The Small-Town West Virginia Bookstore That Helped Me Survive My Terrible Childhood

The Books in My Grandparents’ Parkersburg Store Helped Me Escape From My Troubles and Understand Cruelty

Parkersburg, West Virginia, where I grew up, sits on land that was once home to the Shawnee and later belonged to George Washington. After killing Alexander Hamilton during a duel in 1804, Aaron Burr holed up at a mansion a mile away on Blennerhassett Island, embracing a mission to commit high treason or liberate Mexico, depending on how you bake the facts. A century later, Mother Jones was jailed in town. For the first years of my childhood, it seemed like nothing important had happened in the decades since, except …

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How a 16th-Century Bolivian Silver Mine Invented Modern Capitalism

Potosí’s Coins Ruled the Globe But Their Costs Included Violence and Environmental Destruction

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The Dazzling 1830 Defense of a Strong Federal Government

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For generations, school children memorized the ending to Daniel Webster’s “Second Reply to Hayne,” delivered during the famous Webster-Hayne debate of January 1830. This most-famous-of-debates began in a modest fashion, …

Extraditions Are Not About Justice

The Highly Politicized Process of Transferring Fugitives Across Borders Was Primarily Designed to Prevent Impunity

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The 19th-Century African-American Soldier Who Fought for Filipino Liberation

Angry at the Treatment of Blacks in the US, in 1899 David Fagan Deserted His Regiment and Became a Household Name Back Home

In 1899, during a campaign on the island of Luzon to entrap the Filipino revolutionary president Emilio Aguinaldo, a 21-year-old buffalo soldier named David Fagen deserted from the American army. …