Today, adult Americans routinely get carded. Whether boarding a plane or buying a beer, we are accustomed to pulling out an official government-issued photo ID on demand. But in the early days of the nation, no such ID existed, and the stakes were much higher than a missed flight or an alcohol-free evening if adequate proofs of identity were not produced. Continue reading “Who are you? Prove it!”→
When under threat, ancient Rome gave absolute power as dictator to the patrician Cincinnatus. Cincinnatus defeated the invading army. As a rare exception to Lord Acton’s maxim that “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely,” Cincinnatus then gave up all of that power to return to life on his farm. Continue reading “Alcibiades of the Atlantic”→
April 2015 marked the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. While many focused on military battles or ongoing racial tensions, few noted the 150-year transformation and transmutation of the conflict’s name, a name that existed at any given time as “Great Rebellion, “The Late Unpleasantness,” or the “War of the Rebellion.” Each title employs a narrative relative to its origin and its contemporary use; if an anecdotal experiment is warranted to test this claim, try tossing a sardonic “War of Northern Aggression” into an upcoming conversation.