Anti-immigrant cartoon showing two men labeled "Irish Wiskey" and "Lager Bier," carrying a ballot box.

How the 19th-Century Know Nothing Party Reshaped American Politics

From xenophobia to conspiracy theories, the Know Nothing party launched a nativist movement whose effects are still felt today

Woodrow Wilson

What Did President Wilson Mean When He Called for “Peace Without Victory” 100 Years Ago?

The iconic speech revealed the possibilities and the inherent problems with Wilsonian idealism

The head of the suffragist parade in Washington, 1913.

The Original Women's March on Washington and the Suffragists Who Paved the Way

They fought for the right to vote, but also advanced the causes for birth control, civil rights and economic equality

The rainbow at the top right in the window of the Lansdowne Portrait of George Washington (detail) was an 18th century symbol of God's blessings.

Why America Has a “President” Instead of an “Exalted Highness”

The title just used to mean someone who presided over a meeting

Anti-war demonstrators raise their hands toward the White House as they protest the shootings at Kent State University and the U.S. incursion into Cambodia, on May 9, 1970.

Eleven Times When Americans Have Marched in Protest on Washington

Revisiting some of the country’s most memorable uses of the right to assemble

George Washington's handwritten inaugural speech, currently on display at the National Archives.

The Speech and Bible From George Washington's First Inauguration Made History Many Times Over

The first president created the tradition of giving an inaugural address and swearing the oath of office on a Bible

Ned Buntline, Bufalo Bill Cody, Giuseppina Morlacchi, Texas Jack Omohundro (1846-1880)

Murder, Marriage and the Pony Express: Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Buffalo Bill

His adventures were sensationalized in print and the Wild West show, but reality was more complicated—and compelling

British double-agent Guy Burgess was one member of the Cambridge Five ring of spies.

The Student and the Spy: How One Man’s Life Was Changed by the Cambridge Five

An unlikely friendship with Guy Burgess, the infamous British double-agent, brought unexpected joy to Stanley Weiss

Mount McKinley

Visit These Ten Sites Celebrating Major Anniversaries in 2017

From Jane Austen’s 200th anniversary to the founding of Denali National Park, there are plenty of events to fill your calendar

Every new year is a new opportunity for the "worst year ever."

Why 2016 Is Only the Most Recent Worst Year Ever

This year has been miserable for many, but it has plenty of competition from its predecessors in the 20th century

President Boris Yeltsin hands over a copy of the Russian constitution to Vladimir Putin, December 21, 1999.

The Popularity of Putin and What It Means for America

In the 25 years since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has changed dramatically--and it’s more important than ever to understand those changes

A dog eats a special Christmas cake in Tokyo, celebrating with the festive red and white dessert. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

Why the Japanese Eat Cake For Christmas

A tradition beginning in war and ending in cake

Holiday spices have a long history, stretching back hundreds of years. (Alamy)

How the Crusades Helped Create Your Gingerbread Latte

Spices have been shaping cuisine for thousands of years, especially around the Christmas season

Our Top Ten Stories of 2016

From slavery to tuberculosis, it’s been a tumultuous year of exploring our past and looking to the future

Refugees stream across the River Ganges Delta at Kushtia, fleeing the violence in East Pakistan during the ongoing West Pakistani military campaign called Operation Searchlight. (AP Photo/Michel Laurent)

The Genocide the U.S. Can't Remember, But Bangladesh Can't Forget

Millions were killed in what was then known as East Pakistan, but Cold War geopolitics left defenseless Muslims vulnerable

The Drobitsky Yar menorah commemorates the genocide that happened in Kharkov, and across Ukraine.

The WWII Massacres at Drobitsky Yar Were the Result of Years of Scapegoating Jews

Silence obscured the truth in Ukraine for decades, but 75 years later the details of the genocide have emerged

Lucian's space travelers witness a battle between the forces of the Sun and the Moon, which includes outlandish creatures like three-headed vultures and space spiders.

The Intergalactic Battle of Ancient Rome

Hundreds of years before audiences fell in love with Star Wars, one writer dreamt of battles in space

Rudolf Hess and Adolf Hitler during the Reichstag session at which Hitler gave his last warning to the British Empire.

The First Moments of Hitler's Final Solution

When Hitler solidified his plan to exterminate Jews – and why it matters 75 years later

John Glenn (1921-2016) by Henry C. Casselli, Jr., 1998

A Smithsonian Curator Remembers Astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn

The American hero died at the age of 95

President Coolidge conducts the first official transatlantic phone call with the king of Spain in 1927

From the Telegram to Twitter, How Presidents Make Contact With Foreign Leaders

Does faster communication cause more problems than it solves?

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