"A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable."

— Thomas Jefferson

Recent Articles

Ryan’s Hope: A Vice Presidency in the Tradition of Dick Cheney and Joe Biden

Paul Ryan for vice president! Really? Who’s Paul Ryan? A recent CNN poll indicated that more than half the country doesn’t know enough about him to form an opinion. This anonymity is quickly evaporating, however, as the Internet and airwaves are filled with stories about this energetic young congressman from Wisconsin. We’ll all know a lot about Paul Ryan by Election Day.

But what about the job? Americans have never known much about the responsibilities of the vice-presidency. Even our first vice president, John Adams, referred to it as “the most insignificant office ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” We can only wonder if Ryan knew much about the job before accepting Mitt Romney’s invitation.

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The Nuclear Theft From the Poor and Hungry

President Ronald Reagan once asked, “Cannot swords be turned to plowshares? Can we and all nations not live in peace?” A few months later Reagan met with Mikhail Gorbachev and signed a treaty eliminating short- and medium-range nuclear missiles.

Despite this treaty, both the United States and Russia still have thousands of nuclear weapons. India, Pakistan, China, Israel, North Korea, Great Britain and France each possess these weapons of mass destruction. With this reality looms the constant threat of nuclear war, accident, or terrorist theft.

Even if we are fortunate enough to avoid nuclear catastrophe, we still lose. Every dollar spent on nuclear weapons means less money for other valuable programs, such as the fight against hunger and poverty. For as President Dwight Eisenhower said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and...

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The Legacy of the War of 1812 Is With Us Still

Two hundred years ago today American naval vessels fired the opening shots in what we know as the War of 1812. Like all wars, this was a war filled with ironies and unintended consequences. It’s also a war that’s hard to fit into the nation’s triumphalist mythology.

For one thing, it was a misbegotten war. Lacking today’s fast communications, Washington didn’t learn until after the American declaration of war that the British had already repealed the offending trade restrictions that were a major U.S. pretext for taking up arms.

The war’s final battle, Andrew Jackson’s celebrated victory at New Orleans in early 1815, might also have been avoided with faster communications. The battle took place two weeks after negotiators had signed a peace agreement on Christmas eve 1814.

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It’s Time for a National World War I Memorial

On Monday Americans will gather to celebrate Memorial Day, a holiday on which we honor those who have served, and fallen, in our country’s armed forces. Veterans and their descendants will participate in ceremonies and parades across the country, and many will be in Washington, D.C., to visit the national memorials dedicated to the wars in which they fought.

But there is one glaring exception: the First World War.

Despite nearing the centenary of the First World War’s outbreak, the United States still lacks a national memorial to the 4.7 million Americans who served during the conflict. Of those servicemen, nearly 117,000 perished during the war -- 53, 402 in combat -- and another 204,000 were wounded. Many believe that the last man to die in the war was an American soldier, 23-year-old Henry Gunther of Baltimore. He was killed one minute before the 11 a.m. armistice of...

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