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Civics and Citizenship

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Is America Doing Enough To Go Green?
With global greenhouse gas emissions at record levels, and the future of Earth at stake, what are Americans doing to safeguard the planet for future generations? And what more can be done?
We Call BS! Why Guns Are Big News
Millions of Americans value their Second Amendment right to own and carry arms. However, after 17 students and staff were shot dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School back in Florida in 2018 - students became the voice in the fight for gun law change. Meet Harvard University lecturer and author Caroline Light who explains why the gun control debate in America is louder than ever before.
The History of Birth Control
The invention of the Pill in 1967 revolutionised birth control everywhere. But US scientists Gregory Pincus and John Rock weren't the first people to experiment with contraception – civilisations around the world have been doing it for centuries.
A Tale of Two Leaders
Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis led Americans in the American Civil War. Both men were born in Kentucky and led opposing sides. But what happened to them both once the war ended?
Robert E. Lee: The Man Behind the Myth
He’s revered as the greatest Confederate general of them all, the personification of Southern loyalty, tradition and military strength. But there’s a lot more to the so-called ‘Marble Man’ than meets the eye. So, who was the real Robert E Lee?
Dueling Economies That Fueled the Civil War
Which economy was best for the country's future? The industrial economy of the North? Or the plantation system of the South? The stage was set for a financial fracas that would lead to the deadliest war in US history.
Dred Scott: Suing for Freedom
Dred Scott went to the US Supreme Court to sue for his freedom. The Court ruled that Black people were “inferior beings” with no Constitutional rights. This decision helped spark the American Civil War.
Industry & Supply: The Race to Get Civil War Soldiers Frontline Resources
Supplying almost three million soldiers with the food, clothes and resources they needed to fight the Civil War was no easy task. So which side proved most successful?
Japanese American Prison Camps on U.S. Soil
In 1942, at the height of the Second World War, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorised the incarceration of approximately 110,000 Japanese-Americans in the American West. But was Executive Order 9066 a step too far?
The Secret Balloons that Bombed America
In 1944, Imperial Japan attacked the West Coast of America with hundreds of balloon bombs flown 6,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean. They took the lives of five Oregon school children and their teacher – and remain a threat to this day.
Castle Bravo: The Largest Nuclear Explosion in US History
In 1954, the US Government conducted a series of secret nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands. The idyllic coral island Bikini Atoll became the epicentre of the largest nuclear test disaster in US history. The affects of radiation exposure and environmental destruction are still being felt by the Marshallese people today.
Lewis and Clark: the Making of an Expedition
Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery opened the American West up to expansion and settlement – but it all rested on the expert planning and preparation.
The Presidential Veto
One of the most powerful tools the President of the United States has is the veto - but what is it and how has it evolved over time?
State of the Union Address
The annual State of the Union Address is the only speech that the President delivers in person to the public and all three branches of government at the same time.
The Battle of the Sexes
Although half of Americans are female, women make up just 25% of Congress. In fact, women have been treated unfairly in America since day one – but what are the causes of that inequality and what are the effects?
Little Bighorn: Custer's Last Stand
The Battle of Little Bighorn, or Custer’s Last Stand, was a famous victory for the Native Americans in defense of their land. What are we to make of alleged lone survivor Frank Finkel’s story?
How Puerto Rico Became a U.S. Commonwealth
Puerto Rico is part of the U.S. and is governed by federal law but its people are unable to vote in Presidential elections. Why does this US Commonwealth remain stuck in constitutional limbo?
Joint Chiefs
When the going gets tough, the president calls on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an advisory council to help make important military decisions.
Geography: From Athens to America
Thanks, in part, to its unique geography, Athens is the birthplace of democracy, and one of the most successful city-states in all of Ancient Greece.
Wong Kim Ark's Fight for Birthright Citizenship
By taking on the US government and winning, Wong Kim Ark ensured that the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution granted citizenship to every American by birth, regardless of their race or ethnicity.
Anna May Wong: The First Chinese-American Hollywood Star
Anna May Wong, Hollywood’s first Chinese-American leading lady, broke through racial barriers to change the face of cinema forever.
