Sound and Fury: The Last Stand of Isolationism

At the end of the 19th century, the United States temporarily broke with the foreign policy tradition of isolation from global politics and a strict adherence to the Monroe Doctrine’s focus on the Western Hemisphere. The U.S. became an imperial power in a remarkably short period of time, primarily through its conquests in the Spanish-American… Continue reading Sound and Fury: The Last Stand of Isolationism

The Repression of Civil Liberties in the United States During World War I

In one of the most significant leaks in US history, Edward Snowden shared highly classified intelligence documents with the Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspapers in 2013. Snowden was immediately charged by the Department of Justice, and among those charges were alleged violations of the Espionage Act of 1917.[1] Like white blood cells reacting to… Continue reading The Repression of Civil Liberties in the United States During World War I

Flyover Bourgeois GenX Man

I’ve witnessed history being made four times in my half-century of life: the end of the Cold War, 9-11, the Financial Crisis of 2007-08, and now the Coronavirus pandemic. Those events—spaced roughly by 10 years—play outsized roles in public dialogue and analysis. They are omnipresent in people’s imaginations as they wrestle with current affairs. However,… Continue reading Flyover Bourgeois GenX Man

Mercenaries: Private Military Force in the Atlantic World

Prior to nation-states claiming the “monopoly on violence” in the 19th century, there was an active market for professional mercenary soldiers in Europe. Further demand for mercenaries was stimulated by the opening of an Atlantic system of trade in Africa and the Americas, spreading the European practice of private soldiering overseas. Mercenaries were employed in… Continue reading Mercenaries: Private Military Force in the Atlantic World

Opening Moves

Have you ever taken a personality test? I had to take one several years ago as part of an employer's training program, doing different versions of the Myers-Briggs test and being scored an INTP or an INTJ. My scores for Thinking and Introversion were at extreme ends, I favored my Intuition over my Sensations, but I… Continue reading Opening Moves

Reparations: A Dish Best Served Cold

In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler wrote, “What could have been done with this peace treaty of Versailles?!” He continues: This instrument of boundless extortion and abject humiliation might, in the hands of a willing government, have become an instrument for whipping up the national passions to fever heat. With a brilliant propagandist exploitation of these… Continue reading Reparations: A Dish Best Served Cold

Learned Optimism: Liberalism, Human Rights, and American Progress

A reader of Chicago Fog will know I’m not an optimist by nature. In fact, people who know me probably think I’m a “glass is half-empty and quickly draining” kind of guy. I bring both skepticism and cynicism to studying U.S. history, and I’ll readily admit a fondness for debunking popular American mythos, whether it… Continue reading Learned Optimism: Liberalism, Human Rights, and American Progress

Imperial Blindness

“The history of the United States is the history of empire,” concludes Daniel Immerwahr’s How to Hide an Empire. Immerwahr’s book argues American political discourse resisted a societal and cultural self-identification of conducting an empire while the US government acted the part of an imperial power through its foriegn policy over the last 120 years.… Continue reading Imperial Blindness

Wither Moderation

In 2012 historian Geoffrey Kabaservice wrote an interesting book detailing the history of moderates in the Republican Party called Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, From Eisenhower to the Tea Party. Apolitical or centrist types may read Kabaservice and consider it tragedy, while far-right and far-left readers… Continue reading Wither Moderation

The Hazards of Political Belief Spectrums

The graphic above is from a discussion on a UK website called The Student Room. Chicago Fog believes this is a good representation of the parameters of political beliefs reflected in contemporary society: communism on one end and fascism on the other. Clearly, the maker of the spectrum must be from Canada, but this graphic… Continue reading The Hazards of Political Belief Spectrums