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Livia Gershon

Livia Gershon is a freelance writer in Nashua, New Hampshire. Her writing has appeared in publications including Salon, Aeon Magazine and the Good Men Project. Contact her on Twitter @liviagershon.

toy train

Why We Give Children Toys for Christmas

Giving children toys for Christmas first became a thing in early nineteenth century England.
Civil Rights Marchers

Does Street Protest Matter?

Americans have turned to street protests to achieve their political goals—while critics have warned that this kind of public action won’t change anything.
University of Virginia

Should the Government Pay for a Classical University Education?

Questions about what sorts of higher education the government should pay for are nothing new.
Nineteenth century British periodicals

Nineteenth-Century Clickbait

Online publications that offer clickbait and easy entertainment mirror some of the most popular nineteenth century British magazines.
credit card decals

A Brief History of the Credit Card

For now-ubiquitous consumer credit cards, bad early results had a hidden benefit.
Sheet music from Barnum's Baby Shows

Babies on Display

In the mid- to late nineteenth century, people showed off their infants at baby shows.
Ayuba Suleiman Diallo

The Lost History of Early Muslim Americans

 Islam in America is clearly nothing new.
Martha Stewart and Snoop Dog

Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart, and Whiteness

Martha Stewart has a new show with Snoop Dogg, premiering November 7 on VH1.
voter fraud

Creating the Voter Fraud Myth

Although in-person voter fraud is close to nonexistent, it’s a big concern for many voters.
Andrew Carnegie

The Social Responsibility of American Industrialists

In the 1890s, the first public relations professionals began advising the wealthy on how to use philanthropy to placate the public. 
Chick Tract

Chick Tracts and the Culture Wars

Jack Chick has been called the “most widely read theologian in history.” His Chick tracts have circulated for years. He was also vehemently anti-Catholic.
scared kid

How Scary is Too Scary?

Halloween poses questions for parents, like how scary is too scary for their kids? The answer depends on when we ask the question.
Business woman

The Businesswomen of Early Twentieth Century America

Women's roles in the business world partly depended on their status as consumers in the early twentieth century.
soap carving

When Corporations Co-opt Crafts

Procter & Gamble made its industrially produced soap the basis for a revival of an ancient craft, leading to a huge fad for soap carving.
Trump Tower

Do Corporate Leaders Need to Pay Taxes?

Donald Trump’s claim that he had a fiduciary duty to minimize his taxes has sparked a conversation about business ethics. Are CEOs obligated to avoid taxes?
Polish refugees

Refugees Have Always Made Americans Nervous

What happens when a big stream of refugees enters an American community, bringing their foreign customs and values and taking scarce jobs?
Strikers fight police in Minneapolis, c. 1934

The Checkered History of Colleges, Unions, and Scabs

In the early twentieth-century, some aristocratic college men were eager to prove their masculinity by working as strikebreakers.
Nixon transcripts

What Affects Our Trust in Government?

Government distrust has been on the decline for decades, but a recent poll shows a slight increase.
Oprah and Obamas

A Little Political Knowledge Is…Much Better Than Nothing

Studies show that viewers do gain political knowledge through daytime television and other forms of "soft news."
Jail Cell

A Non-Punitive Response to Juvenile Crime

It wasn’t until recently that federal juvenile justice policy swung sharply toward prosecution and tough sentencing.
Woman at Bank of England

The Long History of Financial Advice for Women

There's a whole modern industry devoted to promoting women’s financial literacy.
Close Up Of Pregnant Woman Smoking Cigarette

Addicted Mothers: Substance Abusers or Child Abusers?

Are mothers with addictions abusive or victims? Our answer almost always involves race and class.
Nixon Kennedy televised debate

How Televising Presidential Debates Changed Everything

Ever since Kennedy-Nixon, televised debates have given viewers an insight into candidates' policies—and their personalities, too.
Grand Central terminal clock

How America Got its Time Zones

Boston is considering joining the Atlantic time zone. How did Americans decide on time zones anyway?
Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly and the Meaning of Antifeminism

From today’s vantage point, many of the anti-feminist ideas Phyllis Schlafly espoused sound extreme. But are they?