Dorothy Bolden: Unionizing Domestic Workers
Civil rights activist Dorothy Bolden made it her mission to empower America’s working class. Her activism empowered domestic workers across the nation – and created noticeable change in the workplace for thousands of Black women.
Hawaiian Leis and the Selma to Montgomery March
The Selma to Montgomery March was one of the most important actions of the Civil Rights Movement – but what were the connections between Black Americans and Hawaiians and why did the leaders wear Hawaiian necklaces?
History of the Hashtag
Everyday, millions of people around the world use hashtags to sift through the Internet’s endless content – but where did this ubiquitous symbol actually come from?
Ghost Army
The WWII 23rd Headquarters Special Troops – otherwise known as the Ghost Army – was a top secret tactical deception unit deployed by the US Army during the Second World War to fool the enemy by any means necessary.
Edith Galt: The First Lady Who Took Control
Historically a ceremonial position, the role of First Lady at one point mainly involved hosting events at the White House. But when President Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, his wife, Edith, covertly took on many of his duties as President of the United States.
The Watergate Tapes
Installed in selected rooms at the White House on the President’s orders, this is the story of how a state-of-the-art recording system ultimately led to Richard Nixon’s downfall.
Charles Curtis: Native American Vice President, Untold
In 1929, Charles Curtis – a member of the Kaw Nation – made history by becoming the first Vice President of color in the U.S. Yet he left behind a complicated legacy that some claim had a lasting negative impact on Native Americans.
Back to Work: The Civilian Conservation Corps
In the 1930s, hundreds of thousands of Americans were recruited across the United States to protect and preserve the country's forests, parks, and fields. The Civilian Conservation Corps, a voluntary work relief program, was way ahead of its time.
Teddy Roosevelt's Square Deal
In the early 1900s, President Theodore Roosevelt's progressive legislation, dubbed the Square Deal, aimed to limit the power of corporations, protect consumers, and conserve natural resources. The Square Deal drastically changed the United States – and still impacts our lives today.
Hoovervilles: Shantytowns of the Great Depression
As the Great Depression worsened in the 1930s, thousands of Americans lost their jobs and eventually their homes. Shantytowns dubbed “Hoovervilles” named after unsympathetic President Herbert Hoover, spread across the U.S.
The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was the first ever document to cement equality into the founding principles of a nation. It helped to bring the colonies together during a national crisis, but it was by no means perfect.
Stonewall Uprising: The Fight Against Oppression
The LGBTQ+ community took a stand in 1960s America. Discriminated against because of their sexuality and gender identity, they campaigned for a fairer, freer society in a time of social and political upheaval in America.
Could Veganism Save The World?
Veganism is sweeping the global. So why are more and more people deciding to cut all animal products from their diets – and why could doing so help to save the Earth?
What Makes A State A State?
At first there were 13 – now there are 50! But what gives each US state the power to control its own laws and when does federal law take over?
“You're Fired!” How To Get Rid Of The President
Impeachment is the process of removing the President from office. But what does it really take to get fired as Commander-in-Chief?
The Federalist Papers
The Federalist Papers were written by three of America's Founding Fathers, in an attempt to convince the American people that the Constitution should be ratified.
The Bill of Rights: Cornerstone of US Society?
Written by Founding Father James Madison in 1789, The Bill of Rights makes up the first ten amendments to the US Constitution. Many people still consider the Bill of Rights to be the cornerstone of our society, but not everyone agrees.
The Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation is one of the most important documents in US history. Issued at the height of the American Civil War, it granted freedom to enslaved people living in the eleven breakaway states of the Confederacy.
Country Music of Kentucky
This is the story of Route 23, known as the Country Music Highway that stretches across Eastern Kentucky, the home of some of America's greatest Country Music stars
Wartime Elections
What is the effect of war on elections? Benjamin Franklin famously wrote: “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”, but he forgot one thing – Presidential elections!
When Russia Sold Alaska
In 1959, the United States officially welcomed Alaska into the family as the 49th state. But did you know that 100 years earlier, Alaska was actually part of Russian America?
Invoking The 25th Amendment
What happens when the President is no longer able to perform their duties? That’s when the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution comes into play.
