Spectators and witnesses at the trial for a case involving an automobile accident, Oxford, North Carolina, 1939.

A ‘Wary Faith’ in the Courts

A groundbreaking new book demonstrates that even during the days of slavery, African Americans knew a lot more about legal principles than has been imagined.
U.S. Capitol building

Searching for the Perfect Republic

On the 14th amendment – and if it might stop Trump.
A drawing of James Longstreet, zoomed in on his eyes.

The Confederate General Whom All the Other Confederates Hated

James Longstreet became a champion of Reconstruction. Why?
Martin Luther King Jr.


A journalistic view of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life, work, and representation in American society.
Injured reporter interviewing bloodied antiwar demonstrator

Seeing Was Not Believing

A new book identifies the 1968 Democratic convention as the moment when broad public regard for the news media gave way to widespread distrust, and American divisiveness took off.

Martin Luther King’s Dream at 60

King offered Americans the choice between acting in accordance with the Constitution and resistance to change.  In many ways, we face the same choice today.
Cover of "Freedom's Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance To Federal Power"

The Little Man’s Big Friends

A new book seeks to explain why many Americans, especially but not exclusively in the South, have understood freedom as an entitlement for white people.
Howard University students protesting outside the Attorney General’s Conference on Crime held at Memorial Continental Hall, Washington, D.C., December 13, 1934. The four-day conference failed to include lynching in its program.

A Regional Reign of Terror

Most Americans now grasp that violence was essential to the functioning of slavery, but a new book excavates the brutality of everyday Black life in the Jim Crow South.
Black soldiers in battle.

Double V: Military Racism

Today, the military is perhaps the largest integrated institution in the US. But how it came to be this way reveals a history of racism and resistance.
Eugene Debs mug shots at the US Penitentiary in Atlanta.

War Fever

The crusade against civil liberties during World War I.
Eric Foner sits in an arm chair on stage during an interview, holding a microphone.

“Originalism Is Intellectually Indefensible”

On the persistent myth of the colorblind Constitution that the Supreme Court's conservatives have embraced.
photo of C. Vann Woodward, c/o William R. Ferris, Van Every Smith Galleries

What Is There To Celebrate?

A review of "C. Vann Woodward: America’s Historian."

Light Under a Bushel: A Q&A with Eric Foner

“It’s important to study history if you want to be an intelligent citizen in a democracy.”
Black-and-white photograph of black students sitting in a classroom at the Tuskegee Institute.

The Complicity of the Textbooks

A new book traces how the writing of American history, from Reconstruction on, has falsified and illuminated our racial past.
Blue and red donkey logo of the Democratic Party.

Hope in the Desert: Democratic Party Blues

In 'What It Took to Win,' Michael Kazin traces the history over the past two centuries of what he calls ‘the oldest mass party in the world’.
Painting of George Washington in New York, 1783, surrounded by a crowd.

The Many American Revolutions

Woody Holton’s "Liberty is Sweet" charts not only the contest with Great Britain over “home rule” but also the internal struggle over who should rule at home. 
Cartoon of politicians arguing

The Gilded Age’s Democratic Contradictions

How the late 19th century’s raucous party system gave way to a sedate and exclusionary political culture that erected more and more barriers to participation.
A crowd of people with one person waving the Confederate flag

Learning from the Failure of Reconstruction

The storming of the Capitol was an expression of the antidemocratic strands in American history.
Members of the National Guard stand behind a fence outside of the U.S. Capitol building.

Impeachment May Not Work. Here’s the Next Best Way to Dump Trump

The 14th Amendment offers a remedy that is both simpler and likelier to work.
Person walking with Confederate flag inside of the U.S. Capitol

The Capitol Riot Reveals the Dangers From the Enemy Within

But the belief that America previously had a well-functioning democracy is an illusion.

This Guilty Land: Every Possible Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln is widely revered, while many Americans consider John Brown mad. Yet it was Brown’s strategy that brought slavery to an end.

The Corrupt Bargain

Eric Foner reviews two new books that make the case against the Electoral College.

The Making of the Radical Republicans

How did the struggle for emancipation become a mass politics?

Tremendous in His Wrath

A review of the most detailed examination yet published of slavery at Mount Vernon.