Inventing the Pinkertons: Interview with Paul O'Hara
In 1850, Allan Pinkerton founded a detective agency that would grow into the Pinkerton's National Detective Agency. Pinkerton's agency is easily the most famous and infamous security guard and detective agency in United States history. Pinkerton originally created the agency to help railroad companies investigate their employees and catch train robbers. But over time, the Pinkertons developed an intimate relationship with the federal government and as these partnerships grew the Pinkertons' role increased dramatically. Read more...
Why are there so many Monuments to the Confederacy across the United States?
As one travels across the southern United States, it is not unusual to find monuments and memorials to the Confederate dead in many small towns. In fact, these sculptural pieces, often composed of the same statues and plinths from the Monumental Bronze Co. of Bridgeport, Conn., can be found as far north as Pennsylvania and New York. A study in 2016 found some 1,500 monuments still standing. While in recent years these monuments have become a new source of political conversation their very erection was a movement by Confederate women. Read more...
History of God Top Ten Booklist
The concept of God and his historical development is an extraordinarily complex topic and it is not easily addressed in ten books. These books seek attempt to explain a complex story on how the concept of God developed in different cultures, places, and across time. The history of the idea of God is long and has its roots from prehistoric to early historic periods in the ancient Near East. Later cultures developed concepts that derive from ancient Iran, Greece, Egypt, and perhaps other regions.Read more...
How historically accurate is Braveheart?
Braveheart was a popular movie released in 1995 that won 5 Oscars and featured Mel Gibson as William Wallace. Wallace was a Scottish knight who became a hero in the Scottish rebellions against the English in the late 13th and early 14th century. The movie helped to inspire Scottish national pride while also, to some, represent an early, Medieval warrior who fought for freedom for himself and his people. While much of the story depicted did occur, including the English occupation of Scotland during the time of Edward I, king of England, the depiction of the revolt against the English and other events do not correspond well to historical accounts.Read more...
Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Fathers and Christianity: Interview with Sam Haselby
The Oxford University Press has released Sam Haselby's book The Origins of American Religious Nationalism in a new affordable paperback version. This is a fantastic book that has been getting praise from prominent historians since it was originally released. Gordon Wood described his book in the New York Review of Books as an "impressive and powerfully argued book - that ....it was American Protestantism and not any sort of classical republicanism that was most important in shaping the development of American nationalism."Read more...
What Was the Importance of Bill Mauldin to WWII Infantrymen?
Bill Mauldin once said that the infantryman “gives more and gets less than anybody else.” He knew this from his experience on the front lines with K Company, 180th Infantry Regiment, of the 45th Division. Mauldin went through basic training as an infantryman and stayed with his regiment throughout the invasion of Sicily and the Allied campaign up the boot of Italy. The talented cartoonist succeeded in ruffling the feathers of the “brass” all the way up to General George Patton.Read more...
Primed for Violence in Interwar Poland: Interview with Paul Brykczynski
Paul Brykczynski's new book Primed for Violence: Murder, Antisemitism, and Democratic Politics in Interwar Poland published by the University of Wisconsin Press explores the tragic efforts of the Polish people to create a new democratic state after electing their first President, Gabriel Narutowicz.Read more...
How did the game of golf emerge?
The game of golf today is globally popular and watched by millions on television. The origins of the sport may go back to ancient periods, but most historians trace the definitive beginning of the sport to Medieval Scotland and/or the Netherlands. However, it was in the 19th century that the sport emerged as both a modern one and started to become a global phenomenon. Read more...
Who integrated the NBA?
Sports, like American society, was segregated well into the 20th century. In many ways professional sports was the face of race in the cultural fabric. African-American athletes competed in their own separate, but unequal, professional leagues and little was done to challenge the status quo. Branch Rickey, who was the general manager of baseball’s Brooklyn Dodgers, was the first to step up and end segregation in American sports. Read more...
