American history

Doug Bradley, Craig Werner

The Vietnam War marked a turning point in American history. The war took place during a time of turbulent social change – the 1960s and early 70s saw huge strides in women’s rights and civil rights. The country also witnessed the assassinations of a president, a presidential hopeful, a civil rights icon and the killing of unarmed protestors at Kent State by National Guardsmen.

Seven Facts You Didn't Know About the Gettysburg Address

Nov 19, 2015
Library of Congress

Over one-hundred fifty years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the "Gettysburg Address."

At a scant 272 words, it has become Lincoln’s most famous speech and is one of American history’s best known as well.

But there’s a lot that isn’t commonly known about the context in which it was delivered, and our Civil War contributor Thomas Martin Sobottke offers these little-known facts.

1. Lincoln wasn't the keynote speaker.

Andrew Langdal / Flickr

Detroit was once the industrial heart of America, the giant of the world’s auto industry, and the driving beat of Motown.  As the city narrative goes, those days have passed and the city sits like a veritable ghost town on the left bank of the Detroit River.

Wiki Commons

When it comes to baseball teams names such as the Milwaukee Brewers, the Boston Red Sox or the Chicago Cubs come to mind. However, what about the Milwaukee Chicks, the Rockford Peaches or the South Bend Blue Sox?

Although they no longer exist today, these teams and many others made up the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) from 1943 to 1954.

WikiCommons image

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the S. S. Edmund Fitzgerald - one of the most notorious shipwrecks in Great Lakes history. 

Getty Images

Monday is the 40th anniversary of President Gerald R. Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon, the only President in American history to resign.

Matthew Algeo Collection

The Milwaukee Brewers drew more than three million fans to Miller Park a couple years ago, as they made their most recent playoff appearance. The numbers have dropped a little in more recent times, but baseball is still a popular ticket through the summer here - and around the country.

But turn back the clock to the 19th Century, and the hottest ticket in town, as far as sports were concerned, was the sport of pedestrianism.  Watching people walk, around a track, often for days at a time.

White House Photo Office

The 1980s were a pivotal decade for the world. As the decade opened, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and set up what proved to be one of the last showdowns of the Cold War.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Shortly after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963, CBS commentator Eric Sevareid noted the principal legacy of the murdered leader might well be an ‘attitude,’ a contagious spirit that all things are possible if only we have the vision and will.


As the United States marks the 150th anniversary of noted Civil War battles, one form of commemoration – re-enactments – generally leave me with a feeling of discomfort.

As we mark the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, we've heard a lot about the battles, the heroes, the death tolls.

But what we don't hear often enough is about the people who had the biggest stake in the war's outcome: African-Americans - both slaves and free persons.

University of Wisconsin historian Steve Kantrowitz argues that we often overlook the role of Northern free blacks in the lead up to the civil war. 


As we mark National Lighthouse Day, we hear about the technology that saved lives and built empires.

North Point Lighthouse

The North Point Lighthouse in Milwaukee's Lake Park neighborhood is a treasure trove of maritime history set off the beaten path of Milwaukee tourist destinations.

Letter of a Wisconsin Civil War Soldier Inspires Song

Jul 2, 2013
The Civil War Letters of Mack and Nan Ewing Collection

As we remember the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, we've been hearing about the experiences of Wisconsin soldiers fighting in the American Civil War.

Wisconsinites Make Last Stand at Gettysburg

Jul 2, 2013
Wiki Media Commons

One hundred fifty years ago, over the first 3 days of July, one of the fiercest and most important battles of the American Civil War was fought.