American History

Explore the development of the United States with this collection of articles about American history. Topics in this section include the American Revolution, the gold rush and the expansion of the West.


The Moffat Tunnel is a six-mile tunnel that was built in the mountains of Colorado. It was constructed by the Denver & Salt Lake Railroad in 1927. Learn more about the Moffat Tunnel.

Interurban railway decline started in the late 1920s and rapidly increased in the 1930s. Abandonments averaged 650 miles per year during the 1930s. Learn about the causes on interurban railway decline.

The City of San Francisco wreck occurred when someone deliberately derailed a train in 1939. A number of suspects were rounded up, but nobody was ever charged with the crime. Learn about the City of San Francisco wreck.

The Union Terminal in Cincinnati opened on March 31, 1933, during the Depression. This magnificent building featured a 116-foot-high semicircular dome clad in Indiana limestone. Learn more about the Cincinnati Union Terminal in this section.

The Railroad Retirement Board was created in order to give railroad workers a separate pension. The pension was meant to be a separate, federally administered pension. Learn about the Railroad Retirement Board.

The Cold War railroad was constructed by the Russian government during the height of the Cold War. Trade embargoes limited the number of locomotives the government was able to attain. Learn more about the Cold War railroad.

The steam versus diesel debate was one that lasted for 20 heated years as technology advanced. The debate centered on the concept of tradition versus technology. Learn more about the steam versus diesel debate.

The Chicago railroad fair celebrated the centennial of railroading's arrival in Chicago. The fair was a testimony to the place railroads held in the American lifestyle. Learn more about the Chicago railroad fair of 1934.

Experimental trains were tested and were quickly dropped due to their size and unreliability. The cramped accommodations contributed to the relatively low impact these trains made when they were introduced. Learn more about some of the experimental trains.

Railroad super-engines were produced in the mid-1990s with the same size but more power than standard locomotives. They were produced by General Motors and General Electric, the two largest engine manufacturers. Learn about railroad super-engines.

Railroad technology has greatly changed the way in which railroads conduct business. Computers have automated much of what used to be done by the work of several people. Learn about some of the developments in railroad technology.

When you hop on a train, you assume that the wrecks and accidents of the old railroads are a thing of the past. How do engineers determine if a railroad is safe?

The Union Pacific railroad almost joined with the Southern Pacific lines in 1909. Unfortunately, the man behind this deal never saw his dream realized. Learn about the Union Pacific railroad in this section.

The economy had crashed. The nation was still recovering from World War I, and World War II was on the way. How did the railroad industry manage to make it through the Great Depression?

The railroad industry struggled through the Great Depression only to be taken over during World War II. Learn why, despite the government restrictions on their technology and use, railroads reached top form during World War II.

Post-war railroads chronicles the height of American railroad transportation. Railroads at this time featured lavish passenger cars that offered passengers unparalleled levels of comfort and style. Learn about railroads and post-war railroads.

On the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as President, January 20, 1981. the Iranian government released the American hostages, the culmination of months of negotiations.

Washington, Treaty of, an agreement between the United States and Great Britain in 1871 that led to the settlement of various disputes between the two nations.

Wells, Fargo & Company, in United States history, an express company that was active in the development of the Far West.

Whiskey Ring, in United States history, a group of officials and distillers who defrauded the national government of liquor taxes.

Star Route Frauds, scandals in the U.S. Post Office Department in the 1880's. Certain department officials, mail contractors, and a former United States senator defrauded the government of about four million dollars in the granting of contracts for the transportation of mail over the so-called star routes.

Liliuokalani, Lydia Kamekeha (1838 - 1917), the last queen of the Hawaiian Islands.

Black Power Movement, in United States history, an effort among black Americans to gain control of the institutions that affect their daily lives by acquiring independent economic, social, and political power.

Counterculture , a set of behaviors and beliefs that are radically different from those of mainstream society.

Cuban Missile Crisis , a confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union, October 22 - 28, 1962, that threatened to precipitate nuclear war.