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political history



  • The Role of Liberals in the Neoliberal Turn

    by Claire Dunning

    Benjamin Holtzman's new book asks readers to reconsider the role of local community organizations and their liberal allies in creating the turn to market processes and entrepreneurial social programs associated with neoliberal urban policy. 



  • Historian Harvey Kaye: Biden has Never Wanted to be FDR

    Entering office in 1933, Franklin Roosevelt was confident that mass social movements would build support for systemic political and economic change. Joe Biden does not seem to be drawing similar lessons from social protest today. 



  • Family Capitalism and the Small Business Insurrection

    by Melinda Cooper

    Trumpism's base includes significant leadership and financial support from a faction of capitalists who own and lead private companies and shun many of the concessions made by publicly-traded corporations toward liberalism. 



  • Ultras: The Rise of America's Far Right (Review)

    by Kim Phillips-Fein

    Kim Phillips-Fein reviews John Huntington's "Far-Right Vanguard," calling his history of the far right a needed reminder of the porousness of boundaries between the right-wing fringe and mainstream conservatism in the 20th century. 



  • Tracing the Origins of Today's Archconservatives (Review)

    by Randall J. Stephens

    "John Huntington convincingly concludes that Trump 'tapped into the government mistrust, racial resentment, and conspiratorial beliefs that had festered within conservatism for decades'."



  • H.W. Brands on America's First Civil War and the Memory of the Revolution

    "Rebellion and revolution are a rejection of the status quo, and the people who reject the status quo are usually people for whom the status quo isn’t working. In the case of Washington and Franklin, however, they couldn’t have asked for more from the status quo, so what caused them to do this?"



  • Beware Prophecies of Civil War

    by Fintan O'Toole

    Northern Ireland's history shows how "premonitions of civil war served not as portents to be heeded, but as a warrant for carnage," as a seemingly inevitable mass conflict justifies and normalizes smaller-scale political violence as an everyday phenomenon.



  • Bouie: Language is Not the Democrats' Problem

    Historian Gerardo Cadava's research on Hispanic Republicans suggests that there is an enduring affinity for the conservative themes of work and initiative among Latino voters; addressing the desire for upward mobility in concrete ways, not tweaking their language, is the most urgent task facing Democrats. 



  • The Bad Guys are Winning: The 21st Century Reversal of Liberalism

    by Anne Applebaum

    "Nowadays, autocracies are run not by one bad guy, but by sophisticated networks composed of kleptocratic financial structures, security services (military, police, paramilitary groups, surveillance), and professional propagandists."



  • Radical Movements and Political Power: Terence Renaud on New Lefts

    by Justin H. Vassallo

    Terence Renaud's history places the international New Left movements that emerged in the 1960s, and today's left activism, in the context of radical traditions that have sought to avoid hierarchy and rigidity. Questions remain about how ideals and ethics can combine with organizing to change institutions.



  • If the Dems Turn to the Center, They Will Lose to Trump

    by Samuel Moyn

    In the wake of the Virginia gubernatorial election, centrist Democrats have revived calls for austerity as the only safe electoral strategy. They will find out how wrong that analysis is if they are successful in pulling the Biden administration away from a broad agenda. 



  • Land of Capital: Jonathan Levy's "Ages of American Capital" Reviewed

    by Steven Hahn

    "Ages of Capitalism" is one of the first synthetic accounts of the relationship of capitalism and American politics and society, and provides an important vocabulary for a developing field of inquiry. It also, oddly, resonates with the older consensus history that assumed capitalism as a core part of American life.



  • Right-Wing Trolling Didn't Start with Trump

    by Rick Perlstein

    "Owning the libs" through stunts and irony didn't start with Trump. Since World War II, getting under liberals' skin has mattered as much as policy and ideology, argues the historian of the conservative movement. 



  • David Graeber and David Wengrow Have Given Human History a Rewrite

    by William Deresiewicz

    A new effort at a synthesis of the sweep of human history upends what recent popularizers have presented as a progressive path from hunter-gatherer society to corporate capitalism by emphasizing choice, contingency, and the possibility of doing things differently.