"The greatest monopoly in the country is the money monopoly," declared the governor of New Jersey, Woodrow Wilson, in a 1912 presidential campaign broadside, when Wall Street was on trial, as it is today. The Money Trust Investigation, a congressional inquest into the alleged misdeeds of the New York City banking community, brought J.P. Morgan and New York’s other most powerful bankers the unwelcome glare of public scrutiny. A hundred years on, experts discuss what has changed and what has not.
For generations, Civil War military history has focused heavily on the land war, the big battles and on the heroes of the Union and Confederate armies. But the neglected story of the war’s landmark naval engagements, and its great naval heroes, ranks among the most compelling and dramatic in American history. Through both technology and old-fashioned gallantry, on oceans and rivers alike, at places like Hampton Roads, New Orleans, Mobile Bay and even Cherbourg, France, commanders like Farragut, Porter and Semmes changed the course of the war.
What was it about the civilization of Western Europe that allowed it to trump the outwardly superior empires of the Orient? The answer, Niall Ferguson argues, was that the West developed six “killer applications” that the Rest lacked: competition, science, property, democracy, medicine, consumerism and work ethic. The key question today is whether or not the West has lost its monopoly on these six things. If so, Mr. Ferguson warns, we may be living through the end of Western ascendancy.
More than almost any other nation in the world, the United States began as an idea. For this reason, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood believes that the American Revolution is the most important event in our history. Professor Wood, in conversation with Richard Brookhiser, reflects on the birth of American nationhood and explains why the Revolution remains so essential.
The late 18th and early 19th centuries were a time of upheaval and revolution. In conjunction with the new exhibition, Revolution!, historians examine the tumultuous 30-year period which saw the American and Haitian Revolutions and the end of the transatlantic slave trade to the U.S. and the British colonies. How were these events related and what forces combined to effect so much social change in such a short span?
Dorothy Thompson was the first female head of a European news bureau, and a columnist and commentator whom Time magazine once ranked alongside Eleanor Roosevelt as the most influential woman in America. Rebecca West blazed a trail for herself as a journalist, literary critic, novelist and historian.
There is no more iconic figure in American history than George Washington, our first president and most famous Founding Father. Come celebrate the grand reopening of the New-York Historical Society and its newly renovated theater at this in-depth discussion of Washington’s life with some of the nation’s most distinguished historians of the founding era.
When Carnegie Hall opened in 1891, New York was still an intensely Victorian commercial city, and rock-hewn neo-Romanesque and arts and crafts Queen Anne were the predominant styles. Elevators were sending buildings to unprecedented heights and middle class people were gingerly trying the brand-new idea of apartment house living. But McKim, Mead & White’s recently completed Villard Houses and their fantastic Madison Square Garden announced to New York that things were about to change.
This program transports us to the 1963 centennial celebration of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation to explore how Americans made sense of the suffering, loss and liberation that had wracked the United States a century earlier. David W. Blight and Drew Gilpin Faust discuss how four of America’s most incisive writers—including Robert Penn Warren, a white southerner who recanted his support for segregation, and James Baldwin, the searing African-American essayist and activist—explored the gulf between remembrance and reality.
James Madison was one of the most influential and integral figures in American history: he collaborated on the Federalist Papers and the Bill of Rights, assembled one of the nation’s first political parties and took to the battlefield during the War of 1812, becoming the last president to lead troops in combat. Richard Brookhiser presents a vivid portrait of the “Father of the Constitution,” an accomplished yet humble statesman who nourished Americans’ fledgling liberty.