Category Archives: American History

Monica, Bill, History, and Sex

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By Marc Stein Twenty years ago this month, U.S. Democratic President Bill Clinton began having sex with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. More than two years later, during testimony in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Jones, Clinton denied that he was having a sexual relationship with Lewinsky. Several months later, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr reported to the U.S…. Read more »

Everybody Can Play: Avoiding Soft Constructionism when Teaching History

By Mark Abraham Accepting her Video of the Year award at the 2015 VMAs, pop singer Taylor Swift, surrounded by the women who appear as weapon-toting warriors in her victorious video “Bad Blood,” said she was grateful that “we live in a world where boys can play princesses and girls can play soldiers.” That same night, writer Adam Fleischer posted… Read more »

Can “The Donald” Trump History as a Third Party Candidate?

By Oscar Winberg The U.S. presidential campaign is already in full swing, even though it is roughly five months before the first ballot will be cast in the primaries and caucuses that select the major party nominees, and over a year until the people will actually elect the 45th president. This summer much of the coverage has been reserved for… Read more »

Little Bear’s Cree and Canada’s Uncomfortable History of Refugee Creation

By Benjamin Hoy Refugees create complicated political and social climates. Federal decisions to admit or reject individuals, families, and communities fleeing from hardships intertwine humanitarian concerns, political profiteering, immigration policy, domestic security, and racial perceptions into an often-ugly mess. Refugees force countries to consider their moral obligations to those less fortunate and to examine the possibility of their own complicity… Read more »

Lowered Expectations and The Historical Origins of the ‘Great Decoupling’ in Canada

by Christo Aivalis Recently many economists have emphasized that since the 1970s in western nations like Canada and the United States, high profits and productivity have been accompanied by stagnating wages, especially for lower income workers. These commentators, including Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, The New York Times’ Steven Greenhouse, and UNIFOR economist Jim Stanford,… Read more »

The Die-In: A Short History

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By Daniel Ross On June 19th, City of Toronto officials on their way to work had to step over the bodies of hundreds of cyclists lying in front of the entrance to City Hall. A week later, the busy intersection in front of the Bank of England in central London was shut down by a similar spectacle. And in January,… Read more »

Starbucks: Welfare Capitalism, Public Education, and the History and Possibility of American Social Democracy

By Jason Ellis Welfare capitalism is back in vogue. Earlier this month Starbucks announced that it will expand an existing company benefit program that offers university tuition coverage to Starbucks workers. The expansion of the program, a plan to extend these benefits to 23,000 workers over the next decade at a cost of $250 million, will target “opportunity youth,” i.e…. Read more »

Rock Hudson, the Reagans, and HIV/AIDS Scholarship

By Lucas Richert In recent months, a gay rights group, the Mattachine Society, have helped provide a more expansive view of Rock Hudson’s final struggle with AIDS. In documents obtained from the Reagan Presidential Library and available on BuzzFeed, it is clear that Nancy Reagan refused to help the dying Hudson receive treatment. This matters. When he died in October… Read more »

The Home Archivist – Getting My Hands Dirty

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By Jessica Dunkin In the last Home Archivist post, I described how I came to be in possession of a box of nineteenth-century letters. In this post, I open the box again for the first time. When the MacKendrick letters arrived at my house in early August, they were quickly shuttled into the basement and I assumed that they would… Read more »

Vision in History a public lecture by Dr. Anne Kelly Knowles

Vision has influenced many important historical decisions, whether literally – what people could or could not see – or metaphorically, what people imagined or wanted to believe. This lecture examines the crucial role of vision at two junctures in American history. It reveals how antebellum entrepreneurs’ vision of industrial greatness fell afoul of geographical reality, and how General Robert E…. Read more »