The Fourth Great Awakening

A NOBLE PRIZE-WINNING ECONOMIST AND HISTORIAN SAYS WE’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF ONE OF AMERICA’S MAJOR PERIODS OF REFORM

Robert Fogel is best known as one of the two authors of Time on the Cross, a pathbreaking 1974 book that applied statistics and numerical analysis to history to make a provocative and important point: American slavery on the eve of the Civil War was not an economically inefficient, slowly dying system, as was widely believed at the time, but rather a healthy monster that would perish only when the Union’s armies drove a stake through its heart.Read more »

The Electoral College: How It Got That Way and Why We're Stuck With It

It was never designed to actually elect a President, it’s awkward, cumbersome, and confusing, and almost no one likes it. Americans have been trying to get rid of it for more than two centuries. Yet it’s still here. Now we are seeing renewed efforts to reform or eliminate the Electoral College. Will they succeed? Don’t bet on it.

So it has happened again. A close presidential election has led to recriminations, cries of fraud, and talk of tainted mandates. Just as predictably, the 2000 election has inspired calls to reform the Electoral College—predictably, that is, because such proposals have followed every close presidential contest since the beginning of the Republic. The only difference is that this time no one asked why there’s such a long delay between election and inauguration.