In October 1931, union men in Newark, New Jersey, staged a protest march. During the previous two years, the United States had tumbled into economic depression, with the unemployment rate rising as the stock market sank. Industrial jobs were especially devastated, leading to dozens of unemployment rallies and anti-eviction protests across the country. But the Newark men took no interest in that. Instead, with their ranks stretching for block after block, they held up signs proclaiming their top political priority: We Want Beer. What they cared about, ardently and urgently, was bringing an end to the disastrous national experiment known as Prohibition. Read more.
Liberals may be experiencing mixed emotions these days. The prospect of a Trump presidency has raised urgent fears: of the nation’s fascist tendencies, of the potential for riots in the streets. At the same time, many liberals have expressed a grim satisfaction in watching the Republican Party tear itself apart. Read more.
I will be delivering the Carl Becker Lectures at Cornell University, March 15-17, 2016. Open to the public.