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political history



  • Why America’s Institutions Are Failing

    Two major parts of American institutional life--law enforcement and the regulatory state--have failed spectaculary as the culmination of long-term historical trends. 



  • 19 Facts About the 19th Amendment on its 100th Anniversary

    The suffrage movement that led to the 19th Amendment was intertwined with many other social reform movements of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but the broad demands of egalitarian reforms activists wanted remain unfulfilled. 



  • This Election Isn't 1968 or 1992 or 2016

    Richard Nixon won by portraying himself as a unifier against an out-of-control left; Bill Clinton won reelection by carefully navigating the politics of crime and unrest. There is nothing very careful, yet, about what we've seen from this president.



  • Wisconsin’s Long History As Swing State

    Wisconsin's status as a swing state in presidential elections is nothing new. It reflects the state's part in major trends in American history including immigration, urbanization, and the rural-urban divide.



  • The New Federalism

    by Gary Gerstle

    States have once again become the innovators in American political life and the institutions that are taking their democratic remit seriously.



  • Did Lincoln Take his Cues From Congress?

    Historian Allen C. Guelzo reviews Fergus Bordewich's new book "Congress at War: How Republican Reformers Fought the Civil War, Defied Lincoln, Ended Slavery, and Remade America," which argues that the 37th and 38th Congresses had a bigger role in the abolition of slavery than the 16th president.



  • States Are in Crisis. Why Won’t Trump Help?

    by Lizabeth Cohen

    The abandonment of a federalist system where states are accountable to Washington and residents everywhere can expect equitable treatment is recasting the United States of America to favor States over United. 



  • Why Americans Don’t Vote Their Class Anymore

    Eric Levitz argues that the left can't expect to build class solidarity just because candidates like Bernie Sanders talk about it; the institutions that have historically allowed it to develop are gone. 



  • In Memoriam: William Rorabaugh

    William Rorabaugh, known to his colleagues as Bill, was a popular teacher and prolific scholar whose legacy will be felt for many years to come.



  • When Centrists Sounded Like Bernie

    by Ed Burmila

    If today’s centrist, establishment Democrats are unwilling to hear warnings coming from the left, perhaps they will heed their own advice from an earlier era.



  • The Lessons of the Elections of 1918

    A nation ravaged by the Spanish flu figured out how to vote back then. Not without incident, but with democracy intact.



  • What Democracy’s History Tells Us About Its Future

    In an email exchange hosted by the Harvard Business Review, Professor of Business Rebecca Henderson and Professor of History Jill Lepore discussed capitalism’s role in an increasingly populist world.