"I arrived in this city on Sunday the 16th. Having lost my way in the woods on Saturday." Abigail Adams describes the new capital
and her ordeal in getting there.
Jefferson in the White House
His pet bird, the introduction of
the dumb waiter, and dinner conversation - a frequent visitor
provides a portrait of Jefferson as President.
Duel At Dawn, 1804
". . .he gave the word present, as had been agreed on, and both parties presented and fired in succession." The fatal meeting of Vice President Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton on a New Jersey field.
Death of Lord Nelson, 1805
"I am a dead
man, Hardy. I am going fast: it will be all over with me
soon." Britain's greatest naval hero meets his Maker during
the Battle of Trafalgar.
First Steamboat Voyage, 1807
"I could hear
distinctly repeated- 'I told you it was so; it is a foolish
scheme: I wish we were well out of it.'
"(I was) accosted by a person in seamen's dress who tapped me on the shoulder." Walking a street in London, a young man is forced into service in the British Navy.
Ironsides" Earns its Name, 1812
a very heavy fire from all our guns, loaded with round, and
grape..." Barely 50 yards from her opponent, the USS Constitution shoots
it out with a British frigate and wins the name "Old Ironsides."
British Burn Washington, 1814
"They proceeded, without a moment's delay, to burn and destroy everything. . .connected with government." British troops sack the nation's capital during
the War of 1812.
Dolley Madison Flees the White House, 1814
"I must leave this house, or the retreating army will make me a prisoner in it." America's First Lady flees the approaching British Army, and saves a portrait of George Washington.
Battle of New Orleans, 1815
"Well, in eighteen and fourteen
we took a little trip along with Colonel Jackson down the
mighty Missip." A rag-tag force of Americans rout the
world's mightiest military power in the last battle of the
War of 1812.
Battle of Waterloo, 1815
Napoleon's bid to dominate Europe is
squashed with his defeat on a Belgian battlefield.
Napoleon Exiled to St. Helena, 1815
The French Emperor is banished to a
desolate, rock-crusted island in the South Atlantic.
Inauguration of President of President Andrew Jackson,
"Ladies fainted, men were seen with
bloody noses and such a scene of confusion took place as
is impossible to describe," The celebration of the inauguration
of the "People's President" gets out of hand.
a Slave Ship, 1829
"The slaves were all inclosed under
grated hatchways between decks." A minister recounts his
experience of boarding a slave ship stopped off the coast
First Steam Locomotive, 1830
It was not a spectacular beginning:
in its first outing, the locomotive Tom Thumb was
beaten by a horse.
Portrait of America, 1830
"Every boy knew that. . .there
was nothing to hinder him from being President; all he had
to do was to learn." America was on the threshold of dramatic
change and buoyed by tremendous optimism for the future.
Traveling the National Road, 1833
"A covered one-horse wagon generally contains the whole worldly substance of a family consisting not un-frequently of a dozen members." Up and over the Allegheny Mountains, it was America's first gateway to the West and a pathway for dreams.
the Erie Canal, 1836
It was the engineering marvel of its
day. It made New York City America's premier port and opened
up the West to the first wave of settlement. Ride along on
a canal boat - but watch out for those low bridges!
"When I was about seven years old
I witnessed, for the first time, the sale of a human being." A
former slave describes her life.
Becomes Queen, 1837
The 18 year-old Victoria describes
to her diary the day she became Queen of the world's mightiest
From Slavery, 1838
Frederick Douglass describes his dash
Flogging at Sea, 1839
"Swinging the rope over his head,
and bending his body so as to give it full force, the captain
brought it down upon the poor fellow's back. Once, twice
- six times."
P.T. Barnum Discovers "Tom Thumb," 1842
"I had heard of a remarkably small child in Bridgeport. . ." The "World's Greatest Showman" finds his greatest attraction.
among the Shakers, 1843
"During the dance the sisters kept
on one side, and the brothers on the other, and not a word
was spoken by any of them." The Shakers attempt to construct
their own Utopia.
to the "Red Light" District, 1843
"...there passed me a man holding
up under his arm a woman who was so drunk that she could
not walk alone." Descend into the dark side of early Victorian
society in urban America.
