Economic History

The Opioid Crisis in Historical Perspective

Prince is just the latest high-profile victim of an opioid addiction crisis that has devastated families and communities across the country in recent years. The problem has drawn widespread media coverage and spurred Congress into action, a rarity in the current political climate. Both the Senate and the House have recently passed legislation to address the crisis. Yet this is hardly the first time the United States has grappled with drug epidemics. What can we learn from past problems and the policies instituted to combat them?

Economic Inequality in the U.S.: Déjà Vu All Over Again

Established by the AHA in 2002, the National History Center brings historians into conversation with policy makers to stress the importance of historical context in understanding current affairs. Today’s author, Robyn Muncy, recently presented in the NHC’s Washington History Seminar program. Robyn Muncy is associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her most recent book is Relentless Reformer: Josephine Roche and Progressive Reform in Twentieth-Century America (Princeton University Press, 2015).

“What is increasingly and desperately needed today is economic statesmanship which will act courageously and constructively to eliminate our mounting economic inequalities.”

—Josephine Roche, 1940s

Having just completed a biography of progressive reformer Josephine Roche, I am struck with déjà vu nearly every time I open my morning newspaper.