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This Day in History
War of 1812 begins, 1812
The day after the Senate followed the House of Representatives in voting to declare war against Great Britain, President James Madison signs the declaration int…
The six-week television event Mankind The Story of All of Us continues this Tuesday at 9/8c. This week, we’ll explore the monumental changes to industry, transportation and our daily lives brought about by the Industrial Revolution.
Check out some of our favorite content for Week 5: Revolutions.
Find out how the development of the spinning machine led directly to the Industrial Revolution.
How did the railroad pave the way for America’s ascension as a superpower?
It has been exciting, encouraging and slightly exhausting to keep up with the commentary on the recent Lincoln film. Perhaps more than any other American president, Abraham Lincoln seems to carry our expectations and political hopes, even in retrospect. He continues to play the role of national prism—we turn him sideways and upside down searching for answers, generations later.
Many historians, including the Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer (he served as a consultant for the film and related book Lincoln: A President For the Ages) have noted the profoundly powerful sway of the film, regardless of its omissions or oversights. Matthew Pinsker, author of Lincoln’s Sanctuary, notes that “this movie probably does better on this difficult subject than any other American film” and that it is an excellent piece of art, despite not sticking to letter of the law in terms of historical detail.
Other scholars, including leading historian Eric Foner, in a letter to The New York Times, have lamented what they see as a lost opportunity to show the critical roles of slaves, free blacks and abolitionists in overturning slavery. Foner argues (and the weight of evidence shows) that emancipation took place “on the ground”—not just in the unofficial and official rooms of Congress.
Meanwhile, The Atlantic has organized a Lincoln Roundtable with many contributors analyzing the film, its portrayal of Lincoln and what it all means when it comes to questions of slavery and emancipation. Wow–lots of discussion! As we continue to debate what exactly happened, when and why—and Lincoln’s role in the drama of the 1860s–it is heartening to see a feature film serve as a vibrant platform for these conversations.
It is interesting to look back on what one key player–who does not play a role in the Lincoln film but did play a very key role in the movement to end slavery–said about Lincoln in the decade after his death:
“It mattered little to us what language he might employ on special occasions; it mattered little to us, when we fully knew him, whether he was swift or slow in his movements; it was enough for us that Abraham Lincoln was at the head of a great movement…which, in the nature of things, must go on until slavery should be utterly and forever abolished in the United States.”- Frederick Douglass, April 1876
HISTORY’s six-part series Mankind The Story of All of Us continues this Tuesday at 9/8c. This week, we’re hitting the road (or the water) as mankind begins the fabled Age of Exploration. Here are some of our favorite content for this week’s episode, New World.
Age of Exploration: Life on the Open Seas Infographic
Life was pretty difficult for a sailor in the Age of Exploration—and bad pay and long hours were just the start of it. Rotten food and scurvy were commonplace, and if the diet didn’t kill you, there were plenty of other things that could.
Below, check out some of this week’s exclusive video from Mankind The Story of All of Us.
Get the story on how Christopher Columbus unknowingly discovered the New World.
The epic journey of Mankind The Story of All of Us continues this Tuesday at 9/8c. Among the topics covered this week is how money developed around the world. In that spirit, here’s some of our favorite new content for this week.
The Story of Money Infographic
Get the facts on the earliest forms of money and the origins of the U.S dollar, discover which country created the first paper money, and find out how the Inca created a great empire—without using money at all.
Below, check out some new web exclusives from Mankind The Story of All of Us.
HISTORY’s epic television event continues this Tuesday at 9/8c with Episode 2: Empires. To go along with that theme, here’s some of our favorite new content for week 2 of Mankind The Story of All of Us.
Rome: Ancient Supercity Infographic
Rome was a city of “firsts”—the first apartment buildings, the first central heating and even the world’s first shopping mall. From a state-of-the-art water supply to the biggest sports arena in history, this brand-new infographic explores how Rome kept its 1 million residents happy, hydrated and healthy.
Great Innovations Sweepstakes
Fire or the wheel? Steel or concrete? Check out our bracketology-style sweepstakes to cast your vote for what you think is the most important innovation in human history. Come back to vote each week for a chance to win a home entertainment bundle, including a 55″ 3D HDTV, plus weekly Mankind prize pack giveaways.
Mankind: World Heritage Game
Produced in conjunction with UNESCO, the World Heritage interactive game challenges users to identify World Heritage sites and their locations throughout the world. The colorful and interactive web-based game includes descriptions and images ofover 300 World Heritage sites.
