Category History Methods

Unbiased History is a Unicorn

A few years ago, I came across a book with a curious title: The Truths of History:A Fair, Unbiased, Impartial, Unprejudiced, and Conscientious Study of History.  The author tries tries to one-up Fox New’s “fair and balanced” motto, but of course, labelled yourself “fair” or your views “unbiased” does not make them so. First of […]

Numismatics for Historians

For whatever reason or reasons, I never had a history teacher who mentioned numismatics, the study of old coins, as a legitimate historical pursuit. Coin collecting falls into the category of antiquarianism, that pedantic collecting and assembling of old things. For the different between history and antiquarianism, I can recommend the works of Arnaldo Momigliano. […]

Making fun of the pay-to-play scheme

A few days ago, I received a message asking me to submit my work to the International Journal of Modern Engineering Research. Of course, this is some pay-to-play outfit edited by a host of shady and non-existent characters. Anyway, I read through some back issues online, found the best parts, and assembled them into this […]

Historical Humility and the Big Debates of History

I seldom weigh in on the big debates of history that serve as fodder for many internet arguments. It is not only that I find these debates unhelpful, I also think they are mostly unsolvable, at least in this medium. Moreover, the vitriol and certitude in which competing sides of these debates are presented is […]

Review of Gigantino’s The Ragged Road to Abolition

I mostly liked this book. All I can offer is a preview of my review.

When the U.S. Government drafted non-citizens into the army

In 1862, the U.S. government drafted non-citizens into the army and didn’t bother passing a law about it until the next year. Using records of the U.S. State Department, I have created a database of 1040 cases of soldier complaints about impressment, that is:  illegal forced conscription of non-citizens in the U.S. Army. Not only […]

Triple co-authoring

Ah, rainy mornings at the mountain cabin, when you can’t work outside, are perfect for blogging. A few years ago, my colleague Anders Rasmussen and I co-wrote and published an article on the the Lincoln Administration and the potential colonization of St. Croix with freed slaves.  Co-authoring, I learned, has its advantages, especially when both […]