The Great Dissenter

A few years ago when I was teaching American History and in a section on the Supreme Court and “famous cases” I actually read the dissent of John Marshall Harlan in the case of “Plessy vs. Ferguson.” One man dissented in a time when the Supreme Court routinely upheld Jim Crow laws on a unanimousContinue reading “The Great Dissenter”

Learning from histories

I’ve been on a wonderful trip with our in-laws through Pennsylvania. Gettysburg. Lancaster. Philadelphia. As I’ve taken this trip, especially in Lancaster, PA, where James Buchanan and Thaddeus Stevens both resided, I’ve learned all over again it’s not about history. It is histories. We don’t get the the whole story a lot of the timeContinue reading “Learning from histories”

Thoughts on Independence Day, Part 2

Few men have virtue enough to withstand the highest bidder. —¬†GEORGE¬†WASHINGTON However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurpContinue reading “Thoughts on Independence Day, Part 2”

How did we get “wedge issues?”

In American politics, we call them “wedge issues.” These days, it can be just about anything. But, generally, it’s throwing something out there for “discussion” that won’t get discussion because the person throwing it out knows everyone has a pre-fabricated response. Gay Marriage Racism Poverty Immigration Abortion Wedge issues. When did we get “wedge issues?”Continue reading “How did we get “wedge issues?””