Tag American history

National Emergencies and the Rise of Presidential Unilateralism

Benjamin Ginsberg— President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to help provide funding for a border wall has touched off a furious controversy with many commentators pointing to what they see as another abuse of power by Trump. Unfortunately, though, President Trump is merely following the well-worn path of unilateral

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A History of Servers: From Lazy Suzan to Alexa

Markus Krajewski— When Amazon introduced the world to a black, cylindrical cartouche with built-in ears and a female voice that answers to the name of Alexa in 2015, more than a few people have been looking forward to its promising and, more importantly, affordable services as a so called virtual

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The Original Constitution of the United States: Religion, Race, and Gender

Many who declare that Americans in 2018 should stick to the original words of the United States Constitution, ratified in 1788, fail to acknowledge that in reality the nation has been ruled by a substantially different Constitution for the past 150 years.  The Union victory in 1865, and the amendments

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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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The Turning Point that Could Have Been Avoided

Guy Laron— With the moving of the American embassy to the Jerusalem last month, the American-Israeli alliance has never looked stronger. However, even close allies can experience crises. Such was the case when Israel’s naval and air forces bombed and torpedoed the USS Liberty on 8 June 1967, killing thirty-four

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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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Washington’s understanding of the Declaration

Steve Pincus— George Washington’s understanding of America’s founding document as a call for an energetic government stands in stark contrast with the majority of interpretations of the Declaration. Whereas Washington complained that the British imperial state since 1760 had done too little to promote the welfare and happiness of colonial

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The Peaceful South

Anders Walker— The recent opening of a lynching memorial in Montgomery, Alabama underscores the role that violence played in upholding racial segregation, or Jim Crow.  From the 1870s through the 1950s, even the slightest challenge to white supremacy could spark a violent, terrifying backlash.  And yet, the actual incidence of

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Ep. 53 – Class in America

Class in America, often ignored, has shaped the country from the very beginning. We take a look at the changing role of class and how it has led us to where we are today.   Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Soundcloud  

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