Category: Political Science

Michael H. Hunt: The New Foreign Policy Concensus: A Word of Caution

The new consensus has been confirmed since Obama’s victory. His inaugural address announced the end of a decade of war and the start of a process of national reinvention meant to address challenges on the home front. However sensible this new consensus may be, it suffers from a major flaw: its profound vulnerability. Continue Reading Michael H. Hunt: The New Foreign Policy Concensus: A Word of Caution

Alexandra Harmon: Economic Disparities in Native American Communities

Along with the growth of tribal bureaucracies, this turn toward tribal capitalism has given Indians new reasons to articulate, ponder, and debate some of the basic principles that guide or should guide their economic affairs—to consider in particular whether economic aims and relations in Indian communities do or should differ from those that predominate in the United States. Continue Reading Alexandra Harmon: Economic Disparities in Native American Communities

Fall sale wrap-up: new categories 50% off, sale ends soon!

Announcing our last four sale subjects, all at 50% off, with free shipping for orders over $75 for the next two weeks. Continue Reading Fall sale wrap-up: new categories 50% off, sale ends soon!

Michael H. Hunt: The American Project in the Middle East: The End Is Nigh!

If you think the past week or so has not gone well for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, then what to say about the U.S. position in the Middle East? Washington’s attempt to remake or at least manage the region has suffered a string of blows that suggests the end is nigh. Continue Reading Michael H. Hunt: The American Project in the Middle East: The End Is Nigh!

Sarah E. Ruble: The Newsroom and American Exceptionalism

American exceptionalism, or the idea that the United States is somehow both different and better from all other nations, has a long history. From the decision to put novus ordo seclorum (a new order for the ages) on the back of the Great Seal of the United States to President Barack Obama’s claim during his 2008 inaugural that “we are ready to lead once more,” many Americans have believed that their country is something different from anything that has come before or that has arisen since. A leader. A new order. Continue Reading Sarah E. Ruble: The Newsroom and American Exceptionalism

Excerpt: Commonsense Anticommunism by Jennifer Luff

Doubting the capacity of the law to distinguish between legitimate militancy and subversive radicalism, labor conservatives disapproved of legislation outlawing sedition. Instead they pursued a voluntarist program of evangelizing about the evils of Communism and excluding Communists from AFL unions. In the aftermath of the first Red Scare, labor conservatives formed a crucial backstop against reaction. In the late 1930s, the situation changed. Alienated from the New Deal order and at odds with liberal union leaders in the competing Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO), labor conservatives abandoned commonsense anticommunism for calculated red-baiting. Continue Reading Excerpt: Commonsense Anticommunism by Jennifer Luff

Jeff Broadwater: James Madison, the Constitution, and the War of 1812

For all his genius as a political theorist (we remember him as “the Father of the Constitution”) and despite remarkable success as a politician (he lost only one election in a public career spanning forty years) James Madison has never been ranked among the greatest of presidents. The War of 1812 permanently stained his reputation. Yet Madison’s wartime leadership deserves a second look. Continue Reading Jeff Broadwater: James Madison, the Constitution, and the War of 1812

Excerpt: James Madison, by Jeff Broadwater

Madison’s more eloquent and charismatic friend Thomas Jefferson would come to overshadow him as a party leader, and later historians would write of Jeffersonian, not Madisonian, Republicans. Yet as a member of the first federal Congress, Madison laid the foundation for a new party and was initially a more aggressive partisan than Jefferson. Continue Reading Excerpt: James Madison, by Jeff Broadwater

Jeff Broadwater: James Madison, Secular Humanist

James Madison won the presidency in a landslide in 1808, prevailed in a closer race in 1812, and left office as a revered elder statesman four years later. Among his most appealing traits was a lifelong commitment to religious freedom, but if we could raise him from the dead–never mind the Twenty-Second Amendment limiting presidents to two terms–his views on the separation of church and state might well keep him out of today’s White House. Continue Reading Jeff Broadwater: James Madison, Secular Humanist

Steven I. Levine & Michael H. Hunt: Civilian Casualties: Tactical Regrets and Strategic Hypocrisy

The reality is that the large-scale targeted killing of civilians has been an integral part of America’s military strategy for well over a century. Continue Reading Steven I. Levine & Michael H. Hunt: Civilian Casualties: Tactical Regrets and Strategic Hypocrisy

