Ken Burns on the Debate Over Monuments: Representations of Myth, Not Fact

Filmmaker and historian Ken Burns in The Washington Post: "Our most venerated monuments represent a mythology. While we may hope the statue represents our highest aspirations of what America can and should be. It also can be a reminder of where and how far we fall short."  Burns produced an award-winning documentary on the Statue … Continue reading Ken Burns on the Debate Over Monuments: Representations of Myth, Not Fact

Monuments, Statues and a National Reckoning on Racial Injustice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6aQZPK9Bso PBS Newshour: "The debate over physical symbols of the Confederacy has evolved into a broader one about U.S. history. Judy Woodruff talks to Peniel Joseph, professor at the University of Texas at Austin, W. Fitzhugh Brundage, professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Arielle Hudson, one of six students who … Continue reading Monuments, Statues and a National Reckoning on Racial Injustice

What Is The American Creed? Or Are We Headed Towards A New Civil War?

Trailer for "The American Creed," a PBS documentary. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, from remarkably different backgrounds, life experiences and points of view, joined together to host a spirited inquiry into the idea of a unifying American creed. This documentary frames the stories of a range of … Continue reading What Is The American Creed? Or Are We Headed Towards A New Civil War?

Freedom of Speech, the Press, and Government Regulation of the Media, According to Crash Course, And My Own Experiences Teaching in an Authoritarian Country

I taught media law in the Middle East, specifically at a university in the United Arab Emirates, so it is especially interesting to me how Crash Course, which is targeted mostly to American high school and college students, teaches it differently. Our assumptions about our students were entirely different. Socratic Method I had to start … Continue reading Freedom of Speech, the Press, and Government Regulation of the Media, According to Crash Course, And My Own Experiences Teaching in an Authoritarian Country

In the 1930s, Democracy in America Almost Died. Citizens Kept the Ideal Alive

Harvard historian Jill Lepore, in an article for The New Yorker, recounts the last time democracy almost died in America and around the world, in the 1930s, "from the Andes to the Urals and the Alps...Americans argued about it, and then they tried to fix it...(American democracy) staggered, weakened by corruption, monopoly, apathy, inequality, political … Continue reading In the 1930s, Democracy in America Almost Died. Citizens Kept the Ideal Alive

The 6 or 7 Phases of U.S. Political Party Alignments

America’s political parties have undergone at least six phases or realignments in the nation’s history. Political scientists suggest the nation is overdue for another realignment as demographics and voting patterns change. The First Political Party System — consisting of the Federalists, created by Alexander Hamilton of New York, and the Democratic-Republican Party, created by Thomas Jefferson and … Continue reading The 6 or 7 Phases of U.S. Political Party Alignments

Incivility and Polarization in American Politics Have Been Much Worse

For all the incivility and demonization in contemporary American politics. there was a period when it was much more savage. Back in the 1830s through the 1850s, congressional battles over slavery descended into violence — duels, caning, pistol-whipping and threatening to slash an opponent with a knife. Of course, this was just prior to the … Continue reading Incivility and Polarization in American Politics Have Been Much Worse

Americans Demonstrate Massive Ignorance of Citizenship. Nearly Half Don’t Reliably Vote

"Two out of three Americans cannot pass the U.S. citizenship test taken by new immigrants. When asked to name just three of the thirteen original states, only 28% of survey respondents could. Nearly 40% of Americans think Benjamin Franklin is famous for inventing the light bulb. One-fourth of Americans do not know that freedom of … Continue reading Americans Demonstrate Massive Ignorance of Citizenship. Nearly Half Don’t Reliably Vote

Backstory Behind Founding of the Carolina Colony in 1663, Up Until 1776

The date of the founding of North Carolina by the English is in some dispute. Some argue the birthday is July 13, 1584, when Croatan Indians first encountered English ships commissioned by Sir Walter Raleigh on Roanoke Island. Raleigh himself did not make a voyage to Carolina, despite providing the namesake for the eventual colony's … Continue reading Backstory Behind Founding of the Carolina Colony in 1663, Up Until 1776

Explaining the 3 Branches of the U.S. Government: Essential to Understanding the News and Politics

History.com editors explain the three branches of the American government, in text and video clips, along with separation of powers, implied powers, checks and balances, the electoral college, and the landmark 1803 Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison. Students should drill themselves repeatedly if not memorize an article like this; otherwise pay close attention to … Continue reading Explaining the 3 Branches of the U.S. Government: Essential to Understanding the News and Politics