Past and Present

Three Wichita State history professors, Drs. Robin Henry, Robert Weems, and Jay Price, will talk about Wichita history, parallels between current events and historical happenings, and how historical events got us to where we are today.

Past & Present is also available through iTunes. Listen or subscribe here.

Income inequality has been a long-standing feature of American life. Consequently, U.S. history has featured numerous proposals to decrease the disparity between the economic “haves” and “have-nots.”

Just a month ago, the WSU departments of History and Philosophy returned to their old home on campus, Fiske Hall, after a several-year exile to other buildings due to major renovations.

Historically, societies along the Great Plains have organized along watersheds that form backbones to the states that have developed. Nebraska, for example, is the state of the Platte River. Its main cities, from Omaha and Lincoln in the east to Scottsbluff in the west, follow the Platte in part because the Union Pacific’s main line also follows that river course.  


When historians talk about the “trust-busting era” in US history, we are probably referring to the early 20th century when the federal government broke up several large, corporate monopolies in order to promote economic competition. However, the largest corporate breakup actually took place in 1982.  

The annals of American business history are filled with numerous instances of companies that experienced both dramatic success and dramatic failure during their life cycles.

This fall, a group of students and I participated in the Day of the Dead event at the Nomar International Market. We had with us a large, blown up map of the North End from the 1950s, showing all the individual houses, stores, and other structures. People could write on the map or put in pins with tags that showed what the given building was and why it was significant to them.

On Nov. 30, 1804, the U.S. Senate opened its only impeachment trial against a U.S. Supreme Court justice. The House of Representatives’ charges against Associate Justice Samuel Chase stated that his partisanship affected his decisions. While Chase narrowly escaped removal from the court, his trial placed the court’s impartiality into question.

Recent American history features numerous instances where U.S. Attorneys General recused themselves from cases where a conflict of interest existed.

constitutionus.com

While the ideals of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence hold true today, the mechanisms of those ideals were rooted in a specific time and place. The founding fathers created our system right at the tail end of the pre-industrial era. Most people were engaged in agriculture, travel was difficult, food, information, and defense were largely local, and worldly cosmopolitan perspectives were the privilege of the educated and wealthy few.  

On October 16, 1916, Margaret Sanger opened her first birth control clinic in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The clinic distributed birth control and advice and information on birth control and sexual health. Just ten days later, Sanger and her coworkers were arrested in violation of the federal Comstock Act and in defiance of Section 1142 of the New York Penal Code. Both of these laws classified birth control information as obscene and forbade distribution of information or birth control devices in person and through the mail.

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