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Civics and Citizenship

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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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Amending the Constitution
The U.S. Constitution has been amended 27 times in its history, but what did they change, and how?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Congressional Investigations
Congressional Investigations have uncovered some serious wrongdoing over the past 200 years. But where does Congress get the power to conduct investigations and how has it used that power throughout U.S. history?
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.
The Burning of Washington
During the War of 1812, British forces stormed into Washington, D.C. and set fire to the White House and other federal buildings. Rather than dent U.S. morale, the sacking of Washington served to galvanize the population against the British.
The Battle of Fort McHenry
The War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain ultimately ended in stalemate, but in the aftermath of one U.S. victory, a poem was penned that would become the new nation’s national anthem.
War on the Lakes
If the U.S. Navy was to defeat the British during the War of 1812, it would not do so on the open seas. The battles that raged on the Great Lakes, however, would have a huge impact on the outcome of the war.
Propaganda is information designed to influence people’s opinions and actions, but how do governments use it as a covert action to elicit a response?
The Pentagon Papers: Explained
The Pentagon Papers revealed how the U.S. government had lied to the public about its involvement in the Vietnam War. Leaked by the New York Times, this opened the door for future whistleblowers to expose the truth.
Afong Moy
Afong Moy is believed to be the first Chinese woman to step foot on U.S. soil and her presence sparked an American fascination with Chinese culture, but her experience in the United States was far from welcoming.
Hubris: Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr's ambition led him from political prominence to infamy. Fueled by hubris, he dueled Hamilton and plotted treason, showcasing the perils of unchecked pride.
Oath of Allegiance
Taking the Oath of Allegiance is an important part of the U.S. Citizenship Test. But what new duties and responsibilities do people swear to uphold?
World War II
Those who take the U.S. Citizenship Test must understand the reasons behind the United States’ involvement in World War II, why the U.S. was initially neutral, and what happened as a result of Imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
The Seventh Amendment
The Seventh Amendment guarantees the right to a trial by jury. But why is that crucial for civil cases?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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?
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 Gilded Age: When America Became a Superpower
Learn about the Gilded Age, a period of immense social and industrial change in US history.
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.
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?
Native Americans
Tracing the journey of Native Americans, this overview delves into their cultures, encounters with European settlers, enduring struggles, and ongoing efforts for rights and recognition.
Federal and State Powers
The U.S. Constitution divides power between the federal government and states, granting specific national powers and reserving others to states via the 10th Amendment, with federal laws generally overriding state laws.
The Fifth Amendment
What protections does the Fifth Amendment provide, and why did the Founders believe those were important enough to enshrine in the Bill of Rights? Our latest Homework Help video explores these questions and provides students with a succinct overview of the essential information regarding this amendment.
What is Veterans Day?
Veterans Day takes place every year on November 11 to honor the bravery and sacrifice of all those men and women who fought and died for their country, during war and peacetime.
Mottos and Symbols
A motto is a saying that stands for what a person, an organization or a country believes in. The United States of America has had two mottos. Let’s learn what they are and what they mean.
Who was Benjamin Franklin?
Benjamin Franklin wasn't just a founder of the United States, he was also a writer, inventor, scientist, statesman, and a huge celebrity in the thirteen colonies.
Who was Daniel Webster?
Lawyer, orator and politician, Daniel Webster was one of the United States’ most famous and accomplished people in the 19th century. But what made him so special and how did he help change America?
Why did the Colonies Declare Independence?
In the late 1770s, U.S. patriots banded together to declare independence from Great Britain. But why did they want their independence and what kind of country did they want the United States to be?
Who Founded the Democratic Party?
It’s the oldest political party in the United States, but how was the Democratic Party formed and what contributions has it made to U.S. society since?
What is Memorial Day?
Memorial Day takes place every year on the last Monday of May to honor and remember members of the armed forces who fought and died for the United States.
Road To Revolution
In our new Homework Help Series we break down history into easy to understand 5 minute videos to support a better understanding of American History. In our fifth episode, we tackle the road to the American Revolution.
Early 1800s US Foreign Policy
This video discusses early American foreign policy.
The People of Afghanistan
Learn about the Afghan Refugee Crisis and its roots in natural disasters, poverty, and political turmoil. Discover how millions of Afghans have been displaced, many of whom are women and children.
Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore, carved into South Dakota's Black Hills, features Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. It symbolizes pivotal moments in American history and leadership.
