Monthly Archives: July 2011

A Memorial that Suits its Subject

Like him or hate him, Franklin Roosevelt makes nearly every American historian’s list of the  top three Presidents. It’s always Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt, with everybody else a pretty distant fourth. FDR was elected to four terms: he served during the depression and the greatest war in world history. He oversaw the development of the […]

WWII and Wartime Theater

FDR had a gift for theater. It might have had a lot to do with his paralysis, and the elaborate and taxing steps he took to conceal it. He had handrails and ramps set up behind podiums he had hand controls in his car. With the discrete assistance of aides, and a cane he could […]

The Astonishing Antebellum Money System

We often talk about “money” as if it’s always been the same, a simple and constant measure of value, the “bottom line” of meaning. But “money” has rarely been a static thing, especially in the US. The chaotic money system Americans used before the Civil War boggles the imagination. I gave a lecture about this […]