When the U.S. Government Asked American Families to Turn in Their Gold

American Default: The Untold Story of FDR, the Supreme Court, and the Battle Over Gold

At $20 trillion, the national debt of the United States is slightly bigger than the annual output of the American economy. Government shutdowns and brinksmanship about extending the country’s debt ceiling have greatly raised the risk of default. So what would happen if the U.S. actually went off the fiscal cliff, and was unable to pay its debts? To answer that question, we have one historical data point: the great debt default of 1933-1935, when Franklin D. Roosevelt, Congress, and the Supreme Court agreed to wipe out more than 40 …

How Nashville ‘Killed’ Traditional Country Music—and Then Reinvented It

The Genre Created by 'Hillbillies' and Folkies Now Speaks to Pickup-Driving Suburbanites

25 years ago, American Heritage writer Tony Scherman declared traditional country music dead and done with, asking, “How far from its social origins can an art form grow before it …

How Deprivation and the Threat of Violence Made Sweden Equal

War and the Great Depression Spurred Its Embrace of the Welfare State

Sweden is almost universally regarded as a bastion of sensible people, temperate social policies, and steady, evenly distributed economic growth. So it surprises many to learn that the Scandinavian country …

1936, When “The Dictator” FDR Was Bent on Constitutional Destruction

The Fight Over the New Deal and Roosevelt's Second Term Launched a New Style of American Political Attack

True or False? Franklin Delano Roosevelt claimed to be a conservative defender of the nation’s founding ideals.

If you answered “both,” you’d be correct. We don’t tend to think of …

Herbert Hoover’s Hidden Economic Acumen

What an Awful President's Secret Strength Could Teach Today's Financial Leaders About Capitalism

From our nation’s inception, Americans have been a forward-looking people— youthful, optimistic, even revolutionary. Progress has been our byword, and the past has often been dismissed as stodgy, if not …

The Dichotomy of ‘The Duke’

Onscreen, John Wayne Embodied the American Man at His Best and Worst

First, the backstory, which happens to be true.

In 1972, I was 21 years old, living in my native Ohio, and had come to the conclusion that if I wanted to …