Gideon v. Wainwright
Does an individual have a right to a lawyer, regardless of the crime he or she is charged with? In 1961, Clarence Gideon was arrested and charged with breaking and entering and petty larceny in Panama City, Florida. His request for a state-provided defense attorney was denied since Florida law only required doing so for capital offense cases. After Gideon was sentenced to 5 years in prison, he argued that Florida violated the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of the right to counsel. The Supreme Court heard Gideon’s case and ruled in a 9-0 decision that the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of an attorney applies to states through the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke was a case brought to the Supreme Court over the use of Affirmative Action in the college admission process. The University of California at Davis Medical School created a minimum minority student quota for the admissions department to fill each year. Bakke, a two-time UC-Davis Med School rejected applicant, sued the school for violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and Title VI of the Civil Rights Acts. Ultimately, the Supreme Court justices ruled in support of the goals of Affirmative Action because of incorporation, the idea that the states must adhere to the protections of the Bill of Rights. They also stated that Bakke was, in fact, denied equal protection. This decision, because it was so muddled, did not set long-term precedents or clarifications concerning Affirmative Action. What is Affirmative Action? Affirmative Action is a policy, usually carried out by schools, businesses, government entities, and federal contractors, in which individuals of minority racial status are afforded preferential treatment on the basis of race. Affirmative action came about as part of a desire to rectify the traditional underrepresentation of minority peoples in desirable professions and universities, which negatively impacted their financial and social conditions.
Schenck v. United States
Schenck v. United States was a Supreme Court Case that explained some limits to the Freedom of Speech afforded by the First Amendment. During World War I, the US instituted a military draft. Many people released anti-war and anti-government information due to their displeasure with the draft. Charles Schenck, an anti-war socialist, was arrested by the Federal Government for circulating a pamphlet encouraging men to resist the draft and violating the Espionage Act of 1917. The Supreme Court ruled that wartime circumstances changed the rules related to free speech and resulted in the “Clear and Present Danger” rule.
Angela Davis
Despite being on the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted list, Angela Davis went on to become an international symbol of resistance against social injustice.
Susan La Flesche Picotte: The First Female Native American Doctor
At a time when many Native Americans were refused healthcare by racist White doctors, Susan La Flesche Picotte overcame gender discrimination to become the first Indigenous woman in U.S. history to earn a medical degree.
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.
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.
Election of 1912: Third Party
In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt's bold creation of a new political party, the Bull Moose Party, challenged rivals Taft and Wilson, forever altering the political landscape of the United States.
Election of 1876: Testing the Constitution
The Presidential Election of 1876 was considered a foregone conclusion, with Democrat Samuel J. Tilden sure to defeat Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, but disputed Southern electoral votes led to an outcome that nobody predicted.
Susan Clark Holley: Breaking Barriers in Education
Facing racial barriers in 19th-century Iowa, Susan Clark Holley’s legal battle pioneered school desegregation, laying early groundwork for the monumental Brown v. Board of Education case.
In re Gault: Juvenile Rights
In re Gault was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that ensured juveniles accused of a crime would receive the same Fourteenth Amendment rights as adults. It all stemmed from a teenager making a prank call.
Election of 1824: When the House Chose
In the Presidential Election of 1824, five men from one party were up for the job. It was left to the House of Representatives to figure out a winner – and the aftermath led to the modern two-party system.
Social Security
When times get tough, Social Security provides a vital financial lifeline for U.S. citizens in need. But how did this revolutionary legislation come into being and what benefits does it provide?
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?
Department of the Interior
Many government departments have a focused mission, but the Department of the Interior is known as the "Department of Everything Else." So what are its responsibilities and how does it keep our country in check?
White Propaganda
Often deployed by governments during times of crisis, white propaganda has a known source and simple slogans, and uses strong visuals to rally public opinion.
Propaganda Today
In the digital age, it’s never been easier for governments to influence our opinions and actions using propaganda. So what does propaganda actually look like in the 21st century – and how effective is it?
Department of Commerce
The Department of Commerce is one of the largest, most powerful of U.S. government agencies. Its mission? To “create the conditions for economic growth and opportunities for all communities.”
The Department of the Treasury
The Department of the Treasury, inspired by its first secretary, Alexander Hamilton, is responsible for managing the production of money and maintaining the crucial systems underpinning the financial infrastructure of the United States.
Injustice: Roger Taney
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney's unjust majority opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford shockingly declared Black individuals weren't citizens, solidifying slavery's grip and pushing the nation closer to Civil War.
