American History

Podcast: A History of Things That Go Bump in the Night

On this special Halloween edition of the podcast, cultural historian Leo Braudy, author of Haunted, sat down with us to talk about the history of monsters and other scary creatures. Listen in iTunes.

The Slave Trade in the U.S. and Brazil: Comparisons and Connections

Leonardo Marques— When faced with the numbers of the transatlantic slave trade, U.S. citizens are frequently surprised by the fact that less than 400,000 enslaved Africans were carried to North America out of the more than ten million people that were disembarked by slave ships in the Americas between the

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Debunking the Myth of the American Enlightenment

Caroline Winterer— In the dark years of World War II and the Cold War, Americans invented a national mythology that we hold dear to this day: the myth of the “American Enlightenment.” Like a bomb shelter made of ideas rather than concrete, the American Enlightenment (capital A, capital E) spun

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Evading the FBI: The Weather Underground Organization

Arthur Eckstein— Weatherman—the Weather Underground Organization—was the most famous group of young people committed to revolutionary violence to emerge out of the late 1960s. In protest of American racism and the Vietnam War, they detonated more than two dozen dynamite bombs between 1970 and 1975, and hit some spectacular targets,

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A Fight Over Fundamentals: Progressivism in the Current Contest

Stephen Skowronek— The rap on Hillary Clinton’s leadership is that she fails to convey any high purpose. When she tries to rally the nation to her cause, she falls back on what has long been the common sense of American government: pragmatic problem solving, social and economic amelioration, nimble adaptations

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Podcast: The Founders’ Case for an Activist Government

The long-held belief that the Declaration of Independence calls for a small government may not be an accurate assessment. Historian Steve Pincus, author of The Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for an Activist Government, discusses the meaning of this seminal document as well as its continuing influence in

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Kentucky Renaissance: A Story told Through Photography

Brian Sholis– I first became aware of the creative life that flourished in mid-twentieth-century Lexington, Kentucky, around 2001. In quick succession I discovered Guy Davenport’s writing and Ralph Eugene Meatyard’s photographs. As I embarked on a career as a writer on art, Davenport’s essay collections became a touchstone. I was

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The Economic Implications of Citizenship

Andreas Fahrmeir— U.S. citizenship has emerged as an issue several times during this year’s presidential campaign. There were debates on whether birthright citizenship is (and should be) protected by the constitution, and concerning the relationship between birth in the U.S. and descent from a U.S. citizen in determining whether individuals

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America Before Columbus

James W. Davidson— In 1492 around 8 million Indians lived in North America. That number is not large, especially for an entire continent. More than 8 million people live today in the city of New York. Still, the number is significant. To compare, the British Isles held 2 to 3

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Declaration for Government

Steve Pincus— America’s Founders created a dynamic and activist government.  This contrasts radically with the standard popular interpretation.  With an almost unanimous voice scholars have claimed that America’s Founding constituted a revolution against the state.  Britain’s government had become too powerful, too intrusive, and too demanding for colonists in British

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