History

An understanding of our history is as crucial to a successful democratic society as it is essential to the well-examined life of the individual. As historian Howard Zinn told Bill Moyers, “I think the more people learn about the past… the more that they will understand that it is possible for people to change the world.” Start your understanding with some of the series and specials below.

EXPLORE History

Rachel Noerdlinger and her son Khari, 14, sit at the edge of the Hudson River near their home in Edgewater, N.J., on Tuesday, June 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
March 19, 2014 | Blog

The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates separates reality from fiction. Continue reading

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
March 17, 2014 | Blog

As Senator Feinstein has revealed, the CIA will not only stall but even spy on Congress to impede its investigation of wrongdoing. Continue reading

The Empire State Building and large portions of midtown Manhattan are seen without power as a result of Hurricane Sandy. October 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
Updated March 24, 2014 | Blog

One study looks at historical examples and concludes that it’s possible. Continue reading

House Ways and Means Committee member Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., listens to testimony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 4, 2013, during the committee's hearing on organizations that say they were unfairly targeted by the Internal Revenue Service while seeking tax-exempt status. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
March 16, 2014 | Blog

He insists not, but the author of Dog Whistle Politics hopes he’s learned his lesson. Continue reading

NEW ORLEANS FLOODWATERS
March 11, 2014 | Activism

“Sometimes the right thing to do in ordinary times is exactly the wrong thing to do in extraordinary times.” Continue reading

Supporters hold up hand-painted signs as Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, center, D-Ill., addresses a rally at Yanitelli Center on St. Peter's College campus in Jersey City, N.J., Wednesday Jan. 9, 2008. It is this way wherever Obama goes. Whenever Americans have been challenged, he tells them, there has been only one response. It comes back to him in a deafening roar that surges into a vibrating chant: "YES WE CAN!" (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
March 10, 2014 | Blog

While President Obama’s words can still soar, the actions he proposes show a remarkably consistent inability to leave the ground. Continue reading

Ian Haney Lopez-0899CROPPED
March 10, 2014 | Blog

Watch highlight clips from Bill’s interview with author and legal scholar Ian Haney López on the origins of dog whistle politics and how it may be used in future elections. Continue reading

Roosevelt
March 7, 2014 | Blog

In considering his second term legacy, the historian writes that President Obama would do well to take notes from FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights” speech. Continue reading

A guard looks on at right as prisoners move through the state prison Thursday, March 3, 2011 in Jackson, Ga. Conservative legislators who once heralded strict three-strikes laws and other tough measures that led to bloated prisons are now considering what was once deemed unthinkable: Reducing sentences for some drug and non-violent offenders. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
March 6, 2014 | Blog

Lawyer and activist Michelle Alexander explains what’s really behind America’s system of mass incarceration. Continue reading

An illustrative 1996 cover story urges Bill Clinton to sign welfare reform in The New Republic.
March 6, 2014 | Blog

Princeton political scientist Martin Gilens explains how the media and longstanding racial stereotypes impact anti-poverty policy. Continue reading

Kay Hohler, of West Des Moines, Iowa, sings the national anthem before the start of a Tea Party rally on the steps of the Iowa Statehouse, Thursday, April 15, 2010, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
March 5, 2014 | Blog

Harvard scholar Theda Skocpol says that rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated. Continue reading

President Bush, center, stands over a map as he is briefed at Al-Asad Airbase in Anbar province, Iraq, Monday, Sept. 3, 2007. President Bush made a surprise visit to Iraq on Monday, using the war zone as a backdrop to argue his case that the buildup of U.S. troops is helping stabilizing the nation. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
March 4, 2014 | Blog

The US isn’t getting any less powerful, but its power is growing more irrelevant. Continue reading

Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., grabs hold of his opponent's supporter as he departs his voting precinct in Raleigh, N.C., in this Nov. 6, 1990 photo. (AP Photo/Bob Jordan)
February 28, 2014

Ian Haney López highlights six political ads from the last three decades that used racially coded language to help a candidate get elected. Continue reading

Ronald Reagan speaking at a Boston insurance meeting in 1976 said he wanted to revamp the party, possibly changing its name, and lead an aggressive drive to strengthen the two-party system. (AP Photo/J Walter Green)
February 27, 2014 | Blog

In this video clip, Ian Haney López recalls how “the great communicator” used racial tensions to sway middle-class white Americans to vote for policies not in their self-interest. Continue reading

Ian Haney Lopez-0899CROPPED
February 26, 2014 | Moyers & Company

Author and legal scholar Ian Haney López talks to Bill about how politicians use race to influence your vote. Watch the full show now » Continue reading

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