Free State of Jones: The First Honest Movie about Reconstruction

"Free State of Jones" is genuinely bold filmmaking in its refusal to romanticize a the violence and terrorism of war and its aftermath.

Free State of Jones is genuinely bold filmmaking that refuses to romanticize the violence and terrorism of war and its aftermath.

Americans really love their Civil War. In the popular imagination, the Civil War is the nation’s trial by fire; that utterly necessary event thatย determined if a house divided against itself could rise fromย the ashes and prove to the world that a nation “of the people, by the people, for the people” could survive.

Yet beneath the mythology of reconciliation is the reality of a war that endured long after the armies laid down their guns. Strip away the mythology and you’re left with what historian Eric Foner calls America’s “Unfinished Revolution,” a revolution defined by violence, terrorism, and a string of broken promises that stifled the march of equality for generations. This “Unfinished Revolution” was Reconstruction, and the film Free State of Jones depicts Reconstruction’s brutal reality better than any previous popular treatment.

Continue Reading

What in the Heck Does it Mean to be a Democrat?

The 2016 Democratic PArty ticket. I guess it's better than the End of the World.

The 2016 Democratic Party ticket. I guess it’s better than the End of the World.

On Halloween night, 1936, incumbent Democratic president Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave a riveting speech at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The United States was in the eighth year of the Great Depression, and FDR was fixin’ to tout his smorgasbord of government programs known collectively as the New Deal.

FDR acknowledged that Americans “wanted peace of mind instead of gnawing fear.”ย To offer this piece of mind, he promised to protect currency, ensure fair wages, reduce working hours, end child labor, and crush financial speculation. Moreover, The president directly addressed the business and financial interests and their Republican allies who opposed his administration: “Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me โ€” and I welcome their hatred.” Democrats used to talk like that. They ought to again.

Continue Reading