Footnotes is the bulletin of FPRI’s Marvin Wachman Center for Civic and International Literacy. Essays published here are designed in particular for teachers and students and are often drawn from the lectures at our nationally recognized Butcher History Institute for Teachers.


Why the United States Went to War in Vietnam

April 28, 2017 · Heather Stur

Why did the U.S. go to war in Vietnam? This is a question historians continue to debate. One of the main reasons it remains a source of argument is that it is difficult to say when the U.S. war ...

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Why Do Some Nations Prosper? The Case of North and South Korea

April 26, 2017 · Lucien Ellington, Tawni Hunt Ferrarini

Economists have debated for years why it is that some nations prosper while others do not. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea, DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea, ROK), for example, started out as poor ...

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A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

April 6, 2017 · Lawrence Husick

In April 2015, the Foreign Policy Research Institute presented its Madeleine and W.W. Keen Butcher History Institute on Ethical Dilemmas in American Warfare hosted by the First Division Museum at Cantigny, Wheaton, IL. Covering such topics as the Dilemmas ...

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The Causes of the War of 1812

March 31, 2017 · Paul J. Springer

As the foremost theorist of war, Carl von Clausewitz, once noted, “Everything is very simple in war, but the simplest thing is difficult.” For the historian, the same can be said regarding any effort to determine the primary ...

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Between Piety and Patriotism: Shariʿa and The American Way of Life

March 27, 2017 · Aaron Rock-Singer

In May 2016, a row broke out at the Metropolitan Recreation Center in Williamsburg, New York following an anonymous complaint regarding its summer schedule. The Center had long offered gender-segregated swimming hours for Williamsburg residents who, for religious reasons, ...

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Teaching the Cold War: Economics, Ideology, and Morality

October 6, 2016 · Lucien Ellington

A better understanding of the Cold War fosters insights into the incentive structures of socialism in its “democratic” forms as well as some understanding into its seemingly eternal appeal to large portions of the population. Students who systematically study ...

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What Our Children Should Learn About 9/11/2001

September 11, 2016 · Adam Garfinkle

On the 15th Anniversary of 9/11, we revisit what our children should know about this day. ...

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The Great War’s Impact on American Foreign Policy and Civic Religion

April 25, 2016 · Walter A. McDougall

What happened in 1898 was accidental, but only in the sense that if you roll a die over and over again, it will turn up six sooner or later. That is, the tipping point was sure to come ...

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Religion and Secularism in the Middle East: A Primer

November 25, 2015 · Aaron Rock-Singer

The flag of Egypt, 1922-1953 Abstract: Religion was a pillar of pre-modern political identity in the Middle East, arising out of Muslims’ understanding of Islam’s foundational moment and state institutions that developed with the spread of Islamic Empire. Beginning ...

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Religious Minorities in the Modern Middle East

November 20, 2015 · Lev Weitz

The majority of the Middle East’s population today is Muslim, as it has been for centuries. However, as the place of origin of a range of world religions – including Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and many lesser-known faiths – it ...

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