The Anti-Masonic Party
Learn about the Anti-Masonic Party and how it challenged elitism at the highest echelons of US government.
Coast to Coast: America's First Transcontinental Railroad
Before there were viral videos and trending hashtags, the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 was one of the first mass media events in US history. Behind the glitzy headlines of that historic day - there’s a darker story to be told.
Did a Book Spark the Civil War?
It was published nine years before a shot was fired. And was written by a woman. How did Uncle Tom’s Cabin fan the flames of the American Civil War?
The Gettysburg Address: The Two-Minute Speech That Saved America
It’s got fewer words than the average rap song, and takes less time to read than it does to boil an egg. So how did the Gettysburg Address inspire a global movement for democratic change that’s still shaping our lives today?
Emancipation Proclamation Exposed
The Emancipation Proclamation is one of the most important and misunderstood documents in US history. So, what did it actually proclaim?
Civil War Amendments
Did you know that the US Constitution's most important amendments took place over just 5 years? So what happened between 1865 and 1870 – and how did it change America?
Women of the Civil War
Women weren’t just spectators of the American Civil War – they played a vital role in the home, the workplace, the battlefield and beyond.
War on the Water: Civil War Navies
The American Civil War wasn’t just fought on land – it took place on rivers and seas too. But the contrast between Union and Confederate navies could not have been more stark.
What is NATO?
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), is a coalition of democratic capitalist countries from Europe and North America. It remains perhaps the single biggest deterrent against nuclear war today.
Public Spaces: The Birth of Nations
Public spaces are places for democracy. Open to everyone, and a space where people can gather, they could form a type of government where the people have ultimate power.
Age of Revolution: When Enough is Enough
In the late 1700s, three major revolutions changed the course of history in the name of freedom and equality. The Age of Revolutions bore witness to this change.
Ancient Greek Theater
Greece was home to hundreds of open-air arenas where citizens came together to discuss the important issues of the day. Like Broadway today, they were a place for both entertainment and important social commentary.
Frederick Douglass' Composite Nation
Abolitionist and social reformer Frederick Douglass believed that the U.S. could become the greatest nation in history – if it accepted the defining principles set out in his speech, Composite Nation.
Pauli Murray: Breaking Barriers of Race and Gender
As a queer Black lawyer, poet and civil rights activist, Pauli Murray understood how our different identities can overlap to create multiple levels of discrimination. Her groundbreaking work in championing equality for all helped change America for the better.
The Story of the CIA
CIA agents make it their business to be intelligent. They may know more about you than you think. But what do you know about the CIA?
Muckrakers... or Investigative Journalists?
An essential part of any functioning democracy - the press helps to make governments accountable for their actions; but when the first investigative reporters started working in the United States, not everyone saw them as a good thing.
The Showdown: MacArthur v. Truman
History is packed with epic rivalries, but when U.S. President Harry S. Truman went up against Five Star General Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War – there was only going to be one winner.
Martha Gellhorn: The War Correspondent who Covered D-Day
One of the United States’ finest war correspondents, Martha Gellhorn battled sexism and misogyny to report on the D-Day landings during the Second World War.
The Origin of Earth Day Explained
On April 22, 1970, the US went climate crazy – as 20 million Americans took part in the very first Earth Day.
The Underground Railroad
A sprawling network of secret routes, pathways and safe houses, the Underground Railroad helped countless enslaved people escape to freedom in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Articles of Confederation
Did you know that before the Constitution, there was another governing system in the US? The Articles of Confederation.
Breaking Down the Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the US Constitution. It guarantees all Americans basic freedoms – but those freedoms have always been under attack.
Women in Ancient Athens
The lives and rights of women in Greece, from a modern perspective, seem severely limited; yet, they played important roles in society.
The Road to Athenian Democracy
What forms of government preceded democracy and how did this pave the way for the ancient Athenians to invent democracy?
Never Again Action: Young Jews Against ICE
In June 2019, reports of immigrant children detained in cages on the US-Mexico border stunned America. Meet the extraordinary, Jewish people working in peaceful protest to demand change from the ICE.
