So the president who hated big banks and paper money will finally be removed from the very things he detested

by Bob Schoone-Jongen. Heroes exist in the eyes (and prejudices) of their worshiper. The big heroes—the national ones—earn places on statues, plaques, buildings, and monuments. And a very select few are chosen to appear on the money. Since 1928 Andrew Jackson’s visage, with the swirling hairdo, has graced the $20 bill. When he first appeared …

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Trump and Clinton, Sanders and Cruz—They Actually Rhyme

by Bob Schoone-Jongen. Fernand Braudel sits high on my list of historian heroes. While I don’t assign his works to my classes, I make sure to mention him in every class I teach. His idea that history proceeds along three tracks appeals both to the historian and the railroad fan in me. I find the …

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To Teach Is To Learn

by Bob Schoone-Jongen. This address was written for and presented at the Calvin College Teacher Commissioning Ceremony on May 22, 2015. You can watch the ceremony online; Bob Schoone-Jongen's address begins at about 40:30. At the risk of jumping the gun a bit, let me address you as “fellow teachers.” Consider this: Students tend to …

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William Duer: America’s First Wall Street Villain

by Bob Schoone-Jongen. It’s no secret that the United States has had its fair share of financial scandals. Ferdinand Ward fleeced Ulysses Grant in 1881. Samuel Insull bilked thousands of people out of millions of dollars invested in his utility schemes in the 1930s. More recently we’ve seen Bernie Ebbers, Ken Lay, Bernie Madoff, all …

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Enlightenment and Elections

by Bob Schoone-Jongen. About the time when Spring Break arrives I hit the line in the HIST 152 syllabus calling students to consider the 18th-century Enlightenment and its offspring. Of course this leads to political liberalism and the notion that we should trade kings and queens for politicians who won their place through innate ability rather …

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Historians and Doctors: Getting the Facts Straight

by Bob Schoone-Jongen. “Just the facts, ma’am.” Popular history says that for years Sgt. Joe Friday (LAPD, badge 714) intoned this refrain as he gathered clues and information to solve each case. The perpetrator always finished the show looking guilty as sin, while the faceless narrator recited the catalog of charges and the sentence. The …

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