Prudence: Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson's prudence in orchestrating the Louisiana Purchase, despite constitutional concerns, doubled the size of the U.S., securing its position on the global stage.
Rule of Law
U.S. Citizens are required to follow the rule of law, a practice that was tested by former president Richard Nixon.
U.S. Territories
Those who take the U.S. Citizenship Test are expected to know how the five U.S. Territories became a part of the United States and what rights their residents have.
Texas v. Johnson
What happens when the right to free speech, clashes with symbols of freedom? This is the story of Texas v. Johnson, when the Supreme Court ruled on whether burning the US flag was constitutional.
Griswold v. Connecticut
When gynaecologist Estelle Griswold opened a birth control clinic in Connecticut, she was convicted of a crime. Convinced the law banning birth control was unconstitutional, she took the case to the Supreme Court.
Elections in the United States
How do elections actually work?
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?
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?
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?
Lives of the Enslaved During the Civil War
How did life change for enslaved people as the American Civil War raged around them?
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?
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 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.
Horse-Riding Librarians
The Pack Horse Library Initiative saw hundreds of female librarians cross the Appalachian Mountains to deliver books to those in need.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 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?
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
Supreme Court
Sitting at the pinnacle of the judicial branch of government, the U.S. Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. Its landmark rulings have had an enduring impact on American life and law.
This Homework Help narrative explores the history of the Founding of the U.S. and the reasons why federalism was created as an important part of our constitutional system. The video challenges viewers to consider this question: why do we have a system with local, state, and federal laws?
The Electoral College
In this Homework Help narrative, learn about the origins and functions of the Electoral College. This constitutional institution has long been the subject of intense debate and scrutiny, and this video challenges students to think about it for themselves.
Entrepreneurs: A History
This video focuses on the so-called "Robber Barons" or "Captains of Industry" of the late 19th and early 20th century, including Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, and Henry Ford. How did these men and those like them transform the U.S. economy during the Gilded Age, and what, if any, lessons do their stories have for us today?
The Third Amendment
Why did the Founders believe so strongly that troops should not be quartered in the homes of citizens that they enshrined this protection in the Bill of Rights? The Third Amendment is rarely talked about, but studying its origins and purposes is important in order to understand our system of the relationship between civilians and the military. Learn more about the story of the Third Amendment with this Homework Help video.
The Second Amendment
What are the origins of the Second Amendment, and how has it been interpreted throughout U.S. history? This Homework Help video explores the history of the Second Amendment as well as the Supreme Court interpretations of it that shape current discussions on the topic of gun control.
What is Common Sense?
It’s one of the most important documents in US history, but how did Thomas Paine’s 47-page pamphlet, Common Sense, turn the tide of the American Revolutionary War?
What are the Different Forms of Government?
Every country on Earth is run by some form of government – but there are many different kinds, from autocracies and oligarchies to direct and representative democracies.
What is Medal of Honor Day?
Medal of Honor Day takes place every year on the 25th of March. It celebrates brave U.S. military service people who went above and beyond to protect our way of life.
Colonial Culture
In our new Homework Help Series we break down history into easy to understand 5 minute videos to support a better understanding of American History. In our fourth episode, we tackle Colonial Culture in the 1600 and 1700's.
The People of Ukraine
Amidst a brutal invasion by Russia, over 10 million displaced Ukrainians persevere in their quest for safety, rebuilding lives through education and community support.
What is a Refugee?
Learn about the challenges that refugees face when leaving their home countries, the international laws that protect them, and the resilience that enables them to contribute to society.
What is the Statue of Liberty?
The Statue of Liberty is more than just a statue – it’s a collection of powerful symbols that represent the United States, its history and the ideals that it holds dear.
What is Presidents' Day?
Every year, on the third Monday of February, Americans celebrate Presidents’ Day. A federal holiday that originally began as a birthday celebration for George Washington, the first President of the United States.
What is The Liberty Bell?
From its creation in 1701 to its role in American independence and beyond, the Liberty Bell embodies the United States’ enduring values of liberty, equality, democracy, and freedom for all.
The White House
The White House is more than just a residence for the President. Explore the building’s remarkable history and learn how it became a symbol of the United States.
Life in the Colonies: Women
In the Thirteen Colonies, women had limited rights and freedoms. Their lives, influenced by marriage, status, and coverture laws varied greatly, reflecting the evolving society of the time.
South Dakota v. Dole
Why is the drinking age set at 21? This Homework Help video explores the dispute between states and the federal government over the legal age, and how it is an example of the principle of federalism in action.
