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About 40 years ago, the field of US intellectual history entered a period of self-doubt about the rigor of its methods, about the narrowness of its archive and its interests, even about the ontological gravity of the subjects it treated.
The fight for marriage equality in the United States, which made significant progress in 2015 with the Supreme Court ruling that ‘no American can be denied the freedom to marry because of their sexual orientation’, highlighted that access to marriage has long been the privilege of those who conformed to normative ideas of sexuality and domesticity prescribed by the elite and powerful.
Historians have been fighting about the causes and effects of the Civil War since they were using quill pens, and they figure to keep doing so until long after the laptop computer on which this is written has become an antique. Now Adam I. P.
Richard Carwardine, an acclaimed Lincoln biographer and coeditor of a highly original book of essays on Lincoln's worldwide image, has now turned his attention to the entertaining subject of Lincoln's humor.
While campaigning for the Senate in 1858, Abraham Lincoln delivered one of his most enduring speeches. Reflecting on the previous half-decade’s sectional struggles, Lincoln predicted that the nation’s conflict over slavery ‘will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed’. Citing a familiar Biblical metaphor, Lincoln added, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.
To call the Presidential Election of 1860 a ‘campaign fraught with consequences of the most momentous import’ as New York Republicans did at their state convention in April 1860, is to make a rhetorical molehill out of a mountain.
Many years ago, J. H. Overton drew a fine line between Non-Jurors on the one hand and Jacobites on the other. The former, according to Overton, were ‘in no active sense of the term Jacobites’ because they were ‘content to live peacefully and quietly without a thought of disturbing the present government’.
When I was a fourth grade student in suburban Birmingham, Alabama in the 1970s, the history curriculum was devoted to a study of our state. Our teacher, Mrs. Lawson, supplemented our textbook with personal recollections of the Civil War gleaned from her own grandmother, who had been a girl in the 1860s. Mrs.
Even after John Adams’s belated success on American television, and Alexander Hamilton’s recent conquest of Broadway, Federalists still seem to lag Jeffersonians in popular and scholarly interest.
In the last year several books appeared focused on the United States in the world that seek to combine a study of intellectual history, popular culture and politics in a long breath of the 19th century.