Ben Railton

About the Author

Ben Railton

Ben Railton is Associate Professor of English and Coordinator of American Studies at Fitchburg State University. He's working to create public American Studies scholarship and to impact our collective memories and narratives, as evidenced by his books (most recently The Chinese Exclusion Act: What It Can Teach Us about America), his daily AmericanStudies blog, and many other ongoing projects.

Author Archive Page
RFRA Protests in IndianapolisRFRA Protests in Indianapolis, March 28, 2015 (Photo: Justin Eagan Wikimedia Commons)

“Religious Freedom” Laws and a Longstanding Battle within American Christianity

In the wake of Indiana’s passage of its controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, much of the national debate has focused on the conflicts between American Christianity and other national ideals, but it is important to contextualize the law as part of a longstanding conflict within American Christianity

Abigail AdamsAbigail Adams. Pastel by Benjamin Blyth, c. 1766 (Photo: Massachusetts Historical Society)

Remember the Ladies: Revolutionary Women Writers

In a March 31st, 1776 letter to her husband John, who was in Philadelphia engaged in the debates of the Second Continental Congress that would lead to the Declaration of Independence, Abigail Adams famously wrote, “by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.

Bluejackets of the U.S.S. Boston occupying Arlington Hotel groundsBluejackets of the U.S.S. Boston occupying Arlington Hotel grounds. (Photo: Hawaii State Archives)

Securing Paradise at the Point of a Bayonet

On January 17th, 1893, more than 120 marines and sailors from the U.S.S. Boston helped thirteen powerful American business and political leaders calling themselves the Committee of Safety to overthrow Hawaii’s Queen Liliuokalani and install a new provisional government led by Sanford Dole.