American Civil War Biographies Top Ten Booklist
The library of texts pertaining to the Civil War Era ranges from scholarly research to pure fiction. Some of the most informative works come in the biography genre. The countless memoirs and autobiographies are essential to professional researchers and historians and have proved indispensable to the modern biographer. Read more...
How did Public Sanitation Develop?
With the beginning of settled life, a new problem arose as people began to live in one place throughout the year. That problem was public sanitation. With increased population, the need to adequately remove human waste and maintain relatively clean water supplies became an increasing challenge.By prehistory, this challenge was addressed in societies, with increasing sophistication as cities grew and became more complex. Read more...
Why Did American Colonists Become United Against England?
Colonial Americans enjoyed relative independence from England until 1763, which marked the cessation of the Seven Years’ War. Prior to that time, the British government had paid little attention to the domestic affairs conducted by their American colonists. The war was costly; however, and England deemed it appropriate that American colonies contribute to the war debt and the costs associated with stationing British troops on American soil. Read more...
Why was the worship of Mithra so popular?
Today the god Mithra or Mithras is not recognized by many in the West. Mithra is often seen as just one of the many gods that was once worshiped in Europe, the Near East, and South Asia. However, in the early centuries of Christianity, one can argue the worship of Mithras rivaled influence and importance of Christianity. Read more...
How did Medicine develop in the Ancient World?
Early medicine developed in a number of societies, both in the New and Old Worlds, as populations around the world were able to quickly learn that plants that grew around them often have natural healing qualities and health benefits. Several regions around the world, which had early complex societies, have left us evidence or documents that describe some of the relatively sophisticated medical techniques or practices that developed at early dates. Read more...
American Legal History Top Ten Booklist
These are our Top Ten legal history books. Why do we like these books? Besides being awesome, we believe that these are some of the most exciting legal history books we have read. These books helped us think about legal history in new ways. Read more...
Why did the Italian Renaissance End?
The Italian Renaissance was one of the most exciting periods in human civilisation. It witnessed a great flourishing of the arts, literature, philosophy, architecture and politics. Many of the greatest figures in World Civilisation appeared during the Renaissance in Italy, including Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Machiavelli and Raphael. Read more...
American Surveillance: Interview with Anthony Gregory
The United States has been conducting surveillance of its citizens since it was created, but the ability of any government to spy on its citizens has dramatically improved in the digital age. How should United States balance national security and personal privacy? Does the Constitution provide adequate protection against unrestricted government surveillance? What can advocates do to strengthen personal privacy rights? These concerns will only intensify in the years to come. Read more...
How did the marathon emerge?
The marathon is seen today as grueling long-distance, usually over 26 mile race. The battle of Marathon, fought between the Greek and Persian armies, and the resulting run by a Greek warrior to tell the victory is usually cited as the origin of this sport. While there is truth in this story, the history of the marathon is complex and its presence in many major world cities shows it still stands as one of the great events that tests human will and skill. Read more...
Civil War Battles Top Ten Booklist
A DailyHistory.org top ten booklist focusing on best book on the battles of the American Civil War. The books on this list explore the battles of Antietam, Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, and many others. The list includes the works of several of the most prominent historians on this topic including James McPherson, Gordon Rhea, Stephen Sears and Craig Symonds. Take a look at our list.Read more...
What were the Root Causes of the Spanish Civil War?
Spain was a very divided, unstable and weak country in the 19th century. Once a great power, Spain lost almost the last of its colonies after it defeat in the Spanish-American war. It was technically a monarchy, but power had frequently been in the hands of military dictators. The country was bitterly divided. The acute poverty of the Spanish people meant that many were drawn to Communism, Anarchism and Socialism. Read more...
Privateering during the War of 1812: Interview with Faye M. Kert
During the War 1812, US and Canadian privateers fought most of the naval battles between the United States and Great Britain. These privateers were comprised of captains who were motivated by the promise of profit to fight for their countries. There was a strong legal framework in both the United States and Great Britain that normalized piracy. Canadian and American ship owners and investors took advantage of it and funded privateering outfits during the war. Needless to say, privateers were incredibly risky investments.Read more...