GI Jane: What I Loved About Serving in the Army
Selective Service may only apply to young men but more women than ever are entering the US military. Meet Lesley-Ann Crumpton, a former Captain in the US Military Police who will explain more about her life and what inspired her to do her part.
Are You Being Spied On?
Should the US government be allowed to spy on its citizens to protect society as a whole? There are arguments for and against – but the Big Brother state isn't a conspiracy theory, it's real!
Get Schooled! How the Electoral College Works
It's a system that's unique to the United States of American – but exactly is the electoral college, how does it work and what part does it play in our democracy? Discover more about the group of "electors" who have the final say.
Fighting for LGBTQ Rights: Is the United States Really United?
The 10th Amendment to the Constitution allows each state to set its own laws. That's meant that in Colorado, LGBTQIA+ rights have often been repressed. Meet the students at William J. Palmer High School who took their school district to court - and won!
The Battle of Middle Creek
The Battle of Middle Creek took place in Floyd County on January 10, 1862, but why was it so important to the legacy of the American Civil War and the history of the USA?
The Bill of Rights: What is it and What Rights does it Guarantee?
The right to stand up for what we believe in is as American as apple pie and is protected under US law by the Bill of Rights: a list of ten amendments to the US Constitution that almost never existed.
All Men are Created Equal? The Founding Fathers' Views on Slavery
What did the Founding Fathers really think of slavery? And how did that impact the laws they created?
Bright Lights, Gritty City
In the space of just 40 years, the majority of Americans packed their bags for a new life in the city. So what brought on this seismic shift from rural to urban dwelling? And what was the fallout?
Remembering the Civil War
No two Americans had the same experience of the Civil War – and everyone remembers it differently. Through the stories they told – and the artifacts that survived – various narratives emerged!
Civil War Tactics: Shooting as Many as Possible
The Greeks fought in phalanx formation. In medieval times, they preferred the wedge. So what made Civil War armies fight in long, straight lines that left them wide open to attack?
The New South: After Reconstruction
After the American Civil War, the American South attempted a rebrand. But would it accept the progressive social and political changes of the Reconstruction Era?
Civil War Innovation & Technology
It was the most destructive conflict in US history – but the American Civil War also saw the emergence of new technologies and innovations born from a will to win.
The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
The Lincoln Douglas Debates of 1858 were some of the most controversial in US history. Having deepened the divide between North and South – they helped bring the nation to war.
The Story of American Barbecue
Today, barbecue is a big part of American culture. But did you know that this staple of the great American menu is actually older than the United States itself?
The Invisible Plight of Poor Southern Whites
For many poor White families in the Antebellum South, slavery did not pay – so why did the ruling elite erase their narrative from the history books?
Horse-Riding Librarians
The Pack Horse Library Initiative saw hundreds of female librarians cross the Appalachian Mountains to deliver books to those in need.
Plague and Prejudice: The Black Death in California
As the world grapples with new pandemics, what can we learn from the US’s mixed response to the Bubonic Plague, which arrived in San Francisco in 1900?
The 442nd: The Most Decorated Regiment of the Second World War
Despite the racism they faced, the bravery and heroism of the Japanese American 442nd Regiment Combat Team made them one of the most decorated units in United States history.
President's Cabinet
The President’s Cabinet is made up of the most important people in the Executive Branch of government. But who are they and what are their roles?
Vice President
POTUS gets the big house, the fancy cars, and all the attention. But there’s someone in the background who deserves respect. Let’s give it up for the VP!
The Harlem Cultural Festival: Soul Time
The 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, also known as Black Woodstock, was a watershed moment for Black culture in America - that history almost forgot.
The Secrets of the Zimmermann Telegram
The Zimmermann Telegram, a secret message from Germany to Mexico during the First World War, ended the United States’ neutrality and sealed the fate of the Central Powers.
The Lavender Scare
The Cold War persecution known as the Lavender Scare barred members of the LGBTQ+ community from working for the federal government for decades.
Mediterranean World: Inspiring America's Democracy
Discover how 3,000 years ago the Ancient Mediterranean World improved the life of the people through trade and the sharing of customs, knowledge and ideas.
Civic Engagement: Power to the People
Democracy was born when the Athenian government transitioned from the “rule of a few” to the “rule of many”, around 3,000 years ago.
