American History for English Learners
Text & MP3 Files

There are 246 fifteen-minute programs and 5 four-minute programs.  That is about 62 hours of listening.

About 'The Making of a Nation' Radio Program

  1. Introduction and Overview of 'The Making of a Nation' (You may skip this one.)


  1. Columbus Sails, Others Follow, and Spain Is on Top of the World
  2. A Difficult Life for English Settlers
  3. Buffalo, 'Mystery Dogs' (Horses) and the Lives of the Plains Indians
  4. A Clash of Cultures in the New World
  5. How a Desire for Religious Freedom or Land, or Both, Led to Colonies


  1. Slavery Arrives as Colonial Expansion Heads South
  2. By 1750, Almost One in Four People in the Colonies Were Slaves
  3. British Defeat the French in a Struggle for North America
  4. Britain Says No to 'No Taxation Without Representation'
  5. A Tea Party at Night, on the Road to Revolution
  6. A Declaration for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness


  1. How the Revolution Against Britain Divided Families and Friends
  2. How Britain's Defeat at Saratoga Marked a Turning Point
  3. How the Constitution Came to Life
  4. After the Revolution, the Nation Faces a Weak Political System
  5. The Founding Fathers Meet in Philadelphia to Write a Constitution
  6. Finding the Right Plan for a New Government
  7. Early Leaders Debate Presidential Powers
  8. In 1787, Debating the Need for Federal Courts
  9. Struggle to Balance Power Between Big States and Small States
  10. A 'Great Compromise' on State Representation
  11. Debating Slaves' Part in Representation of States
  12. The Signing of the Constitution in Philadelphia
  13. The Constitution Goes to the States for Approval
  14. The Heart and Spirit of the Constitution
  15. From Revolutionary War Hero to President
  16. The Imagination of Alexander Hamilton
  17. For a New Nation, Hamilton Seeks a Bank
  18. Two-Party Political System Takes Hold in US
  19. How a Dispute Helped Lead to Party System
  20. John Adams Is Elected Nation's Second President
  21. Adams Avoids War With France, Signs Alien and Sedition Acts


  1. Jefferson Is Elected President in 1800, But Only on the 36th Vote
  2. Jefferson, at Inaugural, Urges Unity of Hearts and Minds
  3. Jefferson Begins Presidency With a Loyal Cabinet
  4. Jefferson Moves to Cut Debt, Spending
  5. Jefferson Gets Louisiana Territory From France
  6. A Supreme Court Justice Is Put on Trial in 1805
  7. The Treason Trial of Aaron Burr, Former VP
  8. Jefferson Suspends Trade with Europe in 1807
  9. Jefferson Tries to Keep Trade Ban on Europe
  10. The Last Days, and Lasting Influence, of Thomas Jefferson
  11. Relations With Britain Hit a Low Point in 1811
  12. Madison Declares War on Britain in 1812
  13. British Set Fire to City of Washington in 1814
  14. A National Anthem Is Born From the War of 1812
  15. War of 1812 Ends, but Fighting Continues
  16. War of 1812 Ends With Treaty of Ghent
  17. James Monroe Easily Wins Election in 1816
  18. Monroe Doctrine Warns Europe Not to Interfere in the Americas
  19. Monroe Dislikes but Signs Missouri Compromise
  20. In Election of 1824, a Clash of Personalities
  21. John Quincy Adams, a Man Raised to Serve


  1. In Election of 1828, a Bitter Campaign
  2. Tragedy Hits as Jackson Prepares for Presidency
  3. Split Divides Jackson, Vice President Calhoun
  4. For President Jackson, a Question of States' Rights
  5. Bank of the United States Worries Jackson
  6. Debating the Powerful Bank of the US
  7. As Jackson Aims to Shut Bank, an Economic Crisis Results
  8. Jackson's Victory Over the Bank of the US
  9. Trouble Grows Deep in the Heart of Texas
  10. Jackson, 'the People's Friend,' Leaves Office
  11. New President Deals with Old Problems
  12. US Gets a New President in 1837, and a Depression
  13. The Rise of the Movement Against Slavery
  14. Whigs See a Chance to Defeat Van Buren in 1840
  15. The Brief Presidency of William Henry Harrison
  16. President John Tyler Shows His Independence
  17. Texas Statehood Is Chief Issue in 1844 Campaign
  18. In 1845, Republic of Texas Faces a Choice
  19. Polk Sends Troops to Border With Mexico
  20. Polk Decides Not to Seek Second Term in 1848
  21. Zachary Taylor Is Elected President in 1848


  1. Plan in 1850 on Slavery Aims to Save Union
  2. The South Asks for Justice, Simple Justice
  3. The Fresh Air of Liberty and Union
  4. Millard Fillmore Signs Compromise of 1850
  5. Pierce, New President, Is Friendly but Weak
  6. The Kansas-Nebraska Bill Divides the Country
  7. Kansas Takes Steps Towards Statehood
  8. The Struggle Over Slavery in the Kansas Territory
  9. Slavery Debate Intensifies With Dred Scott Ruling
  10. The Effort to Make Kansas a Slave State
  11. Search for Gold Drives Settlers to the West
  12. Brigham Young Leads His Mormons to a New Home
  13. The Story of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858
  14. Slavery Crisis Eases, but Not for Very Long
  15. Story of John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry
  16. A Failed Attempt to Raise a Rebel Army of Slaves
  17. Hopes, Fears and the Election of 1860
  18. Lincoln Takes Presidency of a Nation in Crisis
  19. South Carolina Leaves Union, Tensions Increase
  20. Lincoln Names a Cabinet
  21. Lincoln's Policy on South Is Soon Tested

1861-1865 - The Civil War

  1. The Civil War Begins
  2. The Civil War's First Days
  3. The North Loses the First Major Battle of the War
  4. Lincoln Names a General to Defend Washington
  5. The Civil War at Sea
  6. South Defends Its Capital
  7. At Bull Run, a Terrible Defeat for the North
  8. Lincoln Needs a Victory
  9. Lincoln Declares Slaves Free in Rebel States
  10. The South Wins a Victory, but at a Great Cost - The Battle of Chancellorsville
  11. Lee and His Army Cross Into the North
  12. As the Civil War Grows, So Does Opposition
  13. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
  14. Battle of Vicksburg Splits the Southern Confederacy
  15. Closing in on Richmond, the Confederate Capital
  16. Sherman's March to the Sea
  17. Election of 1864
  18. Victory Is Close for the Union
  19. Surrender at Appomattox


  1. After the Civil War: Death of Lincoln Helps Unite a Divided Nation
  2. Searching for the Man Who Shot Lincoln
  3. Final Surrender of the Confederate Army
  4. Andrew Johnson: The Story of America's Seventeenth President
  5. The Great Impeachment Trial of Andrew Johnson
  6. Reconstruction: After the Civil War, the American South Rebuilds
  7. Election of 1868: Famous War Hero Becomes President
  8. President Grant: Civil War Hero Faces Battles of Politics
  9. Questions of Wrongdoing Trouble President Grant's Second Term
  10. Election of 1876: One of the Closest in American History
  11. Rutherford Hayes Wins Disputed 1876 Presidential Election
  12. Gold! How the Search for Riches Drove Development After the U.S. Civil War
  13. Early Country Music: Cowboys Told About Their Lives in Song
  14. Native Americans Went to War to Protect Their Lands
  15. Native Americans Fight Two Wars Over Land Rights
  16. How the Western United States Was Settled


  1. James Garfield: Gunfire Ends a Presidency After Only Six Months
  2. 1881: Vice President Chester Arthur Replaces Murdered Leader
  3. Grover Cleveland: A Democrat Wins the White House in 1884
  4. Immigrants: America's Industrial Growth Depended on Them
  5. American Lawmakers React to Flood of Immigrants in Late 1800s
  6. Election of 1888: Voters Cared Most About Import Taxes
  7. Competition Drives Industrial Growth in the Late 1800s
  8. Grover Cleveland Returns to the White House in 1892
  9. Nation Is in Economic Trouble as President Cleveland Takes Office
  10. President Cleveland Uses Federal Troops to Stop Railroad Strike
  11. Election of 1896: It Came Down to a Question of Money
  12. Trade Drives America's Foreign Policy in the Late 1800's
  13. United States Declares War on Spain in 1898
  14. William McKinley: The Twenty-Fifth President of the United States
  15. Theodore Roosevelt Becomes America's Youngest Leader


  1. Theodore Roosevelt Leads America Into the 20th Century
  2. Theodore Roosevelt Answers Public Demand for Reforms
  3. President Roosevelt Decides to Build the Panama Canal
  4. Teddy Roosevelt's Policies Lead to Social Reform in America
  5. William Howard Taft Replaces Teddy Roosevelt as President
  6. President Taft Breaks From Teddy Roosevelt -- His Closest Friend
  7. Woodrow Wilson Wins 1912 Presidential Election
  8. America's Economic Life Changes Under President Woodrow Wilson
  9. Wilson Presidency Remembered Best for Its Foreign Policy

1916-1919 - World War I

  1. Wilson Is Re-elected in 1916 on a Promise: 'He Kept Us Out of War!'
  2. 'Right Is More Precious Than Peace': U.S. Enters World War One
  3. 1918: American and German Forces Meet on a Battlefield Near Paris
  4. Technology Helps the Allied Forces Win World War One
  5. President Wilson Begins Negotiations for a World War One Peace Treaty
  6. World War One Ends, but Wilson Knows His Battle Is Only Half Over


  1. Wilson Builds Public Support for the League of Nations
  2. America Turns Inward After World War One
  3. Lost in the Stars: Movies Become Big Business in 1920s America
  4. America's Fear of Communism in 1920 Becomes a Threat to Rights
  5. Americans Vote for Change in 1920 as Harding Promises 'Normalcy'
  6. After Harding Dies, Coolidge Aims to Rebuild Trust in the Government
  7. 'Roaring Twenties' a Time of Economic and Social Change
  8. In the 1920s, a Burst of American Art and Expression Takes Form
  9. A Turn to the Right: Conservatism Grows in America in the 1920s
  10. Blacks Set Out in Search of a Better Life in 1920s American Society
  11. Coolidge Easily Wins Election of 1924
  12. By 1920, America Had Become World's Top Economic Power
  13. Election of 1928: Americans Are Presented With a Clear Choice
  14. Hoover's High Hopes for American Economy Come Crashing Down

1929-mid-1930s- The Great Depression

  1. The Great Depression: Fear Took Hold as an Economy Came Apart
  2. The Great Depression: How It Affected U.S. Foreign Relations
  3. Election of 1932: A Long Conservative Period in U.S. Politics Ends
  4. 1933: An Angry Nation Puts Its Hopes in President Roosevelt
  5. 1933: President Roosevelt's First 100 Days Give People Hope
  6. 'We Have Only Just Begun to Fight': Roosevelt's Campaign of 1936
  7. Roosevelt Aims for Economic Security With 'Second New Deal'
  8. From Great Depression's Depths, Creativity Reached New Heights
  9. 1930s: 'New Deal' Starts to Fail, Just as Threats Grow Overseas

mid-1930s-1945 - World War II

  1. Road to World War Two: 1930s See Major Changes in Europe, Asia
  2. 1930s: Britain Calls for ?�Peace in Our Time’
  3. 1940: Roosevelt Continues Policy of Neutrality After His Re-election
  4. 1941: Attack on Pearl Harbor Ends American Effort to Avoid War
  5. Path to World War Two: Japan Widens Its Influence in Asia
  6. US Goes to War After Pearl Harbor, but Japan Is Not the First Target
  7. Fighting World War Two: Powerful Germany Begins to Face Defeats
  8. D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Greatest Military Invasion in History
  9. World War Two in the Pacific Comes to a Fiercely Fought Close in 1945
  10. On the Home Front During World War Two
  11. Fighting World War Two Through Diplomacy
  12. Story of World War Two: Developing the First Atomic Bombs


  1. Life in the US After World War Two
  2. Nation Still at War, Truman Is Suddenly President
  3. After World War Two, US Reacts to 'Iron Curtain' Across Europe
  4. For Truman, One Problem After Another in His First Months in Office
  5. Dewey Defeats Truman in 1948. Oops, Make It Truman Defeats Dewey

1950s - Korean War

  1. Truman Faced Communist Fears, Real or Imagined
  2. War Hero Is Elected President in 1952
  3. Conflict in Korea Spills Over Into Eisenhower's Presidency
  4. 1950s Popular Culture Helped Take Minds Off Nuclear Fears
  5. A Freeze Hits US-Soviet Relations After World War Two
  6. The Space Race Heightens Cold War Tensions

1960s - Kennedy Becomes President

  1. Election of 1960 Brings Close Race Between Kennedy, Nixon
  2. Kennedy Begins His Presidency With Strong Public Support
  3. The Presidency of John Kennedy Begins With Great Energy, but Ends in Tragedy
  4. Johnson Takes Over Presidency After Kennedy's Murder

1964 - Vietnam War

  1. Johnson Wins a Full Term in 1964, Defends Vietnam Policies
  2. Civil Rights Movement: In the '60s, a Struggle for Equality in US
  3. The '60s Become a Time of Social Revolution and Unrest

1968 - Richard Nixon Becomes President

  1. 1968 in America: a Year of Social Unrest and a Presidential Election
  2. Nixon Promises to 'Bring the American People Together' After '68 Win
  3. Vietnam War: Nixon Tries Secret Talks, but Also Invades Cambodia
  4. Watergate: How a Name, and a Failed Break-In, Became a Symbol of Political Corruption
  5. Ford Leads Nation Through Difficult Days of Watergate

1997 - Bi-centenial

  1. Jimmy Carter Wins the 1976 Presidential Election
  2. Fuel Prices, Iran Hostage Crisis Weigh on Carter
  3. Election of 1980 Launches the 'Reagan Revolution'
  4. President Reagan's Main Goal was to Shrink Government. But Budget Deficits Created a Huge National Debt.
  5. 1970s and '80s Were a Period of Change in American Society

1988 - George H. W. Bush Becomes President

  1. George Herbert Walker Bush Is Elected President in 1988
  2. George H. W. Bush's Presidency Saw End of Cold War

1993 - Bill Clinton Becomes President

  1. A 'Man From Hope' Is Elected to the White House in 1992
  2. Bill Clinton Begins His First Term in 1993
  3. Bill Clinton Wins Re-election in 1996
  4. How Bill Clinton Became the Second President Ever to Be Impeached
  5. How Science and Technology Helped Shape '90s

2000 - George W. Bush Becomes President

  1. Supreme Court Ruling Decides the 2000 Presidential Election
  2. After Attacks of 9/11, Bush Launches 'War on Terror'
  3. How Bush's War on Terror Led to Iraq
  4. The 43rd President's First Four Years, Revisited
  5. How Foreign Policy Shaped the 2004 Presidential Race

Other History Broadcasts (Explorations, Agricultre Report, ...)

  1. The Lewis and Clark Expedition - Part 1 (1804-1806)
  2. The Lewis and Clark Expedition - Part 2 (From the 164th Day)
  3. The Tuskegee Airmen: First African-Americans Trained As Fighter Pilots (World War II)
  4. Lessons Learned From the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  5. History of American Farming - Part 1 - From Horses to Tractors (4:00)
  6. History of American Farming - Part 2 - America’s Highly Productive Farms (4:00)
  7. Yukon Gold Rush - Part 1 - Thousands Went to Western Canada to Find It (15:00)
  8. Yukon Gold Rush - Part 2 - Newspapers Said It Was Easy to Get Rich (15:00)
  9. President Lincoln's Cottage (In Washington) (15:00)
  10. Petroleum: A Short History, Part 1 (4:00)
  11. Petroleum: A Short History, Part 2 (4:00)
  12. The Gettysburg Address ("This is America," 2003-06-30)
  13. The History of Transportation in the United States ("This is America," 2010-01-10)
  14. Voices From 9-11 Tell Story of Fast-Moving Events (4:00) ("Words and Their Stories," 2011-09-10)

Holiday Special

  1. Christmas in America During the 19th Century

More Stories about History in Other Sections on This Website

These are not included in the count at the top of the page.


Other VOA Material on This Web Site

This page is part of Interesting Things for ESL Students.