Sean Wilentz


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The 1619 Project and the Work of the Historian

Sean Wilentz wrote a piece opposing the New York Times Magazine's 1619 Project, but his use of Revolutionary-era newspapers as sources is flawed.
Painting by Titus Kaphar entitled "Page 4 of Jefferson’s ‘Farm Book"

How Proslavery Was the Constitution?

A review of a book by Sean Wilentz's "No Property in Man," which argues that the document is full of anti-slavery language.

The Political Odyssey of Sean Wilentz

How one of America's original Bernie Bros became an outspoken critic of the left.

How the 1619 Project Took Over 2020

It’s a hashtag, a talking point, a Trump rally riff. The inside story of a New York Times project that launched a year-long culture war.

I Helped Fact-Check the 1619 Project. The Times Ignored Me.

The paper’s series on slavery made avoidable mistakes. But the attacks from its critics are much more dangerous.

The Hidden Stakes of the 1619 Controversy

Critics of the New York Times’s 1619 Project obscure a longstanding debate among historians over whether the American Revolution was a proslavery revolt.

The Fight Over the 1619 Project Is Not About the Facts

A dispute between some scholars and the authors of NYT Magazine’s issue on slavery represents a fundamental disagreement over the trajectory of U.S. society.

James Madison Responds to Sean Wilentz

Madison's Notes of the Constitutional Convention answer a current argument on the Electoral College.
Richard Slotkin.

“A Theory of America”: Mythmaking with Richard Slotkin

"I was always working on a theory of America."
Manifest Destiny painting by Emanuel Leutze

No, Liberal Historians Can’t Tame Nationalism

Historians should reject nationalism and help readers to avoid its dangers.
Artistic collage of the preamble to the U.S. Constitution.

Was Emancipation Constitutional?

Did the Confederacy have a constitutional right to secede? And did Lincoln violate the Constitution in forcing them back into the Union and freeing the slaves?
Photo illustration of two hands pulling New York Times Magazine article

The Historians Are Fighting

Inside the profession, the battle over the 1619 Project continues.
Painting of Lincoln and his cabinet by M.S. Carpenter, 1863.

Did the Constitution Pave the Way to Emancipation?

In his new book, The Crooked Path to Abolition, James Oakes argues that the Constitution was an antislavery document.
‘The Proposed Emigrant Dumping Site’; cartoon by Victor Gillam from Judge magazine, March 22, 1890

Whose Freedom?

Tyler Stovall demonstrates ways that people have conflated freedom with whiteness but pays too little attention to the force of freedom as a concept.
Cartoon depiction of a confederate statue, its hat falling off as it is lifted off a pedestal covered in graffiti about love and justice

After the Lost Cause

Why are politics so consumed with the past?

History As End

1619, 1776, and the politics of the past.
Patchwork collage of Joe Biden

All the President’s Historians

Joe Biden has met with scholars to discuss his presidency and likely legacy—but what are we to make of his special relationship with historian Jon Meacham?
Joe Biden surrounded by words emanating from a book.

Can America’s Problems Be Fixed By A President Who Loves Jon Meacham?

How a pop historian shaped the soul of Biden’s presidency.
Signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Against the Consensus Approach to History

How not to learn about the American past.
Artistic photo with american flags

Richard Hofstadter’s Discontents

Why did the historian come to fear the very movements he once would have celebrated?