Recent Posts

Confronting American Genocide on the California Coast

Benjamin Madley— As the sun rose on July 7, 1846, four U.S. warships rode at anchor in Monterey Bay. Ashore, the Mexican tricolor cracked over the adobe walls and red-tiled roofs of California’s capitol for the last time. At 7:30 a.m., Commodore John Sloat sent Captain William Mervine ashore “to

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The Enigma of Gravitational Energy

Marcia Bartusiak— To the practiced eye, Einstein’s equations stand as the quintessence of mathematical beauty. When it was introduced in 1915, general relativity was hailed as a momentous conceptual achievement. But for a long time the theory had little practical importance. Although the scientific community embraced general relativity—and recognized Einstein

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Can Presidents Be Prosecuted?

Brian Kalt— President Trump has been nothing if not unconventional. Time and again, he has upended traditions and institutions, blowing past those who say, “You can’t do that!” and replying, “I just did!” But in the process of upsetting so many apple carts, he is also teeing up an object lesson in

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Ep. 27 – America’s Role on the Global Stage

What should US foreign policy look like in the age of globalism? Foreign policy expert Thomas Wright discusses the threats and opportunities facing the US from places like Europe and East Asia and offers guidance on crafting a foreign policy that addresses these modern challenges. This episode was recorded on

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Sarah Osborn: Early American Evangelical, Part II

Catherine Brekus— The following letters are taken from the writings of Sarah Osborn, an evangelical woman who lived in Newport, Rhode Island, during the eighteenth century. Osborn was a published author, a rarity for early American women, and she became well known during her life for leading a religious revival

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Sarah Osborn: Early American Evangelical, Part I

Catherine Brekus— What can the story of an eighteenth-century woman’s life tell us about the rise of evangelical Christianity in America? This is the story of Sarah Osborn, a woman born three centuries ago, and the strange yet familiar world in which she lived. Strange, because she rejected many of the

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How to Hook Your Audience: The Rule of Three

David Crystal— If there’s one thing that seems to promote eloquent language more than anything else, that is found repeatedly in the speech of any orator I’ve ever listened to, that appears in every language I’ve ever studied, it’s the “rule of three.” Eloquence is infectious. You notice a clever

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Finding the Medieval in Pop Culture

Michael Alexander— The rise of the visual media, film, television, video, DVD and other forms of electronic transfer, has transformed the mediation of the stories which human beings need, stories previously transmitted through the spoken, the written and the printed word, or by words spoken in live theaters. The visual

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Reconciling Deism and Puritanism in Benjamin Franklin

Thomas S. Kidd— Americans incessantly debate the role of religion in our nation’s origins. Was America founded as a Christian nation? Or was the American Revolution mostly championed by Enlightenment skeptics? Some of the Founders, such as George Washington, spoke highly of religion, but their personal beliefs were unclear. The

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