Tag Archives: US history

More on the Social Psychology of Public Parks

I recently posted on how public park builder, Robert Moses, used the psychology of sunk costs to get more money for his ambitious projects. Once those projects were complete, he also used social psychology to keep them clean. It had … Continue reading

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The First War the United States Didn't Have to Fight

The war of 1812 was sometimes called “Madison’s war” by those who opposed the President’s call for military action against Great Britain. A whole slew of grievances was building up between the two countries, especially with Britain’s bullying behavior in … Continue reading

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On the Underutilization of Single Sentence Paragraphs

I have long been a fan of single sentence paragraphs. I really have. When used properly, an occasional one-off sentence can really stand out, amidst the tumble of longer paragraphs made up of complicated sentences. Here’s a good example from … Continue reading

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Al Smith on Democracy

In 1925, a handful of extremely wealthy Long Island residents tried to thwart state plans to run highways from New York City through Long Island to beaches that the masses could enjoy. These wealthy people were understandably upset, that part … Continue reading

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On Repetition and Good Writing

In high school, I was taught not to repeat words too often in the same paragraph, or even within a relatively short essay. I know I am not alone in having been taught that way, because many of the people … Continue reading

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On the Importance of Getting Things Done in Politics

I’m currently in the middle of reading Robert Caro’s first book, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. I’ll be blogging intermittently about this wonderful book over the next few weeks. Expect a few of those … Continue reading

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A Smattering of Quotes from: Last Call – the Rise and Fall of Prohibition

I have written a couple blog posts recently based on reflections inspired by Daniel Okrent’s wonderful book, Last Call. But there are so many wonderful tidbits from this book, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite quotes. First … Continue reading

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Teddy Roosevelt and the Psychology of Military Prepardness

“There are higher things in this life than the soft and easy enjoyment of material comfort.  It is through strife, or the readiness for strife, that a nation must win greatness. We ask for a great navy, partly because we … Continue reading

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On Why Thomas Jefferson Never Committed Suicide

Upon the death of his wife, Thomas Jefferson went into a deep depression.  In crushing words, he described his state of mind to his sister-in-law, in a sentence that could be placed in psychiatric manuals next to a definition of … Continue reading

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Thomas Jefferson, On Being Afraid of Girls

In his youth, Jefferson didn’t lack for confidence except, it seems, when smitten by an attractive girl.  One night at a dance, he worked up a bunch of things he could say to a girl named Rebecca who he was … Continue reading

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