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This Memorial Day, remember the individuals who gave their lives

On Memorial Day, Americans remember and honor those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. When you look at the numbers - 4,435 in the Revolutionary War, 405,399 in World War Two, 90,220 in Vietnam - you can almost forget the individuals who make them up, each of them with their own families, friends, hopes, and dreams. To imagine the true nature of these people's sacrifices, it can help to look at an individual. This video clip from Ken Burns' incomparable series The Civil War, does just that for one of the 498,332 Americans killed in the...

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Bde Maka Ska is now just Lake Calhoun. And Cofffman Union will remain Coffman Union.

It has been a puzzle to me that Lake Calhoun was named after John C. Calhoun. After all, Minnesota was a hard-core abolitionist state. Besides, the guy looks way too intense, perhaps a bit mad, not very Minnesotan. You cannot imagine him enjoying a stroll around any lake, even one named after him. ...

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Alexis de Tocqueville on Sanders and Socialism

Alexis de Tocqueville is properly credited for getting America insightfully right in his legendary Democracy in America in the 1830s.  My goodness, the young Frenchman was brilliantly prescient, but who possibly could have known he also would anticipate, nearing two centuries later, the economic and social aspirations of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ilhan Omar? “Democracy,” Tocqueville wrote, “extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it.  Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number.  Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality.  But notice the difference: while...

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The “Great” and “Entrusted” American Experiment (No, Not the Think Tank)

As you might expect, I’m quick to note when someone uses the term “American Experiment” in referring to the Center.  But I’m equally alert when the term has nothing to do with where I work, as when a newspaper used it, as I just discovered, in a remarkable editorial in 1860.  Or when the locution was used a week ago in a nationally broadcast speech.  It’s fair to say I’ve resonated to the term “American Experiment,” and variations on the theme, for a long time. So, I was pleased a week ago Tuesday when Stacy Abrams, who lost her race for...

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