Noah Webster painting

How Noah Webster Invented the Word Immigration

Noah Webster, author of An American Dictionary of the English Language published in 1828, invented the word "immigration."
Tammany Patronage

Why Did U.S. Postmasters Once Have So Much Political Cachet?

American bureaucracy used to work through patronage, an informal system of job-distribution by the party in power. Why did it change?
Mr. Smith filibuster

“Filibuster” Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does

The term "filibuster" used to refer to Americans who went to foreign countries to fight in their wars without the government’s permission.
Illustration of Karl Polanyi

Gareth Dale on the Past and Future of Capitalism

An interview with Gareth Dale on his work on Karl Polanyi, and the past and future of capitalism.
Aristocratic family

Noblesse Oblige in American Politics

What responsibility does the very wealthy have to the rest of the population? United States governor Winthrop Rockefeller provides a historical case study.
Bush and Rumsfeld

The Backfire Effect

The backfire effect is when people double-down on their beliefs even when these beliefs are shown to be factually incorrect.
Jeanette Rankin

The U.S. Representative Who Tried to Outlaw War

Jeanette Rankin was the first woman to become a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. And she once tried to outlaw war.
Refugees welcome

Sanctuary Cities Are as Old as The Bible

Sanctuary cities like New York and Los Angeles protect undocumented migrants from deportation. The concept behind them has ancient and religious roots.
Woodrow Wilson 1912

Woodrow Wilson, Mental Health, and the White House

The historical debate about the nature of Woodrow Wilson's health is intertwined with questions about his self-righteous character.
Andrew Jackson

Was Andrew Jackson Really a States’ Rights Champion?

On the 250 anniversary of Andrew Jackson's birth, a look at his squashing of the first great nullification crisis in American history.