Of the many known unknowns about the life of Phillis Wheatley (1753?–1784), the first published African American poet, one of the greatest has been her husband’s character. Until very recently, all we’ve had to go on were two very brief nineteenth-century accounts of John Peters (1746?–1801). The first depicts him as a failed grocer with an aspiration to gentility, who married Phillis in April 1778, and who abandoned her as she lay dying in desperate poverty six years later.
Information ecosystems are normally thought of as consisting of collections of facts that float in and out of one’s life, usually in a structured way. We routinely receive and use at work, the news regularly viewed on our smart phones, and for children, whatever they are taught in school. If we did nothing different in the way we live our lives, a predictable supply of information would enter our world, data that we need in order to not change the way we live.
Every President is attracted by the idea of making public policy by unilaterally issuing an executive order — sounds easy and attractive. Get someone to draft it, add your signature, and out it goes. No need to spend time negotiating with lawmakers.
Every year we worship at the altar of the Super Bowl. It’s the Big Game with the Big Halftime Show and the Big-Name Advertisers. That we do this, explains why Donald Trump is now president. I’ll get to that shortly. But for now, back to the show. From an advertising perspective, the Super Bowl is the most expensive commercial on television. This year, Fox charged upwards of $5 million per 30-second spot according to Sports Illustrated
In honor of Black History Month in the US and Canada, we’ve compiled an introduction to Frederick Douglass. Known for his work as an abolitionist and women’s rights supporter, Douglass remains one of American history’s most influential figures. Despite the fact that Douglass was born into slavery, his accomplishments were astounding and beyond admirable.
Citizens of the United States may be witnessing a constitutional crisis, a normal constitutional revolution or normal constitutional politics. Prominent commentators bemoan Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election as the consequence of a breakdown of vital constitutional norms that augurs the destruction of constitutional governance in the United States.
The only thing that gave me some comfort learning about Kevin Starr’s sudden passing is knowing that he has left behind something as lively and monumental as the man himself: his Americans and the California Dream series. I had the weighty task of editing the last of the books in this series, Golden Dreams, which Kevin felt to be his favorite and most personal because it was about the 1950s, when he met his wife Sheila.
During his campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly called for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With the specifics of his replacement plan unknown, it’s clear that the ambiguity is making many in the healthcare industry very nervous. Ted Shaw, president and CEO of Texas Hospital Association, stated, “Any replacement [of the ACA] needs to ensure that patients can get the care they need and providers are fairly paid for services provided.”
As part of our 50th anniversary issue of the OHR, Abigail Perkiss explored the impact of oral history in the aftermath of a Hurricane Sandy in her article Staring Out to Sea and the Transformative Power of Oral History for Undergraduate Interviewers.
After 20 January, 2017, Donald Trump will command America’s enormous power. His order will launch a devastating attack on any country. Sanctions will descend at his pen stroke. Alliances will be his to offer. Yet one kind of foreign power will defeat Trump—as it has defeated presidents for 40 years. This is the power that comes from the world’s consumers, who buy billions of dollars of oil a year from violent and repressive foreigners
Donald Trump’s election to the 45th President of the United States is the biggest victory of contemporary right-wing political populism to date. The Brexit referendum had already shattered Europe and the UK “remain”-voters alike, but Trump’s win is of worldwide significance. The outcomes of both elections took the media, pollsters, and political analysts in the relevant countries and elsewhere by surprise.
President-elect Donald Trump has not made any public statement on what his administration’s policy toward Myanmar would be. But it can be guessed or speculated from his election campaign that Trump is unlikely to take a strong personal interest on Myanmar like his predecessor. However, as the leading advocate of human rights and democracy around the world, the US needs to continue its unfinished objectives in Myanmar, especially in areas such as the consolidation of democracy.
Everyone knows about Benjamin Franklin. His revolutionary electrical experiments made him famous, and the image of the kite-flying inventor spouting aphorisms has kept him so for more than two centuries. His Autobiography could be considered a founding document of the idea of America, the story of a poor but bright young indentured servant who eventually became so famous he appeared before kings and on our money.
Given our constitutional separation of powers, it seems odd that a presidential inauguration takes place on the Capitol steps. Like so much else in American history, the story begins with George Washington. In 1789, the First Congress met in New York City, where it proceeded to count the electoral ballots, an easy task since the vote had been unanimous.
Puritans did not observe birthdays as we do, but the occasion–John Winthrop’s twenty-ninth birthday–in January 1617 may well have been a time for greater reflection than normal. Winthrop was in mourning for his wife, Thomasine Clopton Winthrop, who had died on 8 December. Four hundred years later, it is appropriate to reflect on what Winthrop’s experience and his Thomasine’s protracted death tells us about love and
Literacy in the United States was never always just about reading, writing, and arithmetic. Remember in the 1980s and 1990s the angst about children becoming “computer literate”? The history of literacy is largely about various types of skills one had to learn depending on the era in which they lived.