American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 58, No. 6, Winter

Back in Business: Smithsonian's National Museum of American History Reopens after Major Renovations
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] As you mount a shallow ramp in the heart of the Smithsonian's newly renovated National Museum of American History (NMAH), your eyes dilate in the dimming light. Turn left and there lies the Star-Spangled Banner, the flag designed...
Crossroads of Cultures: American Heritage Editors Pick Their Favorite Historic Sites in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah
In the American Southwest, where sand and rock meet mountain and sky, the line between transience and permanence blurs. Extensive ruins lie in remote canyons where buildings once towered, echoes of the life that once stirred behind adobe walls and...
Did Castro OK the Kennedy Assassination? on the 45th Anniversary Incriminating New Evidence Revealed
On September 24, 1964, a copy of the official Warren Commission Report was delivered to President Lyndon Johnson in the Oval Office. Its conclusions were, in hindsight, as accurate as possible, given the commission's impossibly short investigative...
Dred Scott Decision
FRAGMENT ON DRED SCOTT DECISION, CA. DECEMBER 1856 The Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision of March 6, 1857--authorizing the nationalizing of slavery and ruling that blacks could never be American citizens--dominated much of Lincoln's oratory for...
Editor's Letter
IT HAPPENS THAT THREE OF THE MOST critical and momentous occasions in our nation's history converge in this issue. Few events have received more scrutiny than the 1963 assassination of John E Kennedy. Why did Lee Harvey Oswald do it--and did anyone...
If Lincoln Hadn't Died ... Would the Disastrous Reconstruction Era Have Taken a Different Course?
What would have happened had Abraham Lincoln not been assassinated? Every time I lecture on Lincoln, the Civil War, or Reconstruction, someone in the audience is sure to pose this question--one, of course, perfectly natural to ask but equally impossible...
In Lincoln's Hand
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] "I expect to maintain this contest until successful, or till I die, or am conquered, or my term expires, or Congress or the country forsakes me." --Abraham Lincoln This famous passage, like many of Lincoln's, is ubiquitous....
Lincoln and the Navy: The President Takes Charge and Directs a Successful Amphibious Landing at Hampton Roads
In May 1862, two months after e ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack) fought to a draw in Hampton Roads, Virginia, President Abraham Lincoln traveled south from Washington on a revenue cutter to visit the Army of the Potomac,...
Lincoln as Commander in Chief: Even Though He Had No Military Training, Lincoln Quickly Rose to Become One of America's Most Talented Commanders
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] On July 27, 1848, a tall, raw boned Whig congressman from Illinois rose in the House of Representatives to challenge the Mexican War policies of President James K. Polk. An opponent of what he considered an unjust war, Abraham...
Lincoln & Douglass: The Prairie Lawyer President and Outspoken Abolitionist Formed an Unusual Friendship
At dusk in early April 1866, a large crowd filed into Representatives Hall of the imposing Illinois Capitol in Springfield. Just 11 months earlier, President Lincoln's rapidly blackening body had lain here in state as thousands of townspeople had filed...
Lincoln the Orator: Our Most Talented Writer-President Always Wrote His Own Material and Sweated Hours over It
On February 27, 1860, Abraham Lincoln stood before a crowd of 1,500 at Cooper Union Hall in New York City. Until he had declared his candidacy for President of the United States, the former one-term Congressman had drawn little attention outside his...
Special Section: Lincoln's Legacy: As We Approach the Bicentennial of His Birth, Leading Historians Look at the Man and His Achievements
During the campaign of 1860, and throughout what Henry Adams would justly call the "Great Secession Winter" that fell like a shadow after that year's momentous presidential election, a convincing case could be made that Abraham Lincoln was totally...
The Divine Will
MEDITATION ON THE DEVINE WILL, CA. SEPTEMBER 1862 The thorny question of God's will in relation to the Civil War nagged at Lincoln as the conflict mounted. In this private note, discovered only after this death, he staked out a theologically rigorous...
Treasure Trove of Documents Discovered in Whaling Town
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] IN THE EARLY- TO MIDDLE 1800s, whale oil made New Bedford, Massachusetts, "the richest city in the world." In Moby-Dick, his great whaling novel, Herman Melville described the port as "a land of oil," a place with "patrician-like...
Wall Street's First Collapse: Speculators Caused a Stock Market Crash in 1792, Forcing the Federal Government to Bail out New York Bankers-And the Nation
Wall Street's first bubble swelled and burst in the spring of 1792, exerting a profound effect on American politics and society. Nine years after the Treaty of Paris and the acknowledgement of the former colonies' independence, both Europe and America...