What It Means to Be American
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Ideas

Can the North Acknowledge Its Own Role in American Slavery?

Historians and Activists Pushed Philadelphia and New York to Commemorate Places Where Enslaved People Lived and Died

by Marc Howard Ross
May 30, 2019

Soon after the American Revolution, Philadelphia was the temporary capital of the United States. From 1790-97, President George Washington lived in a large house a block from Independence Hall, in what is now Independence National Historical Park. The house was torn down in 1832. Most modern-day Philadelphians knew nothing about it until recently.

That changed in 2002, when Independence National Historical Park was undergoing renovations, and a freelance historian named Edward Lawler Jr. published an article about the house and its …

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Engagements

Suppressing Voting Rights Is as Old as the Republic—But the Tactics Keep Changing 

Discriminatory State Constitutions, Poll and Literacy Taxes, and Now Photo ID Laws All Have Been Used to Keep Ballots From the Less Powerful 

By Allan J. Lichtman
October 8, 2018

The more that efforts to suppress voting rights in America change, the more they remain the same.

From the earliest days of the republic to the present, politicians have sought to limit the ability of non-whites to vote. What has changed is the nature of suppression—either the addition of regulations, or the deregulation of parts of the process—as well as the degree to which would-be vote suppressors reveal their intentions.

The American problem with voter suppression started with a void in the …

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