How Warren Harding’s Campaign for ‘Normalcy’ Led to Catastrophe

The 29th President’s Promise of Safety to a Nation Shaken by WWI and the 1918 Flu Led to Freewheeling Consumption and Giddy Speculation

What is normalcy? And what does it mean when we tell ourselves that we want to get back to it?

When American historians hear talk of “normalcy,” we think of Warren G. Harding. Harding did not invent normalcy. Not the word, nor the state of being. But he benefited from the appeal of both.

Elected president in 1920, Harding campaigned to put a keel beneath a nation buffeted by world war as well as the long and deadly 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. But finding the language for this was a struggle. Harding’s inept …

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 …

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 …