small-scale gold mining polluted this stream and deforested sections of the Madre de Dios area of Peru. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Gold rush, mercury legacy: Small-scale mining for gold has produced long-lasting toxic pollution, from 1860s California to modern Peru

Small-scale gold mining operations in developing countries are major sources of toxic mercury pollution, using techniques that haven't changed much since the California Gold Rush 150 years ago.
President and Mrs. Roosevelt enjoying after-luncheon conversation with patients of the Warm Springs Foundation. Bettmann/Contributor via Getty Images

What FDR’s polio crusade teaches us about presidential leadership amid crisis

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s personal battle with polio, and his steady hand while overseeing a national eradication campaign, highlights decisive leadership against a virus that terrified America.
The first Earth Day in 1972 spurred other countries to support global environmental action. Callista Images/Getty

The first Earth Day was a shot heard around the world

April 22, 2020 is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which catalyzed action to protect the environment not just in the US but internationally.
The AIDS Memorial Quilt, honoring people who died of AIDS, on display in Washington, D.C. in 2011. NIH/Wikipedia

Coronavirus: Three lessons from the AIDS crisis

It took decades for scientists to recognize HIV/AIDS as a new disease, and years longer to mobilize an effective response with broad public support. Will the US do better against novel coronavirus?
Election fraud is not usually as obvious as this. Victor Moussa/Shutterstock.com

‘Stolen’ elections open wounds that may never heal

When the electoral process was helped along by practices that either were or appeared to be underhanded, the resulting wounds took a long time to heal – and may not ever have healed.
Rush Limbaugh reacts as President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

What Trump’s picks for the Presidential Medal of Freedom – like Rush Limbaugh and Antonin Scalia – 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.
Hip-hop officially became the most popular music genre in 2018 and continued its reign in 2019, according to Nielsen Music. Lev Radin/Shutterstock.com

Why hip-hop belongs in today’s classrooms

For the second year in a row, hip-hop music is the most popular form of music in the US. So why isn't it in more of America's classrooms? A hip-hop scholar weighs in.

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