Seeing America

Politics and power

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videos + essays

Over the next two years, Seeing America will grow to include 100 videos, 18 essays, quizzes, discussion questions and lesson plans.

Prejudice, politics, and the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti
Prejudice, politics, and the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti

Shahn makes an not-so-subtle comparison between Christ and two Italians executed for a crime they didn’t commit.

Valor and horror: remembering the Civil War,<em> The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial</em>
Valor and horror: remembering the Civil War, The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

This monument to a great leader completes the heroic narrative on the Washington Mall.

Soaring above politics: the Washington Monument
Soaring above politics: the Washington Monument

Unlike the other monuments on the Mall, this monument tells us virtually nothing about the man it commemorates.

The Civil War: putting liberty front and center
The Civil War: putting liberty front and center

Johnson’s moving painting of a family fleeing slavery places the courage of African-Americans center stage.

<em>Washington Crossing the Delaware</em>, An American icon made in Germany
Washington Crossing the Delaware, An American icon made in Germany

This gigantic canvas is one of the most famous in the history of American art, but it wasn’t made in the USA.

When California was Spanish: Native Americans in New Spain
When California was Spanish: Native Americans in New Spain

The artist used Spanish coins as models for the coats of arms woven into this basket in California, then New Spain.

Sculpting an American hero: Jean-Antoine Houdon’s <em>George Washington</em>
Sculpting an American hero: Jean-Antoine Houdon’s George Washington

Lack of an American sculptural tradition compelled Jefferson to look to France for this portrait of Washington.

Painting the story of the Declaration of Independence
Painting the story of the Declaration of Independence

Trumbull traveled up and down the Eastern Seaboard to paint the members of the Continental Congress from life.

Norman Rockwell, <em>Rosie the Riveter</em>
Norman Rockwell, Rosie the Riveter

Representing women who entered the workforce during WWII, Rosie is strong, determined, and eating a ham sandwich.