Reconstruction Ended in 1877, but It Isn't Finished

(august 19, 2017) The Wall street journal

College Is Trade School for the Elite

(august 6, 2017) the wall street journal

How hard is it to drain a swamp?

(july 4, 2017) Richmond times

Behind the Brooklyn Bridge

(june 29, 2017) the wall street journal

Ex Parte Merryman (1861)

(may 16, 2017) constituting america

In defense of the electoral college...

(November 15, 2016) the washington post


"A Springfield Education" (Review of Sidney Blumenthal's The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln: A Self-Made Man, 1809-1849), Washington Monthly (June/July/August 2016) Blumenthal will be best recognized as the onetime tiger of the Clinton administration—senior White House aide and personal confidante to President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, then senior advisor to Hillary Clinton during her 2008 bid for the Democratic nomination, and a paid consultant for the Clinton Foundation. This may seem like an odd fit for writing about the politics of the first Republican president. But the skeptical should drop their shields. This is a splendid book, and on a Lincolnian theme—the political Lincoln—that was in sagging need of a facelift.

"Next To A Miracle," Washington Monthly (Mar/Apr/May 2016) The first session of the U.S. Congress was as bitter and riven by divisions—over ideology, taxes, federal versus state power, the role of “big money,” flexible versus strict interpretation of the Constitution—as the 114th Congress. The difference is, we can be proud of the first.

"Four Roads to Emancipation: Lincoln, the Law, and the proclamation," Allen Guelzo, IN Abraham Lincoln and Liberal Democracy, ed. Nicholas Buccola (University press of kansas, 2016)   

It takes nothing away from the struggles of the slaves to say that freedom came to them as the act of a white man; moreover, Lincoln did not issue the Proclamation as a white man, handing out gifts to people who could thereafter be resented if they did not behave as humble children, but as the President of the United States and the Commander-in-Chief. The slaves themselves certainly had no problem linking their fortunes to Lincoln’s. The African-American war correspondent Thomas Morris Chester wrote that the Proclamation “ends the days of oppression, cruelty and outrage, founded on complexion, and introduces an era of emancipation, humanity and virtue, founded upon the principles of unerring justice.” ...Frederick Douglass agreed. “The fourth of July was great, but the first of January, when we consider it in all its relations and bearings is incomparably greater. The one respect to the mere political birth to a nation, the last concerns the national life and character, and is to determine whether that life and character shall be radiantly glorious with all high and noble virtues, or infamously blackened, forevermore, with all the hell-darkened crimes and horrors which attach to Slavery.” When freedmen were interviewed by a congressional committee on Reconstruction in 1866, and asked when they considered themselves free, the answers were unanimous: “When the proclamation was issued,” and “I have been a slave from my childhood up to the time I was set free by the emancipation proclamation” and “Under the Proclamation of the President of the United States, I consider myself a Free Man.” There was, in the end, nothing easy about the Emancipation Proclamation. It involved numerous false hopes and false starts, and the fourth and final road Lincoln adopted in order to reach emancipation, through a "war powers" proclamation, was itself ripe with legal dangers, some of which remain with us.  


"Let’s Not Play ‘Gotcha’ With the Great Emancipator"

If Lincoln Seems Like a Lukewarm Abolitionist, It’s Because He Was a Nuanced Radical   

ZOCALO PUBLIC SQUARE/SMITHSONIAN (FEBRUARY 12, 2016)                          San Diego Union Tribune (February 11, 2016)                                             San Francisco Chronicle (February 14, 2016)  




"The Illusion of Respectability" Christianity Today Online (November 20, 2015)

"Did Religion Make the American Civil War Worse?" THE ATLANTIC (AUGUST 23, 2015)

Faith may have inflamed the conflict, but one lasting legacy of the war may be the toll it took upon American faith.

"What Did Lincoln Really Think of Jefferson?" New York Times (July 3, 2015)

“Lincoln, Cobden and Bright: The Braid of Liberalism in the 19th-Century’s Transatlantic World,” American Political Thought 4 (Summer 2015), 391-411

Little Note, Long Remember: Lincoln and the Murk of Myth at Gettysburg,” in The Gettysburg Address: Perspectives on Lincoln’s Greatest Speech, ed. Sean Conant (Oxford University Press, 2015), 147-190

"Democracy and Nobility: Was the Civil War a Second American Revolution?" The Weekly Standard (January 5, 2015)

Ten Miles from Richmond,” Civil War Monitor 4 (Summer 2014), 44-53, 74

How the Town Shaped the Battle – Gettysburg, 1863,” Gettysburg Magazine 51 (July 2014), 29-45

'Public Sentiment is Everything’: Abraham Lincoln and the Power of Public Opinion,” in Lincoln and Liberty: Wisdom for the Ages, ed. Lucas Morel (University Press of Kentucky, 2014), 171-190

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