U.S. History Videos

Here are some online videos to complement a U.S. History class—or to give students something interesting to think about and improve their general knowledge.

I've grouped them into historical periods, but often one video could fit in more than one. For example, I listed a video about Eleanor Roosevelt in the section for the Great Depression, even though she was also First Lady during World War II and was a human rights activist after World War II.

This page will grow over time.
I started with videos are from from Biography.com, the site that goes with A&E's Biography television series. Since it's a commercial site, you sometimes need to watch a brief ad before you get to the main video. Note that when there's a "mini biography," there are usually links to other segments or a full episode; when there's a long video, there are often links to shorter clips.

I'm putting each video's length in parentheses, so you'll know whether to pop a bag of popcorn before settling in.

(last edited 5/18/15)

Early Explorers

Christopher Columbus - Mini Biography (3:16) and Christopher Columbus - Full Episode (42:47), Biography.com

Juan Ponce de Léon - Full Episode (42:00), Biography.com

Colonial Times

Pocahontas - Mini Bio (2:14) and Pocahontas - Full Episode (46:34), Biography.com

Jamestown Archaeology Project - Current Dig 6/6/2008 (3:35), Smithsonian Videos

Revolutionary War and Early Republic

The Story Behind the Boston Tea Party (3:48), Ted Ed

George Washington - Full Episode (45:58), Biography.com

John and Abigail Adams - Full Episode (43:12), Biography.com

American Experience: John and Abigail Adams [panel discussion] (48:13), PBS | NPR Forum Network

Benjamin Franklin - Mini Biography (2:15) and Benjamin Franklin - Full Episode, Biography.com (47:09), Biography.com

Thomas Jefferson - The Almighty Pen [Declaration of Independence] (2:15), Biography.com

Benedict Arnold - Full Episode (43:06), Biography.com

Paul Revere - Full Episode(42:40), Biography.com

Patrick Henry - Full Episode (43:50), Biography.com

U.S. Constitution

Schoolhouse Rock Preamble to the Constitution (2:46):

(The song includes an introduction before the preamble. If you want just the preamble, with the words on the screen so you can follow along, watch this video.)

A 3-Minute Guide to the Bill of Rights (TED Ed) (3:35)

Time magazine's 10 videos about the Bill of Rights (each one is about 3 minutes long).

A 1963 cartoon, "The Great Rights" (13:32):

Congress.gov's lessons on The Legislative Process (9 segments totally about 28 min.)

Lewis & Clark Expedition

Lewis & Clark - Full Episode (43:54), Biography.com

Sacagawea - Guide and Friend (2:08) and Sacagawea - Reunited and Saved (1:32), Biography.com


Abraham Lincoln - Growing up on the Frontier (3:06), Biography.com

Susan B. Anthony - Mini Bio (2:16), Biography.com

Ulysses S. Grant - Learning War (1:16), Biography.com

Davy Crockett - Full Episode (42:28), Biography.com

Daniel Boone - Full Episode (44:00), Biography.com

Harriet Tubman - Mini Bio (7:21), Biography.com

Epic Journeys of Freedom (69:28)   [Lecture by Australian historian Cassandra Pybus about escaped slaves during the American Revolution who went to Britain and elsewhere for freedom], PBS|NPR Forum Network

Civil War

Abraham Lincoln: Mini-Biography (3:54) and Abraham Lincoln: Full Episode (89:44), Biography.com
Lincoln photo from Biography.com

William Seward - Secretary of State, Biography.com (2:48)

Mary Todd Lincoln - Mini Bio, Biography.com (3:15)

Frederick Douglass - Full Episode (46:33), Biography.com

Ulysses S. Grant - The Rebel War Starts (1:18), Biography.com

Ulysses S. Grant - The Clash at Shiloh (1:48), Biography.com

Ulysses S. Grant - Surrender with Dignity, Biography.com (1:45)

1862: The Rise of Ulysses S. Grant (4:11), Smithsonian - National Portrait Gallery

Jefferson Davis - The Confederate Choice (1:12), Jefferson Davis - Treason (2:12), and Jefferson Davis - The End (2:01), Biography.com

John Wilkes Booth - Full Episode (45:39), Biography.com


Ulysses S. Grant - General to Politician (1:51), Biography.com

Slavery by Another Name (73:00) - author Douglas Blackmon discusses his book about laws that were used to arrest African Americans and force them into prison labor from Reconstruction to World War II. C-SPAN.

