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Lindsay Chervinsky, Ph.D.

Political writers that serve as our own Thomas Paine

Common Sense by Thomas Paine, courtesy of Library of Congress

On January 9, 1776, Thomas Paine published a pamphlet arguing against the British king and monarchy in general. Common Sense changed the course of history by speaking to the average man, appealing to his common sense, and presenting irrefutable arguments that sparked a surge of support for independence. Paine sold over 150,000 copies, the equivalent of 12 million copies based on today’s population. But many more Americans learned of his prose at coffee houses, taverns, and family homes, as newspapers and pamphlets were regularly read aloud.

On this July 4 weekend, we need our twenty-first-century Tom Paine more than ever…

How one historian tries to be transparent about biases

Image courtesy Udo S

On May 28, Pulitzer Prize-winner Gordon Wood reviewed Pulitzer Prize-winner Alan Taylor’s new book, American Republics. The reviewed caused quite the Twitter brouhaha among historians, journalists, and readers. The line that stuck out the most for me is this one: “It is startling to witness just how much the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor at Jefferson’s own university dislikes its patron, Thomas Jefferson.”

For starters, it’s not a job requirement that we like the people that started the organizations or universities where we are employed. Cassie Good commented that this isn’t part…

The dos and don’ts of podcasting

You’ve published a book or you have a specific area of expertise and you’d like to go on podcasts as a guest to talk about? Good for you, you’ve taken the first step! Podcasts are a wonderful way to reach new audiences and promote your work. Just recognizing their value is an excellent starting place. As they say, you have to recognize you have a problem before you can fix it.

But you probably don’t personally know dozens or hundreds of podcast hosts, so you’ll need to do some work to reach out. Here’s the method I used for my…

But only if we share the full, messy story

RVA Counter-Protests Against New-CSA, Courtesy: Mobilus in Mobili

This week I read an article in TIME titled “The Split in How Americans Think About Our Collective Past is Real — But There’s a Way Out of the ‘History Wars’.” The article explores how the culture wars have extended to history curriculum, causing people of different religions, races, political orientations, and gender to respond to history in different ways. This war is fought in many arenas, not least of which is the battle over monuments and statues.

TIME suggests that the way out of these “history wars” is by emphasizing an inquiry-based approach rather than a facts-based curriculum. Basically…

And what we should keep when the pandemic is over

The last year has been brutal (obviously), as the country and the world suffers through a global pandemic. While not as severe as loss of life or the loss of a family member, the loss of professional opportunities is still devastating. That’s especially true for authors who have spent years working on a product only to have your book tour or book parties canceled. Nothing can fully make up for a book launch party, but there are many steps you can take to promote your book online. …

And how has the U.S. changed since the first presidential trip abroad?

President Biden is wrapping up his first international visit and it’s clear that the mission of the trip is to restore relationships with our allies and defend democracy on the global stage.

I wrote more about the ideals and goals behind Biden’s trip in a recent piece for The Bulwark, and how they compare to the first presidential trip abroad.

The context of Teddy Roosevelt’s first foreign visit — the first such trip by a sitting president — presented a very different picture. The United States in 1906 was not yet a superpower, but it was on the rise. The…

But here’s who we should actually be talking about

As the White House and Republicans in Congress trade negotiations about the infrastructure bill, the FDR comparisons are natural. But I think that Eisenhower is actually a more apt comparison, especially if we consider why Eisenhower and Biden are so focused on infrastructure. In addition to my monthly columns at Governing, I also write monthly columns for The Hill. Here’s a bit of a taste of this month’s column:

Starting with a bit of background on the two presidents:

Much of Biden’s popularity during the campaign season and his first few months in office derives from his blue-collar persona. Even…

Twitter might be the latest, but it’s not the first

Photo courtesy Sean MacEntee

Last week, Facebook announced that it was banning former president Donald Trump from its platform for two years. The news made waves because of the enormous impact of social media on our political culture, campaigning, and communication. I write a monthly column for Governing, usually exploring the history behind a current phenomenon or historical question. I’ve written on everything from political spouses, the cabinet, the executive order, dereliction of duty, unusual impeachments, the vice president, and more. You can check out all of those articles HERE.

This month, I decided…

But she’s not the first

This week, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene is in the news for comparing mask mandates to the Holocaust. A few months ago, she was making waves for talking about Jewish space lasers. Last week, she targeted fellow Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. MTG screamed at AOC and harassed her, as the New York representative walked down the hallway.

Rep. Tim Ryan, (D-Ohio) called Greene’s actions “dangerous,” while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hinted that an ethics investigation may be forthcoming. (For her part, Greene denies yelling at AOC.)

This hostile interaction was not the first in Greene’s short career in Congress, nor is…

And how to make it work for your content

Photo credit: Dennis Skley

I know that everyone receives way too many emails, but you should send more. Here’s why.

At any moment any platform could decide to shut down and you’d lose the following you painstakingly gathered. Don’t believe me? Just ask Vine creators.

Because you don’t own social media, you can’t control wait people see. They can change up the algorithms at any moment and all of a sudden, only 10% of your followers are served your content. Unless you pay for ads. Obviously.

Ok it does, a little. But I can tell you from my own experience that I sell way…

Lindsay Chervinsky, Ph.D.

Historian. Writer. Speaker. Author of THE CABINET.

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