Browsing the archives for the US history category.

9/11 Memorial in New York City, USA

Memorials, US history, USA

The USA’s 9/11 Memorial commemorates the many lives lost on September 11th, 2001 when terrorists attacked the New York World Trade Center towers.     The 9/11 Memorial will be dedicated today, September 11th, 2011 – exactly ten years after the trade center bombings that very dramatically altered the course of American foreign policy for the past decade.    The Memorial will be open to the public starting tomorrow, September 12th.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum at the same site is still under construction, with plans to open September 11 of next year, 2012.

Here is the website for the 9/11 Memorial and here is the 9/11 Memorial Web cam

Richmond Virginia History

american history, Richmond Virginia History, US history

Here in Richmond Virginia I’m experiencing this historical masterpiece of an American city, and one of the key cornerstones in terms of understanding US History.    For this first post I’m just free associating my whirlwind introduction to Richmond and Richmond History.

In subsequent posts I’ll feature some of the hundreds of photos and dozens of fascinating stories I’ve heard about Richmond’s remarkable past – a history that spans thousands of years of native American habitation and almost 400 years of US History and important US prehistory.

Note that for this very short visit I’m focusing on Civil War history and just a few battles of the many around Richmond.  All the battles of this area from both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War will be featured at the upcoming Battlepedia website, soon to be a comprehensive list of all battles throughout recorded human history.

Richmond Histoy and Travel notes:

My first day in Richmond started at the excellent Quality Inn on Broad, where I’m enjoying a great rate of $45 thanks to a walk-in hotel coupon from the rest area.   We’ve had great luck with those coupons when traveling, especially on the east coast and especially when you are not overnighting on Friday or Saturday nights.  Great travel strategy:  Stay with friends or relatives when you can but if you cannot plan your trips so hotels are Sun-Thursday nights when things are almost always slower.

First stops were on Richmond’s beautiful MONUMENT AVENUE, where statues of civil war heros like Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis join a new statue of the US tennis legend and Richmond native Arthur Ashe, who I recently met at a Wilson racquets sale and Expo in Florida.    The architecture on Richmond’s Monument Avenue reflects some of the best of the Antebellum South, with beautiful, heavy, and ornate styles, often in brick.   FYI “Antebellum South” means before the Civil War and comes from the latin anti (before) and bellum (war).

Next stop was … parking for the downtown museums and Virginia State Capitol area.   Richmond travel tip – USE the visitor and hospital patient parking deck that is at the downtown medical center.   Otherwise you may gat caught with a high fine for going over the two hour limit on many street parking spaces which may be hard to find anyway.  If you are visiting the Museum of the Confederacy and Confederate White House / Jefferson Davis Home be sure to get your parking ticket validated at the front desk – this saved me about $10 which is the daily parking cost limit at that parking deck.  It looked like other downtown parking ramps cost more than that anyway.

The three floors of the Museum of the Confederacy are an excellent collection of memorabilia and a battle by battle description of the war, but the reason to go here is to see the amazing Confederate White House (also called the “Grey House” since that was closer to the color at the time.    The home of Jefferson Davis and his second wife Varina Davis is a spectacular restoration with many period pieces and an excellent historical tour.    Here, confederate generals often visited to discuss strategy with each other and the president.   I’d expected more “pro confederacy spin” than I got there.   In fact the most interesting historical story was about Mary Elizabeth Bowser, a slave in the Davis home who had kept her education and intelligence a secret.  When cleaning the upstairs study Bowser would memorize documents and then report the information to Union spy Elizabeth Van Lew.   This went on for some time and I believe Bowser’s secret was kept until after the end of the war.     Another fascinating item was how Davis’ wife Varina Davis moved to New York City and wrote for Joseph Pulitzer, often defending her late husband’s reputation against attacks by counterattacking his detractors.   This writing career blossomed into regular features on cooking and child raising.  Varina Davis was seen as an important bridge between the north and south during reconstruction, and was well regarded by many in the north.

My next stop was the excellent Virginia State Visitor Center at the Bell Tower near the Capitol Building, where the staffer gave me a great map, brochures, and an excellent introduction to the area as well as good strategies for optimizing my brief visit.

