A Summer of Protest: Unemployment and Presidential Politics, 1932

Marches, demonstrations, civic unrest, attacks by law enforcement and the military on protesting civilians – in 1932. Introduction An election looms. An unpopular president wrestles with historic unemployment rates. Demonstrations erupt in hundreds of locations. The president deploys Army units to suppress peaceful protests in the nation’s capital. And most of all he worries about[…]

Brewminate 2020 Election Forecast

Brewminate’s running weekly forecast for the 2020 election. By Matthew A. McIntoshJournalist and HistorianBrewminate Editor-in-Chief Brewminate will be updating a forecast of the 2020 election on a weekly basis. The updates will be posted every Saturday at a minimum with possible updates daily with added commentary. We take an average across multiple polls in each state[…]

The History of Women in the Republican Party

The Republican Party had established itself as the party of reform in the 19th century, not the conservative organization it would become. Introduction Though 19th-century women could not vote, they could and did align with political parties and ideologies. Average citizens demonstrated their partisan loyalties at rallies and public celebrations. And, this included women. The[…]

19 Facts about the 19th Amendment

Women’s historic struggles to vote continue to resonate as the country debates who should vote and how. The 19th Amendment enfranchised millions of women across the United States following a seven-decade campaign. The struggle to expand voting rights to women resonates today as the country continues to debate who should vote and how. As scholars[…]

A History of the Ups and Downs of American Vice Presidents

The vice presidents of the United States are typically an unsung lot. Why would anyone write a book about so many little-known, powerless vice presidents? Presidential succession is the first and arguably the most important decision facing a presidential nominee. Therefore, presidential nominees should themselves be held accountable by the voters in terms of their judgment[…]

Subversives in the City: Responses to Radical Politics in Chicago, 1886-1958

From the 1880s through the 1960s, Chicagoans engaged in a passionate debate over how government should respond to political radicalism. Introduction The city of Chicago provided a crucial battleground for a national struggle over the meaning of political radicalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The term political radicalism refers to individuals and[…]

The Late Governor Goebel: Election Disputes and Guns in 19th-Centuy Kentucky

Families were deeply divided after the Civil War and Kentucky was the most violent state in the Union. In the last days of the nineteenth century, Kentucky was the most violent state in the union. New York reported a few more murders, but that’s mainly because in some parts of Kentucky such records were not[…]

Parlor Politics: The Activist Legacy of Harriet Beecher Stowe

She was a famous activist in her day, arguably the most famous in the world. By Tom Christopher Katherine Kane, executive director of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, Connecticut, has no doubts. As she escorts me through Stowe’s home, a 4,500-square-foot Victorian “cottage,” Kane points out that the issue at the heart of[…]

Anti-Statism in U.S. History

Why have some perceived the State as a threat? How has anti-statist thought changed over time? Introduction The United States came into being through a colonial revolt against the British monarchy and, ever since, Americans have remained uneasy about the power of the State, or centralized, national government. From the eighteenth century on, American intellectual[…]

Subject to Citizen, Kingdom to Nation: Changing Notions of Identity in the Age of the French Revolution

What did it mean to become a citizen of the new nation? Introduction In 1789 the people of France began a revolution that would bring profound changes to their country’s political and social order. These changes came especially fast during the first six years: The Revolution started with the establishment of the National Assembly and[…]

The Free Soil Party, 1848-1854

More successful than most third parties, it had two senators and fourteen representatives sent to the thirty-first Congress. Introduction The Free Soil Party was a short-lived political party in the United States which was active in the 1848 and 1852 presidential elections, and in some state elections. It formed as a breakaway faction of the[…]

A History of Political Parties in the United States

The need to win popular support in a republic led to the American emergence of voter-based political parties in the 1790s. Introduction Political parties in the United States are dominated by two major parties. Since the 1850s, they have been the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. This two-party system is based on laws, party[…]

The Know Nothing Party: Nativist Paranoia in the Mid-19th Century

When a party member was asked about its activities, he was supposed to reply, “I know nothing.” Introduction The Know Nothing movement was a nativist American political movement of the 1850s. It grew up as a popular reaction to fears that major cities were being overwhelmed by Irish Catholic immigrants whom they regarded as hostile[…]

The Remarkable Success of Midwestern Front Porch Campaigns from Garfield to Harding

