Travels through Virginia. [From Theodor de Bry's 'America', Vol. I, 1590, after a drawing of John White].

The Construction of America, in the Eyes of the English

In Theodor de Bry’s illustrations for Thomas Harriot’s Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, the Algonquin are made to look like the Irish. Surprise.
Two Horsemen, Elgin Marbles at the British Museum

Wait, Why Are the Parthenon Marbles in London?

Lord Elgin went beyond his original mandate, amassing a vast store of treasures, one scholar notes.
Punch and Judy by George Cruikshank, 1828

When Puppet Shows Were Too Violent For Kids

How much violence do we accept in our entertainment? 19th-century Punch and Judy shows were misogynistic, murderous, and definitely not for children.
guy fawkes mask

The Gunpowder Plot, Redux

The cultural meaning of Guy Fawkes’ conspiracy to blow up the House of Lords has shifted, from countercultural symbol to HBO drama.
Dr William Dodd, executed for forgery

Punishing Forgery with Death

In early nineteenth-century England, forging currency was considered to be such a subversive threat that it was punished with the death penalty.
Antigua sugar cane slavery

Did Venereal Disease Lead to Abolition?

Many abolitionists seeking to end slavery in the British West Indies were concerned less with human rights, more with the preponderance of interracial sex.
Stalin poster

What Do We Really Know about Joseph Stalin?

It took three more decades of Soviet rule before the archives dealing with Stalin and his times could be explored. And then the doors were shut again.
President Garfield

The Unexpected Impact of James Garfield’s Assassination

On July 2, 1881, less than a year after President James Garfield was elected the 20th president of the United States, he was shot by Charles Guiteau.
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

How A Gambling Duchess Changed British Politics

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, won and lost fortunes, giving into a compulsion that pitted her against some of society’s most notorious ne’er-do-wells.

Brexit What? On the Foundations of the European Union

The foundations of the European Union, which the UK is deciding to remain in or leave, are in coal and steel.