Thomas Jefferson was a deliberate man and nothing escaped his attention. Jefferson’s eyes were powerful, lively, and penetrating. Testimonies swore that his eyes were nothing short of “the eye of an eagle.” He wore spectacles occasionally, especially for reading, but his eyes stood the test of time despite physiological decline.
The Organization of American Historians is just around the corner, and we know you’re excited to attend your panels, debate American history with your fellow historians, and dive into some amazing new books. We also know you’d love to explore the beautiful city of New Orleans when the conference is done for the day. We’re here with a few suggestions on how to spend your leisure time!
In response to the Fake News and Alternative Facts doctrine twittered so incoherently from the Trump White House, people have remembered George Orwell’s Doublethink and Newspeak, and sales of 1984 have boomed in the USA. No doubt we shall soon appreciate anew the Orwellian warning that Big Brother is Watching You. The revelations by Edward Snowden still linger in our consciousness as a reminder of the caution.
In early March, ABC released a much-anticipated mini-series that followed a group of activists who played important roles in the emergence of LGBTQ political movements. The show, When We Rise, was based in large part on a memoir by veteran activist Cleve Jones.
Is speculation ingrained into American culture? Economists dating back to as early as John McVickar have analyzed the American enthusiasm directed toward speculation. History indicates that the American approach to enterprise has differed from its European counterparts since its inception. In this shortened excerpt from Speculation: A History of the Fine Line between Gambling and Investing, author Stuart Banner discusses the economic risks taken in early American history, and the cultural significance of speculation in the United States today.
Alcohol has been present in the United States since before it became a country. In that time, the people’s relationship with the substance has been multifaceted. From local watering holes marking the stirring of resistance against the British Empire, to the rise of speakeasies during Prohibition, to the proliferation of American cocktails abroad, alcohol is as much a part of American history as the stars and stripes. And the relationship has not always been an easy one.
President Donald Trump’s administration is accused of disseminating “fake news” to the shock of the media, tens of millions of Americans, and to many others around the world. So many people think this is a new, ugly turn of events in American politics. What does American history have to say about this? When George Washington announced that he did not want to serve as president for a third term, Thomas Jefferson let it be known that he was interested in the job.
Peter Pitchlynn, or “The Snapping Turtle,” was a Choctaw chief and, in 1845, the appointed delegate to Washington DC from the Choctaw Nation. Pitchlynn worked diligently to improve the lives of the Choctaw people—a Native American people originally from the southeastern United States. He strongly believed in the importance of education, and served as the superintendent of the Choctaw Academy in 1840.
One of the most important political, economic, legal, and ethical questions in the United States today is immigrant deportation policy. Where did the policy come from? When and why was it introduced in the United States? Who was the target of removal law? How were deportation laws enforced? In Expelling the Poor, historian Hidetaka Hirota, visiting assistant professor of history at the City University of New York-City College, answers these questions in revealing the roots of immigration restriction in the United States.
n March 19th, Philip Roth will celebrate his 84th birthday. Although Roth retired from publishing new writing as of late 2012 (and retired from all interviews and public appearances in May 2014), the legacy of his more than fifty-year career remains vibrant and vital. And indeed, celebrating Roth’s works and achievements can also remind us of the many lessons his literary vision of America has to offer our 21st century national community and future.
Drawing parallels between Jackson’s era and our own is, according to President Trump, “really appropriate” for “certain obvious reasons.” Indeed, both are eras of rapid change characterized by anxieties over race, immigration, citizenship, and America’s destiny. In the Jacksonian era, the United States, within the span of a few decades, transformed from an East Coast nation into a transcontinental empire.
The crossroads, in Southern folklore, represents a place where worlds meet. It is a place where realities collide and deals can be made. Since the 2016 election I have experienced colliding realities on an almost daily basis.
Facing President Trump’s controversial travel ban, hastily issued on 27 January and revised on 6 March, that temporarily halted immigrants from six Muslim majority countries, I was wondering what Sui Sin Far (Edith Eaton), a mixed race Asian North American writer at the turn of the twentieth century, would say about the issue.
The history of black people during the Civil War and Reconstruction has been the subject of some of the most vicious and inaccurate portrayals of any other group in US History. But that just might be changing. On 12 January, President Obama dedicated the first national park in Beaufort, South Carolina, to Reconstruction, a period that historians have, over the last 150 years, defined as “a failure,” “tragic,” and “an unfinished revolution.”
In 1912, a group of ambitious young men congregated in a 19th Street row house in Washington, DC. Disillusioned by the Taft administration, they shifted from a firm belief in progressivism—the belief that the government should protect its workers and regulate monopolies—into what is now called “liberalism,” or the belief that government can improve citizens’ lives without abridging their civil liberties and, eventually, civil rights.
If she were alive today, Ernestine Rose, a 19th century radical, would have participated in the 21 January 2017 Women’s March. The mass protest spawned sister rallies around the globe and drew more than a million participants who brandished signs proclaiming desires for equal rights, not just for women, but for all people. These tenets were integral to Rose’s life, and she fought for them throughout her life.