Of course, the Homestead Act was born during troubled times in American history. It passed during the Civil War, but just barely. And it came at the expense of Native Americans, who were displaced from lands they have settled for generation. We spoke to Jonathan Earle, an associate professor of history at the University of Kansas, and asked him why the Homestead Act was so difficult to pass.
In a 1988 debate against George H.W. Bush, Michael Dukakis's answer to a question about whether he would support the death penalty if his wife were raped and murdered is considered a huge stumble.
Credit LENNOX MCLENDON / ASSOCIATED PRESS
Even before the final balloons fell on the Republican and Democratic conventions, pundits were talking up the next big American political viewing experience — the presidential debates.
These match-ups, in which candidates actually share a stage after months of bruising one another from far range, can lead to moments of rhetorical brilliance, or the opposite — getting caught off-guard and making a gaffe.
This year, the Homestead Act of 1862 turned 150. That landmark piece of legislation opened up the Western territories to settlement. Almost anybody could receive up to 160 acres for free if they built a house and "improved" the land over the course of five years. Millions took part, and eventually, more than 10 percent of all U.S. land was given away.
A German peasant named Frederick Wohler was one of those early homesteaders. Wohler received the deed to 80 acres of farmland in north-central Kansas 138 years ago this weekend. And today, the Wohlers are still there.
Congress roared into town last week after a five-week break. Lawmakers will be heading back home just as quickly this week. They're expected to complete exactly one big item before pulling the plug on this briefest of sessions: a stopgap spending measure that keeps the government from shutting down during the next six months.
Members of both parties prefer tackling the mountain of unfinished business they leave behind only after the November election.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
Nearly two years ago, mass demonstrations against autocrats in Arab countries captivated the world. The Arab Spring would bring democracy, and in many countries, a form of it has come. So, too, has the freedom of assembly and protests, something previous rulers could quash. No longer, and much of that anger is directed towards the United States. Here's Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday.
Time magazine named author and pastor Brian McLaren one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America.
McLaren has written more than 20 books, and he is a principal figure in the Emerging Church, a Christian movement that rejects the organized and institutional church in favor of a more modern, accepting community.
McLaren's new book is called Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World.