American Violence: Western Mythologies

I posted on the extreme violence that characterized the United States around the turn of the twentieth century. Many of the examples we might think of from that era concern the so-called Wild West, but we should be very careful in applying that label. Often, those conflicts mimicked exactly the same kind of ethnic and [Read More…]

1680: Revolts in America

I have been posting on the catastrophic years around 1680, when climate-induced changes vastly increased social tensions, spawning revolts and social crises. The 1670s was also a turbulent period in North America itself, and weather played its role – as how could it not? In 1676, Nathaniel Bacon led his famous revolt in Virginia, which [Read More…]


I recently wrote a piece for Realclearreligion on the Genízaros, native militias that the Spanish used to control the old Southwest. Their name is sometimes translated as “Hispanicized Indians,” and you can buy T-shirts today proclaiming “Genízaro New Mexico: Native Pride.” Oddly, though, the group offers a sidelight on early versions of globalization. It even [Read More…]