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History As It Happens

Jul 29, 2021

The violent decade before the Civil War serves as a warning about the perils of political polarization and the ways we may rationalize violence when it fits our purposes. Americans in 2021 are not careening toward another civil war with armies on battlefields, but the congressional investigation, now underway in the...


Jul 22, 2021

Similar to fascism or socialism, the political ideology of populism has meant different things to different people at different times in history. Figures as diverse as Huey Long, William Jennings Bryan, George Wallace, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump have been described as populists, which may explain why populism...


Jul 20, 2021

If a key lesson of the Vietnam War was the United States should avoid fighting guerrilla wars in faraway countries of little strategic importance, whose people, histories, and cultures we do not understand, then the U.S. failed to heed that lesson in Afghanistan. As the final American and NATO troops prepare to...


Jul 13, 2021

As the Chinese Communist Party marks its 100th anniversary, its leaders are using history to explain where the nation has been and where it intends to go. President Xi Jinping, eager to consolidate his authoritarian power, is paying his respects to Mao, conveniently ignoring the decades of violent chaos Mao...


Jul 8, 2021

It is an iconic Olympic moment that resonates in our current climate of racial activism. At the summer games in Mexico City in 1968, American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner as they stood on the awards podium, the “Black Power salute.” If that...