Author Archives: Matthew Pinsker


James Madison is the Father of Note-Taking.  Of course, the former US president is better known as Father of the Constitution, but that designation is at least partly the by-product of the man’s incredible note-taking prowess.  As a delegate to … Continue reading

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Historians For and Against Wikipedia

Sooner or later, as a modern-day history major you have to figure out where you stand on Wikipedia.  It’s either something you depend on, something you avoid, or something you use but try not to acknowledge.  Where do you stand?  More … Continue reading

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Dred Scott Case

In Lincoln’s Constitution (Chicago, 2003), Daniel Farber identifies the Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) as the turning point in Lincoln’s constitutional attitudes.  “Before Dred Scott,” Farber writes, “Lincoln does not seem to have questioned the role … Continue reading

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Rotundo on Birthright Citizenship

Law professor Ronald Rotunda offers an especially clear argument in favor of birthright citizenship in his Chicago Tribune op-ed from September 16, 2010 (“Birthright Citizenship Benefits the Country”).  In this short piece, Rotunda argues that allowing practically anyone born in … Continue reading

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James Wilson: Father of the American Presidency

In Plain, Honest Men (2009), Richard Beeman claims that “Only one member of the Convention envisioned an American government, and a president, much like those we have today” (129).  That man, according to Beeman, was James Wilson.  Though he remains … Continue reading

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