Westward Expansion

Sitting Bull - No Compromise (0:49), Biography.com

Crazy Horse - Full Episode (46:54)

The Earp Brothers - Full Episode (43:44)

The James Gang - Full Episode (43:50)

Buffalo Bill Cody - Full Episode (43:52)

Calamity Jane - Full Episode (45:15)

Progessive Era, Gilded Age

The Rockefellers: Full Biography, Biography.com (45:14)

The Astors: Full Biography, Biography.com (44:56)

W.E.B. DuBois: The Niagara Movement, Biography.com (3:44)

Mark Twain - Mini Bio, Biography.com (3:19)

The Duponts - Mini Bio, Biography.com (2:12)

Andrew Carnegie - Full Episode (46:10)

Henry Ford - A Car for the People, Biography.com (1:28)

George Washington Carver - Mini Bio (4:26)

J.P. Morgan - Full Episode (43:47)

Alexander Graham Bell - Full Episode (43:22)

Titanic Centenary Collection [films and other material from the 1911 construction, sailing, and sinking of the Titanic], British Pathe

World War I

Roaring Twenties and Great Depression

Amelia Earhart: Mini Biography, Biography.com (3:20)

Eleanor Roosevelt - Mini Biography, Biography.com (4:15)

Al Capone - Rise to Power (2:59) and Al Capone - Taking Him Out (4:57), Biography.com

F. Scott Fitzgerald - Mini Biography, Biography.com (3:42)

Charlie Chaplin - Mini Bio, Biography.com (4:11)

Babe Ruth - Full Biography, Biography.com (47:18)

FDR - Years of Crisis - Full Episode (48:00)

Excerpts from President Roosevelt's First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933 (7:21), Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library

Our Plain Duty: FDR and America's Social Security (5:13), Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library YouTube Channel - 91 videos

Langston Hughes - Mini Bio, Biography.com (3:33)

Duke Ellington - Mini Bio (3:57)

World War II

Franklin D. Roosevelt - Mini Bio, Biography.com (4:56)

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library YouTube Channel - 91 videos

Winston Churchill - Mini Bio, Biography.com (4:12)

Adolf Hitler - Mini Bio, Biography.com (4:54)

Joseph Stalin - Mini Bio, Biography.com (4:04)

War on Japan Declared [FDR's speech to Congress] (1:31)

General George Patton - Full Episode (90:46)

FDR - The War Years - Full Episode (47:55)

Dwight D. Eisenhower - Full Episode (44:45)

General Douglas Macarthur - Full Episode (47:11)

Hiroshima Atomic Bomb, 1945 - A Day That Shook The World (2:20), British Pathe

Civil Rights Movement

Martin Luther King Jr. - Mini Bio, Biography.com (4:39)

Martin Luther King's "I Have Dream Speech," Aug. 28, 1963 (17:28)

Rosa Parks - Mini Bio, Biography.com (4:30)

Thurgood Marshall - Full Episode, Biography.com (46:39)

Jackie Robinson - Mini Bio, Biography.com (4:03)

Maya Angelou - Mini Bio, Biography.com (4:06)

Medgar Evers - Mini Bio (4:01)

Malcolm X - Mini Bio (4:52)

Greensboro Lunch Counter [1960 sit-in] (1:01), Newseum

Training for Nonviolent Protest in the Footsteps of the Greensboro Four (5:15), Smithsonian Videos

President Lyndon B. Johnson Signs Civil Rights Act, Gives Pen to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (2:18), Newseum

1950s and 1960s

John F. Kennedy - Mini Bio, Biography.com (6:32)

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis - Mini Bio, Biography.com (3:52)

Lee Harvey Oswald - A Shot Seen Across the Country, Biography.com (4:10)

Muhammad Ali - Mini Bio (4:09)

The infamous and ingenious Ho Chi Minh Trail - Cameron Paterson (3:54), Ted Ed

No comments:

Post a Comment