Mark Byrnes's Facing Backwards

"A historian is often only a journalist facing backwards." -- Karl Kraus

Mark Byrnes is an associate professor of history at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC.

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  • The Era of Bad Feelings?

    by Mark Byrnes

    “It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found.”  –  James Monroe


  • Will Khizr Khan be Donald Trump’s Joseph Welch?

    by Mark Byrnes

    Joseph Welch asked the question that woke up the American people to Joe McCarthy’s lack of decency. Khizr and Ghazala Khan have done the same service for the American people today—if we listen.

  • Orrin Hatch's Embarrassing New York Times Op-Ed

    by Mark Byrnes

    Senator Orrin Hatch took to the New York Times op-ed page to try to make the case for the Senate refusing to take up President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. It didn’t go well.


  • "Unconditional Surrender" in Iran

    by Mark Byrnes

    After the nuclear framework agreement was announced last Thursday, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton told CBS News that "the only acceptable deal would be Iran's nuclear disarmament." What?



  • Dick Cheney’s David Frost Moment

    by Mark Byrnes

    “I'm more concerned with bad guys who got out and released than I am with a few that, in fact, were innocent.”--Dick Cheney on Meet the Press

  • "He Wasn't A Regular Guy"

    by Mark Byrnes

    The eagerness on the part of some people to embrace a narrative that suggests that Michael Brown "deserved it," before the facts are established, has a long and ugly history--and that fact may be far more significant and troubling than what happened that day in Ferguson.
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