A dramatic portrayal of the 1856 attack and severe beating of Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner by Representative Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina.

Political Divisions Led to Violence in the U.S. Senate in 1856

The horrific caning of Charles Sumner on the floor of the Senate in 1856 marked one of the most divisive moments in U.S. political history.
A poster supporting the Anti-Rent Movement, 1839

Rural Rent Wars of the 1840s

Anti-rent rebellions in New York State helped to shatter the two-party political system in the nineteenth century.
Women line up to vote in a municipal election, Boston, Massachusetts, December 11, 1888.

New Jersey Let (Some) Women Vote from 1776 to 1807

Historians Judith Apter Klinghoffer and Lois Elkis argue that this wasn't oversight. New Jersey legislators knew exactly what they were doing.
Charleston Orphan House

Poor Charleston

Letters from desperate mothers to the nation's first public orphanage.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cigar_box_Peggy_O%27neal.jpg

The Mrs. Eaton Affair

A story of petticoats and power.
American and European trading vessels in the Pearl River at Canton in southern China.

The First U.S.-China Trade Deal

The Treaty of Wanghia formalized the burgeoning ties between the two countries, opening the door to new commercial and cultural exchanges.
Antique engraving of a view of the State Street, Boston. Mid 1800s.

The Birth of the Modern American Debt Collector

In the 19th century, farm loans changed from a matter between associates into an impersonal, bureaucratic exchange.
A New England whaler

The Diverse Whaling Crews of Melville’s Era

The ship from Moby Dick was a fairly accurate portrayal of the multi-racial character of American whaling crews before the Civil War.
Portrait young couple at voter polling place

The Case for Lowering the Voting Age

If the standard we hold for who can vote is the consent of the governed, why shouldn’t children be included?
mailboxes

The Massive Fight over Sunday Mail

Sunday mail delivery was hugely controversial in the early 19th century, inspiring one of the U.S.'s first efforts to rally public opinion around a cause.