History

The Great Depression

The Great Depression

The Great Depression of the thirties remains the most important economic event in American history. It caused enormous hardship for tens of millions of people and the failure of a large fraction of the nation’s banks, businesses, and farms. It transformed national politics by vastly expanding government, which was increasingly expected to stabilize the economy and to prevent suffering.

The Roaring Twenties

The Roaring Twenties

The 1920s heralded a dramatic break between America’s past and future. Before World War I the country remained culturally and psychologically rooted in the nineteenth century, but in the 1920s America seemed to break its wistful attachments to the recent past and usher in a more modern era.

Lincoln’s Crackdown

Lincoln’s Crackdown

Civil libertarians cried foul over the indefinite detention of hundreds of Sept. 11 suspects and plans to try accused terrorists in military tribunals. In defense, some Bush administration loyalists cite another wartime leader who locked up civilians and resorted to army courts, Abraham Lincoln—even though Lincoln faced a radically different situation, and, more importantly, his civil liberties record stands as a rare blot on his reputation.

Why Reconstruction Matters

The surrender of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865 effectively ended the Civil War. Preoccupied with the challenges of our own time, most Americans probably devote little attention to the Reconstruction, the turbulent era that followed the conflict. This is unfortunate. If any historical period deserves the label “relevant,” it is Reconstruction.