Category Archives: History

The Ezra Klein Show podcast: The Purpose Of Political Violence

Between 1830 and 1860, there were more than seventy violent incidents between congressmen in the House and Senate chambers or on nearby streets and dueling grounds.”
Here’s the wild thing about that statistic, which comes from Yale historian Joanne Freeman’s remarkable book The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War: It’s an undercount. There was much more violence between members of Congress even than that.
Congress used to be thick with duels, brawls, threats, and violent intimidation. That history is often forgotten today, and that forgetting has come at a cost: It lets us pretend that this moment, with all its tumult and terror, is somehow divorced from our traditions, an aberration from our past, when it’s in fact rooted in them.
That’s why I wanted to talk to Freeman right now: to remind us that American politics has long been shaped by people who used the threat or practice of national violence as a way to force the political system to accept ongoing injustice. This conversation isn’t as easy as just saying political violence is bad. It’s also about recognizing that political violence has a purpose, and weighing the conditions under which it’s right and even necessary to provoke it.


Cato Institute: Stalin’s Propaganda and Putin’s Information Wars

Featuring Stephen Kotkin, John P. Birkelund ‘52 Professor in History and International Affairs, Princeton University, and Author, Stalin: Waiting for Hitler and Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment.

Source: Stalin’s Propaganda and Putin’s Information Wars | Cato Institute

Here Be Monsters Podcast Ep. 116: Finest and Most Rotten (Going Forward)

An anonymous writer for the New York Tribune stands at 154 Nassau. The writer asks passers-by a simple question: “Do you think this is a good world?” It’s just four months after Armistice Day, and on the tail of a flu pandemic that killed 55 million worldwide. The writer publishes five answers, ranging from “damned rotten” to “the finest”.

Source: HBM116: Finest and Most Rotten (Going Forward) — Here Be Monsters Podcast

The Majority Report: Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management w/ Caitlin Rosenthal

Caitlin Rosenthal, Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, joins us to discuss her new book, Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management. While some think that capitalism worked at cross purposes with slavery, the two were intertwined for much of US history. By looking at the complex connections between New World slavery and early capitalist development, as well as elements that have carried over into modern management structures, Rosenthal shows how the institution of chattel slavery influences our system of production to this day.