By 1840, William Henry Harrison became the first presidential candidate to tour and give speeches to adoring throngs. By Jeffrey Normand Bourdon The ways that presidential candidates have reached out to voters over the course of US History have changed partly because the franchise has been opened to more people so more voter participation in[…]

Voices, Votes, Victory: Presidential Campaign Songs since George Washington

Lyrics ranged from broad satire to sincere political expression, demonstrating just how effective a messenger music can be. Early Rally Songs “Washington’s March” America’s earliest presidential elections were simple contests in which the candidate who garnered the most votes won. With impassioned partisan races yet to emerge, political songs were expressions of patriotism. “The Favorite[…]

Counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s: Politics in a Fractured Society

As people lost hope of reuniting as a society with common interests and goals, many focused on issues of significance to the subgroups to which they belonged. Hippies and the Counterculture In the late 1960s and early 1970s, many young people came to embrace a new wave of cultural dissent. The counterculture offered an alternative[…]

The Pre-Revolutionary Period and the Roots of the American Political Tradition

It was not new ideas but old ones that led the colonists to revolt and form a new nation. Political Thought in the American Colonies American political ideas regarding liberty and self-government did not suddenly emerge full-blown at the moment the colonists declared their independence from Britain. The varied strands of what became the American[…]

Roosevelt’s Smashing of Landon in the 1936 Presidential Election

Roosevelt won the greatest electoral landslide since the beginning of the two-party system in the 1850s. Introduction The 1936 United States presidential election was the 38th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 1936. In the midst of the Great Depression, incumbent Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Republican Governor Alf Landon of Kansas.[…]

Tyranny, Democracy, and the Polity: Aristotle’s Politics

Aristotle argued that there were six general ways in which societies could be organized under political rule. The Greek philosopher Aristotle believed that questions of the state, how it should be organized, and how it should pursue its ends, were fundamental to the achievement of happiness. His text Politics is an exploration of different types of state[…]

Ambitus: Law and Political Corruption in Ancient Rome

The trials for ambitus were numerous in the time of the republic. Introduction In ancient Roman law, ambitus was a crime of political corruption, mainly a candidate’s attempt to influence the outcome (or direction) of an election through bribery or other forms of soft power. The Latin word ambitus is the origin of the English[…]

Electing Members of Congress in the Early Republic

Procedures for electing members of Congress in the early republic greatly differed from the single-district system that is in use today. By Philip LampiHistorian Until 1825, the U.S. government did not require that local election officials formally report the results of their contests to any state or federal officials. Without official sources of election returns,[…]

Political Parties in the Early American Republic

This was a period of great experimentation and change in the development of political parties. The framers of the federal Constitution had not anticipated the development of permanent political parties. Parties were considered “factions,” dangerous and illegitimate alliances that pursued their own self-interest at the expense of the common good. National leaders were expected to[…]

National Politics and the Populist Party at the End of the Nineteenth Century

From the perspective of farmers, the legal system was being commandeered by attorneys representing railroads and trusts. Rise of the Populist Party During the 1880s, farmer’s collective organizations known as the Grange declined, as did the Greenback Party. However, the twin ideals of monetary reform and legislation beneficial to farmers were carried on by a[…]

Teddy Roosevelt’s Popularity on Both Sides of the Political Aisle

The forces that have shaped the Rough Rider’s presidential legacy in the decades since his death nearly 100 years ago. A president’s career can extend well beyond his death, as family, friends, and fans work tirelessly to maintain his legacy and image. For roughly 10 years, I have studied the legacy of the 26th president,[…]

The Oligarchic Coup in Athens, 411 BCE

The movement toward oligarchy was led by a number of prominent and wealthy Athenians. Introduction The Athenian coup of 411 BC was the result of a revolution that took place during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. The coup overthrew the democratic government of ancient Athens and replaced it with a short-lived oligarchy known[…]

Demos and Kratos: People and Power in Ancient Athens

Athenian democracy was indeed a direct democracy, but not for everybody. By Georgios Mavropalias A sequence of events allowed the birth of democracy in ancient Athens; the reforms of Solon which weakened the aristocracy and redefined citizenship, their reinstatement by Cleisthenes after the oligarchy reemerged, and the shrinkage of the power of Areopagus by Ephialtes,[…]