US History

One hundred and fifty years since the US Civil War

By Tom Eley and David North, 13 April 2011

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the Confederate attack on federal soldiers at Fort Sumter, in South Carolina, which began the Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy—an epochal event in American and world history.

100 years since the historic workplace tragedy in New York City

HBO’s Triangle: Remember the Fire

By Charles Bogle, 25 March 2011

The excellent production values of Triangle: Remember the Fire leave an indelible visual memory of one of the greatest tragedies in American workplace. Sadly, the documentary’s limited perspective dishonors the legacy of the tragedy.

150 years ago: The election of Abraham Lincoln touches off secession crisis

By Shannon Jones, 24 December 2010

On December 20, 1860, six weeks after voters of the United States elected Abraham Lincoln as the 16th president, South Carolina seceded from the union. Other Southern states soon followed, leading within little over five months to the outbreak of the American Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in US history, and ultimately to the freeing of 4 million slaves.

Leon Trotsky’s Analysis of the Emerging Global Role of US Capitalism

By Nick Beams, 24 November 2010

The WSWS organized a panel on “The Cultural, Economic and Geo-strategic Thought of Leon Trotsky: A Retrospective Analysis 70 years after His Assassination,” at the 42nd annual convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurasian Studies (formerly the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies), held November 18-21 in Los Angeles. About 1,400 historians, political scientists, economists, and literary scholars presented papers on a wide array of topics.

The Story of Us on History channel—an attempt to revive the myths of American capitalism

By William Moore and Fred Mazelis, 28 June 2010

History (the cable television channel) recently presented a 12-hour series entitled “America: The Story of Us.” The ambitious project spanned the history of the United States from the first European settlements of North America until the present day.

US: Forty years since the national postal strike

By Hector Cordon, 24 April 2010

Forty years ago postal workers defied their unions, anti-strike laws, and the Nixon administration’s deployment of the military in New York City to carry out the first national strike against the US government in history.

Howard Zinn, 1922-2010

An assessment of A People’s History of the United States

By Tom Eley, 15 February 2010

Howard Zinn died on January 28 at the age of 87. Any serious evaluation of Zinn requires consideration be given his book, A People’s History of the United States.

150 years since the execution of John Brown

By Fred Mazelis, 4 December 2009

One hundred and fifty years after his execution for the failed raid he led on the Federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, the legacy of John Brown continues to generate controversy and disquiet.

75 years since the San Francisco general strike

By Marge Holland and Robert Louis, 18 September 2009

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the San Francisco general strike, which began as a strike of longshoremen.


Revolutionary leadership and the struggle of 1934

75th anniversary of the Minneapolis truck drivers’ strike

By Ron Jorgenson, 31 August 2009

We are posting here an article on the 1934 Minneapolis general truck drivers’ strike, originally published in four parts. It is also available in PDF.

Revolutionary leadership and the struggle of 1934

75th anniversary of the Minneapolis truck drivers’ strike—Part four

By Ron Jorgenson, 29 August 2009

The final part of a four-part series on the 1934 Minneapolis general truck drivers’ strike.

Revolutionary leadership and the struggle of 1934

75th anniversary of the Minneapolis truck drivers’ strike—Part three

By Ron Jorgenson, 28 August 2009

The third part of a four-part series on the 1934 Minneapolis general truck drivers’ strike.

Revolutionary leadership and the struggle of 1934

75th anniversary of the Minneapolis truck drivers’ strike–Part one

By Ron Jorgenson, 26 August 2009

The first part of a four-part series on the 1934 Minneapolis general truck drivers’ strike.

Writer Budd Schulberg, unrepentant informer, dead at 95

By David Walsh, 7 August 2009

Schulberg was a member of the Communist Party in the late 1930s and subsequently “named names” before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) in May 1951. To the end of his life he defended his informing, and that experience largely defines his legacy.

Citizen of the world: a brief survey of the life and times of Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

By Ann Talbot, 8 June 2009

June 8 marks the 200th anniversary of the death of 18th century revolutionary Thomas Paine.

75th anniversary of the Toledo Auto-Lite strike

Historic 1934 struggle

By Charles Bogle, 27 May 2009

In 1934 workers in Toledo, Ohio, carried to victory one of the most important strikes in US history. Led by socialists, the Auto-Lite strike won broad support from the unemployed.

Book review: Death in the Haymarket

The eight-hour-day movement and the birth of American labor

By James Brewer, 19 May 2009

Death in the Haymarket by James Green is an important contribution to the early history of the American labor movement.

The Haymarket frame-up and the origins of May Day

Part three

By Walter Gilberti, 13 May 2009

We are republishing a series of articles that originally appeared in April 1986 under the title “One hundred years since the Haymarket frame-up.” The articles were published in the Bulletin, the newspaper of the Workers League, forerunner of the Socialist Equality Party in the US.