Nature's Path: Interview with Susan E. Cayleff
At the very end of the 19th Century, a new system called naturopathy was created by Benedict and Louisa Stroebel Lust. Unlike many of the 19th Century medical systems created, naturopathy has persevered to this day. Naturopathic healing was founded and based on number of influences including botanics, hydrotherapy, eclecticism, temperance and vegetarianism. Read more...
Why did the Congress of Vienna fail to stop future European wars?
The Congress of Vienna was a gathering of representatives of European kingdoms that was presided over by the Austrian Chancellor Klemens Von Metternich. The Congress was held in Vienna from 1814 to 1815. The goals of the Congress were to secure peace and stability in Europe and to ensure that revolutions did not destabilize the Continent. Read more...
How did Edwin Drake create the World's first oil well?
Even though there was no one "first discover" of oil. Oil was known in antiquity when it was used to heal wounds. But by the middle of the 19th century methods for collecting oil from the ground had not changed for thousands of years. Edwin Drake's oil fundamentally changed this process and dramatically increased oil production around the world. Read more...
Fate of the Revolution: Interview with Lorri Glover
Starting in 1787, states began to ratify the newly drafted federal Constitution which would determine the fate of the new American Republic. In order for the Constitution to go in effect, nine of the states needed to agree to the document. While five states quickly ratified the Constitution between December 1787 and January 1788, the country's eyes stayed on Virginia. Virginia was the most populated and largest state and it was critical for the state to ratify the Constitution to legitimize the process. Read more...
Why was Epicurus and his philosophy so important?
Epicurus is often associated as one of the Greek philosophers more interested in pleasure or its pursuit than other ideals. While at times this led to a negative view of his philosophy, the reality is his thinking was very advanced and developed, leading to his ideas becoming highly influential in modern thought in many regions of the world today. He was one of the first Greek philosophers to develop a strong tradition that avoid superstition as a core ideal.Read more...
American Revolution Top Ten Booklist
On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Continental Congress. This act was only the first step towards the creation of the United States. The United States then fought a seven year war to cement its independence from England. The successful fight for independence has had a remarkable impact on world history over the past 200 years. The United States gradually transformed itself from a former colony into a superpower. The impact of this revolution cannot be ignored. Read more...
What was Plato's academy and why did it influence Western thought?
The Academy, founded by the philosopher Plato in the early 4th century BCE, was perhaps one of the earliest institutions of higher learning. While it was not like a university where people would enroll and obtain advanced degrees, it functioned as one of the first places for dedicated research into scientific and philosophical questions, at least in Europe, took place by gathered scholars. Its main function was to teach Plato's philosophical understanding, but it also challenged its scholars to develop a new understanding of our universe. Read more...
The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798: Interview with Terri Halperin
The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 were four laws that were passed by the predominantly Federalist Congress and signed by John Adams to strengthen the national security of the United States. These acts not only restricted the ability of an immigrant to become a citizen, but made it easier to deport non-citizens who were either deemed dangerous or were citizens of hostile countries. Read more...
How did the Bubonic Plague make the Italian Renaissance possible?
The Black Death (1347-1350) was a pandemic that devastated the populations of Europe and Asia. The plague was an unprecedented human tragedy in Italy. It not only shook Italian society, but transformed it. The Black Death marked an end of an era in Italy, its impact was profound and it resulted in wide-ranging social, economic, cultural and religious changes.Read more...
Why did Germany lose the Battle of Stalingrad?
Hitler saw the war in terms of his personal rivalry with Stalin and he decided to attack the city, because of its symbolic value. However, the original aim of the offensive in Southern Russian was to secure the oil fields in the Caucasus. The oil was essential for the German war machine. Hitler knew this – instead of opting for concentrating all his forces on the conquest of the oil fields, he made perhaps a fateful mistake.Read more...