Just down the street from the tower is St Paul’s church where beautiful stained glass windows memorialize civil war era figures like Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee.   Here, Jefferson Davis was attending a service when he was informed that the Union was about to break through to Richmond, an action that was soon to lead to the end of the Civil War with Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Confederate army to Union forces general U.S. Grant at Appomatox Court House near Appomatox, Virginia.   Appomatox is about 90 miles west of Richmond.

Tredegar Iron Works was a key foundry for the confederacy, making about half the 2000 cannons used by the South in the Civil War.  Here at Tredegar, we see  refined versions of the industrial factory model of production that began in England in the Derwent Valley Mills.    Waterwheels and steam boilers as power sources with massive heavy presses and ironmaking equipment to create canons, railroad tracks, and more.   Tredegar is part of the US National Park system and admission also gets you into the excellent Civil War Museum right next door, though cheapskates might want to dodge the $8 fee simply walk the grounds for a quick “feel” of history.   (I’m not sure you can do this, but it looked like it would not be a problem).

… more Richmond Virginia history and travel coming soon..

History of the Democratic Party

american history, history, travel and history, US history

A Brief History of the Democratic Party of the United States

Also note U-S-History’s  History of the Republican Party and History of the Dixiecrats

The US Democratic Party is the oldest political party in the United States and remains one of the oldest surviving political institutions of all time.    Although the current US President Barack Obama is a democrat, the history of the democratic party is replete with personality and policy changes that in many ways have shifted the party’s focus dramatically from the early days when the US two party system was in its infancy.   For example old school  “Conservative Democrats”  have in many states effectively been replaced by Republicans who now run on platforms not all that dissimilar to those “Southern Democrats”.   A focus on Religion, small government except for defense, and low tolerance for liberal social policies like gay marriage would have been consistent with the early history of the democratic party but not the current state of affairs.

From the elections of 1832 through 1856 the Democrats were dominant in the USA. This era saw the election of Presidents Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, James K. Polk, and Senator Stephen Douglas.

During this period both the Democratic Party and the Whig Party competed for votes and worked hard to establish large political organizations with broad based national support. For the Democrats this meant a focus on farmers, new immigrants, and urban workers.

At this time the platform of the Democratic party included westward expansion, Manifest Destiny, greater equality (although this was taken to mean equality among white men – it would take more than half a century to see universal suffrage and over one hundred forty years to see the election of a president who was not a white male).

A key figure in the history of the Democratic party during the years leading up to the civil war was James Buchanan.  Buchanan was the last president of this important Democratic era. His administration saw the Dred Scott case, the Economic Panic of 1857, and conflicts over forts in the south.  Buchanan’s successor, Abraham Lincoln, would see the attack on Fort Sumter by confederate forces, effectively beginning the United States Civil War. On a trivia note, Buchanan was the only bachelor president.

Starting with the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 the Republican Party would dominate US national politics from 1860 to 1932. The Democrats would only see two party members elected to the presidency during that time, Presidents Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson. Interestingly, William Henry Harrison was president between the two terms of Grover Cleveland, a unique situation in US political history.

During this period there were major competing factions among Democrats. One was the Bourbon Democrats with Eastern business interests, another would become the “Progressive Movement” with large participation from farmers in the US South and West.

Democrats controlled the US House of Representatives from 1930 to 1994.  The Dems also held a majority in the US Senate for most of those years.  During this time prominent Democrats were Presidents Harry S. Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and the Kennedys:  Brothers John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Ted Kennedy.   More recent democratic Presidents are:  Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

Credits:  This article is based mostly on Wikipedia Content

History Channel Presents "America – The Story of Us"

America the story of us, american history, history channel, US history

The History Channel debuts a new series that will chronicle some prehistory and the entire history of the USA , spanning about 400 years. The first two episodes will be about the English settlements in “the new world”.

In 1607, a small group of English adventurers lands in Jamestown. Thirteen years later the Pilgrims settle in Plymouth, New England. These men and women are all driven by the promise of a new life, and all face huge dangers from disease, starvation and conflict…

Obviously a challenge to a complete treatment of the history of the Americas is the fact that *most* of the history of this continent happened before records were kept, and many would argue historians have always given short shrift to the rich native American cultures, economies, and tribal conflicts that defined American history for thousands of years. However it’s also true that this history was in many ways “simpler” as the existing evidence suggests that native populations were small and cultures were fairly stable for much of the time preceding the arrival of Europeans.

