Russell Shorto

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Monthly Archives: August 2015

You Change Laws

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

We got a rare hint of actual political wisdom from a politician when Hillary Clinton responded to a Black Lives Matter activist: “I don’t believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws.” Is that not how it went with the end of slavery, with women’s suffrage, with every political advance in the civil rights movement, with every step in the struggle for women’s equality, with Obamacare? Each time around, it’s not a battle to win hearts and minds of those on the wrong side of history. It is a battle to marshal political forces, to enact laws, and then to enforce them. You don’t hope for or expect the opponents to come around in their hearts. You expect that, through continued enforcement, you will win over their children and grandchildren. It’s a long haul.


Speaking of New Netherland

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I’m hosting an irregular series of podcasts on the topic of the former Dutch colony of New Netherland, which gave rise to New York (and much else). The first–an interview with renowned historical painter Len Tantillo–is online now. Len’s meticulous attention to historical detail makes his paintings veritable windows into what was. Here, for example, is his rendering of Hanover Square, in Lower Manhattan, in the mid 1600s: