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polarization


  • Lessons from the 18th Century Dutch Republic

    by Matthijs Tieleman

    The history of the Dutch Republic demonstrates that polarization can gradually destroy a country from within and can easily be exploited by foreign actors. The embrace of political pluralism by every citizen is the key antidote to the rot of polarization.


  • Americans Have Feared Another Civil War Since the End of the Last One

    by Richard Kreitner

    The ink was hardly dry on Lee's surrender at Appomattox before Andrew Johnson's conciliation toward the former Confederacy clashed with the unfulfilled goals of freed slaves and radical Republicans to threaten further violence. These fault lines have been hidden but never healed in the restored American union.



  • Kent State: 50 Years After the Shootings

    by Thomas M. Grace

    Myth has obscured the conflict that led to the killings at Kent State: a long-building clash between a broad set of youth-led protest movements and established authority. That clash continued after May 4, 1970.



  • Today’s Eerie Echoes of the Civil War

    by Manisha Sinha

    We would do well to pay heed to the old enmities bubbling up in our politics: it is not that we are on the verge of another civil war, but that the Civil War never truly ended.



  • Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg: No Red States, No Blue States

    Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg are professors of history at LSU and coauthors of "Madison and Jefferson," now a Random House paperback. When Virginian Thomas Jefferson provocatively wrote that the tree of liberty would have to be refreshed periodically with the blood of patriots and tyrants, he did not reckon on tyranny arising in the midst of the Virginia state Legislature from a creeping faction of smarmy hooligans primed to convert Democratic districts into Republican ones overnight. It’s in the news this week. But it’s been brewing ever since Bush v. Gore.Someone’s always talking about dumping the general ticket plurality system – the way we have tallied the votes of the states in presidential elections since 1789 – in favor of the district system. By this means we would be tallying electoral votes one congressional district at a time rather than awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to a single candidate. Article Two, Section 1 of the Constitution says that each state legislature determines on its own how its presidential electors (i.e., those who comprise the Electoral College) are to be chosen.