Author: Heather Cox Richardson

What Made America Great was Hate: Trump promises massive domestic deportations if re-elected

On February 29, 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 enabling military authorities to designate military areas from which “any or all persons may be excluded.” That order, drafted in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan, also permitted the secretary of war to provide transportation, food, and shelter “to accomplish the purpose of this order.” Four days later a Japanese submarine off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, shelled the Ellwood Oil Field, and the Office of Naval Intelligence warned that the Japanese would attack California in the next ten hours....

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How Paul Manafort got Trump funding from Russian oligarchs and profited from the betrayal of Ukraine

Although few Americans paid much attention at the time, the events of February 18, 2014, in Ukraine would turn out to be a linchpin in how the United States ended up where it is a decade later. On that day ten years ago, after months of what started as peaceful protests, Ukrainians occupied government buildings and marched on parliament to remove Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovych from office. After the escalating violence resulted in many civilian casualties, Yanukovych fled to Russia, and the Maidan Revolution, also known as the Revolution of Dignity, returned power to Ukraine’s constitution. The ouster of...

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Demonizing Women: Why Republicans used abortion as an issue to deliberately polarize American politics

On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade decision. By a 7–2 vote, the Supreme Court found that the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution guaranteed the right of privacy under its “concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action.” This right to privacy, the court said, guarantees a pregnant woman the right to obtain an abortion without restriction in the first trimester of a pregnancy. After that point, the state can regulate abortion, it said, “except when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.” The right to privacy...

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The meaning of Valley Forge: An interview by Heather Cox Richardson with President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visited Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, ahead of his speech marking the third anniversary of the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Historian and professor Heather Cox Richardson sat down with the President on January 5 to ask a few questions. What I wanted to hear from him illustrates the difference between journalists and historians. Journalists are trained to find breaking stories and to explain them clearly so that their audience is better informed about what is happening in the world. What they do is vitally important to a democracy, and...

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1776 Betrayed: How Trump whitewashes his crimes by calling the January 6 insurrectionists “patriots”

Three years to the day after the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol to prevent the counting of the electoral ballots that would make Democrat Joe Biden president, officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested three fugitives wanted in connection with that attack. Siblings Jonathan and Olivia Pollock, whose family owns Rapture Guns and Knives, described on its Facebook page as a “Christian owned Gun and Knife store” in Lakeland, Florida, and Joseph Hutchinson III, who once worked there, are suspected of some of the worst violence of January 6. The FBI had offered a $30,000...

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How Conservatives turned their firepower from the USSR to American democracy after the Cold War ended

On December 26, 1991, banner headlines read: “Gorbachev, Last Soviet Leader, Resigns; U.S. Recognizes Republics’ Independence.” On December 25, Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev had resigned, marking the end of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, often referred to as the Soviet Union or USSR. Former Soviet republics had begun declaring their independence in March 1990, the Warsaw Pact linking the USSR’s Eastern European satellites into a defense treaty dissolved by July 1991, and by December 1991 the movement had gathered enough power that Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine joined together in a “union treaty” as their leaders announced they were...

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