Yesterday our friends who teach sixth grade were asking: how do I talk to my students about the insurrection that just happened at the U.S. Capitol? Today on Twitter, I saw an editor from Black Perspectives urging historians of the Reconstruction to put yesterday’s events in historical perspective. Are there lessons from history? How did we get here? What was that; what language should we use to talk about it? We’re working on acquiring new content to address these questions, but in the meantime, this previously published content puts a lot of what we saw yesterday in perspective and may help foster dialogue among students of the world. As always, the stories here and the underlying scholarship are free to all readers. We’ll be updating this syllabus and welcome suggestions.

voter fraud

Creating the Voter Fraud Myth

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

How Do White House Transitions Actually Work?

How do presidential transitions really work? Political science scholarship on White House staffers provides some insight.
A dramatic portrayal of the 1856 attack and severe beating of Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner by Representative Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina.

Political Divisions Led to Violence in the U.S. Senate in 1856

The horrific caning of Charles Sumner on the floor of the Senate in 1856 marked one of the most divisive moments in U.S. political history.
Jefferson and Adams

The First Ugly Election: America, 1800

The 1800 election saw America's first contested presidential campaigns: Thomas Jefferson vs. John Adams.

That Flag Again: The Meanings of the Confederate Flag and Iconography

Different interpretations of confederate flag and confederate battle iconography.

The Psychological Power of the Confederate Flag

An experiment in Political Psychology points to just how powerful the confederate flag continues to be in stirring up racist attitudes among whites.

Origins of the Confederate Lost Cause

The mythos of the The Lost Cause of the Confederacy.
Charles Sumner

Should Politics be Civil?

Some political philosophers suggest that arguments about civility are a distraction from the real political issues.
Abraham Lincoln inauguration, 1861

The Most Contentious Presidential Transition in American History

Was Abraham Lincoln's the most tumultuous presidential transition in American history?
Gerrymandering origins

Is Gerrymandering to Blame for Our Polarized Politics?

Gerrymandering is the process by which districts for the House of Representatives are drawn so that one party has a distinct election advantage.

What Violent Acts Get Defined as Terrorism

Why was the Weather Underground group labelled as a terrorist organization, while the KKK was not? A brief look at the history of domestic terrorism.

Talk About Terrorism: Metaphors We Live and Die By

The four main metaphors of counter terrorism and their implications.
Murió la Verdad (The Death of Truth)

The Collapse of Meaning in a Post-Truth World

2016 was certainly an unstable time in history. Even the way we use language to convey our collective fears about the state of society seems fractured.

Wittgenstein on Whether Speech Is Violence

When is speech violence? Sometimes. It depends. That’s a complicated question.
Andrew Johnson impeachment trial

Impeaching History

Got impeachment? Not much. In American history, there have only been a total of 19 impeachment trials in the U.S. Senate.
anxiety voter

How @realDonaldTrump Won the Anxiety Voter

Donald Trump’s evil genius lies in using the unique capacities of online communication to fuel and ignite anxiety, fueling authoritarian sentiments.
Trump Twitter unfollow button

How Trump’s Twitter Presidency Hijacked Hopes For E-Democracy

The first live-tweeting presidency resembles the broadcast-era version of democracy more than the kind of democracy the internet was supposed to enable.

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