• Was Madison Mistaken?

    by Carl Pletsch

    The divisive Trump years have called the wisdom of the Framers into question, but the author contends that James Madison in particular anticipated how a republic would be challenged by partisanship and designed one that could withstand that challenge (he just never claimed it would be easy). 

  • Photography Always Needed the Presidents

    by Cara Finnegan

    In the 1840s, the new technology of photography staked its place in the culture as an authoritative, reliable recording of events through the creation of images of the presidents or, in the case of George Washington, pictures of pictures of the presidents. 

  • A Ghost of Galileo in the English Civil War

    by John Heilbron

    An obscure English painting containing an image of Galileo's "Dialogues" launches a deep consideration of the political and intellectual stakes of free inquiry during the English Civil War.

  • The Original Storming of the Capitol

    by Stephen Dando-Collins

    The January 6, 2021 siege of the Capitol in Washington DC has eerie parallels with a much earlier event, the AD 69 siege of the Capitoline Mount in Rome.

  • "Hamilton" and Politics Today

    by Donald J. Fraser

    The phenomenally successful "Hamilton" takes some liberties with its subject, but it still offers some valuable perspective on our politics today. 

  • Advice to POTUS 46 from POTUS 1

    by David O. Stewart

    The author of a recent political biography of George Washington wonders how the first president would guide the most recent one. 

  • King’s Final Book: Both Political Roadmap and Passionate Sermon

    by Fred Zilian

    As Black History Month unfolds amid an atmosphere of crisis and division like that which prevailed in 1968, it's worth revisiting Martin Luther King's publication that year of "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community" – a call for reordering national priorities toward justice through politics and for renewed spiritual and ethical dedication to shared humanity.

  • Not the First Mob Attack on the Government in D.C.

    by Stan M. Haynes

    An angry mob threatened John Tyler and his family in the White House and burnt him in effigy on the grounds after he vetoed the Whig Party's bill for a second Bank of the United States in 1841, leading Congress to authorize a night police patrol for the District of Columbia. 

  • Who Can Claim to be the United States’ First University?

    by Tom McSweeney, Katharine Ello and Elsbeth O'Brien

    New documentary evidence shows that the College of William and Mary was chartered as a university in 1693, making it the first university in the colonies. The story reflects how the sectarian strife of England in the seventeenth century helped Anglican W&M and harmed Puritan Harvard. 

  • Democracy, Violence, and the Legacy of the American Revolution

    by David W. Houpt

    Although many of the Capitol rioters claimed to defend the Constitution, their actions reflect ideas derived from the Revolutionary period that the people have the right to resist tyranny by force. The Constitution sought to check that impulse by establishing a representative republic and a cultural bargain to live by the results of elections, but the two ideas have never been resolved.

  • George Washington Resisted the Siren Call of Absolute Power

    by Jan-Benedict Steenkamp

    George Washington is celebrated for his refusal to continue past two terms as President. But his earlier actions in refusing the leadership of a military coup against the Continental Congress in 1783 put the new nation on track to have civilian leadership under law.