Shifting alliances can make strange bedfellows and surprising adversaries. The push to integrate the New York City Plumbers Union as the Civil Rights Act was cobbled together 50 years ago shows how our perceptions and expectations can change with time.
Not long before the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, construction began on what is now the Hunt’s Point Food Distribution Center, the largest food distribution complex in the world. Full integration of the union workers at Hunts Point, supported by many, might have derailed or undermined this important legislation. Continue reading
As Benjamin Franklin stated in 1789, “nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Given the certainty of taxes it seems important that we understand how the United States’ fiscal system developed.
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore the development of the early American fiscal system with Max Edling, Professor of History at King’s College, London and author of A Hercules in the Cradle: War, Money, and the American State, 1783-1867 (University of Chicago Press, 2014). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/057
Yale history professor Joanne B. Freeman, a specialist in the politics and political culture of the revolutionary and early national periods, will present a talk exploring the gritty realities of nasty politics of that period, and what it suggests about America’s founding. Continue reading
Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 200th birthday dawned on November 12, 2015, my birthday. I used the occasion to drive the eight hours round-trip to Seneca Falls, NY to sit among the crowd of about 200 people at Wesleyan Chapel, the restored site of the legendary 1848 women’s rights convention.
The program sponsored by the Women’s Rights National Historic Park on November 14 was one of two programs in New York State designed to bring attention to this historic figure. The large turnout at Cooper Union in New York City for Stanton’s birthday on November 12 was another indication of the increased interest and honor being paid to New York’s historic women in the first wave of the movement that started in the Finger Lakes region. Continue reading
Throughout history, symbols have been used to identify and authenticate documents and governmental organizations. Symbols preceded literacy and as a result, today our municipal symbols contain few words. Unfortunately, the explanation of the symbols is tucked away in a file cabinet or lost altogether. Continue reading
This week “The Historians” podcast features David Pietrusza of Glenville, N.Y. who has written numerous books, including a trilogy of volumes (1920, 1960, and 1948) on American Presidential electoral history. Pietrusza’s newest book is 1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR – Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal and Unlikely Destiny (Lyons Press, 2015). You can Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading
John Jay played important and prominent roles during the founding of the United States and yet, his name isn’t one that many would list if asked to name founding fathers.
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore John Jay and his contributions to the founding of the United States with Robb Haberman, associate editor of The Selected Papers of John Jay documentary editing project. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/055
Artist Camilla Huey has a close to the skin interpretation of founding father Aaron Burr. While we know about his schemes to gain and keep political power, Huey tempts us to think about Burr’s gender politics. Was the former Vice-President who shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel, a full-fledged Lothario, or might there be another story?
The film “The Loves of Aaron Burr: Portraits in Binding and Corsetry” premiering at Symphony Space at 95th St. and Broadway in Manhattan on Saturday, November 14 at noon offers a much more complicated and nuanced view of the man and his significant female others. As Thomas Paine wrote in that revolutionary era “If we take a survey of the countries and the ages… we will find the women adored and oppressed. Man who has never neglected an opportunity of exerting his power, in paying homage to their beauty has always availed himself of their weakness… at once their tyrant and their slave.” Continue reading
What is the underlying ideological current that links Americans together regardless of their ancestral or regional diversity?
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore “American Exceptionalism” and the ideas it embodies with John D. Wilsey, author of American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea (IVP Academic, 2015). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/054
Long before radio, television, the Internet and Super PACs, when voter turnout could be as much as 81%(!), political rhetoric found its voice largely in print. Political cartoons not only weighed in on public figures’ qualifications and actions but also reflected assumptions about gender-appropriate behavior and the social norms of the day. The public figures we revere today were often viewed quite differently by their contemporaries.
Union College history professor and author, Andrea R. Foroughi, will expand on this fascinating topic in a presentation on November 20th, 7:00 pm at the S. S. Seward Institute in the Village of Florida. Continue reading