by Ned Blackhawk

In the summer of 1876, two dramatically different places captured the American nation’s attention. As the summer began, fairgoers in Philadelphia teemed into the Centennial Exhibition held to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of independence. Millions marveled at the majestic torch and metal hand that had just come from France, an initial gift to commemorate the two nations’ shared revolutionary spirits. Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone and other technological wonders were unveiled at Machinery Hall, the centerpiece of the fair, while on opening night an orchestra and thousand-person choir performed the national anthems of the forty-nine nations invited to this first American world’s fair.More »

Featured Primary Sources

Horace Greeley to R. L. Sanderson, November 15, 1871 (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Horace Greeley: “Go West,” 1871

Creator: Horace Greeley Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
George Custer, Report on the Battle of Washita, December 22, 1868 (Gilder Lehr

Indian Wars: The Battle of Washita, 1868

Creator: George Custer Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
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Multimedia

The American West: A Work in Progress

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How Did Manifest Destiny Shape the American West?

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Parks and Politics: A Look at Federal Land

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