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How the U.S. Government Lost the Smithsonian Fortune

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How the U.S. Government Lost the Smithsonian Fortune

Short | 02:52

In 1829, an English scientist named James Smithson died and left his sizable gold fortune to the U.S. government to create an educational institution. They instead invested in Arkansas and Michigan state bonds.


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More About This episode

Washington, DC, does not boast towering buildings, but its skyline still inspires awe through its history, purpose, and what happens inside its walls. Explore the Nation's Capital from above as we swoop over its monuments, memorials, historic neighborhoods, and beckoning waters. We celebrate a city of stately American symbols and turbulent history, including scandals, protests, assassinations, and battles that rocked it to its core. But through it all, D.C. has survived and thrived, proving itself a city worthy of the nation it represents.

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