Mr. Madison’s War

The War of 1812 was, in many respects, something of a disaster. Throughout the United States there was a general resentment and frustration over issues of trade that had been improperly settled after the Revolution, and many areas were openly looking for an excuse to go to war with the British again. There was a distinct geographical split seen both in Congress and public opinion. The southern and western sections were largely in favour, seeing it as an excuse to expand westward and gain international respect. Continue reading

The New Deal, Why, and How it Worked

The New Deal changed the way Americans perceived the presidency and social safety nets. Churches and private charities were unable to cope with the scale of hardship in a nation with a 25% unemployment rate, and an increasing number of people were unable to reconcile American values and social duty with the laissez-faire Social Darwinism that decreed that the destitute deserved their fate.1 Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s election campaign was to realign the Democratic and Republican parties, bringing progressives and reformers firmly onboard with the Democrats, and cementing Gilded Age conservatives on the Republican side.2 Continue reading

Founding The Peculiar Institution– Race and Labour in Early America

Many groups came to the New World, for many different reasons. They found different climates in different areas, which created different social structures. The fertile soil and warm climate in the south created a need for large numbers of unskilled labourers, which led to the development of race-based slavery, a situation which has lasting effects on the United States even today. The cooler climate and rocky soil in the north created a society that depended more on industry, commerce, and wage labour. This division between societies would become more and more jarring in the aftermath of the American Revolution, and eventually lead to the Civil War. Continue reading

Change and the Lack Thereof in 1920s Gender Politics

The 1920s are commonly assumed to have been a time of great social change in sexual norms and gender politics in celebration of women’s equality upon gaining the right to vote. As usual with common assumptions about history, the truth is far more complicated. The right to vote was not a cure-all to sexual inequality, and the gender politics of the 1920s were not as significant a departure from the previous age as is commonly supposed. There was, however, a significant increase in the visibility of women’s sexual behavior, and a corresponding normalizing of women’s sexuality in regards to men. It is more accurate therefore to say that while there was a sexual revolution in the 1920s, men were the primary beneficiaries, and it was part of a larger shift toward youth culture and consumerism. Continue reading