What was the dominant medical sect in the United States during the 19th Century?
Nineteenth-century medicine was characterized by constant competition among three major medical sects: Regulars, Eclectics, and Homeopaths. Each of these medical sects not only meaningfully disagreed on how to treat illnesses and diseases, but sought to portray their type of practice as the most effective and scientific.Read more...
Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Fathers and Christianity: Interview with Sam Haselby
Recently on Twitter, a debate broke out between Annette Gordon-Reed, Sam Haselby, and John Fea on the nature of Thomas Jefferson's religious beliefs. Instead of recreating the debate, it made more sense to contact one of the participants, Sam Haselby, whose recent book The Origins of American Religious Nationalism (published by Oxford University Press) examines how a conflict with Protestantism, in the decades following US independence transformed American national identity.Read more...
Engineering Victory during the Civil War: Interview with Thomas F. Army, Jr.
Logistics win wars. Logistics is the coordination of complex operations such as moving, housing and supplying troops and their equipment. War is the ultimate test of any logistician. Thomas F. Army, Jr. argues in his new book Engineering Victory: How Technology Won the Civil War published by Johns Hopkins University Press that the Union's engineering prowess during Civil War gave it an distinct advantage over the Confederacy.Read more...
Shantytown, USA: Interview with Lisa Goff
The Harvard University Press recently published Lisa Goff's new book Shantytown, USA: Forgotten Landscapes of the Working Poor. There's a chance that one of your American ancestors lived in an American shantytown. While we may not realize it now, shantytowns were a common feature of 19th century America. Goff's book explores not only how shantytowns became a prominent feature of America's towns and cities, but why middle class Americans eventually turned on them and their residents. Read more...
The Mysterious Illness of Jim Bowie: How Did He Contribute to His Own Decline?
Directly or indirectly, Jim Bowie’s enigmatic illness resulted from his own actions. A hearty man of six feet in height, Bowie was a walking contradiction; a slave trader who fought for freedom, a generous and congenial man who called out his thunderous temper on a whim, and a commanding leader who was prone to binges of sloppy drunkenness. Read more...
Origins of the French Revolution - Top Ten Booklist
The French Revolution has been seen as a world-altering event. The revolution demolished a long standing monarchy and showed that it was a natural form of government. The Revolution also showed that it was possible to change society, using reason, for the better and worse. The French Revolution inspired many to agitate for democracy and equality around the world. Read more...
How Did the Battle of South Mountain Alter the Course of the American Civil War?
When Lee ordered his men out of Virginia, he had a massive force. The Confederate Army left Centreville, Virginia with 45,700 men. Additionally, Lee called up three divisions from Richmond that totaled another 20,600 troops in addition to J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry of 5,500 riders. In total, 71,800 Confederate soldiers departed Virginia with orders to proceed to Maryland. Read more...
Was the Destruction Perpetrated by Lincoln, Grant, and Sherman Necessary to End the Civil War?
January 1, 1863 marked a pivotal moment in the American Civil War. On this date the Emancipation Proclamation, the preliminary of which was issued by President Lincoln on September 22, 1862, took full and permanent effect, thus changing the Union’s ultimate war goal. The harsh and unpopular actions that were necessary to prevent the prolonged bloody carnage of continual war were tasked to three men: Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and William T. Sherman. Read more...
What was George Washington's military experience before the American Revolution?
The Second Continental Congress voted unanimously to put George Washington in charge of the Continental Army in 1775. Washington was only 43 years old at the time, a gentleman planter and local Virginian politician. He had not served in the military for over 20 years and his military service records was not particularly distinguished. What qualified Washington for the supreme confidence the young American rebels placed in him? Read more...
How did Monotheism Develop?
While monotheism is seen as something that has derived from Judaism, the history of how monotheism became pervasive is complex. Integrating both historical and archaeological data, we find that the rise of monotheism has been influenced by key political events. These political events help transform not just these early monotheistic faiths but also by extension many parts of the world today.Read more...
