Thomas Jefferson

Disputations: The Lost Lincoln
July 25, 2009

Click here to read responses by Michael Kazin, John Stauffer, and Fred Kaplan. Click here to read Sean Wilentz's response to his critics. When Thomas Jefferson wrote, "All men are created equal," he did not have African Americans in mind. Or so I claimed in Lincoln on Race and Slavery. Sean Wilentz ("Who Lincoln Was," July 15, 2009) is inclined to be skeptical.

Disputations: The Lost Lincoln
July 25, 2009

Click here to read letters by Fred Kaplan, Michael Kazin, John Stauffer, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The following is Sean Wilentz's response to their letters. I wrote a 25,000 word essay about Abraham Lincoln, not Barack Obama. My aim was to review some of the most prominent scholarly books interpreting Lincoln on the occasion of his bicentennial, and to offer a different view of Lincoln as, first and foremost, a democratic politician.

Let Vick Play
July 25, 2009

I’m fed up with the anguished deliberations about whether former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who served 21 months in jail for promoting dog-fighting and killing, should be allowed to play pro football again. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell,  who has spent his adulthood as a pro football front office guy, is going to judge whether Vick is morally fit to put on a helmet and pads and risk life and limb before thousands of screaming fans. I don’t condone breeding dogs to kill each other.

TNR's Founding Fathers Spectacular
July 03, 2009

Throughout its 95-year history, The New Republic has featured the work of countless renowned historians on America's founding fathers. For the Fourth of July, we dug up our best book reviews, historical essays, and mini-biographies on the founders. Here are some of the highlights: Charles A.

American Unions
October 22, 2008

The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family By Annette Gordon-Reed (W.W. Norton, 756 pp., $35) Although Thomas Jefferson spoke out strongly against slavery, he was always pessimistic about actually abolishing the institution.

Village Idiocy
October 08, 2008

Wasilla, Alaska, is currently the most famous small town in America, thanks to its former mayor Sarah Palin. A healthy part of her appeal is that she seems to embody small-town values, nurtured in Wasilla and America's other hamlets and burgs. As she said in her firecracker acceptance speech, small-town people live lives of "honesty, sincerity, and dignity" and "do some of the hardest work in America." Palin was tapping into a widespread belief that small-town America represents the country at large.

Historical Manglings
October 03, 2008

Last night, Gwen Ifill asked Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Biden what their understanding of the role of the vice presidency was. The answers were not encouraging.Specifically, Ifill asked whether they agreed with Vice President Dick Cheney’s assertion that the vice presidency is a part of the legislative branch, as well as the executive branch.

We Should Study Conservatism In Schools
April 29, 2008

It's high time Americans start learning about the conservative movement. For whatever reason, we can identify feminists, Islamists, environmentalists, abolitionists--but very few of us know that conservatism, a coherent ideological movement, even exists. For example, when you open up the Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition and look up "progressivism," you get: In U.S.

The Gardener
October 16, 2006

Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War By Robert L. Beisner (Oxford University Press, 768 pp., $35) I. "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." The speaker could have been Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, or Bill Clinton. In fact, it was George W. Bush, in his second inaugural address; and what he said is what historians will probably remember as the Bush Doctrine.

Against the veto.
October 09, 2006

This summer, President Bush issued a veto for the first time. The occasion: a bill--passed by wide but not veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate-- that would have expanded federal funding of stem-cell research. Following Bush's announcement, liberals, predictably, denounced his move as a capitulation to the religious right, while conservatives, just as predictably, lauded his commitment to the sanctity of life.