The American Historical Association encourages its members to participate in civic culture, as historians. We have created forums at our web site relating to specific issues and events, such as Supreme Court decisions, candidate debates, and major issues relating to higher education. But historians should not wait for an invitation from the AHA to weigh in on conversations in the media, in their communities, and anywhere else that would benefit from the particular insights that historians bring to public affairs. And our members will benefit from seeing what their colleagues have to say. So please send links when you publish something online that relates to any aspect of public affairs. Our "News & Advocacy" space will include links to articles that focus on issues specifically related to the work of historians. This "Member Action" section of the space will feature the contributions of our members who are bringing historical thinking and historical knowledge to bear on other issues.
When Debt-Ceiling Politics Was Bipartisan
By Stephen Mihm
The Ticker Blog, Bloomberg View
President Barack Obama is hardly the first president forced to play debt-ceiling politics.
The debt ceiling is a cap on the amount of total debt the U.S. government can incur to pay the country's bills. Before the 20th century, there was no ceiling on the total amount of debt. Instead, Congress set limits on the amount of debt the Treasury could borrow for discrete purposes: a war or a public-works project. Congress also set limits on the kinds of debt the Treasury could issue for any given purpose (for example, short-term borrowing versus long-term bonds).
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Perspectives on President Obama’s College Affordability Plan
In this AHA Roundtable, we offer perspectives on this proposal from a number of prominent historians and faculty leaders at a variety of institutions. We also recommend reading the White House fact sheet on the proposal, the transcript from the president's speech in Buffalo, and a summary of reactions to the proposal (including that of AHA executive director James Grossman) in Inside Higher Ed.