Irish Potato Famine, 1847
"I saw the dying, the living, and
the dead, lying indiscriminately upon the same floor." Travel
with a reporter as he observes Ireland's greatest disaster
a Whaling Ship, 1850
Blows!... "The boat spun after him with almost the swiftness
of a top, now diving through the seas and tossing the spray,
and then lying still while the whale sounded."
the Forbidden City of Mecca, 1853
camel in front of me was shot through the heart." An intrepid
British explorer risks his life to enter the holy city of Mecca.
Charge of the Light Brigade, 1854
"They swept proudly past, glittering
in the morning sun. . ." In an incident later immortalized
by poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, a reporter describes the headlong
charge of a British cavalry unit into murderous Russian gunfire.
on a Southern Plantation, 1854
"The plows at work, both with single
and double mule teams, were generally held by women, and
very well held, too." Life on a Mississippi plantation before
the Civil War
of a Fugitive Slave, 1854
"...a detachment of infantry charged
upon the dense mass, at a run, with fixed bayonets." On the
eve of the Civil War, the return of a fugitive slave ignites
a near-riot in Boston.
Discovers Victoria Falls, 1855
". . .we came in sight, for the first time, of the columns of vapor appropriately called 'smoke,' rising at a distance of five or six miles." The great explorer becomes the first European to witness the "Smoke That Thunders"
Carnegie Becomes a Capitalist, 1856
them this check . . . none of us had ever received anything
but from toil. A return from capital was something strange
and new.” The world's richest man describes his transformation
from worker to capitalist.
"...The expression on the faces
of all who stepped on the block was always the same, and
told of more anguish than it is in the power of words to
Good Manners for Young Ladies, 1859
"After twilight, a young lady would not be conducting herself in a becoming manner, by walking alone."
Trial of Andrew Johnson, 1868
The vote of one Senator saves the
President of the United States from removal from office
Ku Klux Klan, 1868
"I shook hands with Bob before they
hanged him." A former slave describes his encounters with
the KKK soon after the end of the Civil War
Finds Livingstone, 1871
"Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"
the Brooklyn Bridge, 1871
"...a dreadful pain shot through both
my ears." Nothing like it had ever been attempted before:
join a "sandhog" working below the East River
Baseball Glove Comes to Baseball, 1875
"He confessed that he was a bit ashamed
to wear it..."
Death of President Garfield, 1881
Who killed the President, his assassin
or his doctors?
Portrait of Thomas Edison
"I'm not a scientist. I am an inventor." An
inside look at an inventor that changed our world.
"There were no coaches, trainers, rubbers,
or even a water boy." A player describes the early days of
Opulence in the Gilded Age, 1890
"Then, all around , and in fact above the entire table, hung little golden cages with fine songsters who filled the room with their melody.. ". A lavish dinner party exemplifies the life of America's wealthiest during the "Gilded Age."
of a Child, 1890
"I found the patient on the top floor
stretched upon two chairs. . ." Jacob Riis documents life
in the New York City tenements.
Knocks Out Sullivan, 1892
It was the "fight of the century" and
the 1st Heavyweight Championship fought with gloves.
1894: Hard Times in America
"'Thirty days,' said his Honor. . .
The trial of that hobo had taken just about fifteen seconds." Thousands
of unemployed take to the roads and railways of America as
economic depression plagues the country. Join one of these
Home for the "Promised Land", 1894
"The procession [to the station] resembled
both a funeral and a triumph. The women wept over us." A
young girl describes the bittersweet departure of her family
First Automobile Race, 1895
"While still in the lead, the left
front wheel struck a bad rut at such an angle that the steering
arm was broken off." NASCAR, the Indy 500: it all started
here. Ride along in America's first automobile race.
to Sail Around the World Alone, 1895-98
One of the greatest sea adventures
United States Declares War on Spain, 1898
"(The President) broke down and cried
like a boy of thirteen." President McKinley reluctantly asks
Congress to declare a war that launches America along the
path to becoming a world power.
The Battle of Manila Bay, 1898
"I am happy to report that the damage done to the squadron under my command was inconsiderable." The words of Commodore Dewey, Commander of America's Asiatic Squadron after its victory over the Spanish Fleet in the Philippines: a triumph that launched America's journey to becoming a world power.
Rough Riders Storm San Juan Hill, 1898
The successful charge up an obscure
hill in Cuba during the Spanish-American War puts Theodore
Roosevelt on the path to the presidency.