History

Lessons from the Civil War for America’s Fractured Present: Part Two

Timothy William Waters— Why Remembering the Civil War Matters: Talking about Belonging in America How we remember the Civil War matters for thinking about our increasingly fragile union today—how we talk about identity, belonging, and leaving. The war seems to offer an obvious moral model. But that solution dissolves when

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Western Ambivalence toward Iran

By Abbas Amanat — The Persians, and before them the Medes, were among the first people known to the ancient Greeks outside their own geographic sphere. As early as the sixth century BCE, when Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 BCE–330 BCE), conquered Asia Minor,

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Lessons from the Civil War for America’s Fractured Present: Part One

Timothy William Waters— What We (Mis-)Remember about Our Reasons for Fighting America is now so polarized that serious people wonder if the country will hold together. The Atlantic devoted its December issue to “How to Stop a Civil War”—and the Atlantic, founded in 1857, covered the actual Civil War. As

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The State of Democracy

Thomas N. Mitchell— Democracy is at a particularly critical and fascinating point in its history. The collapse of communism in 1989 brought a wave of euphoria among proponents of democracy, and extravagant references to the end of history and of mankind’s journey towards a universally acceptable political order. To many,

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Parameters of Marie-Antoinette’s New Reign

John Hardman— The diary entry of the new king is succinct:  10 [May 1774]: Death of the King at two in the afternoon and departure for Choisy.  This château was 9 kilometres to the south of Paris. Infection hung about Versailles and the royal family lost no time getting out.

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Martha Gibbs Was a Southern Woman and a Slave-Master

Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers— In 1859, after touring the antebellum South, the journalist and New York Tribune editor James Redpath attempted to explain for his readers why white southern women opposed emancipation. He believed that their sentiments were tied to a lifetime of indoctrination, “reared,” as they were, “under the shadow of the

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Refugees in World War II and Today

Marion Kaplan— As I sit here, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve 2019, reading the news on various websites, I am drawn to the plight of refugee children at our southern border and those already in the U.S. In Mexico about 200 young children sleep in tents near the

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What Can We Know about Early Christ Groups?

John Kloppenborg— A common misconception about early Christ groups is that we know quite a lot about them—their approximate size (50–100), their meeting places (private houses), and the ways they functioned financially. (I use “Christ groups” rather than “Christian groups” for a simple reason: The use of “Christian” of persons

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Dances with Wolves and the Many Abuses of Lakota History

Pekka Hämäläinen— The histories of the Lakota people and the United States are intimately and violently linked. The Lakotas almost always seem to be there when American history turns and shifts. They were there in 1776, consolidating themselves as a nation in the Black Hills just as the American colonists

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A Lesson for American Foreign Trade with China

Matthew Lockwood— In 1792, the Emperor of China sent a letter to George III of Great Britain. Beneath the surface of diplomatic politeness, it was a gallingly peremptory, even dismissive note, especially for a missive sent to the ruler of an Empire upon which the sun was just beginning not

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