The first votes of the fledgling Virginia Assembly in 1619 marked the inception of the most important political development in American history — the rise of democracy.
Four hundred years ago this year, two momentous events happened in Britain’s fledgling colony in Virginia: the New World’s first democratic assembly convened, and an English privateer brought kidnapped Africans to sell as slaves. Such were the conflicted origins of modern America.
Patrick Henry adhered to five ideas that drove him and his neighbors first to resist, and then to declare themselves independent of Great Britain.
The archaeologist who discovered the real Jamestown debunks myths and answers long-puzzling mysteries about North America's first successful English colony
A southern writer analyzes the handicaps unwittingly laid on the general by President Davis
A diminutive, persuasive Virginian hijacked the Constitutional Convention and forced the moderates to accept a national government with vastly expanded powers
The vivacious Sally Fairfax stole the young man’s heart long before he met Martha
Sharp business skills ensured the first president’s phenomenal success
If the colony had collapsed the English might not have been established as the major colonial power in North America
New research shows that Lee's momentous decision to fight for the South was far from inevitable.
How Jamestown Got Us Started
It is a place of noble harbors, a convergence of strong rivers and a promontory commanding a wind-raked bay; a shoreline enfolding towns older than the Republic and the most modern and formidable naval base on earth; a spot where a four-hour standoff between two very peculiar ships changed the course of warfare forever—and the breeding ground of crabs that people travel across the country to eat. Fred Schultz explains why the fifth annual American Heritage Great American Place Award goes to
A descendant of Thomas Jefferson comments on the quarrel over who can be allowed in the family graveyard, and the missing remains of Sally Hemings. The outcome of the dispute is important to every American.
From Richmond to Appomattox Court House, roads unchanged for 140 years tell the story of the final days, the final hours of the Confederacy
COMING TO TERMS WITH THE MOST COMPELLING AND MYSTERIOUS OF CIVIL WAR HEROES
A CENTURY AGO you’d eat steak and lobster when you couldn’t afford chicken. Today it can cost less than the potatoes you serve with. What happened in the years between was an extraordinary marriage of technology and the market.
The young German fought for American Independence, went home, and returned as a man of peace
He told Lincoln he was better than any other officer on the field at Bull Run and got the Army’s top job. He built a beaten force into a proud one and stole a march on Robert E. Lee with it. He was twenty-four hours away from winning the Civil War. Then he fell apart.
THIS SPRING, THE 250TH ANNIVERSARY OF JEFFERSON’S BIRTH, RESTORATION BEGINS ON POPLAR FOREST, WHICH HE ONCE CALLED “THE BEST DWELLING HOUSE IN THE STATE, EXCEPT THAT OF MONTICELLO.” WHILE THE WORK PROGESSES, THE HOUSE IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, AND ITS GHOSTLY EMPTINESS HEIGHTENS THE SENSE IF ITS ORIGINAL OCCUPANT.
On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the most controversial historical novel in memory, the author of The Confessions of Nat Turner speaks of a novelist’s duty to history and fiction’s strange power not only to astonish but to enrage
The author joins the thousands who feel compelled to trace the flight of Lincoln’s assassin
The Colonial Revival was born in a time of late-nineteenth-century ferment, and from then on the style resurfaced every time Americans needed reassurance
How to know the unknowable man
During three days in May 1863, the Confederate leader took astonishing risks to win one of the most skillfully conducted battles in history. But the cost turned out to be too steep.
At war’s outbreak a frightened commander was ready to give away the Union’s greatest navy yard
The pilasters and pediments of an architecture perfectly suited to our eighteenth-century aristocracy flourish in today’s skyline and suburb
From Fort Ticonderoga to the Plaza Hotel, from Appomattox Courthouse to Bugsy Siegel’s weird rose garden in Las Vegas, the present-day scene is enriched by knowledge of the American past
The first settlers marked the borders of their lives with simple fences that grew ever more elaborate over the centuries