Three pence Colonial currency from the Province of Pennsylvania. Signed by Thomas Wharton. Printed by Benjamin Franklin and David Hall, 1764

Building an Economy on Paper Money

A shortage of coined currency led Pennsylvania to begin using paper money in the 1720s. The British didn't like it, but the colonists did.
Radhakamal Mukerjee

Radhakamal Mukerjee and Indian Intellectual Independence

Sociologist Radhakamal Mukerjee helped shape a new view of sociology from an Indian perspective, contributing to the independence movement.
Frederick & Nelson, Seattle. A Division of Marshall Field & Company

How the Marshall Plan Sold Europe to Americans

Department-store bazaars let consumers see how glamorous and sophisticated imported goods could be. Ooh, la la!

How Show Business Went Union

Since the nineteenth century, the IATSE union has organized behind-the-scenes workers, first in theater, then in the movies.
Woman recycling glass, Wallingford neighborhood, Seattle, Washington, 1990

You’ll Never Believe Who Invented Curbside Recycling

Far from ushering in a zero-waste world, the switch from returnables to recycling provided cover for the creation of ever more packaging trash.
A bunch of flowering sweet peas

Boosters Used the Sweet Pea to Define California

In the late 19th century, Californians were eager to part with their reputation for wildness, so they adopted an "English" flower as their symbol.
1 Dollar, Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank of Rahway, New Jersey, 1850

Banks’ Own Private Currencies in 19th-Century America

Before the Civil War local banks issued their own money. It was totally legit, too.
President Joe Biden holds a semiconductor during his remarks before signing an Executive Order on the economy

Semiconductor Shortages End an Era of Globalization

Our security studies columnist on leanness, supply chains, and resilience in a post-pandemic world.
A woman picking vegetables

How the Black Labor Movement Envisioned Liberty

To Reconstruction-era Black republicans, the key to preserving the country’s character was stopping the rise of a wage economy.
New Orleans, 1939

How St. Louis Domestic Workers Fought Exploitation

Without many legal protections under the New Deal, Black women organized through the local Urban League.