Wisconsin v. Yoder
Religious liberty is one of the foundational principles of American society, but how should it be balanced with government interests in an educated citizenry? Our second Homework Help video of the semester is on the landmark case of Wisconsin v. Yoder, and how the Supreme Court dealt with this important question.
U.S. v. Lopez
This Homework Help narrative explores the landmark case of U.S. v. Lopez and its lasting impact on federalism. Students will study the topic of federal power and street crime while forming their own opinions on the merits of the case.
Tinker v. Des Moines
Why did a subtle act of protest against a foreign war reach the Supreme Court? In 1965, students John and Mary Beth Tinker wore black armbands to school to protest the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War, despite the Des Moines school district prohibiting such an act. The Tinkers sued the district for violating their First Amendment rights, and the Supreme Court ruled in their favor in a 7-2 decision. While subsequent Supreme Court rulings narrowed the scope of free expression rights at school, Tinker v. Des Moines remains a landmark case that has defined First Amendment rights for students.
The Rise of Mass Politics: Jacksonian Democracy
This video examines the Rise of Mass Politics and Jacksonian Democracy.
New York Times Co. v. United States
How to best balance liberty and security has been a perennial question throughout U.S. history. This Homework Help video explores how the Supreme Court addressed this question in the landmark case of New York Times Co. v. United States.
Letitia Carson: Defiant Pioneer
In the mid-19th century, only around 3% of those who traveled West on the Oregon Trail were Black. Among them was Letitia Carson, the only Black woman in Oregon to successfully receive land through the Homestead Act.
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.
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier: Free Speech in School
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right to free speech. But when student journalists in Missouri wrote a series of articles on teen sex and divorce in 1983, their school appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for the right to censor the content – and won.
The Haymarket Affair
One of the worst miscarriages of justice in U.S. history, the Haymarket Affair, a labor action in support of an eight-hour working day, led to the unlawful executions of four Chicago residents.
Election of 1948: The Underdog
The suspenseful 1948 presidential election exposed the consequences of flawed polls, as Truman's astonishing victory upended expectations and forever changed how pollsters make predictions.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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 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?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 Pledge of Allegiance
All across the United States, its citizens regularly stand, with hands on heart, to make the Pledge of Allegiance. But what is it, what does it mean and why is it so important?
Tammany Hall: Controlling New York Politics
It is the historic New York building that is synonymous with greed, crime and corruption, but what is the true story behind Tammany Hall?
Who was Deep Throat?
Codenamed Deep Throat, FBI chief William Mark Felt, Sr., displayed immense courage to expose abuses of power at the heart of government during the infamous Watergate investigation.
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 Federal Election Commission
How do you know that the politicians you vote for will represent your interests in office – and not those of powerful corporations? Well, there’s a law for that, and an independent regulatory agency: the Federal Election Commission.
NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, aka NASA, has been at the forefront of science, technology, and space exploration since 1958. Its work remains an inspiration to millions of people around the world.
What Caused the War of 1812?
The War of 1812 was a major conflict between the United States and Great Britain for control of the Northern Frontier. Often described as the second war of independence, in reality it was caused in large part by the ineffective foreign policies of two U.S. Presidents.
U.S.S. Constitution
With a fleet of just 22 warships, it was never going to be easy for the U.S. Navy to defeat the mighty British Royal Navy during the War of 1812. The enemy didn’t expect its secret weapon – the U.S.S. Constitution.
Gray Propaganda
A weapon of covert action wielded by governments around the world, gray propaganda straddles the fine line between fact and fiction, letting its secret sources instigate chaos without liability.
The Federal Reserve
Born from a series of financial crises in the 20th century, the Federal Reserve, or Fed, controls monetary policy in the United States to ensure economic growth through maximum employment and fair pricing.
Responsibility: Clara Barton
Clara Barton's unwavering responsibility led her from establishing free schools to founding the American Red Cross, exemplifying how individual dedication can fortify a nation.
Integrity: Schechter Brothers
In the 1930s, Jewish butchers the Schechter brothers showed integrity when they fought what they felt were unjust regulations, in order to uphold their faith and customer trust.
Responsibility: Dwight D. Eisenhower
Supreme Commander of Allied Forces during the Second World War, Dwight D. Eisenhower had a duty to serve for the common good. On the eve of D-Day, the responsibility fell on his shoulders to wait – or to strike.
The Sixth Amendment
The Sixth Amendment was designed to protect individuals accused or convicted of a crime. But how does it work in today's society?
