History

We Don't Need Another JFK

Fifty years later, Kennedy's legend makes life at the White House harder for Democrats

For 50 years, Democrats have driven themselves crazy trying to live up to a legend

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What killed England's anti-debt Country Party?

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Does the Gettysburg Address Distract Us from the Real Lincoln?

A prominent historian on the politician behind the oratory

Tuesday marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. In this 2009 essay, historian Sean Wilentz argues that we have let Lincoln's feats of oratory—like the Gettysburg Address—overshadow his political achievements.

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A Kind Word for Ted Cruz: America Was Built on Extremism

How unpopular opinions move history forward

American politics is a famously contentious theater, especially today. But the vast majority of liberals, conservatives, and Washington journalists all seem to agree that “extremism” is appalling and should be eradicated.

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In the so-called “global turn” in contemporary historiography, it has not been enough simply to study the way Western powers have affected the rest of the world. The task has also been to show how the rest of the world affected the West. And it has been a matter of applying, even to quite distant historical periods, the controlling metaphor of the digital age: the “network.” Yet a remarkable amount is absent as well.

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How the idea of genius became the basis for political power

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Although Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 is one of the most infamous events in American history, Oswald’s brief defection to the Soviet Union remains a relatively understudied chapter in the assassin’s life. This passage from The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet Union covers the months leading up to Oswald’s departure from the Marine Corps and his move to the Soviet Union.

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With the advance of cameras that spanned 150 degrees and over, America got a whole new way to depict itself.

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With the release of Grand Theft Auto V last week, we’ve yet another opportunity to marvel at how far video games have come since the prehistoric days of the late 1970s. Meandering the streets of Los Santos, GTAV’s thinly veiled version of Los Angeles, we may marvel—if we take a short break from shooting pixilated prostitutes—at how adept the video game industry has become at harnessing stellar graphics in the service of increasingly complex storytelling.

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"America may have lost its stomach for military intervention," Charles Blow wrote recently in the New York Times. At least among Obama supporters, that has become the most common explanation, hardening into cliché, for why the president’s call to punish Assad’s regime for gassing its own citizens met with a curdled mixture of anger and apathy.

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