American Heritage

Articles from Vol. 60, No. 2, Summer

1789: Philadelphia Story: Without Major Compromises by All Involved and the Agreement to Avoid the Contentious Issue of Slavery, the Framers Would Never Have Written and Ratified the Constitution
IN SEPTEMBER 1789, at the end of the Constitutional Convention, James Madison wrote in dismay to his old friend Thomas Jefferson, who was an ocean away in Paris. "I hazard an opinion," he lamented, "that the plan should it be adopted will neither effectively...
1820: Missouri, Slave or Free? over the Question of Whether Missouri Should Be Admitted to the Union as a Free or Slave State in 1820, Creative Moderates Brokered an Ingenious Compromise That Averted Civil War
ON FEBRUARY 13, 1819, 35-year-old Congressman William Cobb unfolded his six-foot frame from his chair in the chamber of the Old Brick Capitol building in Washington, D.C., and locked his gray eyes on James Tallmadge Jr. of New York. There was little...
1850: Clay's Compromise: Fistfights Broke out in Congress in 1850 over Whether the Territories Just Won in the Mexican War Should Be Slave or Free-And Only a Last-Minute Series of Compromises Prevented Catastrophe
ON A RAW EVENING in winter of 1850, a weary-looking, feeble, and desperately ill old man arrived unannounced at the Washington, D.C., residence of Sen. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts. Sen. Henry Clay of Kentucky had come to seek Webster's help in...
1933: A New Deal Compromised: Compromise upon Compromise Whittled FDR's Dreams Down Considerably but Enabled Him to Pass His Social Security Act, Perhaps the Most Sweeping Social Reform of the 20th Century
NOT LONG AFTER Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in on March 4, 1933, he began work on his "big bill." It embraced several of his highest aspirations: universal health care, old-age pensions, unemployment insurance, and more, including a provision to...
1965: Medicare's Complicated Birth: LBJ Passes Comprehensive Federal Insurance for Seniors with Shrewd Politics and a Strong Dose of Compromise
IN 1965, AFTER WINNING in a landslide against Barry Goldwater and helping to carry Democratic supermajorities into both houses of Congress, President Lyndon Johnson set out to enact a battery of Great Society reforms, including Medicare, government...
"A Spirit and Power Far beyond Its Letter" the Emancipation Proclamation Opened the Door for Pennsylvania's African American Soldiers
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] THE SCENE WAS WILD AND GRAND. Joy and gladness exhausted all forms of expression, from shouts of praise to joys and tears." That was how Frederick Douglass described the moment when the words of the Emancipation Proclamation...
Editor's Letter
From the early days when Bruce Catton took the helm of this magazine, it's been our tradition to remain outside the political fray, not espousing one side or the other in the issue du jour. Rather we've looked to our common heritage and let our readers...
Finding a Way Forward: At Five Critical Junctures in American History, Major Political Compromises Have Proved That Little of Lasting Consequence Can Occur without Entrenched Sides Each Making Serious Concessions
Compromise has become a bad word for many in the political sphere. Yet our history shows that it s the way things get done and how the country moves forward. From our founders who cobbled together the Constitution to the genial dealmaking of Ronald...
From Civil War to Civil Rights": J.R. Clifford Fought His Real Battles in the Courtroom
MY PATERNAL GRANDFATHER, Edward St. Lawrence Gates, was buried on July 2, 1960. After the burial my father showed my brother and me scrapbooks that his father had kept. Within the pages of those scrapbooks was an obituary of my great-great-grandmother,...
Guide to Historic Sites in Florida
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Pre- 16th Century Crystal River Archaeological State Park Anthropologists theorize that this Citrus County region held 7,500 Native American...
Hoover Dam Turns 75: A New Bridge Spans the Colorado near the Dam That Came to Symbolize America's Great Promise-And Changed the American West Forever
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] ON DECEMBER 21, 1928, Pres. Hoover signed the act authorizing construction of civilian engineering project the likes of which the world had never seen: a 726-foot-tall concrete structure that would...
"In the Defense of the Republic" from Camp William Penn to the Grand Review
THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR had cost more than 620,000 lives and had nearly torn the nation apart, but by May 1865 it was finally over. To celebrate, thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., to express their gratitude to the military forces that...
Meuse-Argonne: America's Bloodiest Single Battle Occurred in the Forests and Fields of Eastern France during World War I
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] ON OCTOBER 11, 1918, LATE IN THE afternoon, a platoon of American doughboys marched to the front in eastern France, passing shattered villages, forests reduced to matchsticks, and water-filled shell craters. At every step...
Pacific War Museum
IF HBO's 10-PART Pacific series has fired your interest in World War II's Pacific Theater, consider visiting the newly renovated and much expanded George H. W. Bush Gallery of the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. Inside...
The South's Mighty Gamble on King Cotton: The Highly Lucrative Cotton Crop of 1860 Emboldened the South to Challenge the Economic Powerhouse of the North
IN THE MID- TO LATE summer of 1860, billions of soft pink and white Gossypium hirsutum blooms broke out across South Carolina, Georgia, western Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, soon to morph into puffy white bolls. Nearly...
The Summer of Our Discontent: Although Marred by the Grisly Murders of Three Young Activists, the Freedom Summer of 1964 Brought Revolutionary Changes to Mississippi and the Nation
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] ON THE FIRST DAY OF summer in 1964, three young activists piled into a blue station wagon in Meridian, Mississippi, and headed into Klan country. Across America, it was Father's Day; a lazy holiday of picnics, barbecues,...
White Carnation League
AS PART OF THE YEAR-LONG GRAND REVIEW COMMEMORATION, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office has launched the White Carnation League, a tribute to the Garnet Equal Rights League that sponsored the original Harrisburg review in 1865. The new league's purpose...
Winning Gold at Last: After 65 Years, the Nation's First Female Military Pilots Receive Their Due
ON MARCH 10 HUNDREDS of active-duty female U.S. Air Force pilots accompanied more than 200 Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) into the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center's 580,000-square-foot marble and glass Emancipation Hall for a long-overdue ceremony....