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Podcast: How ‘Origins-Centered’ History Is Limited By Politics

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Princeton Associate Professor Matthew Karp talks 1619, 1776, and the politics of the past on this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour.


On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour Matthew Karp, associate professor at Princeton University, contributing editor at Jacobin, and author of “This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy,” joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss his essay “History As End” in Harper’s Magazine.

“Both the founding ideals and the founding reality of slavery played important parts on all sides of historical struggle and were utilized in different moments and by different forces and figures but I think it’s intellectually bankrupt to say, just switch the date around and say America begins ‘x’ date and sort of that’s that,” Karp said.

Democrats and Republicans, Karp explained, have problems fully recognizing their inability to address the issues facing the nation today.

“On a basic material level this country is ill and I have been in print, many times talking about how the Democrats are not squaring themselves to challenge these, take on these real problems in a significant way but I think it’s also true that the right has been even worse in trivializing in changing the subject and in effect, playing this gamified trigger war rather than addressing these issues,” Karp said.

Listen here: