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U.S. Biography

Find out more about the lives of eminent Americans in a study of U.S. biography. The topic of U.S. biography covers the lives of prominent Americans from all walks of life, starting from the time when Americans were still colonists living under British rule, prior to the Declaration of Independence in 1776, up to present time. Biographies can come from the arena of politics, military, entertainment, sports, literature, education, activism, science, criminal justice—basically any field where a person has made a mark in some way.

The unique development of the United States as a country established through immigration from countries across the globe is reflected in the diversity of the subjects of American biographies. Stories of prominent Americans include a wealth of different races, ethnicities, classes, and religions. Biographies of Americans through the twentieth century will often highlight a person’s ability to transform their life within the context of a society whose democratic principles and economic opportunities allowed for comparatively greater mobility and freedom, termed “the American Dream.”

American biographies are generally about well-known figures, such as the first U.S. president, George Washington, or famous writer Edgar Allan Poe. While American biographies tend to focus on those who made notable contributions to American society, written accounts may also cover those who will go down in infamy, such as the notorious criminal Al Capone.

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U.S. Biography Resources

Gale provides scholarly resources from U.S. biography collections to advance the study of the United States, including databasesprimary source archives, and eBooks


Gale databases offer researchers access to credible historical collections, including full-text articles covering many U.S. topics from newspapers, articles, journals, and more.

Primary Source Archives

Gale Primary Sources contains full-text archives and digitized collections that provide researchers with firsthand biographical reference articles.

Gale eBooks

Gale offers a variety of publications covering a wide range of topics, including the confederate flag controversy, soldiers, and more. Users can add  Gale eBooks to a customized collection and cross-search to pinpoint relevant content. Workflow tools help users easily share, save, and download articles.

  • Defining Documents in American History: Business Ethics, 1st Edition

    Defining Documents in American History: Business Ethics, 1st Edition

    Salem Press  |  2020  |  ISBN-13: 9781642652840

    More and more, specific ethics policies that many businesses and corporations developed in the 1970s and ʼ80s aren’t enough today. Transparency related to sources and materials, pricing strategies, and the public good is crucial for the success of any business. The detailed document analysis begins with early essays instrumental in the creation and development of the field of business ethics and continues to 2019 by examining issues relevant now, from harassment and discrimination to technology and privacy. This two-volume set includes in-depth chapters that provide a thorough commentary of significant primary source documents, including John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism; Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed; the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; “Facebook, Big Data, and the Trust of the Public”; and the Wells Fargo account fraud scandal. These subheads are included to guide the reader: Summary, Overview, Defining Moment, Author Biography, Detailed Document Analysis, and Discussion of Essential Themes.

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  • Defining Documents in American History: Secrets, Leaks and Scandals (1797-2017), 1st Edition

    Defining Documents in American History: Secrets, Leaks and Scandals (1797-2017), 1st Edition

    Salem Press  |  2019  |  ISBN-13: 9781682176993

    This title offers in-depth analysis of speeches, memos, letters, reports, transcripts, minutes, and testimony related to some of the nation’s most notorious scandals. The set begins with the letters of the nation’s most infamous traitor and continues through the 2018 executive order that resulted in the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Material is organized under six groups: Secrets, Conspiracies, and Scandals through the 19th Century; Controversies, Conflicts, and Communism through the mid-20th Century; Government in Hiding, from Vietnam to Watergate and After; Scandals, Scares, and Intelligence Failures in Recent Decades; Lies, Leaks, and Hacks in the Contemporary Period; and Selected Environmental Debacles. Designed for high school and college students, the aim of the series is to advance the study of primary source historical documents as an important avenue to understanding the past and its relationship to the challenges we face today.

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  • Opponents in American History: Suffragists and Those Who Opposed Them, 1st Edition

    Opponents in American History: Suffragists and Those Who Opposed Them, 1st Edition

    Powerkids Press  |  2019  |  ISBN-13: 9781538344118

    Although Thomas Jefferson wrote that all men are created equal in the Declaration of Independence in 1776, women wouldn’t be allowed to vote in the United States until many years later. Suffragists, the women who fought for the right to vote, faced great opposition from several forces—even other groups of women. In 1848, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and numerous other pioneering suffragists met in Seneca Falls, New York, for the first women’s rights convention held in the United States. It wasn’t until 1920, however, that all U.S. women gained the right to vote through the 19th Amendment. Readers will learn about the American women’s suffrage movement from its earliest years and into the 20th century.

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