As we’ve mentioned in a few previous posts, we’ve been working on a ton of content in support of the new six-part series Mankind The Story of All of Us, including videos, infographics, unique social media experiences, original articles and more. We’ll be rolling out this content over the coming weeks, but we’re thrilled to present one of our favorite pieces: Bet You Didn’t Know™, a collection of hundreds of fascinating facts covering all aspects of history. The interactive lets you browse facts at random, sort by theme, share with friends and even check out the BYDK Top 20, our most popular facts.
Check out history.com/facts to dive in.
For example, we bet you didn’t know that:
Also check out the Bet You Didn’t Know™ app for both phone and tablet devices. It includes all of our BYDK content, plus exclusive videos, photos and infographics from the show. Oh, and it’s free!
HISTORY’s six-part television event Mankind The Story of All of Us premieres Tuesday, November 13, at 9/8c. Each week, we’ll be bringing you new features related to the show, including infographics, exclusive videos, original articles and more. To kick off premiere week, here is some of our favorite content for week one of the show.
Join the Story
Every Tuesday night, viewers will have the chance to unlock exclusive extended video from Mankind The Story of All of Us, featuring interviews with Brian Williams, Anthony Bourdain and others. Just tweet with #Mankind or share to Facebook Tuesdays at 9/8c to join the story.
There are more than 100 pyramids in Egypt, but did you know that the Americas have more pyramids than the rest of the world combined? What similarities do these structures—built hundreds of years and thousands of miles apart—share, and how are they different? Find out in our new infographic.
Below, check out some of this week’s web exclusives from Mankind The Story of All of Us.
Find out how harnessing the power of fire revolutionized human life.
How did the development of weapons change mankind? Experts weigh in.
“But the thing about remembering is that you don’t forget.” – Tim O’Brien, “The Things They Carried”
Veterans Day falls each year on November 11. As many people know, the holiday dates back to World War I, when the world celebrated the laying down of arms, known as Armistice Day. Here at HISTORY, observing Veterans Day is a company-wide effort. Starting in 2007, we launched a program called Take a Veteran to School. Every year the program has grown, and this year thousands of schools in all 50 states are participating. The concept is simple: organize a Veterans Day celebration so students can learn more about the holiday, and invite veterans in the community to receive heartfelt thanks for their service.
Our online hub for Veterans Day, Veterans.com, features classroom materials and much more information for Veterans Day. This includes resources for the Thank a Veteran at Work program, in which employers organize ways to honor veterans on or near Veterans Day. Check out our Thank a Veteran at Work tip sheet, which highlights options for making these celebrations easy and meaningful without requiring a lot of time or money.
HISTORY also has a fun social media campaign based on the theme “It’s Never Too Late to Say Thank You.” Using the hashtag #THANKAVET, you can thank veterans in your family or community on Twitter. People all across the country take part in this viral campaign each November. We also have a special website that makes it easy to type in a Tweet. There you’ll find some great videos and PSAs connected to the campaign.
The quote at the top of this post comes from one of Tim O’Brien’s incredible books of short stories about the Vietnam War. Since HISTORY first launched our veteran-related initiatives, many of us have seen and heard firsthand the stories that our veterans carry with them throughout their lives. These stories can be intensely personal, and they are also part of our history—they are documents of our past. One of my favorite programs at HISTORY is called Film Corps, which preserves footage and stories of those who have served. Check out these videos here, and don’t forget to thank a vet this fall!
Kim Gilmore is a historian and director of corporate outreach at HISTORY.
We’re back after some downtime due to last week’s storm. We sincerely hope our readers are safe and sound, and our thoughts are with all those who were affected by the disaster.
With America heading to the polls tomorrow, we wanted to devote today’s HISTORY Blog post to a fun and fascinating class taught this semester by Patrick Spero at Williams College. “The Politics of the Presidency” surveys the American presidency from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln, paying special attention to partisan politics and presidential campaigns. Instead of writing essays and reports, students get the chance to create minute-long video campaign ads for and against each of the presidential candidates covered by the course. The challenge is that they have to act like modern-day campaign managers while working with materials—images, quotations, music, etc.—from the 18th and 19th centuries.
We’ll continue to follow the course over the coming weeks and post some of the students’ work here on the HISTORY Blog. In the meantime, check out this video in which Professor Spero describes the class and the unique methodology he’s using to teach today’s students about yesterday’s presidential politics. You can also see some of the first videos of the semester here.