Tag: Early American History

“We lost our appetite for food”: Why Eighteenth-Century Hangriness Might Not Be a Thing

In August 2015, Oxford Dictionaries declared that the word “hangry” had entered our common vocabulary. Surely most people living in the twenty-first century have experienced the sense of being simultaneously hungry and angry. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, hunger was also everywhere. A recent NPR essay examines how slaveholders withheld food from enslaved people,… Read more →

The Long and Short of It: Looking Back on the History of Same-Sex Marriage, One Year after Windsor

by Rachel Hope Cleves

Without a doubt, there has been tremendous change to the legal landscape of same-sex marriage during the past year. Even supporters might be feeling winded by the sudden acceleration of the marriage equality movement. So perhaps it is a good time to pause, take a breath, and reflect on the history of this moment, looking beyond the past year’s changes to the centuries-long tradition of same-sex marriage in the United States. During oral arguments in United States v. Windsor, Justice Samuel Alito, speaking from the bench, declared that same-sex marriage was “newer than cell phones.” His comment, intended to discourage his fellow judges from striking down DOMA, betrayed a profound misunderstanding of American history. Same-sex marriage is a minority tradition older than the nation itself.