New Jersey v. TLO
When 14-year-old student 'TLO' was searched at school and convicted of drugs offences, she claimed the search was unconstitutional, and took her case to the Supreme Court.
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier
When a school newspaper was censored for containing articles about teenage pregnancy, student journalists sued their school district for violating their First Amendment rights.
Presidents' Day
From George Washington's birthday to a day honoring all U.S. Presidents, learn how Presidents' Day became a national holiday and its significance today.
Designing the Constitution: Learning from our Ancestors
How the Founding Fathers used the experiences of other democratic societies to inform the US Constitution.
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?
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!
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 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?
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?
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 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.
Mildred Cohn: Trailblazing Biochemist
Mildred Cohn shattered gender and religious barriers to revolutionize biochemistry, developing techniques with far-reaching applications in medicine and agriculture.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 tackled voter suppression in the United States. While it significantly increased the registration of Black voters, it was not without controversy.
The Fourth Amendment
What prevents the police from randomly searching our homes and possessions whenever they want? The Founders created the Fourth Amendment to protect the individual right to private property. Learn more about its origins and some landmark Supreme Court cases in our latest Homework Help video.
Free Assembly
Why is the freedom of assembly an essential right in a free society? Our Homework Help video explores why the Founders included it in the 1st Amendment as well as the landmark Supreme Court cases involving it. Supreme Court cases arguing freedom of assembly debate the protections of the 14th Amendment. Although the Bill of Rights was initially limited to the federal government, incorporation also allows states to be culpable of the protections in the Bill of Rights.
Origins and Purposes of the Bill of Rights
Why did the Founders see the need to create a Bill of Rights? What historical documents and events influenced them as they drafted it? This latest installment in our Homework Help series explores these important constitutional questions.
Branches of Government
The federal government of the United States of America is split into three separate and distinct branches. But what do the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary do and why are they necessary?
What is the English Bill of Rights?
The English Bill of Rights curbed the power and influence of the English monarchy and gave more power to their subjects. It’s the basis for the rights and freedoms we enjoy today.
What is Martin Luther King Jr. Day?
MLK Day takes place every year on the third Monday of January. It's a time to celebrate the life and work of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who brought Americans together in the name of racial equality.
What is Patriot Day?
Patriot Day takes place every year on September 11 to honor and remember the first responders, and those who lost their lives, on 9/11.
The Story of Women's Suffrage in America (Part 2)
In part two of this two-part Homework Help narrative, learn about the challenges that the women’s suffrage movement overcame in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. What contributions did monumental suffragists like Alice Paul, Lucy Stone, and Carrie Chapman Catt make on the journey to winning the vote for women?
Loyal American: Fred Korematsu
In this Homework Help narrative, learn the story of Fred Korematsu and his lifelong struggle for justice for himself and the thousands of Japanese-Americans wrongfully interned by the U.S. government during World War II.
Development of Slavery in North America
In our new Homework Help Series we break down history into easy to understand 5 minute videos to support a better understanding of American History. In our tenth episode, we tackle early American foreign policy
The Colonization of America
In our new Homework Help Series we break down history into easy to understand 5 minute videos to support a better understanding of American History. In our second episode, we tackle the colonization of America.
The People of Sudan and South Sudan
The separation of Sudan into two countries, and the enduring violent conflicts between political groups, has plunged the people of Sudan and South Sudan into a humanitarian crisis.
The People of Venezuela
Despite living in an oil rich country - the people of Venezuela have suffered economic collapse, poverty and political turmoil, forcing millions to flee their homeland.
Differences Between the Colonies
The 13 colonies were all part of the British Empire, but they had many differences, from colonists' views on religious freedom to how they educated their children.
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.
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.
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.
Engel v. Vitale
Is school-sponsored prayer in public schools a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment? In 1951, some New York schools began starting the day with a non-denominational prayer. Our latest Homework Help video tells the story of the ensuing landmark Supreme Court case of Engel v. Vitale.
In this Homework Help narrative, learn about the constitutional principle of incorporation and its historic context. Has incorporating the Bill of Rights to apply to the states created greater liberty for Americans?
Brown v. Board of Education
Brown v Board of Education was a case brought to the Supreme Court in 1954 after Linda Brown, an African American student in Kansas, was denied access to the white-only schools nearby her house. Future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall was the lawyer for the case, and argued that segregated schools were inherently unequal. Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Linda Brown and declared segregation unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment through incorporation under the premise that the bill of rights also applies to the states. This is one of the landmark cases that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Miranda v. Arizona
Miranda v Arizona was a case brought to the Supreme Court in 1966 after Ernesto Miranda appealed his guilty conviction of kidnapping and rape. In his appeal, Miranda claimed he was unaware of his right to remain silent, and his resulting confession should not be used to incriminate him. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Miranda and established the Miranda Warning, otherwise known as Miranda Rights. This warning is now recited in most instances of arrest to ensure the accused people are aware of their rights.
