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Articles by Thomas J. Daly

“He hit the Constitution much as the Lord hit chaos…”

December 1st, 2014
“He hit the Constitution much as the Lord hit chaos…”

There were layers and layers to John Marshall, one of America’s first and in many ways most important Chief Justices of the Supreme Court – but just how deep does the latest biography go?

A Writ of Certiorari

August 1st, 2012

A contentious Supreme Court in the headlines is hardly a new thing – nor is the Court being used for partisan politics and the brinksmanship of history, as Noah Feldman’s Scorpions makes clear


January 1st, 2012

James Madison was more cautious and purposeful than the temperamental Hamilton or the effusive Jefferson. Indeed, to paraphrase Brookhiser, Hamilton was a rocket, Jefferson was a kite, Madison was a ballast.

The Golden Touch

August 1st, 2011

A new biography explores the life of the erratic and headstrong ‘forgotten’ Founding Father who bankrolled a revolution and guided a new republic.

Oh, Henry

February 1st, 2011
patrick henry

Patrick Henry uttered one of the most famous lines in American history, and a new biography attempts to claim him for a particular radical strain of popularism in contemporary politics. Give me liberty or give me… historical distortion?

…then we are “jingoes”

November 1st, 2010
…then we are “jingoes”

A new book argues that Theodore Roosevelt and William Randolph Hearst stampeded the United States into the Spanish-American War to feed imperial ambition and sell some newspapers. Are the roots of modern America rotten?

The Western Star

September 1st, 2010

More than any other figure in American history (including his hated rival Andrew Jackson), Henry Clay towered over the political landscape in the decades before the Civil War; two new books look at his legacy.

American Golgotha

July 1st, 2010

When colonial tensions were at a boiling point, the British garrisoned troops on Boston Common and put the city under military occupation – until a certain Massacre, that is.

A Fire Bell in the Night

April 1st, 2010

President Polk isn’t exactly a household name, and a new book seeks to change that. Will the facilitator of genocide and the originator of civil war get a fair shake? Read on!

‘… to ourselves and our posterity …’

July 1st, 2009

Richard Beeman, in his Plain, Honest Men, reminds us that the Founding Fathers weren’t demigods. Thomas J. Daly measures their feet of clay.


April 1st, 2009

For half a century, Senator Ted Kennedy has been carving out a legacy in Congress. The legacy and the man come into focus in Thomas J. Daly’s review of Last Lion.

It’s All His Fault

February 1st, 2009

Thomas DiLorenzo, in Hamilton’s Curse, lays all the present-day woes of the United States at the feet of that most problematic of Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton. Did Aaron Burr do us all a favor? Thomas Daly weighs the prosecution’s case.

Dwyer’s Antichrist

September 1st, 2008

Even would-be world-beater Napoleon was never able to subjugate his critics. In reviewing Philip Dwyer’s new book Napoleon: The Path to Power, Thomas J. Daly finds at least one such critic still bashing away at the diminutive Corsican.

The Dancing Congress

May 1st, 2008

Napoleon came home from Elba to find his wine barrels dry, his floors scuffed, and a host of minor nobodies redistricting his continent. This was the celebrated Congress of Vienna, and Thomas J. Daly takes us through the maneuvers of Vienna 1814 by David King.

Political Phoenix

April 1st, 2008

At the age of 64, ex-President John Quincy Adams did an unprecedented thing: he became a congressman. Thomas J. Daly looks back on the autumn of this remarkable man’s life in a review of Joseph Wheelan’s Mr. Adams’s Last Crusade.

The Second End of the War

October 1st, 2007

The American Revolution’s neat conclusion at Yorktown is a familiar story from the history books. Thom Daly reads Perils of Peace as Thomas Fleming’s noble if flawed attempt to add more detail to our easy picture of events.