Robert E. Weems Jr.

History commentator

Robert E. Weems, Jr. is the Willard W. Garvey Distinguished Professor of Business History at Wichita State University.

His research specialty is African American business and economic history.

Ways to Connect

The year 2017 represents the 50th anniversary of the “long hot summer” of 1967. During this tumultuous period, 176 cities (including Wichita) experienced racial disturbances.

Situated between World War II and Vietnam, the Korean War is often referred to as America’s “forgotten war.” Despite its relative murkiness in the context of public consciousness, the Korean War and its aftermath is arguably America’s most fascinating recent military endeavor.

The Tariff Act of 1789, signed by President George Washington on July 4, sought to solve two problems of the early United States. This legislation, which called for import duties on foreign produced products, first and foremost, provided a revenue stream for the federal government. For instance, in 1790, 99.9 percent of federal revenue came from the recently instituted tariffs. Second, tariffs were viewed as a mechanism that would allow the young America to build an industrial base with reduced competition from foreign companies.

The first 100 days of a new U.S. presidential administration provide an important vantage point to assess how effective (or ineffective) the nation’s chief executive will be.

An important characteristic of 2016 holiday shopping is consumers’ ever-increasing use of the internet to make gift purchases. A century ago, American consumers also utilized an alternative to shopping in brick and mortar stores.

Politics, similar to law, is influenced by the principle of precedent. Considering what has taken place during the presidential campaign of 2016, both Democrats and Republicans should be concerned about the dynamics of future elections in the United States.

An important off-shoot of the Black Lives Matter Movement is the growth of a parallel phenomenon known as Black Money Matters. As history reveals, African Americans’ use of their collective spending power to bring about positive change is nothing new. For instance, during the Civil Rights era, such episodes as the Montgomery Bus Boycott clearly showed the power of strategic consumerism.

The recent passing of the legendary Muhammad Ali and the recent release of ESPN’s multi-part documentary, O.J. Made in America, has generated a re-examination of these two individuals’ lives and legacy.

Muhammad Ali and O.J. Simpson are similar in that their notoriety transcended their exploits as superstar athletes in the boxing ring and on the football field. Yet, they are dramatically dissimilar in that Ali lived a life linked with principled action whereas Simpson lived a life linked with public relations.

Ronald Reagan, during his presidency, promoted an economic policy that came to be known as Reaganomics. Linked with economist Arthur Laffer’s theory of supply-side economics, Reaganomics claimed that economic growth could be promoted by dramatically reducing the tax burden of America’s wealthiest citizens. They, in turn, would use this tax relief to spend and invest more. This new spending, theoretically, would then stimulate the economy and create new jobs.

A year ago, no one would have believed that Donald Trump would be the GOP front-runner this far into the primary season. Yet, fact can be stranger than fiction, and this improbable reality has prompted an increasing call within the Republican Party to block Trump’s quest for the party’s presidential nomination. For his part, Trump has warned that, if he’s denied the nomination through a contested Republican National Convention in July, there could be riots in response.

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