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.
United States v. Nixon
Can the President of the United States withhold certain information from Congress and the courts? During the Watergate Scandal, President Richard Nixon attempted to withhold recording tapes from the White House from investigators. The Supreme Court’s ruling would have huge impacts on the system of checks and balances within the United States' governing system.
Roe v. Wade
Do women have a right to privacy when deciding whether to have an abortion? In 1969, a woman under the alias “Jane Roe” challenged a Texas law that outlawed abortions. The case eventually reached the Supreme Court, where Roe argued that a woman’s right to privacy in having an abortion is protected by the Constitution. In a 7-2 decision, the Court ruled the right to an abortion fell within the right to privacy protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. To this day, the ruling in Roe v. Wade remains one of the most controversial Supreme Court decisions.
Yuri Kochiyama: Unyielding Voice for Justice
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, thousands of Japanese-Americans were interned on U.S. soil. Determined to right this wrong, Yuri Kochiyama testified to Congress and helped those affected win $20,000 in compensation.
Mary Ann Shadd Cary: Antislavery Activist
The first Black newspaper editor in the history of the United States, Mary Ann Shadd Cary spoke out to champion the cause of freedom in an era when the voices of African Americans were rarely heard.
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?
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.
Marbury v. Madison: What is Judicial Review?
The U.S. Supreme Court decides if laws made in the United States violate the Constitution or not. It’s called judicial review and it’s a power that was granted to the Supreme Court by the Supreme Court itself – thanks to a landmark case in 1803, Marbury v. Madison.
Election of 1860: A Nation, Torn
The Presidential Election of 1860 proved the most divisive in U.S. history, with the election of Abraham Lincoln triggering the secession of Southern states. But how did it play out at the polls?
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.
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.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Forced Removal to Mexico: Repatriation Drives
During the Great Depression, the U.S. government detained and deported almost 2 million Mexican American citizens and people of Mexican descent, in an initiative known as the Repatriation Drives.
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.
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.
Native American Boarding Schools: Forced Separation of Families
For over a hundred years, the U.S. government used education as a tool to assimilate Native American children into American society - by systematically erasing their history, culture, and language.
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.
James Lafayette: Revolutionary Spy
Born enslaved, James Lafayette became one of the most important Patriot spies of the American Revolution, helping to gather vital information on the British Army. His work helped the United States secure independence.
Civil War Female Spies
In a world traditionally dominated by men, female spies took advantage of gender stereotypes to go unnoticed and gather information during the U.S. Civil War.
The Treaty of Ghent
After almost three years of bitter conflict, the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain came to an end with the ratification of the Treaty of Ghent, but was the war a waste of time and resources?
The Battle of New Orleans
After three years of bitter fighting between the United States and Great Britain, the War of 1812 concluded with the Treaty of Ghent. At least, it should have, because one final battle was about to be fought: the Battle of New Orleans.
Shirley Chisholm: Confronting the Political Machine
As the first Black woman elected to Congress, Shirley Chisholm made history in her lifelong struggle to empower minorities and change the United States.
Library of Congress
Home to millions of books and manuscripts, the Library of Congress is a hub of culture and knowledge, pioneering digital accessibility while safeguarding America's rich history.
Immoderation: Huey Long
Huey Long's rise from rural Louisiana to U.S. Senator was marked by immoderation, as promises turned to power grabs and corruption, ultimately leading to his downfall.
Courage: Elizabeth Eckford
Elizabeth Eckford's lone walk to Little Rock High School, amid fierce protests, became a symbol of courage in the fight against racial segregation.
Declaration of Independence
For those taking the U.S. Citizenship test, knowing and understanding the importance of the Declaration of Independence is essential.
Natural Rights
The principle of 'Natural Rights' is a cornerstone to the US system of government, but where did it come from? And what does it mean today?
DC v. Heller
When a new gun law banned Police Officer Dick Heller from keeping a loaded weapon at home, he took the case to the Supreme Court, claiming his 'right to bear arms' was being infringed upon.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Articles of Confederation
Did you know that before the Constitution, there was another governing system in the US? The Articles of Confederation.
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.