Gilded Age/Progressive Era History Top Ten Booklist
Creating a Top Ten List for the Gilded Age/Progressive Era is challenging. There are an extraordinary number of outstanding books on this period. These books are a selection of our favorites. Most of these books are focused on trying to define this era as whole, instead of focusing on a single issue. In other words, several of these books are seeking to create a grand narrative of the era to help their readers understand it. Read more...
- Was the Destruction Perpetrated by Lincoln, Grant, and Sherman Necessary to End the Civil War?
- What Were the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of "Stonewall" Jackson?
- Why Was the Battle of Antietam a Pivotal event in the American Civil War?
- American Civil War Biographies Top Ten Booklist
- Why Was Vicksburg “The Gibraltar of the Confederacy?”
- Did the Congress of Berlin create a more unstable Europe?
- What did Prussia’s victory in the Franco-Prussian War mean for Europe?
- What was the dominant medical sect in the United States during the 19th Century?
- How did the Boxer Rebellion unite Imperial Powers and create Chinese Nationalism?
- 19th Century Overview of United States History Top Ten Booklist
Here are some of our most recently created and edited articles.
- Why did the United States start the Mexican American War
- What Caused The Economic Panic Of 1837
- Why did Andrew Jackson want to destroy the Bank of the United States
- Why did the United States begin directly electing Senators in 1913
- How did Mussolini Rise to Power as the Dictator of Italy
- Why did Germany lose the Battle of Stalingrad
- What were Joseph Stalin's goals as World War Two ended
- How historically accurate is the Gladiator
These are our interviews with historians discussing their new books.
- Make It Rain: Interview with Kristine C. Harper
- American Girls in Red Russia: Interview with Julia Mickenberg
- Inventing the Pinkertons: Interview with Paul O'Hara
- Primed for Violence in Interwar Poland: Interview with Paul Brykczynski
- American Surveillance: Interview with Anthony Gregory
- Privateering during the War of 1812: Interview with Faye M. Kert
- Nature's Path: Interview with Susan E. Cayleff
- Fate of the Revolution: Interview with Lorri Glover
- The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798: Interview with Terri Halperin
- Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Fathers and Christianity: Interview with Sam Haselby
Includes our most recent Expert and User created Top Ten History Booklists.
- Top Ten Books on Napoleon Bonaparte
- Top Ten Books on Los Angeles History
- Top Ten Books on the History of Reconstruction
- Top Ten Books on the Bubonic Plague
- Top Ten Books on The Medici Family during the Renaissance
- Top Ten Books on Julius Caesar
- Top Ten Books from the Oxford Battle Series
- Top Ten Booklist on Joseph Stalin
- Great Gifts for History Lovers 2018
- Top Ten History of Voting Rights Booklist
- New Kingdom Ancient Egypt Top Ten Booklist
- Ancient Egypt’s Third Intermediate and Late Periods Top Ten Booklist
- Top Ten War Books that were turned into Movies
- Great Gifts for History Lovers 2017
- Ten Essential Books Pertaining to the Holocaust
Here are some links to our Favorite History and Academic Publisher Blogs
- Tropics of Meta
- Nursing Clio
- The Junto
- Points: The Blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society
- Process: A Blog for American History
- Legal History Blog
- Cooking in the Archives
- We're History
- Real Clear History
- History News Network
- National Museum of American History
- Oxford University Press Blog
- Johns Hopkins University Press Blog
DailyHistory.org is a communitiy history wiki. Almost every page (excluding interviews and expert booklists) can be edited. You are welcome to join us.
- Every article answers a historical question.
- Soon after you register, you will be able to edit and create articles.
- All of your contributions need to be original.
- If you want to create a new page, you can easily do so by using the following form:
Please like Dailyhistory.org's Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages or follow us on our DailyHistory.org blog.