Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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“God Bless America” in war and peace

If you watched the World Series this year, you may have noticed a trend in the nightly renditions of “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch: all five performances were by soldiers in uniform.

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FDR, Barack Obama, and the president’s war powers

By Richard Moe
Barack Obama earlier this year became the first president in recent memory to propose limiting the powers of his office when he called for reigning in the use of drones. “Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions,” he said on 23 May 2013.

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An Oxford Companion to hosting the most explosive Guy Fawkes Night

By Daniel Parker
For over 400 years, bonfires, fireworks, and effigies have burned on November 5th to commemorate the failed Gunpowder Plot put together by Guy Fawkes and twelve other conspirators. With a little help from OUP, you could out-shine all previous Bonfire Night celebrations. So pick up your Roman Candles, grab some sparklers, and join me as we run down OUP’s top five tips for hosting the perfect Guy Fawkes Night.

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A close call: the victory of John Adams

Today marks the 217th anniversary of the start of the third election of the president of the United States on 4 November 1796. Still a young country, the election was center stage that year as George Washington decided to stop running. Many patriots were viable candidates, but John Adams had served as vice president under Washington and was an obvious choice for a candidate.

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Cheers to the local bar

By Christine Sismondo
“Where everybody knows your name.” Easily one of the best phrases ever written. That string of five words summed up the idea of the “local,” a refuge from the dynamism of modernity where a small clutch of people get together nearly every day to shoot the shit over a pint – or four.

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The amended Constitution

By David J. Bodenhamer
Veneration of the Constitution—and of the Founders who drafted it—began early in the nation’s history. Thomas Jefferson, who in 1787 expressed reservations about the Philadelphia convention, hailed the document two years later as “unquestionably the wisest ever yet presented to men.”

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The Gold Corner

By Charles Geisst
One of the more audacious trading operations in Wall Street history occurred in September 1869. The “Gold Corner” as it quickly became known, involved nothing less than an attempt to force up the price of gold using the resources of the United States government in the process.

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The first tanks and the Battle of Somme

By Paul Jankowski
“And there, between them, spewing death, unearthly monsters.” To a Bavarian infantry officer on the Somme in the early morning hours of 15 September 1916, the rhomboid, tracked behemoths lurching at him amidst waves of attacking enemy infantry had no name.

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Theodore Roosevelt becomes President, 14 September 1901

By Lewis L. Gould
Theodore Roosevelt became President of the United States upon the death of William McKinley in the early morning of 14 September 1901. An assassin had fatally wounded McKinley eight days earlier. Vice President Roosevelt took the presidential oath at a friend’s home in Buffalo, New York, hurried to Washington for a brief Cabinet meeting.

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The end of the Revolutionary War

On 3 September 1783, the Peace of Paris was signed and the American War for Independence officially ended. The following excerpt from John Ferling’s Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence recounts the war’s final moments, when Washington bid farewell to his troops.

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Women’s Equality Day

By Sally G. McMillen
Today we celebrate Women’s Equality Day in commemoration of the certification of the 19th Amendment, granting of women’s right to vote throughout the country. Women in the United States were granted the right to vote on 26 August 1920.

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Celebrating Coco Chanel (1883-1971)

By Audrey Ingerson
“I, who love women, wanted to give her clothes in which she could drive a car, yet at the same time clothes that emphasized her femininity, clothes that flowed with her body. A woman is closest to being naked when she is well dressed.”

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Reparations and regret: a look at Japanese internment

Twenty-five years ago today, President Ronald Reagan gave $20,000 to each Japanese-American who was imprisoned in an internment camp during World War II. Though difficult to imagine, the American government created several camps in the United States and the Philippines to lock away Japanese Americans.

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The fall of Mussolini

Seventy years ago today, in the late afternoon of Sunday 25 July 1943, the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini went for what he imagined was a fairly routine audience with the Italian king. The war had been going badly for Italy: two weeks earlier US, Canadian and British forces had landed in Sicily, and met with little resistance. And the previous evening a number of senior fascists had passed a motion calling on the king to assume full military command.

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An idioms and formulaic language quiz

By Audrey Ingerson
On this day in 1928, sliced bread was sold for the first time by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri. Ever since then, sliced bread has been held up as the ideal — at least in idiomatic expressions. Ever heard of “the greatest thing since sliced bread”?

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