U.S. History

The role of First Lady is extraconstitutional, and the functions of this position have varied across administrations. Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn more about the influence political parties may have on the role of the First Lady.

Although Columbus is often thought to be the first European in America, an Irish monk may have reached the New World in the sixth century. Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn more about the fact and fiction surrounding St. Brendan.

The U.S. Constitution grants several powers to the President, including the ability to pardon anyone for several types of crime. Learn about the origins of pardons in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.

When the U.S. was still a young nation, the notorious Barbary pirates demanded tribute from countries across the world. Rumor has it that President Jefferson was the first to stand up to the pirates. Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn more.

The framers of the Constitution put the electoral college in place as a compromise, and ever since voters have wondered if their vote counts. Check out this podcast from HowStuffWorks to learn more about the fact and fiction of the electoral college.

Did someone really escape from Alcatraz?

Alcatraz was one of the United States' most notorious prisons -- isolated on an island and surrounded by sharks. Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn more about the fact and fiction surrounding escape attempts at Alcatraz.

In the United States, the presidential debate is a time-honored institution. Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to as our staff writers trace the fact and fiction surrounding presidential debates.

A donkey and an elephant are the symbols of the U.S. Democratic and Republican parties, but how were these symbols chosen? Check out our HowStuffWorks article to learn more about the fact and fiction surrounding America's political symbols.

Thomas Jefferson's life was peppered with accomplishments -- but what about the disparity between his public image and private life? Check out our HowStuffWorks article to learn more about the fact and fiction surrounding Thomas Jefferson.

John Billington was one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact -- he was also the first American murder. Check out our HowStuffWorks article to learn about the fact and fiction surrounding America's first murderer.