Designing the Constitution: Learning from our Ancestors
How the Founding Fathers used the experiences of other democratic societies to inform the US Constitution.
What is a Citizen? From Ancient Athens to the US
Citizenship allows people to participate in the democratic process, but the road to inclusive citizenship has not been a smooth one.
Democratic Symbols
In ancient Athens, symbols were used to promote religious and democratic ideals and beliefs. Thousands of years later these symbols helped to define the United States.
David Pharaoh Asserts Indigenous Rights
Montaukett leader David Pharaoh fought for indigenous land rights – and established a lasting legacy as the founder of America’s first Montaukett school.
Joseph Henry Douglass: Changing America With Music
Classical violinist Joseph Henry Douglass helped empower the Black community through music and education at a time when Southern lawmakers were pushing back against the progress of Reconstruction.
Emma Goldman: Radical Activist
Anarchist Emma Goldman, once named the most dangerous woman in America by the FBI, left behind a complicated legacy. But who was this young radical and what did she believe in?
Building the Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a vital trade route linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Its fascinating story goes back hundreds of years.
Gerald Ford: The Unelected President
Gerald Ford holds a unique place in the history of U.S. politics – as the only American to hold the office of Vice President and President without ever winning a national election. Who was he, and what was his presidency like?
The Botched Invasion: Bay of Pigs
One of the Cold War’s only violent actions, the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961 proved to be a humiliating defeat for the U.S. government.
The Day the River Caught Fire
When Time magazine published details of a river fire in downtown Cleveland in 1969, the outcry was so loud and widespread, the U.S. government was forced into action.
Sandra Day O’Connor: “Don’t Take the Bait”
The first female justice in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 191-year history, Sandra Day O’Connor succeeded in a man’s world by never letting sexism stand in her way.
The Untold Know Nothings
In the mid 19th century a new political party, the Know Nothings, set the stage for xenophobia and nationalism to take root in American politics.
Speaker of the House
As the head of the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House is one of the most important roles in the United States government.
Amending the Constitution
The U.S. Constitution has been amended 27 times in its history, but what did they change, and how?
Judy Heumann: The Mother of ADA
Teacher Judy Heumann dedicated her life to fighting for disability rights and was one of the architects of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), changing U.S. society forever.
How did a statue help win the fight for independence?
It was erected in New York as a symbol of English King George III’s grip on the North American colonies. So how did a metal statue help American Patriots win the Revolutionary War? David Rubenstein answers that question in a fact-filled history minute.
Who were the Navajo code talkers of the Second World War?
Most secret codes developed during the Second World War used letters and numbers to convey hidden messages. So how did Navajo code talkers use their language to outwit the Nazis? David Rubenstein answers that question in a fact-filled history minute.
Puppy Diplomacy and the Cold War
In 1961, a gift from Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to President John F. Kennedy, the adorable pooch Pushinka, brought the men closer together. Did puppy diplomacy prevent an all out nuclear war?
National Archives and Records Administration
The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent federal agency dedicated to the preservation of historic government records. With storage facilities across the United States, NARA's contents give us an insight into our country's history.
Building the Erie Canal: Explained
The earliest major industrial project in the United States’ history, the Erie Canal connected East to West by water and enabled a new era of commerce, trade, and movement.
Voting in Ancient Athens
The United States is a representative democracy where people vote for politicians to govern on their behalf – but voting in the direct democracy of ancient Athens was a very different process.
Slavery in Democracies: The Greatest Hypocrisy
How could democratic societies claim to support equality while holding humans in bondage? The legacy of slavery tests the democratic ideal that everyone has an equal right to freedom and self-governance.
1619: The Legacy of Slavery in America
1619 was a significant year in the history of America for better and for worse. In Jamestown, Virginia the first slaves were imported and sold. Meet Nikole Hannah-Jones; author of New York Times' "1619 Project" who will examine the impact of that year on American History, culture and development.
What is The Constitution?
How has the U.S. Constitution endured when it was created over 200 years ago? Why is it still the supreme law of the land today?
