American History

Benjamin Franklin on Immigration

To celebrate the publication of The Papers of Benjamin Franklin: Volume 42 this month, we’re highlighting the founding father’s opinions on immigration as found in his letters and pamphlets. The following excerpt is taken from his pamphlet “Information to Those Who Would Remove to America.” Benjamin Franklin— With Regard to Encouragements for

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Looking Back at the First World War

Today marks the centennial of the United States’ entry into World War I. To commemorate the day, we sat down with Bruno Cabanes, author of August 1914: France, the Great War, and a Month that Changed the World Forever, to discuss what he discovered about the war through his research and

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How Erskine Childers Became My Friend

Karen M. Paget— I met Erskine Childers, a former officer of the National Student Association and a distinguished United Nations official, long after he died. If that seems impossible, let me explain. I came to know the young Erskine Childers through letters left behind in the United States National Student

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The New Power of Popular Protest

Nathan Stoltzfus— The new administration’s condemnation of dissent and the arrogation of more and more power in the president’s hands have made street protest and its images more forceful. The president made his way to power by creating images of himself with broad brush strokes vague enough to appeal to

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Closing the Courthouse Doors to Challenges to the Trump Presidency

Erwin Chemerinsky— The first weeks of the Trump presidency demonstrate that the federal judiciary must be available as an essential check to enforce the Constitution. Already many lawsuits have been filed against President Trump and his administration, such as for violating the “emoluments clauses” of the Constitution, for the travel

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Conspicuousness/Invisibility

Sally McKee— In August, 2014, while all across the United States many African Americans and their allies protested the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, I sat at my laptop in considerable comfort in a basement apartment in Bordeaux, France. That was the summer that I finished writing

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Are Adversarialism and Justice One and the Same?

Amalia D. Kessler— For many, if not most Americans, the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s is all but synonymous with the iconic litigation that led to the United States Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.  Indeed, for many generations of lawyers and social movement activists, the

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The Heart of the Abolitionist Movement

Manisha Sinha— Caricatured as unthinking, single-minded fanatics who caused a “needless war,” abolitionists are often compared unfavorably to political moderates and compromise-minded statesmen. Their resurrection as freedom fighters during the modern civil rights era has been relatively brief. It is often dismissed as neoabolitionist history. While a bland celebration of

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Reconstructing the Vietnam Peace Movement

Tom Hayden— It is time for a new effort to reverse the propaganda about Vietnam and our movement to end the war. It is time for truth telling, for healing, and for legacy. Who will tell our story when we are gone? So much has already escaped memory, and now

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Women and (Soft) Power: Jackie Kennedy and Blanche of Castile

Lindy Grant— Last night I went to see the new film Jackie, in which Natalie Portman gives a searing portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy in the immediate aftermath of her husband’s death. It made me think of the similarities and differences between Jackie Kennedy and Blanche of Castile, the queen of France who lived

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