American History

The Hero and the Madman: Two American Myths

Mary Stockwell— Even the most hidebound analytical historian can’t resist the archetype of the hero. The hero comes forward  at the beginning of great events, sets out on a quest, often against a terrifying foe, and in the process wins glory for himself. At the founding of the United States, one

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Surviving English Colonialism

Jenny Hale Pulsipher— By the end of the seventeenth century, the Native people of what we now call New England were overwhelmed by a rapidly growing, land-hungry English colonial population and the repeated onslaught of epidemic disease. A bold attempt at resistance—King Philip’s War (1674-1678)—led to a devastating defeat. Thousands

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What Happened to Enlightenment?

Caroline Winterer— What happened to enlightened ideas after the long eighteenth century? As more scholars are placing ideals of enlightenment in their global contexts, we are learning that the conventional understandings of the fate of enlightenment no longer hold. Enlightenment did not end with the movement called Romanticism, its ideals

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Adapting Atticus

Anders Walker— Now that the lawsuit between Harper Lee’s estate and Broadway producer Scott Rudin is settled, the question remains whether the stage version of Atticus Finch is going to remain faithful to the beloved lawyer in To Kill a Mockingbird.  According to Lee’s estate, Finch was a “model of

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Why 2018 is Likely to be a Historic Midterm

Alan I. Abramowitz— On the night of June 5, while most of the nation’s attention was focused on the results of California’s crucial “top two” primary, something unusual happened in the state of Alabama—and this time it didn’t involve Roy Moore. A Republican U.S. House incumbent named Martha Roby was

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The Fur Trade in the Western Arctic

John R. Bockstoce— The fur trade in North America was an important part of the continent’s economic and social evolution. For better and for worse, from the sixteenth to the early twentieth centuries, the fur trade caused changes in Native American societies. It provided wealth but simultaneously pushed the boundaries of

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The Pluralism of MLK

Anders Walker— Fifty years after Memphis, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy remains closely tied to integration, to Brown v. Board of Education, the Montgomery bus boycott, and the creation of a society where, as King himself put it in 1963, “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former

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Free Speech in America

Floyd Abrams— American law could hardly be more inconsistent. When a family of religious zealots that formed what it characterized as the Westboro Baptist Church carried signs a thousand feet from a church where the death of an American soldier in Afghanistan was being mourned, saying that his death was deserved

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Ep. 58 – Mark Bradford’s Pickett’s Charge Installation

We discuss the current Mark Bradford exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC with the curator of that show, Evelyn Hankins.   Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Soundcloud | Spotify Further Reading:

Global Power and US Sanctions

Victor Bulmer-Thomas— Sanctions have always played a part in conflicts among states and between states and non-state actors. However, their use by the United States government has accelerated in recent years. There are now nearly twenty countries subject to US sanctions and roughly ten sets of sanctions that are not

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