Humanities

Bimonthly magazine providing review of notable humanities projects and developments.

Articles from Vol. 23, No. 6, November/December

Ancestral Bones: Reinterpreting the Past of the Omaha
AT THE END OF THE EIGHTEENTH century the Omaha Indian tribe controlled the fur trade on the upper Missouri River. Without the say-so of Chief Blackbird, French and Spanish fur traders could not do business with tribes farther up the Missouri. Under Blackbird's...
An Empire Gone Awry: Why Napoleon Sold Louisiana
NAPOLEON WOULD NEVER HAVE SOLD LOUISIANA TO THE UNITED STATES in 1803 if he had succeeded in reimposing French rule over Haiti. Napoleon's plan was to reconstruct an empire centered on Caribbean islands exporting sugar, coffee, and other tropical products...
Architecture in Motion: America's First Space Station
WHEN SKYLAB WAS launched, it seemed another example of Manifest Destiny-- Americans charting the last unknown territory But only nine astronauts had the experience of being onboard the space station before it was abandoned. And space remains a vast and...
Around the Nation
A ROUNDUP OF ACTIVITIES SPONSORED BY THE STATE HUMANITIES COUNCILS ALABAMA Three hundred years ago, the French established the settlement of Mobile. To mark the anniversary of Alabama's earliest European community, the Mobile Museum of Art is hosting...
Darwin: Letters from the Beagle
THE YEAR LEWIS AND CLARK LEFT on their expedition, a British scientist named Erasmus Darwin published his ideas on evolution. Half a century later, his grandson Charles would embark on a journey to the Galapagos Islands and emerge with a theory that...
Editor's Note: The Westering Adventure
THE WESTERING ADVENTURE "As we passed on, it seemed as if those scenes of visionary enchantment would never end." --Meriwether Lewis, on reaching the White Cliffs of the Missouri River In January we celebrate the accomplishments of two men named Lewis...
Lord of the Dance
THE FLAMING circle in which he dances is the circle of creation and destruction.... The Lord holds in two of his hands the drum of creation and the fire of destruction. He displays his strength by crushing the bewildered demon underfoot. He shows his...
On the Trail of Lewis & Clark: A Conversation with Gary Moulton
AS THE BICENTENNIAL OF THE LEWIS AND CLARK expedition approaches, HUMANITIES magazine reflects on how America was looking west at the turn of the nineteenth century, past the Mississippi River, which until then had marked the western border-and toward...
Save America's Treasures
Pieces of our nation's history are in decay. At the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, James Wilson's early handwritten drafts of the Constitution are loosely bound in folders or pressed between plexiglass, making them susceptible to deterioration....
South Carolina's Randy Akers
"Archaeology has been a hobby, an interest, and a passion," says Randy Akers, director of the South Carolina Humanities Council. "I've always felt that archaeology is a way of helping interpret the human story from past to present to future." Akers has...
The Forgotten Expedition
WHILE HISTORY REMEMBERS Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, two other explorers of the Louisiana Purchase are long forgotten. In the autumn of 1804, as Lewis and Clark were heading northwest with their Corps of Discovery, another team led by two Scotsmen...
Trouble for the Spanish: The Pueblo Revolt of 1680
THREE CENTURIES BEFORE Thomas Jefferson sent expeditions westward to explore the unknown continent, the Spanish had secured territory in the Americas. Beginning with Columbus's arrival in the West Indies, the Spanish Empire encouraged explorers to seek...
War Stories
The novel War Birds: The Diary of an Unknown Aviator records the memories and horrors of World War I fighter pilots. When it was published in 1926, its frank depiction of their profligate lifestyle scandalized America. A new film by Robert Clem explains...
West by Northwest with the Corps of Discovery
TWO DAYS BEFORE MERIWETHER LEWIS set out from Washington to prepare for his expedition with William Clark, astounding news came from Europe. Napoleon Bonaparte, who had been ignoring Thomas Jefferson's request to purchase the busy port of New Orleans...
We the People
OUR FOUNDERS BELIEVED THE STUDY OF HISTORY AND CITIZENSHIP SHOULD BE AT THE CORE OF EVERY AMERICAN'S EDUCATION," said President George W. Bush as he announced the NEH initiative We the People on September 17. "We are bound by ideals, and our children...