American History

“Girl Runs Peppermint Farm”

Dan Allosso— Among the farmers whose personal stories included peppermint oil was Mary Clark of Galien, Michigan. Mary was first noticed by the Detroit Free Press in a 1905 article entitled “Woman Farmer’s Success—Miss Mary Clark of Michigan Does All the Work on 80 Acres.” The article began with the

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Bostock and Originalism

Mark Tushnet— On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court decided Bostock v. Clayton County. Dividing 5-4, the Court held that the ban on employment discrimination “because of sex” in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act extended to discrimination against gays, lesbians, and transgender people. Remarkably, both Justice Neil

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White Beaches in Connecticut

Andrew W. Kahrl— It was a hot and hazy August afternoon in the summer of 1975. The line was long, and tempers were short. Outside the entrance to Hammonasset State Park, sunburned arms dangled from the sides of cars, children’s heads rested on windows, and idle drivers burned fuel that

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Two Dresses

David Margolick— Early in the morning of September 4, 1957, two girls in Little Rock, Arkansas, each fifteen years old, dressed for school. On a block of black families nestled in the west side of town, in the small brick house she shared with her parents and five brothers and

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The Heart of the Abolition Movement

Manisha Sinha— Abolition was a radical, interracial movement, one which addressed the entrenched problems of exploitation and disfranchisement in a liberal democracy and anticipated debates over race, labor, and empire. Caricatured as unthinking, single-minded fanatics who caused a “needless war,” abolitionists are often compared unfavorably to political moderates and compromise-minded

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The History of Racism in Ferguson

Mustafa Dikeç— The Department of Justice (DoJ) report following the investigation of Ferguson police department and municipal court was categorical: ‘Ferguson’s law enforcement practices are shaped by the City’s focus on revenue rather than by public safety needs.’ This emphasis on revenue generation led to unconstitutional policing and irregular practices

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What Story Do Americans Want to Hear?

Rogers M. Smith— Political figures on all sides decry “fake news” today. But politics has always been driven more by stories than facts. As different as they are in all other regards, both of America’s last two presidents won wildly improbable electoral successes while telling compelling stories about their country

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Tootle the Engine and Character Formation

David Riesman with Nathan Glazer and Reuel Denney— Tootle the Engine (text by Gertrude Crampton, pictures by Tibor Gergely) is a popular and in many ways charming volume in the “Little Golden Books” series. It is a cautionary tale even though it appears to be simply one of the many

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Fake News, Then and Now

Tracy Campbell— In his first fireside chat after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt urged Americans “to reject all rumors,” noting that “these ugly little hints of complete disaster fly thick and fast in wartime.” By summer 1942, FDR knew that executive admonishments had failed to curb the avalanche of false information

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The Life of an American Seaman

Stephen Taylor— He was a patriot who took up arms in the Revolution against the Crown. Jacob Nagle was aged just fifteen when he set out from his Pennsylvania home in 1777 to join his father in Washington’s army. Once independence had been won, however, Nagle had no difficulty in

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