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How Did Democracy Emerge? What Financial Markets Tell Us

Thanks to the “historical turn” in the study of democratization, political scientists have accumulated a great deal of knowledge about how the bundle of institutions we now call “democracy” – including legislatures, a broad-based franchise, fair electoral procedures, and so forth – first emerged historically. But there is a big debate in the literature that … Continue reading How Did Democracy Emerge? What Financial Markets Tell Us

Rep. James O’Hara (R-NC) and Discrimination in Interstate Travel

When the 45th Congress (1877-79) convened in October 1877, the Republicans found themselves in a vexing political situation. Reconstruction was effectively over. The Democrats controlled the House and all eleven states of the ex-Confederacy, while the GOP maintained a tenuous grip on the Senate and the presidency. Governing power was now divided between the Party … Continue reading Rep. James O’Hara (R-NC) and Discrimination in Interstate Travel

Degrees of Freedom: Electoral Manipulation in Imperial Germany

“Stop the steal!” The 2020 US election illustrated that concerns about electoral fraud – real or imagined – can impact even the world’s oldest democracies. The Trump campaign exhausted all legal avenues to contest the vote count in six states. The campaign lost virtually all its legal challenges, but the myth of a stolen election … Continue reading Degrees of Freedom: Electoral Manipulation in Imperial Germany

Voter Suppression – The American Perennial

Voter suppression is back in the news thanks to recent attempts to apply restrictions on access to voting.  In nearly every state, legislation has been proposed to alter existing voting regulations.  After the 2020 election, many state-level legislators voiced concern over election “irregularities” although official reports definitively state that the 2020 election was the most … Continue reading Voter Suppression – The American Perennial

Paintings, Persecutions, and Political Development

by Noel Johnson and Mark Koyama A Mysterious Masterpiece Among the paintings in the Royal Collection of the British Monarchy is a winter scene by Pieter Bruegel the Elder titled ``The Massacre of the Innocents''. As often is the case with Bruegel, it is a masterful recasting of a traditional theme into a contemporary setting. … Continue reading Paintings, Persecutions, and Political Development

The Small World of Corporations and the Corporate Elite in American History

It has been more than a decade since the Supreme Court ruled on the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which upheld the principle that independent campaign financing is protected as a form of free speech.  As Temple law professor David Kairys describes, what made the decision so contentious was that not only … Continue reading The Small World of Corporations and the Corporate Elite in American History

Finding Historical Data IV: A Post with Cool Maps

Update: Thanks to our enthusiastic readers, I've update the post to include a new paper on Economic Maps, and a great data viz using WWII maps from the LOC (that was made after seeing this post!) When we think of collecting data from archives, we are typically thinking of collecting data from books that are … Continue reading Finding Historical Data IV: A Post with Cool Maps

Culture, Institutions, and Economic Divergence

I have already posted a few times on here about the interaction between culture and institutions in history. So forgive me for indulging again. Most of my career I have focused on this interaction. At the broadest level, I have long been interested in why some societies have been relatively successful economically and others have not. … Continue reading Culture, Institutions, and Economic Divergence