Doing History 4: Bibliography

Bibliography for Doing History 4: Understanding the Fourth Amendment Want to learn more about the Bill of Rights and the Fourth Amendment? We’ve compiled a list of suggested books, articles, popular blog posts, and online resources that you might find helpful. We either used these works ourselves for production research or they were suggested by our guests. Happy researching!… Read More

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Doing History 4 Legal Lexicon; or A Useful List of Terms You Might Not Know

“Doing History 4 Legal Lexicon; or A Useful List of Terms You Might Not Know” We are pleased to announce the release of “Doing History, Season 4: Understanding the Fourth Amendment.” Law is all around us. This 4-part Doing History series explains the early American origins and importance of the fourth amendment.  Although it doesn’t always make headlines as… Read More

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Doing History: The Power of Biography

Today’s post accompanies the Doing History 3 series on Ben Franklin's World. You can find supplementary materials for the series on the OI Reader app, available through iTunes or Google Play. Biographies serve as a gateway to history. They serve this role because, as all of our guest scholars in the Doing History: Biography series related, biographies humanize the past. At their core biographies are about people, and as people, we are naturally curious about how others lived, worked, and experienced life. Read More

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Doing History: A Biographer’s Dilemma: Can We Make Arguments Out of Lives?

Today’s post accompanies “Researching Biography,” episode 212 of Ben Franklin’s World and part of the Doing History 3 series. You can find supplementary materials for the episode on the OI Reader app, available through iTunes or Google Play. By Catherine O’Donnell Always be arguing. It’s the historian’s version of David Mamet’s line for salesmen, “Always be closing.” I know that rule, and I know another one, too: don’t oversimplify. Because historians are not, to put it mildly, Occam’s Razor kind of people. We don’t think that the simplest answer is best; the simplest answer is the one we give three points out of ten on the midterm. The more causes the better, in our book. There are historians who readily combine these two directives to create bold arguments and to make those arguments reflect the complexities of human society. I am not one of them. Working my way through an archive, I become entranced by nuances and exceptions to the rule. “What is your argument?” I sternly ask myself. “My goodness, will you look at this,” I answer, helplessly. Read More

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