American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 49, No. 1, February-March

1573; Drake Sees the Pacific
On February 11, in the middle of a trek across the Isthmus of Panama, Francis Drake stopped to climb a tall tree. Near its top he stepped out onto a spacious platform. Behind him, to the north, the British pirate-explorer-admiral could glimpse the...
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1798; a Congressional Fistfight
On February 15 the U.S. Congress reached its lowest point yet when Rep. Matthew Lyon of Vermont and Rep. Roger Griswold of Connecticut engaged in a schoolyard brawl on the floor of the House of Representatives. The trouble had begun on January 30,...
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1823; Coopers Coup
In February, James Fenimore Cooper per published The Pioneers, the first of his five Leatherstocking novels. Cooper's previous book, The Spy (1821), a romance set in Revolutionary days, had sold well, and with the aid of a lurid excerpt published...
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1973; the Watergate Bursts
On March 23 seven men appeared in a Washington, D.C., courtroom to be sentenced for their parts in the Watergate burglary, a break-in by Republican operatives at Democratic-party headquarters the previous June. At 10:00 a.m. Judge John Sirica made...
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All That Glittered
Save for the Civil War, what occurred after a carpenter glimpsed a flash of yellow 150 years ago was the biggest story of the nineteenth century. It was 150 years ago this January that Jim Marshall, the boss carpenter of a crew of Maidu Indians and...
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An Old Florida Melting Pot: Visiting the Tampa Area's Turn-of-the-Century Cuban and Greek Communities
The young man dressed in a monk's costume chats with me as he hands out candy to children celebrating Guavaween. He works in Tampa's Cuban community, Ybor City, in a well-stocked vintage-clothing store, and people are walking in to took for costumes...
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Charting the Century
Now 1998 is upon us, and it seems years closer to the millennium than did 1997. There's no reason this should be the case--just as there's no reason, strictly speaking, why the turn of the century should be celebrated in the year 2000. As Dr. Albert...
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David Sarnoff
This Russian immigrant -- who started his career as a $5.50-a-week courier -- combined his technical knowledge with great business instincts to consolidate a vast radio and television empire, and improve the performance of communications forever. ...
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Golden Anniversary: The Rush for Treasure in the West Is More Than Part of a Picturesque Past; It Has Profoundly Shaped Our Present
On January 24, 1848, one hundred and fifty years ago this month, a man named James Marshall was inspecting a millrace that he had just constructed on the American River, not far from Sacramento, California. He had turned the water into it the night...
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Is Lincoln Here?
It was, up to that point, the photo opportunity of the century. Here was the nation's President-elect, Abraham Lincoln, visiting Independence Hall in Philadelphia en route to his inauguration--the defender of the Union seeking inspiration at the cradle...
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My Lai, Thirty Years After
The sun scorches down on the car, baking the black vinyl seats. They feel pliant as new tar. Tank top and shorts--the uniform of choice--offers no respite, and my bandanna is soaked in minutes. Sweat stings my eyes. The wind through the car's open...
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Pardise Lost? an Interview with Michael Elliott
Have Americans slid backward since the sunny, prosperous years after World War II, as so many feel? To find out, an English-born historian compares our recent past with earlier times, and in the process learns something about our likely course into the...
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The Rise of the Skyscraper and the Fall of Louis Sullivan
He showed the way to the future and then was stranded there, at odds even with his own aesthetic sensibility If a single building type can -- and should -- be identified with twentieth-century American architecture, it is the skyscraper. Tall buildings...
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The Texture of Time
"Very early," writes the distinguished historian John Lukacs in the introduction to A Thread of Years, his twentieth--and certainly his Most unusual--book, "I was inspired by the recognition of the inevitable overlapping of history and literature,...
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The Thirteen Books You Must Read to Understand America: Schlesinger's Syllabus
When Drake McFeely of W. W. Norton proposed an updated and enlarged edition of my book The Disuniting of America, he thought it might be a good idea to add an all-American reading list. What are the dozen or so books, he wondered, that everyone should...
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