The Reading Room

John Stuart Mill and Thomas Carlyle: An Unlikely Bond



by Chris Loukas

John Stuart Mill and Thomas Carlyle might seem to be unlikely friends. Mill was a politician, philosopher and economist and Carlyle an essayist and novelist. Mill was a radical, a liberal and a utilitarian and Carlyle  was anti-democratic, anti-economics and a supporter of slavery.
What drew them together was their admiration of German culture and romanticism.
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Martha Washington: First in the Heart of the President



by Kirstin Anderson Birkhaug

At George Washington’s funeral, General Henry Lee said of the great man that he was “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” These are some of the most famous words spoken regarding Washington, America’s first president, sometimes called the father of his country. Less famous is the second half of this sentence in which Lee says that Washington “was second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life.” On equal footing with his victories in war and politics, Lee placed Washington’s attentiveness to his family.

Exploring Sandman at the OLL



by Sarah Skwire

Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, transformed from a comic book into a Netflix series, premieres today. Comic fans have long been aware of the complex narrative and the genre bending mix of horror, fantasy, myth, and family drama that comprise Sandman, and have valued it as one of the comics--like Alan Moore’s Watchmen--that exploded ideas about the limits of the comic book genre. 

Common Sense with Thomas Paine


by Jason Sorens

What does it mean to be an American? I don’t mean, “What are the legal requirements to be an American citizen?” but something more like, “What are the characteristics that make someone a part of the American people?” After all, American citizens could reject their American-ness, and people who are not yet citizens may nevertheless consider themselves to be American.

Internal Improvements


by Andrew Smith

Whenever I drive through parts of my hometown of Indianapolis, I cross a small waterway with a trail running alongside - the Central Canal. 
Today, it’s a recreational area, with people walking and biking along its towpath and enjoying the serenity of the water nearby. 
But that canal represents a fundamental lesson in Indiana’s past and one that has altered the state’s constitution for more than 170 years. That lesson remains a warning and instruction to policymakers today who pursue big projects coupled with long-term costs.