Blackstone’s warning

‘It is better that 10 guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” Does this statement ring true to you? If so, you are probably over 40.

Read More…

The execution standard

As the oldest constitutional democracy in the world, the United States is often criticized for continuing to carry out state-sanctioned executions. Three hundred years ago Pennsylvania had fewer capital laws than any European state.

Read More…

Long before King, a Philadelphia voice

Philadelphian James Forten was leading the fight for equal rights 200 years ago with the publication of his “Letters from a Man of Color” in 1813.

Read More…

In wartime, a push for colleges

While studying the Civil War, my students were surprised to discover that among its many consequences were the founding and expansion of hundreds of colleges and universities.

Read More…

A shortage of greatness

George M. Dallas was Vice President of the United States from 1845-49. No other Philadelphian came as close to the White House.

Read More…

Submarines and Drones

Woodrow Wilson’s 1917 description of submarine warfare reminded the class of the current debate over the use of drones to target terrorists.

Read More…

Painstaking steps forward

The 13th amendment abolishing slavery was ratified in 1865 but a generation later most blacks in the South were not free.

Read More…

We the oppressed

The current crowd of would-be secessionists quotes freely from the Declaration of Independence. They should read another of Jefferson’s great works, his first inaugural address, in which he says, the first principle of republics is “absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority”.

Read More…

Not your father’s presidency

Talking to kids about “growing up to be president” 40 years after Watergate.

Read More…

PSU figures defy gravity

The Penn State scandal won’t hurt admissions. It might even help.

Read More…