U.S. History

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.

What happened to the two other men on Paul Revere's ride?

Although Paul Revere's ride has evolved into an American legend, he was not alone on his famous midnight ride. Check out our HowStuffWorks podcast to learn more about the fact and fiction surrounding Paul Revere.

Did the Great Chicago Fire really start with Mrs. O'Leary's cow?

In all of history, no cow is more infamous than Mrs. O'Leary's. The farm animals was accused of kicking over a lantern and starting the Great Chicago Fire on Oct. 8, 1871. Check out our HowStuffWorks article to learn whether this story is fact or fiction.

While stranded in the Sierra Nevada mountains, members of the Donner Party resorted to cannibalism in an effort to survive the harsh winter of 1846. Learn more about the fact and fiction of the Donner Party legend in our HowStuffWorks article.

The Berlin Wall divided a country and a city, but it had a purpose. Learn more about its history and how JFK and Barack Obama fit into the picture in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

During the Cold War, both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. stockpiled weapons, eventually holding enough power to destroy the world several times over. Yet neither side actually used these weapons. Learn more about M.A.D. in our article on HowStuffWorks.

Why was tax evasion the only thing pinned on Al Capone?

Al Capone was a king among criminals, and 'kept his hands clean,' maintaining plausible deniability by avoiding direct connections to illegal activity. He never paid taxes -- and this came back to haunt him. Learn more in our article on HowStuffWorks.