The Chinese Massacre Explained
The Chinese Massacre of 1871 was the deadliest lynching in U.S. history – wiping out 10% of LA’s immigrant Chinese population in the space of just a few hours.
How The Census Changed America
A nationwide head count of all those who live in the United States, the US Census takes place every ten years. It shows us how society constantly changes – but it also took decades of struggle for every person in America to count.
Standing Up To ICE: How Young People Are Protesting For A Fairer America
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a government agency that tracks and apprehends illegal aliens. But when its officers caged children on the Mexico border, young people stood up for change.
Hotboxing History: Is The United States Really United?
Have you ever wondered why cannabis is legal in some states but not others? It all goes back to the US Constitution – and another disagreement between the Founding Fathers.
How Prostitution Built The Wild West
Putting the "wild" into Wild West, prostitution was big business in frontier communities – and gave the so-called "soiled doves" who controlled the industry wealth and influence as America grew.
Women of the American Revolution: The Real Unsung Heroes
During the American Revolutionary War some American women disguised themselves as men in order to join the fight, and played a critical role both on the home front and on the battlefield.
Ulysess S Grant: Profile of a Leader
In 2020, a statue of former US President Ulysses S Grant was toppled by Black Lives Matter protesters. A Civil War hero who helped bring about an end to slavery, he was a controversial figure too.
The Harlan County Coal Wars
Harlan County coal miners in the 1930s went on a labour strike protesting about the conditions. Coal companies and the local police forces put them under. It broke out into civil unrest and Unions were established.
Common Sense: Democracy in Print
We’ve all seen our fair share of American political ads in recent years. But the very first? That could be Common Sense - written by Thomas Paine – an 18th century pamphlet designed to incite rebellion!
The United Colonies of America: More Diverse Than You'd Think
Despite their many differences, the North American colonies eventually came together as one country – the United States of America. It’s that acceptance of other cultures, other ideas, other people, that makes us truly American.
The Ten Crucial Days that Changed the American Revolutionary War
Did you know that little over a year into the American Revolutionary War, the US army had been reduced to just 3,000 men? But over ten crucial days, all of that changed thanks to one man: George Washington.
America's Two-Party System
The United States is essentially a two-party system, unlike other democracies around the world where people can vote for political parties representing many different interests. Is that a good or a bad thing?
Y2K: Countdown to Catastrophe
Learn about the Y2K bug crisis that led millions to believe at the dawn of the millennium that computers around the world would crash, causing the end of civilization.
Paying for the Civil War
It cost the equivalent of billions of dollars in today’s money, and left the US government crippled with debt. But how, exactly, did America pay for the Civil War?
Lives of the Enslaved During the Civil War
How did life change for enslaved people as the American Civil War raged around them?
The First Allies of the Revolution
The United States’ first true allies, the Oneida Tribe helped the Patriots to win the American Revolutionary War – but at what cost?
The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allen Poe
Famous American author Edgar Allan Poe’s haunting death may have been a result of cooping, a violent form of voter fraud practiced in the 19th century.
Oath of Office
Promises might just seem like words, but in the legal system and government, they’re crucial. Oath of Office is part of a tradition that dates back hundreds of years.
Congressional Whip
A Congressional Whip works with the party’s leadership in Congress to make sure everyone follows the agenda and votes together. They’re the muscle – the enforcer in a smart suit.
Tuskegee Airmen
The Tuskegee Airmen, otherwise known as the Red Tails, were the first all Black air squadron in U.S. history. Their bravery and skill during the Second World War is legendary.
Exodus of Cuba's Children
Operation Pedro Pan saw more than 14,000 children escape Communist Cuba for a new life in the United States. But for many, their troubles were only just starting.
Harvey Milk: Leading the Way
Harvey Milk, America’s first openly gay elected official, was assassinated in 1978. His pioneering campaign for LGBTQ+ rights paved the way for more members of the community to serve in government.
Helen Keller's Watch
Deafblind pioneer Helen Keller campaigned for a better America – with the help of a remarkable watch that she didn’t have to see to read.
Dirty Thirties
The Dirty Thirties refers to the worst man-made ecological crisis in US history – when irresponsible farming habits, drought and storms led to "black blizzards" that took the lives of thousands and left many homeless.
