Let’s Respond Like Romans to the Jan. 6 Attack on the Capitol

How 5th-Century Senators Took Responsibility, Accepted Punishment, and Restored Trust in Government After a Damaging Insurrection

How should we respond when our capital is attacked?

One enduring answer to that question lies in the ways that Romans responded after the sacking of Rome by the Visigoths and their king, Alaric, in the year 410 CE.

That fall of Rome is among the most famous and closely studied attacks on a capital in world history. It also shares some key particulars with the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Perhaps most notably, just as some American politicians spurred on the insurrectionists of Jan. 6, a group of …

The 1929 Law That Turned Undocumented Entry Into a Crime

By Treating Migrants as Felons, the Undesirable Aliens Act Reinforced a Punitive Approach to Unauthorized Immigration

Too often, discussions of modern immigration policy are ahistorical, focusing on recent events while ignoring the past policies that led us, as a country, to where we are today.

That’s especially …

Imagine a Democracy Built on Lotteries, Not Elections

We Already Randomly Select Our Juries. Why Not Do the Same With Congress?

Legislatures, and the elections that populate them, have so many flaws that we might be better off picking our representatives at random.

Before you chuckle, first consider how far we’ve …

The Cane That Struck Against Slavery

For Eight Years, Congress Refused to Hear Petitions on Abolition. John Quincy Adams Received This Gift in Recognition of His Battle Against the ‘Gag Rule.’

The history of American democracy is often best revealed not in the nation’s founding documents, but in the activism and struggles of countless individuals to create a more perfect union. …

Are U.S. Presidents Lame?

Untangling Whether the White House Has Too Much Power—Or Too Little

It’s routinely called the most powerful job in the world, but the U.S. presidency can seem astonishingly impotent. Ideas proposed in the State of the Union go nowhere once they …