Category Uncategorized

Evidence for earliest Humans in North America

I just read a fascinating new archaeology article providing evidence for humans in North America  (Alaska/Beringia) at 24,000 years before present. I’m not familiar with the journal, PLOS, because it is outside of my field, but the research and argument look pretty strong. Two general ideas flow from this. One is the possibility that humans […]

A Franked Envelope

The Dutch word “to stamp” is “frankeren.” I’ve never seen it used in English, like this: “a franked envelope” ! Also, in the spirit of the mid-19th century, I would like to end every communication with “Please accept the renewed assurance of my very high consideration.”

Alexander Trumpilton and the Whigs

I’ve long tried to avoid contributing to the D.C. political echo-chamber, but The Hill asked for me to write something, and I agreed on the condition that I could write about the ever-relevant Whig Party .

Legal History

Here’s a paper I’ve been working on in my free time since last spring. “How the First Ten Amendments Became the Bill of Rights”  

Trans-arctic Internet

I basically live in the 19th century, so when I see an article like this, I respond like I would in the year 1847: “Our best sailing ships have been unable to make it through that ice!! And you you propose to bury this cable 13 feet below the sea floor?! Are you mad?! This […]

Faroese-Americans: Some Preliminary Research on an Immigrant Group without a Written History

  Around the year 2010, I began researching the history of migration from the Faroe Islands to the United States. I had become fascinated with the history of the Faroe Islands, and I read everything I could find about that 18-island archipelago roughly equidistant between Scotland, Norway, and Iceland. Settled by the Norse perhaps as […]

I think I will allow doodling in class.


History writing is about making connections to other people. Now that my article about antique stores has been published, I’m mailing copies to all of the antique store owners I interviewed in my project. Other projects include framing my circa 2002 Dutch anti-war posters.  

Constitution Scholarship

Jack Balkin at Yale has recently written a response piece to my co-authored work on the Constitution.  He calls our work “a piece of theoretical dynamite tossed into originalist scholarship.”  Balkin’s piece will appear in the same issue as my work in the next issue of the journal Constitutional Commentary.

Mulder – Shades of White Flight

Mark Mulder, Shades of White Flight (Rutgers University Press, 2015). Review by Michael J. Douma This important book is a case-study of the role of religion and structural racism in the flight of Dutch Americans from the Chicago neighborhoods of Roseland and Englewood in a period from the late 1950s to early 1970s. This is […]