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public history



  • How a Lincoln-Douglass Debate Led to Historic Discovery

    Just like that, a document apparently unknown to Douglass’s biographers and not found in the orator’s papers at the Library of Congress had landed squarely in the middle of the debate that has swept the nation and the neighborhood around Lincoln Park where the statue stands.



  • How to Remember the Founders

    by Eli Merritt

    The Fourth of July is not a day to celebrate the Founders themselves, nor white independence, but the bracing principles and “inalienable rights” they fought for: freedom, equality and justice.



  • A Monument to Our Shared Purpose

    by Allen C. Guelzo and James Hankins

    The Freedmen’s Memorial in Washington embodies not white supremacy, but African-American agency and cooperative struggle.



  • Europe in 1989, America in 2020, and the Death of the Lost Cause

    by David W. Blight

    We should not celebrate too much as monuments topple and old slave-auction blocks are removed. History did not end when the Soviet Union dissolved, and it will not end now, even if a vibrant movement sweeps a new age of civil rights into America. Most of all, we must remember what the Lost Cause is and was before we try to call it past.



  • Calhoun-Fall

    by Peter H. Wood

    "When word spread that the Charleston City Council had voted unanimously to remove the domineering figure from his skyscraping column, I thought of a comment Walt Whitman recorded at the end of the Civil War. After Confederate forces had surrendered at Appomattox Court House, the poet overheard a Union soldier observe that the true monuments to Calhoun were the wasted farms and gaunt chimneys scattered over the South."



  • Catholics, Alt Right Clash With Protesters over Louis IX Statue

    One group demanded that its anchoring sculpture, a statue of King Louis IX, come down as a token of reconciliation against the generations of hate they feel the statue represents. A collective of other groups, including individuals who said they belonged to The Catholic Church and white supremacists, stood in defense of the statue of the city’s namesake.