A middle-aged man works on the framework of the Empire State Building in 1930
Since photography was invented in the early 1800s, much of history — both the savory and the unsavory, the uplifting and haunting — has become immortalized in pictures.
We dug through several historical archives and the Library of Congress to compile the following list of 50 fascinating photos from this country’s past, focusing on shots taken before or during the 20th century.
Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive dive into US history. Rather, the pictures ahead merely capture a glimpse of the many people, actions, and events that have shaped this nation over the past three centuries.
Below, take a closer look at some of the most powerful photos in American history.