T. B. Welch, engraver (from a daguerrotype) - William G. Brownlow, The Great Iron Wheel Examined; or Its False Spokes Extracted, and An Exhibition of Elder Graves, Its Builder

William Gannaway Brownlow, the Fighting Parson of Tennessee

The controversial politician William Gannaway Brownlow shepherded Tennessee's re-admission to the Union. It was the first state of the Confederacy to do so.
Factories Emitting Pollution

Why Climate Change Is a National Security Issue

Viewing climate change through a national security lens makes a certain amount of sense -- but it won't entirely solve the problem.
Relics from the Franklin Search Expedition

When Clairvoyants Searched for a Lost Expedition

When Captain Sir John Franklin's Arctic expedition went awry, clairvoyants claimed to be able to contact the crew members. Why did people believe them?
Jill Lepore

Jill Lepore: How to Respond to the Crisis of Our Institutions

Lepore talks about presidential deceit, why women are often forgotten by history, and the “epistemological crisis” of our era.
"The Macaroni. A real Character at the late Masquerade", mezzotint by Philip Dawe, 1773

The Gender-Bending Style of Yankee Doodle’s Macaroni

The outlandish "macaroni" style of 18th-century England blurred the boundaries of gender, as well as class and nationality.
why US states have straight borders

Why Are U.S. Borders Straight Lines?

The ever-shifting curve of shoreline and river is no match for the infinite, idealized straight line.
"I Voted" stickers

How to Get People to Vote

In the United States midterm elections, it is common for as few as 40% of eligible adults to vote. Why it matters, and some possible solutions.
HMS Endeavour

The Curious Voyage of HMS Endeavour

Captain James Cook had secret orders to to search for a predicted Southern Continent. He ended up claiming New Zealand and part of Australia for the U.K.
creepy old house at night

There’s Someone Buried under the Floor!

The story of a building that will not stand until a living human being is imprisoned in its foundations is so common as to form it own genre.
union soldiers disability

The Invisible Struggles of the Civil War’s Veterans

Many Civil War veterans like Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain came out of combat with injuries and lasting disabilities that no one could see.