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.
Emancipation Proclamation
Issued by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln almost three years into the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation played a crucial role in ending slavery across the United States and defining the principles that still govern the country today.
What is Constitution Day?
Constitution Day takes place every year on September 17. It celebrates the written document that outlines the rights and freedoms of U.S. citizens.
Who was George Washington?
The story of George Washington’s life and legacy as father of our country.
What is the Mayflower Compact?
A short agreement by the Pilgrims and other colonists on board the Mayflower set in motion a system of government that inspired our country’s founding documents.
Who Founded the Republican Party?
In the United States’ two-party system, the Republican Party competes with the Democratic Party for political power. But when was it formed and how has it changed over the years?
Plessy v. Ferguson: Separate but Equal
Plessy v. Ferguson was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that established the legal doctrine of “separate but equal”. It was a ruling that enabled many states to enact racial segregation laws for decades to come.
The Notorious Aaron Burr
You may know him as the man who killed Alexander Hamilton, but do you know the full story of one of American History's most notorious characters? Our latest Homework Help Institute of History video brings you the story of Aaron Burr, his rise to the position of governor of New York and vice president of the United States, and his spectacular downfall.
The Constitution
This video discuses the need for a Constitution.
African Americans in the Gilded Age
This video provides a general overview of the experience of African Americans during the pivotal years of the Gilded Age, from the 1860s to the early 1900s. Despite the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution after the Civil War, which abolished slavery and granted citizenship and voting rights to African American men, millions of African Americans across the nation still faced an uphill struggle for equality and civil rights. Political disenfranchisement was widespread and segregation in the form of "Jim Crow" laws affected nearly every facet of public and private life in the South. Many African Americans migrated from the South to the North and West during this period. This era also saw the rise of dozens of notable African American civil rights leaders including Ida B. Wells, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and W.E.B. Du Bois. Groups like the N.A.AC.P. were also established during this period to fight for the expansion of liberty and equality for African Americans.
Establishment Clause
What is the proper relationship between church and state? In this Homework Help video, we analyze this question by reviewing the history behind the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as well as how the Supreme Court has interpreted its meaning.
Principle of Equality
Why is equality a bedrock principle in the United States? Our final Homework Help video of 2021 explores the origins of this principle and how our nation has not always lived up to it throughout our history.
Freedom of the Press
What do you think of when you hear the words "free press"? The Founders believed the freedom of the press to be an important bulwark in a free society. Learn more about the history of the First Amendment as well as some landmark Supreme Court cases involving press freedom with this Homework Help video.
The Columbian Exchange
Have you ever looked at your teacher with a puzzled face when they explain history? I know we have. In our new Homework Help Series we break down history into easy to understand 5 minute videos to support a better understanding of American History. In our first episode, we tackle the Columbian Exchange and early contact between Europeans, Natives and Africans.
The Rohingya People
The Rohingya people, described by the UN as the "most persecuted people in the world”, have faced decades of discrimination and violence in Myanmar, leading to mass displacement.
The People of Cuba
In the 20th century and beyond, tens of thousands of Cuban refugees have braved shark-infested waters for a chance at a new life in the United States. Understanding their reasons for leaving can inspire us to help.
Kelo v. New London
Under what circumstances can the government take your property? In 2005, the Supreme Court took on this question in the case of Kelo v. New London. The court argued about whether applying the 5th Amendment to the states using the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment was constitutional or unconstitutional. This process is referred to as incorporation. Our latest Homework Help video reviews the details of the case and encourages students to analyze the decision to form their own opinions.
Shaw v Reno
Can a state draw district lines to increase the voting power of a minority? The Supreme Court took up this question in the 1993 case of Shaw v. Reno. Following the 1962 Baker v. Carr Supreme Court case, which ruled that the Supreme Court could hear cases on gerrymandering because of the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment through the process of incorporation, Shaw v. Reno challenged the constitutionality of gerrymandering based on race.
Free Exercise Clause
Why did the Founders believe that religious liberty was an inalienable right? In this Homework Help video, we explore the history behind the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and how the Supreme Court has interpreted it.
Baker v. Carr
In this Homework Help video, learn the story of the landmark Supreme Court case of Baker v. Carr. How did the ruling in this case contribute to the democratic principle of “one person-one vote”?