Louis Brandeis: The First Jewish Supreme Court Justice
Louis Brandeis was the first Jewish associate justice to serve on the US Supreme Court. His appointment changed the legal landscape forever.
Art as Activism: Statements of Democracy
Art is a powerful democratic tool because it can inspire emotion and empower people to take direct action to achieve a social or political goal.
Patsy Mink: Groundbreaking Congresswoman
What do you think of when you picture Title IX? Inequality has plagued America’s youth for generations. Patsy Mink, a then young Japanese-American, vowed to change the system forever.
The Notorious RBG
One of the most recognizable justices on the U.S. Supreme Court - Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her career fighting for women’s and civil rights, helping to change the United States of America for the better.
The Blowouts
In 1968, thousands of Latino students walked out of school in Los Angeles to protest against racial inequality in the classroom. Their collective action, known as the Blowouts, was a defining moment of the Chicano Movement.
Race in Ancient Greece
We often think of ancient Greek society as White, but it was a lot more diverse than we give it credit for.
Juneteenth Explained
Also known as Freedom Day and Emancipation Day, Juneteenth celebrates the resilience of Black Americans and the historic achievement of abolition itself. But how did it come about?
What is the Significance of 1619?
The year 2026 marks the bicentennial of a landmark year in US history – when the first European women and enslaved people arrived on North American soil, and US democracy was born.
America: Nation of Immigrants
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses..." It's true that the United States has always been a nation of immigrants, but as the debate around border control becomes louder and more polarised, will we be in the future?
Your Country Needs You! The Selective Service System
In peaceful times, the US Armed Forces are well stocked with brave men and women who voluntarily sign up to serve. But in the event of a third catastrophic global conflict, it is possible for the US government to rapidly recruit from the civilian population, thanks to the Selective Service System.
Is Now The Time to Talk About Guns?
Gun control in the United States has been a loaded term for decades. So who is favour of the Second Amendment – and who is fighting back against it?
Who has the Right to Vote in the United States?
Puerto Ricans pays taxes but can't vote in Presidential Elections. While in Chicago, between 2006 and 2016, 199 dead voted from beyond the grave! So how does voting law really work in the United States?
Can America's War on Drugs Ever Be Won?
As our understanding of the consequences of drug abuse has improved, so America’s relationship with drugs has changed. From Nixon to Trump, the so-called 'War on Drugs' has cost the US government billions – but will there ever be an end in sight?
The Rosenbergs: First Civilians Executed for Espionage
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were the first US citizens to be convicted and executed for sharing government secrets during peacetime. Were they innocent?
The Continental Congress
The Continental Congress was short-lived, but the role that it played in helping America to become an independent democracy can never be forgotten.
Language of the Revolution
Did you know that hipsters were a thing back in the 18th century and were known as Macaroni? Our ancestors liked to get creative with language: especially in the world of politics.
America's First President: Setting Precedents
Did you know that George Washington didn’t want to become the first US President? Despite his reluctance, he set many precedents which remain pillars of the office today.
The Citizen Soldier
With the first shots of the American Revolution, they downed tools and ran to help in the fight for independence. This is the story of the ordinary people who helped found a nation.
The Gilded Age: When America Became a Superpower
Learn about the Gilded Age, a period of immense social and industrial change in US history.
Shots Fired! Why Being President is a Deadly Job
Of all the Presidents who have held office since the foundation of the United States, four were gunned down by assassins. This is their story.
The Havasupai Project Explained
When the Havasupai tribe became the subject of a medical trial in the 1990s, their DNA was covertly used for scientific testing that participants had not consented to. Thirteen years later the secret was discovered and the tribe filed a lawsuit against the researchers.
Manhattan Project Human Experiments
When scientists at the top secret 'Manhattan project' wanted to discover how radioactive bomb materials could affect the human body – they secretly injected terminally ill patients with uranium to find out.
The Tulsa Race Massacre Explained
It was one of the deadliest terror attacks in US history. So why wasn’t the Tulsa Race Massacre properly taught in US schools until 2019?
