Category Archives: Uncategorized

Feeling Cold in 1917? Don’t Blame Harry Garfield, Blame the Railroads

I had the honor of contributing to the US World War I Centennial Commission’s Weekly Podcast today, where I tried to get folks up to speed on the state of the American coal industry in December 1917.  Whether or not … Continue reading

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No Longer America’s Ace in the Hole?

During the energy crisis of the 1970s, American policymakers considered the nation’s massive coal reserves to be an important strategic card, or as President  Gerald Ford announced, coal was “America’s ace in the hole.” Those coal reserves haven’t dwindled by … Continue reading

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Somewhere Franklin Gowen is Smiling

At any point in its history, you’d never really describe the American coal industry as stable. Cutthroat competition, evasion of safety regulations, union-busting campaigns, and byzantine ownership structures have all made the business of extracting mineral coal from the ground … Continue reading

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Underwriting the Wind

The notion that wind or solar power are doomed to fail in the American economy has become a common point of discussion.  I’m not one to jump on the alternative energy bandwagon with both feet just yet–there’s quite a bit … Continue reading

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Gainesville Comes Clean on Mountaintop Removal?

The City Commission of my hometown of Gainesville, Florida recently voted against using coal from mountaintop removal sites.  The controversy over mountaintop removal is well known in states like Kentucky and West Virginia.  On the one hand, it’s difficult to … Continue reading

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Deadbeats: An American Tradition?

I wish that I had this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education written by William & Mary’s Scott Nelson handy when I taught AMH4373: History of American Capitalism last year.  The piece covers the long history of American indebtedness … Continue reading

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But Don’t Quote Me On That

One of the most common questions I get from students when I teach the Early Republic course is about quotations.  Is it true that Thomas Jefferson wrote that the “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time … Continue reading

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