U.S. Intellectual History Blog

1619: Racial Slavery, Representative Democracy, and…Empire?

I’ve never quite understood memes. But one, of a young man in a subway station pretending to stop a train by holding onto its side as it arrived in the station, and then, as it prepared to leave, pretending to push it, captures something fundamental about causation and how appearances can deceive. The young man, of course, has little to do with the arrival or departure of the train. It is on tracks, with a powerful engine; much planning went into where it goes, when it leaves, and how it moves. His only real chance to stop it would be Read more