Ken Burns Classroom

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Jose Canseco of the Oakland Athletics is congratulated by Mark McGwire

Contemporary United States (1968-present)

Cold War tensions persist and heighten until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Civil Rights, and Women’s Rights, which have their roots in the 19th century, grow into movements that evolve the public conversation. The environmental movement, which began in the 20th century, is fueled by the 1962 publication of Rachel Carlson’s book, […]

Malcolm X at Queens Court in 1964

Postwar United States (1945-1970s)

The end of World War II in 1945 would usher a period of economic growth and stability in the United States that led to the establishment of a vibrant middle class.

Farmer and his sons and their farm house during a dust storm

The Great Depression and WWII (1929-1945)

Nothing could have prepared the country for the hardship it would face during the stock market crash of 1929, the man-made agricultural catastrophe of the Dust Bowl, and the economic collapse that shaped the 1930s.

Illustration from A journal of the voyages and travels of a corps of discovery

Expansion and Reform (1820-1860)

As the ambitions of the United States expanded westward, the concept of Manifest Destiny took hold in the 1840s. American settlers were fueled by the belief that they carried a divine destiny to take control of land occupied by Native Americans.

Painting by Junius Brutus Stearns of the signing of the U.S. Constitution

The New Nation (1750-1820s)

The United States of America grew out of a loose confederation of colonies under British colonial rule into a fledgling nation of 13 states.