Political Leaders

Lieutenant Colonel Almon F. Rockwell (center) was a longtime friend of President James A. Garfield (right). He was also one of roughly 25 people present at Abraham Lincoln's (left) deathbed.

This Man Was the Only Eyewitness to the Deaths of Both Lincoln and Garfield

Almon F. Rockwell's newly resurfaced journals, excerpted exclusively here, offer an incisive account of the assassinated presidents' final moments

The U.S. Capitol building was fenced off on January 7.

History of Now

Archiving the January 6 Insurrection for History

On the one-year anniversary of the attack on the Capitol, the National Museum of American History continues to collect related artifacts

Arnold Bertonneau of New Orleans, Robert Smalls of South Carolina and Anderson Ruffin Abbott of Toronto.

Meet the Black Men Who Changed Lincoln's Mind About Equal Rights

During the Civil War, these individuals convinced the president, altering the course of U.S. history

Franklin believed a turkey killed with electricity would be tastier than one dispatched by conventional means: decapitation.

When Benjamin Franklin Shocked Himself While Attempting to Electrocute a Turkey

The statesman was embarrassed by the mishap—no doubt a murder most fowl

Detail of Ronald N. Sherr's General Colin Powell, 2012, oil on canvas

History of Now

Colin Powell, First Black Secretary of State, Dies of Covid-19 at 84

The decorated general broke racial barriers in the U.S. military but attracted criticism for his part in paving the way for the Iraq War

Over the span of two years, Washington visited all 13 original states (14 if you count Maine, which was then part of Massachusetts), traveling on horseback and by carriage along rutted dirt roads and over rising rivers.

When George Washington Took a Road Trip to Unify the U.S.

Nathaniel Philbrick’s new book follows the first president on his 1789 journey across America

Officers Paul Douglas (left) and Theodore Santos (right) stand with their newest Covid-19 K9 unit: a female black lab named Huntah (left) and a male golden lab-retriever mix, Duke (right).

Covid-19

Massachusetts Becomes First U.S. State to Enlist Covid-Sniffing Canines

Duke and Huntah are first dogs used by law enforcement to detect coronavirus cases

Abraham Lincoln (left) claimed first place, while William Henry Harrison (right) came in 40th.

History of Now

Who Were the Best and Worst Presidents Ever—and How Do Historians Decide?

C-SPAN's 2021 ranking places Trump near the bottom of the list. Obama, Grant rises higher, while Lincoln holds steady in first

A proposed government plan will move the A303 highway, pictured here in the distance behind Stonehenge's iconic structures, underground. But Unesco warned in a report Monday that the efforts might endanger the site's OVU, or outstanding universal value.

Unesco Weighs Changes to Stonehenge's Cultural Heritage Status

A new report also cited Venice and the Great Barrier Reef as sites that might be placed on the World Heritage in Danger list

The oil crisis affected everything from home heating to business costs. But the impact was most obvious on the roads.

History of Now

Gas Shortages in 1970s America Sparked Mayhem and Forever Changed the Nation

Half a century ago, a series of oil crises caused widespread panic and led to profound shifts in U.S. culture

America’s public, partisan and passionate campaigns fired up uniformed young men who participated in torchlit marches, a style pioneered by the Republican Wide Awakes stumping for Abraham Lincoln in 1860 (above: a procession stomped through Lower Manhattan’s Printing House Square).

The Little-Known Story of 19th-Century America's Partisan Warfare

In a new book, Smithsonian curator Jon Grinspan examines the history of America's furious and fractious politics

Geraldine Ferraro and Walter Mondale by Diane Walker, 1984

Walter Mondale Never Won the Presidency, but He Changed American Politics Forever

A trove of Smithsonian artifacts document the man who was first to put a woman on the presidential ticket and reshaped the vice presidency

The Royalists used the cookbook to paint Oliver and Elizabeth Cromwell as commoners unfit to rule the kingdom.

This 17th-Century Cookbook Contained a Vicious Attack on Oliver Cromwell's Wife

The Cromwell Museum has republished a text first issued by the English Lord Protector's enemies as propaganda

This silver diadem was one of around 30 valuable artifacts buried with a Bronze Age woman.

Cool Finds

Silver Diadem Found in Spain May Point to Bronze Age Woman's Political Power

Researchers say the crown—and the trove of ornate objects buried alongside it—could have belonged to a female ruler of La Argar

On March 13, 1996, a gunman murdered 16 students and their teacher at Dunblane Primary School in Scotland. Pictured: the class of 5- to 6-year-olds and their teacher, Gwen Mayor

History of Now

How the 1996 Dunblane Massacre Pushed the U.K. to Enact Stricter Gun Laws

A devastating attack at a Scottish primary school sparked national outcry—and a successful campaign for gun reform

Martin Luther King Jr. and Reverend Ralph Abernathy are taken in for questioning by Birmingham police in 1962.

Cool Finds

Rare Birmingham Jail Logbook Pages Signed by MLK Resurface After Decades

Two sheets of paper from the Alabama prison where the activist penned a famous 1963 letter sold at auction for more than $130,000

The exhibition is on view near a neighborhood recreation center that holds classes and homework time, even during the pandemic, and an all-boys high school. "I just feel like this block amplifies all of the messages expressed in the exhibit," says one of the show's organizers.

In a Covid-Affected Washington, D.C. Neighborhood, Black History Is Reinterpreted on a City Block

A powerful outdoor exhibition amplifies a message of "pride, tenacity and possibility"

A framed display of locks of George and Martha Washington's hair is estimated to sell for upward of $75,000.

Trove of Presidential Memorabilia, From Washington's Hair to JFK's Sweater, Is Up for Sale

RR Auction is offering a collection of nearly 300 artifacts, including a signed photo of Abraham Lincoln and a pen used by FDR

Domínguez, who was executed by General Francisco Franco's fascist forces in 1936, was a teacher, writer and political thinker.

Is This the Body of a Woman Mayor Murdered During the Spanish Civil War?

Born into poverty, María Domínguez Remón overcame abuse to fight for women's and workers' rights

An illustration of the British burning Washington in 1814

History of Now

The History of Violent Attacks on the U.S. Capitol

While the building has seen politically motivated mayhem in the past, never before has a mob of insurrectionists tried to overturn a presidential election

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