In any case, “America – The History of Us” promises new insight into the rise of what has arguably been the most successful economic and cultural experiment in all of history … the United States of America.

US History through the year 1630

Travel, US history, USA

You really should be catching up on your US History because those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and we really don’t want that now, do we?

Here are our US History pages for the early eras of Native Americans and the European “exploration” which some would suggest was less exploration than a European invasion and subjagation of native peoples who lived in the Americas at the time. Here at US History and Travel we’d rather have people argue that issue here in the blog comments rather than try to force our opinion on you:

US History through 1630:
Early America Pre-contact.
Native American Origins and Cultures.

Early Exploration of what is now the USA:
The Spanish. The French. The English. Roanoke Island. Jamestown. Leif Ericksson. Christopher Columbus. John Cabot. Sir Francis Drake. Jacques Cartier. Henry Hudson.

Depression of 1929

Great depression, US history

With all the talk of a coming US recession this photo of a depression era breadline should remind us that things could be a lot worse than they are likely to be here in the USA ever again.
Here is a lot more about the US Depression at our travel and history pages.

Following the crash in 1929, the USA continued to decline steadily into depression.

Banks failed, leaving millions without savings. Factories locked up, shops closed, and most remaining businesses struggled. Governments faced great difficulty collecting taxes.

Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas

atomic testing museum, las vegas, nevada history, US history

In Las Vegas if you get bored with the Casinos and nightlife – or even if you don’t, you might want to know why people love Wet Repulic and you might want to venture just a few miles off the strip to the Atomic Testing Museum, an intriguing set of exhibits that explore the history of Atomic testing which was largely carried out in the huge open desert areas just west of Las Vegas.

Nevada History
Atomic Testing Museum Website

Got History?

blogs, Travel, US history

Here at Travel, Highways, and History we’d like to hear from you about your local or regional history. If you have historical information or stories you’d like to see at the site go ahead and post them at the comments of this blog or email to: and we’ll work to get that information in the right parts of our site.

We’re also very interested in what types of information you’d like to see here at the website. We’ve got some of the most detailed US History information anywhere online, and are now combining that with a lot of travel and city information from our other websites. Coming soon are pictures, hotel reviews, weather, and more news feeds.

If you have a blog about your local region or city let us know and we’ll help spread the word. There is no better source for travel information than a local, and we’d like to see a lot more locals blogging about travel and history in their region.

Oregon History

Oregon History, Travel, US history

The history of Oregon is rich with Native American lore and legend and stories of Europeans and, later, Americans from the East coast who braved the Oregon Trail seeking adventure and a better life.

Sage bark sandals discovered at Fort Rock, Oregon place humans in the state some 13,200 years before present time, and by about 10,000 B.P. there were human settlements over much of the extensive landscape now called the state of Oregon.

The huge Oregon Trail migration of the 1840’s brought families west in search of new homes in the fertile valleys near Portland and in Central Oregon. A southern branch of the Oregon Trail, the Applegate Trail, brought settlement to the southern parts of Oregon.

More Oregon History is at the main pages of our US History and Travel website.

The Oregon Historical Society website has more information. They have programs throughout the year featuring Oregon history and other historical themes.

Find a lot more about Oregon Travel at our US History and Travel pages.

Travel and History

history, native americans, Travel, US history

Here at Online Highways / US History our mission is to bring travel and history information together. Our US History editors have assembled one of the best online resources for U.S. History anywhere. Our travel information is strongest for the Pacific Northwest but we feature city by city information for all of the USA, several countries in Europe, and even Uzbekistan, thanks to the contributions of our friend Marat who publishes that region’s top travel magazine.

Travel and History are a natural combination, and for most cities the history of the community features prominently in their appeal. Here in the Pacific Northwest we enjoy the historical and cultural benefits of the rich and colorful Native American experience in the region as well as the powerfully American traditions of early miners, loggers, and seafarers.

There are stories of heroism, tragedy, hardship, and triumph, and we hope to share some of those with you in the coming months. Also, we’d love to hear from you with any historical notes of interest to tourists and travelers. Post them in the comments or email me personally at this address:

Happy travels, and Happy history!

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