Marbury v. Madison
This Marbury vs Madison summary video displays William Marbury as a judge appointed at the end of John Adams’ presidency but who never got his official commission papers. Once Thomas Jefferson became president, James Madison refused to deliver the commission papers. Marbury took his case to the Supreme Court and wanted a Writ of Mandamus, requiring Madison to deliver the papers. Ultimately, the court stated that Marbury was entitled to his papers, but it was unconstitutional for the courts to issue a Writ of Mandamus. Thus, judicial review was created, and the principle of checks and balances was strengthened through Marbury vs Madison.
McCulloch v. Maryland
McCulloch v Maryland was the 1819 Supreme Court case dealing mostly with the issue of Federalism. This McCulloch v Maryland summary explains the creation of a National Bank which was encouraged by Alexander Hamilton, but opposed by Thomas Jefferson, due to lack of authority given by the Constitution. The first National Bank was chartered, but then died 20 years later. In 1816, a National Bank was re-instated to help deal with debts from the War of 1812. This Second National Bank, established in Maryland, was taxed heavily by Thomas Jefferson and the State of Maryland. Federal Bank Cashier, James McCulloch, refused to pay the tax, stating that the state did not have the right to tax an institution of the Federal Government. Ultimately, the Supreme Court stated that Congress had the right to create the National Bank, under the Necessary and Proper Clause. Also, the State of Maryland did not have the right to tax the National Bank and the Federal Government under the Supremacy Clause.
Grutter v. Bollinger
Grutter v. Bollinger was a case brought to the Supreme Court over the use of Affirmative Action in the college admissions process. The University of Michigan Law School denied acceptance to Barbara Grutter, despite her impressive resume. Grutter, a white woman, believed that her rejection was based on her race. The Supreme Court Justices ultimately ruled that the University of Michigan Law School’s admissions process was constitutional and did not violate the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment. Incorporation, the process of states being held liable to the Bill of Rights, allowed the Supreme Court to hear and rule on the case. However, there was doubt among the most conservative Supreme Court justices like Scalia and Rehnquist that affirmative action policy was a constitutional practice for university admission departments to take part in. Affirmative Action is still a highly debated topic today.
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.
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.
Korematsu v. United States: Was Internment Legal?
Korematsu v. United States was a controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision made in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor. It established that the U.S. government could intern Japanese Americans during WWII as a result of Executive Order 9066.
Miranda v. Arizona: What are your Miranda Rights?
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Miranda rights are an essential part of any lawful arrest, thanks to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that changed the course of policing.
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.
Wilma Mankiller
Wilma Mankiller, a Native American activist who became the first female chief of her tribe, dedicated her life to the Cherokee Nation and the expansion of Indigenous rights.
Separation of Powers
The U.S. federal government consists of three branches: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. Each one has a distinct role, ensuring a balance of power that protects the institution.
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.
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.
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.
Emancipation Proclamation Exposed
The Emancipation Proclamation is one of the most important and misunderstood documents in US history. So, what did it actually proclaim?
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.
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!
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.”
The Culper Spy Ring
With the Patriots at risk of defeat by the British during the American Revolution, Continental Army Commander George Washington relied on the Culper Spy Ring for timely and accurate information about the enemy's intentions.
Department of Transportation
The Department of Transportation ensures the equitable and safe transport of goods and people along our roads, railways, skies, waterways and airspace. So, why did it take so long to come into existence?
Black Propaganda
A weapon of covert action wielded by governments around the world, black propaganda straddles the fine line between fact and fiction, letting its secret sources instigate chaos with impunity.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Founded by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, the Department of Agriculture safeguards farming standards and boosts rural development through a series of progressive programs.
Henrietta Lacks' Revolutionary HeLa Cells
The astonishing story of Henrietta Lacks' immortal cells, taken without consent, revolutionized medical research but also exposed ethical dilemmas, leading to crucial changes in consent laws to protect patients' rights in the scientific community.
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy: Activist for Transgender Rights
Present at the Stonewall Uprising of 1959, pioneering transgender activist Miss Major Griffin-Gracy lived through the HIV/AIDS epidemic to fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the United States and beyond.
Dishonor: Benedict Arnold
Benedict Arnold's once-valiant reputation soured as he betrayed the American Revolution for greed. His name now represents dishonor and the dangers of lost trust.
Pottawatomie v. Earls
In the landmark Supreme Court case Pottawatomie v. Earls, a group of students sued their school district for violating their fourth amendment rights, for making drug tests mandatory for all students participating in extracurricular activities.
The Eighth Amendment
The Eighth Amendment is designed to limit how we decide the punishment of those convicted of a crime. But how has the Supreme Court interpreted 'cruel and unusual punishment'?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.