The Haymarket frame-up and the origins of May Day

Part two

By Walter Gilberti, 12 May 2009

We are republishing a series of articles that originally appeared in April 1986 under the title “One hundred years since the Haymarket frame-up.” The articles were published in the Bulletin, the newspaper of the Workers League, forerunner of the Socialist Equality Party in the US.

The Haymarket frame-up and the origins of May Day

Part one

By Walter Gilberti, 11 May 2009

We are republishing here a series of articles that originally appeared in April 1986 under the title “One hundred years since the Haymarket frameup.” The articles were published in the Bulletin, the newspaper of the Workers League, forerunner of the Socialist Equality Party in the US.

In honor of the bicentenary of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin

12 February 2009

It is among the most remarkable coincidences of history that Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born on the same date, February 12, 1809. Lincoln, as the 16th president of the United States, made an immense contribution to the political liberation of mankind. Darwin, in the sphere of science, contributed mightily to its intellectual liberation. Today the World Socialist Web Site pays tribute to the memory of these two very great men.

John Adams: A serious rendering of the American Revolution

By Charles Bogle, 8 January 2009

John Adams, first aired on HBO in early 2008 and now released on DVD, is the latest and in some ways most satisfying rendering of the American Revolution on film. The television series covers the last 56 years of Adams’ 90-year life.

Chrysler 1979: Lessons from an early corporate “bailout”

Lessons from history

By Tom Eley, 26 September 2008

In 1979, Chrysler Corporation, the third largest US automaker, hovered on the verge of collapse, a victim of sharply declining revenue and cash-on-hand that had reached the level of threatening daily operations.

Declassified grand jury transcripts confirm frame-up of Ethel Rosenberg

The trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

By Tom Eley, 13 September 2008

The recent release of previously secret grand jury transcripts has revealed that crucial testimony was perjured in the conviction and 1953 execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for conspiracy to commit espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union.

Citizen of the world: a brief survey of the life and times of Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

By Ann Talbot, 30 September 2004

The lecture below by World Socialist Web Site correspondent Ann Talbot was presented on September 24 to a meeting in Britain organised by the Rotherham Metropolitan District Local History Council, as part of the Rotherham Arts Festival.

US Justice Department opens investigation into the 1955 murder of Emmett Till

By Helen Halyard, 11 June 2004

The federal Justice Department announced last month that it would reopen its long-suppressed investigation into the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, a black 14-year-old from Chicago who was the victim of a brutal racist murder while visiting family in Money, Mississippi.

On the 40th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination

12 December 2003

Dear Messrs. North and Vann:

The California recall in historical perspective: Lessons of Upton Sinclair’s 1934 campaign

By Shannon Jones, 3 December 2003

The recall of California Democratic Governor Gray Davis and the installation of film celebrity Arnold Schwarzenegger was a significant event in the political life of the United States. In particular, the California election exposed the impotence of the Democratic Party, which once again, as in the Clinton impeachment and the stolen presidential election of 2000, proved incapable of mounting a serious struggle against the extreme right.

Reflections on the 40th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination

By David North and Bill Vann, 22 November 2003

In November 1963, 37 years before George W. Bush was installed as president by means of a political conspiracy, the assassination of John F. Kennedy demonstrated how a man could be removed from the presidency by conspiratorial means.

A landmark in the fight against capital punishment in the US

Lessons of the 1924 Leopold and Loeb murder case

By Shannon Jones, 8 September 2001

The United States remains one of the few advanced industrialized countries in the world that still practices capital punishment. Since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, 731 individuals have been executed. These condemned inmates have included women, the mentally ill, foreign nationals and those sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were juveniles.

Documentary on Scottsboro case distorts 1930s struggle against racism in US South

By Fred Mazelis, 23 April 2001

On March 25, 1931, nine black youth, ranging in age from 13 to 21, were arrested in Alabama on charges of raping two young white women. Thus began the notorious Scottsboro case, a racist frame-up that led to years of trials and legal appeals, along with mass protests in the US and around the world.

A presidential family in time of war

By Joseph Kay, 7 March 2001

Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided, Produced and directed by David Grubin, a presentation of the Public Broadcasting System series The American Experience

The Jefferson-Hemings controversy

In defense of history

By Helen Halyard and Shannon Jones, 31 December 1998

Substantial debate and controversy have accompanied the science journal Nature's release of genetic test results supporting the claim that Thomas Jefferson fathered children by one of his slaves, Sally Hemings.

Equality, the Rights of Man and the Birth of Socialism

By David North, 24 October 1996

The following is a lecture given by David North, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on 24 October 1996.