The Secret Life of Suzanne Valadon

by Catherine Hewitt

In the 1880s, Suzanne Valadon was considered the Impressionists’ most beautiful model. But behind her captivating façade lay a closely-guarded secret. Suzanne was born into poverty in rural France, before her mother fled the provinces, taking her to Montmartre. There, as a teenager, Suzanne began posing for—and having affairs with—some of the age’s most renowned painters. Then Renoir caught her indulging in a passion she had been trying to conceal: the model was herself a talented artist.

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Posted in Modern History

The Plot to Kidnap a Dead President

by Philip Jett

Most American citizens know that President Abraham Lincoln was fatally shot on April 14, 1865, just after the Civil War ended. However, it’s what happened to Lincoln afterward that intrigues me.

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Posted in Modern History

Thomas Jefferson: Revolutionary

by Kevin R. C. Gutzman

Thomas Jefferson’s influence on American political history outstrips that of any other figure. Only Franklin Roosevelt rivaled President Jefferson’s dominance of the federal government, and Jefferson was more than the supreme politician of the revolutionary era: he was its symbol, even in his own day.

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Posted in Modern History

America’s Interventionist Course

by Stephen Kinzer

Every member of Congress understood that history was about to be made. President McKinley had decided that the United States should push its power into the Pacific Ocean and that, as a first step, it must seize the Hawaiian Islands. Some Americans found the idea intoxicating. Others despaired for the future of their country. One of them was the Speaker of the House, Thomas Reed, a figure so powerful that he was known as Czar.

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Posted in Modern History

How Sears Saved Christmas from the Soviets

by Philip Jett

It was November 30, 1955, and the Cold War was raging. The U.S. had stockpiled 2,422 atomic bombs while the Soviets had only about 200, though more than ample to annihilate the United States. With the Soviet Union fewer than 2,000 miles away, the U.S. formed the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) to provide a timely defense system against intercontinental ballistic missiles fired by the Soviets over the North Pole and Canada that could strike the United States. CONAD’s command post was in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Colonel Harry W. Shoup directed its Combat Operations Center. He reported directly to four-star general Earle “Pat” Partridge, who in turn reported directly to President Eisenhower.

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Posted in Contemporary History

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