(left to right) Carrie, Mary, and Laura Ingalls, c. 1879

Literary scholars were shocked this week when researchers confirmed that dozens of hand-bound pages unearthed by workers along the Dakota Access Pipeline near De Smet, South Dakota are from the lost diary of Laura Ingalls Wilder. These new entries may shed some light on the controversy over the racism evident in Wilder’s Little House books, and the reality of life on the frontier. Here are some excerpts released by researchers:

November 13, 1870

Dear Diary: It is impossible to get any sleep in a one-room cabin with a baby squalling at all hours of the day and night. And Mary…

Donald Trump and the Murder in the Cathedral

At first glance, it may seem that the brutal murder of Thomas à Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, by four of King Henry II of England’s knights on December 29, 1170 has nothing to do with the siege of the United States Capitol building by Trump supporters 851 years later on January 6, 2021. Yet the bloody tale of the “murder in the cathedral” offers a unilateral truth about just how dangerous a leader’s words can be, whether their intent is malicious or not. …

Welcome to the Official President Donald Trump Theme Park!

“There’s no reason President Trump, for instance, couldn’t create a for-profit Trump world, a MAGA mega resort in Florida, to compete with the other attractions in Orlando and bring his millions of diehard fans to Trump world to pay to see Trump family members, to sort of serve as a rallying point for his movement as it goes forward.”

… Journalist Garrett Graff on NPR’s “Fresh Air,” November 12, 2020

Welcome to President Donald Trump’s Greatest Most Amazing Fantasyland Park of Permanent Happiness and No Electoral Losses at All!™

“First, we’ll…

You know those old light bulb jokes, like “How many [insert group name/racial slur] does it take to screw in a light bulb?” It’s a venerable old joke because it can be altered to fit any situation, any ethnicity, any race, any political affiliation, and even any college. My favorite, when I was in graduate school, was:

Question: “How many Dartmouth students does it take to screw in a light bulb?”

Answer: “They have electricity in Hanover?”

That variation was more a joke on the lack of rural development in New Hampshire than a direct swipe at Dartmouth students (which…

Mass shootings are often described as “tragedies.” When former First Lady Michelle Obama discussed in her recent autobiography the 2012 murder of 20 children and six of their educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, she wrote, “Usually, work was work and home was home, but for us, as for many people, the tragedy in Newtown shattered every window and blew down every fence.”

Similarly, the Associated Press reported on how the Las Vegas community “marked the anniversary of the tragedy,” referring to the 2017 mass shooting at a country music festival at which 58 people were murdered…

So, a bunch of years ago — like, a really, long time ago, so long ago you can’t even believe how long ago it was, America started right here, on this very spot. And look around — what a crowd, what a turnout here at Gettysburg today, though you won’t see anything about that in the fake news like the failing Chester County Times, who are so determined to make me look bad that all they’re going to show are the piles of dead bodies and stuff all over the place, when really there aren’t so many, when you think…

My family moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut not too long after Paul Newman called it “the armpit of New England.” We had always lived about ten miles away in neighboring Fairfield, which in the 1970s had its share of wealthy families but was still largely populated with white middle- and working-class people like my parents. It even still had a few farms. It was very different from the ritzy little bedroom community of Manhattan that it is now.

One thing has stayed the same: the Fairfield school system has always been above average. Moving to Bridgeport in the 1970s meant leaving…

Jill Silos, Ph.D.

Making History, Law, and Political Theory relevant.

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