An abolitionist print, likely printed in 1830, depicting the US slave trade with the US Capitol in the background.

When Slaveowners Got Reparations

Lincoln signed a bill in 1862 that paid up to $300 for every enslaved person freed.

How Capitalism Betrayed Privacy

The forces of wealth creation once fostered the right to be left alone. But that has changed.
Activists dressed like 19th century prison inmates protest against workfare in the United Kingdom, comparing it to 19th century prison conditions with penal labor (2011).

From Workhouses to Workfare: The American Tradition

U.S. welfare-for-work programs didn’t start in the New Deal. They started in British poorhouses.   

White Southerners' Wealth After the Civil War

What Southern dynasties’ post-Civil War resurgence tells us about how wealth is really handed down.
Dr. Eleanor Hunt, associate anthropometrist, Bureau of Home Economics, trains one of the first classes on taking scientific measurements of the human body (1937).

Uniforming the Nation

Standard clothing sizes don’t exist.
Miners surrender their arms to federal troops after the Battle of Blair Mountain (1921).

The Mine Wars

The desire for dignity runs deep.
A building near the foundation of a construction site in a so-called “opportunity zone” in Newark, N.J. (2018).

The Real Roots of ‘Black Capitalism’

Nixon’s solution for racial ghettos was tax breaks and incentives, not economic justice.
An ad published in the first issue of 'Consumer Reports' (1936).

Can Consumer Groups Be Radical?

Historian Lawrence Glickman looked at the consumer movements of the 1930s to find out.
The Henry Rutgers Houses, a public housing development built and maintained by the New York City Housing Authority.

The False Promise of Homeownership

Instead of boosting the American Dream, policies encouraging homeownership exacerbate inequality.

Arms Sales: USA vs. Russia (1950-2017)

A closer look at the geopolitics of weapons sales through the Cold War, and beyond.
Members of the United Mine Workers of America picket their Washington headquarters in Washington, Oct. 1, 1984.

The Past and Future of the American Strike

A new book tells the history of America through its workplace struggles.
Dr. Frank Stanton, Manager of the Market Research Division at CBS (ca. 1939).

It Didn’t Start with Facebook: Surveillance and the Commercial Media

The era of audience exploitation began in earnest thanks in large part to the experiments of Dr. Frank Stanton in the 1930s.