Black Soldiers and the Fight for Citizenship
For those enslaved, it was the perpetrator of countless horrors. So why did almost 200,000 African-Americans put their lives on the line to preserve the United States?
Reconstruction: Old Nation or New?
Reconstruction was one of the most tumultuous periods in US history. After four years of Civil War, not everyone agreed on the best way forward. The result was 12 years of violence and political strife.
Civil War Hospitals
The medical hospitals established during the American Civil War helped save thousands of lives – and change how the US military cares for troops to this day.
Animal War Heroes
Animals aren’t just cute – during times of war, they’ve proven to be immensely useful. Some have even been awarded with prestigious medals for helping to save lives.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations is a fact-finding, crime-fighting national security machine. But how did it come about – and what do FBI agents actually do?
The Secret Service
They’re the shadowy agents who keep the President safe – but what is the Secret Service and why was it formed?
The Supreme Court: Gatekeeper of the Constitution
Ever wonder why a new appointment to the Supreme Court is such big news? Of the three branches that make up the Federal Government, it’s arguably the judiciary – the courts system – that has the greatest impact upon our lives.
Secretary of State
The Secretary of State is one of the most powerful politicians in America – but where does their power come from and what are their roles and responsibilities?
Department of Justice
Established in 1870, the Department of Justice not only provides legal advice to the US government, it also ensures the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.
Executive Order
What actual powers does the President have? Well, as it turns out – a lot. Including the power to make new orders at the stroke of a pen.
Prohibition: Capitol Hill Secret
While Prohibition made it to illegal to sell, transport or make alcohol in the United States, the top brass in the US Congress were able to stay well-lubricated – thanks to the nefarious work of famed bootlegger, George Cassiday.
The Unusual Presidency of William Taft
One-term Presidents are often overlooked – but what makes William Taft’s time in office memorable is the fact that it was defined by a series of unusual firsts.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Constructed after the First World War, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier stands as a memorial to all those U.S. service members whose remains were never identified.
Choosing Sides: Native Americans and the Civil War
What about the Native Americans who found themselves stuck in the middle of the Civil War – why did they fight for both sides?
The Attorney General
The top legal officer in the country, the Attorney General advises the US government on legal matters, including the President. But how did the role come about and what are his or her responsibilities?
Atlantic World: New World, New Possibilities
Paving the way for modern democratic society, the ancient Mediterranean world traded goods and ideas across three continents over thousands of years.
Elections in the United States
How do elections actually work?
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper's Pursuit of Absolute Equality
This film is about the most important events of Watkins Harper’s early life, highlighting her early achievements as a writer.
Edith Maude Eaton: Fostering Cultural Understanding Through Writing
In a time when Chinese immigrants in America faced discrimination in all walks of life – simply because of their race – author Edith Maude Eaton channeled the power of the pen to help make positive change.
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
The top ranking officer of the US federal judiciary, the Chief Justice presides over the US Supreme Court. But how did the role come into being and what are his or her roles and responsibilities?
Robber Barons or Captains of Industry?
The Gilded Age was a period of unprecedented industrial and economic growth in the United States – but were the men at the helm captains of industry or robber barons out for their own?
WWII POW Camps on U.S. Soil
Between 1942 and 1946, the U.S. government constructed around 700 POW camps on U.S. soil, housing around 400,000 captured enemy soldiers. But what were the conditions like there?
Madeleine Albright's Brooches
The U.S.’s first female Secretary of State used her collection of brooches to get her point across when meeting with foreign leaders, a practice that became known as “Pin Diplomacy.”
Department of Homeland Security
Established in 2002, the Department of Homeland Security might be the youngest of all the federal government’s departments, but its work to safeguard “the American people, our homeland, and our values” couldn't be more important.
The History of the Rainbow Flag
The rainbow flag is one of the most recognisable symbols in the world, synonymous with tolerance and LGBTQ+ rights. But how was it created?
The US Constitution
We all know what the US Constitution is – but do you know its origins story? Let’s delve into history and discover more about the most document in US history.
Dolores Huerta: "Yes we can!"
The brains behind the political slogan “Yes we can!”, Mexican-American labor leader Dolores Huerta fought for the rights of immigrant workers in the 1960s.