Interview: Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian discuss Death Row in America

What is the difference between life and death? It has nothing to do with the crime or the criminal. It has far more to do with local politics (does the prosecutor think he can get some political advantage going for death rather than life or a term of years?), money (can the accused afford a lawyer and investigators who will do the same kind of work the prosecutor gets done automatically?), the location (most death sentences are handed down and carried out in the south, but not uniformly; in Texas, for example, a preponderance of the death sentences come from just three counties). And, finally, it depends on the composition of the appellate courts the year a particular case comes up: some panels are sticklers for justice; some are sticklers for going by the current rules. Sometimes justice and the rules are incompatible, and in capital cases, lives hang in the balance. Continue Reading Interview: Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian discuss Death Row in America

Michael H. Hunt & Steven I. Levine: Power Pivot or Duffer’s Divot?: Obama’s Asia Policy

American leaders still crave international leadership. But the time for sweet dreams of a U.S. era in Asia is over. Continue Reading Michael H. Hunt & Steven I. Levine: Power Pivot or Duffer’s Divot?: Obama’s Asia Policy

Excerpt: Living the Revolution, by Jennifer Guglielmo

Dolly’s story is one of many that take us into the complex humanity of Italian immigrant women. She was anything but a victim. Throughout her life she embodied a full range of possibility. While her actions were at times controversial, she was decisive, savvy, and acted on her own behalf and in service of those in her community. It seems she learned this from her own mother Rosa, whose combined wisdom and ability to act was what saved her grandson’s life. Continue Reading Excerpt: Living the Revolution, by Jennifer Guglielmo

Interview: Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine on America’s quest for empire

Most Americans have been inoculated against the notion that our country can behave like an empire. Therefore, some readers may well find the focus on empire unsettling. After all, we are regularly reminded by our politicians, clergy, teachers, and the media that the U.S. is an exceptional country. We don’t do empire. That’s for the bad guys. We like to believe that whatever America does internationally is for the common good of humanity. As authors, all we ask is that readers consider our general definition of empire on its historical merits and give our treatment of the U.S. case a fair hearing. Continue Reading Interview: Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine on America’s quest for empire

Michael H. Hunt: How Beijing Sees Us: Policy Insights from the Past

What is China going to do? Now that our Middle East wars are winding down, this question has fixated the U.S. policy community and policy commentators. Even aspirants for high political office feel compelled to have an answer. A substantial historical literature offers solidly grounded insight on how Chinese officials and commentators have viewed the United States from the nineteenth century to the 1970s. Let me suggest three conclusions drawn from my reading of that literature. Each is pertinent to any attempt to interpret recent developments and predict the future. Continue Reading Michael H. Hunt: How Beijing Sees Us: Policy Insights from the Past

Excerpt: In the Cause of Freedom, by Minkah Makalani

Early-twentieth-century black radicals were witness to a world that they believed teetered between revolution and repression, self-determination and ever-expanding empires. In the wake of a destructive world war that itself proved the catalyst for the movement of black laborers into cities and countries around the world, the growing crisis over the European colonial presence around the globe, and the rise of socialist and communist alternatives to Western democracy, black radicals sought alternative forms of political activism and began to forge links to other African diasporic radicals. Continue Reading Excerpt: In the Cause of Freedom, by Minkah Makalani

Mark E. Neely Jr: Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation – An Excerpt

Much has been lost by this failure to consider both of the American constitutions in the Civil War. Since the constitutions were markedly similar in content, the historian has the opportunity to see the document tested in two different societies at the same time. The opportunity for comparisons is unequaled in history. And ultimately our judgments on the role of the Constitution in war should appear doubly sound. Continue Reading Mark E. Neely Jr: Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation – An Excerpt

Michael H. Hunt: Republicans on foreign policy: Regional powers and regional problems

Regional issues continue to tie politicians in knots. Michael Hunt responds to the GOP debate on foreign policy, as both an historian and as a citizen. Continue Reading Michael H. Hunt: Republicans on foreign policy: Regional powers and regional problems

James Edward Miller: Greece and the EU Face Their Walt Kelly Moment

Foreign policy historian James Edward Miller provides background on the current financial and political predicament of Greece and the European Union. Continue Reading James Edward Miller: Greece and the EU Face Their Walt Kelly Moment