Transparency Isn’t What It Used to Be

Since the age of the Robber Barons in the late 19th century, Americans have worried about how politicians operate behind citizens’ backs. The cartoon below illustrates suspicions that the wealthy secretly controlled the government, and reformers thought that exposing such machinations would stop them. As soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis wrote in 1913 , “sunlight is the best of disinfectants.”

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Race and the Death Penalty in New Orleans: A Surprise

Scholars have documented that, in the early twentieth century, southern courts disproportionately imposed the death penalty on African-American defendants.  Yet Jeffrey S. Adler, Professor of History at University of Florida, examined death penalty data for New Orleans between 1920 and 1945, and found that courts there actually sentenced white killers to death at a higher rate than Read more