Populism, Sovereigntism, and the Unlikely Re-Emergence of the Territorial Nation-State

Populists deployed an extreme concept of popular sovereignty over the course of the 20th century. Abstract In the last three decades, the rise of a populist challenge to the liberal political mainstream exposed how shallow the supposed victory of global liberalism was, even in its heartlands in Europe and North America. Exclusive nationalism and nativism,[…]

When Populist Wendell L. Willkie Upended the GOP Primary in 1940

The populist businessman known as “the barefoot Wall Street lawyer” took over his party’s convention in Philadelphia. Later this week, the historic nomination of the first female candidate for president by a major political party at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia is sure to generate considerable hoopla. But, as with all U.S. presidential conventions[…]

The ‘Good War’: Concentration Camps and Japanese America

Exploring current struggles of memory and history within and beyond the Japanese American community. For many Americans, World War II has become entrenched, solidly and nostalgically, in the national narrative as “The Good War” fought by “The Greatest Generation.” Increasingly, and disturbingly, this formulation appears to have won acceptance even by an American minority group[…]

“Charity Is Ever Kind”: Women in Civil War Contraband Camps

In the first year of the Civil War, Union General Benjamin Butler used the term “contraband of war,” to describe escaped enslaved people. By Ashlee AndersonPublic Historian On April 12, 1861, America officially entered into a Civil War, years in the making. This war would transform millions of lives and completely change the country as[…]

How the Bloodiest Mutiny in British Naval History Helped Create American Political Asylum

Outrage over the revolt that spurred the U.S. to deliver on a promise of the Revolution. The United States has a special history, and thus bears a unique stake, when it comes to the flight of foreign refugees, particularly those seeking sanctuary from oppression and violence. Political asylum has long been a defining element of[…]

Immigration and National Security in George Washington’s Day

Presuming that immigration was a boon to national security, U.S. borders remained mostly open for the first century of the nation’s existence. By Livia Gershon To many Americans today, immigration looks like a safety risk. Some debates over the issue pit idealistic, humanitarian support for more open borders against devotion to national security. But back when[…]