Thomas J. Craughwell

Thomas J. Craughwell is the author of the Thomas Jefferson’s Crème Brûlée: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America (Quirk, September 2012). His other books include The Greatest Brigade: How the Irish Brigade Cleared the Way to Victory in the Civil War (Fair Winds, 2011) and Stealing Lincoln’s Body (Harvard University Press, 2007).


The Noble Tradition of Name-Calling


Oscar Wilde they’re not. Hillary Clinton’s description of Donald Trump’s supporters as “a basket of deplorables.” Trump’s weakness for dreaming up nicknames for his opponents — “Lying” Ted Cruz, “Little” Marco Rubio, “Crooked” Hillary Clinton. These ham-fisted foibles tend to generate a great groan from the pundits, who lament the decline of civility in American […]

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Sometimes a Great Slogan


The other day John Bolton, our former ambassador to the United Nations, was the guest on FOX’s noontime program, “Outnumbered.” There had been another scandal in the Clinton camp (I’m losing track of them), so Ambassador Bolton suggested that Hillary adopt as her campaign slogan, “Not Indicted Yet.” I laughed out loud. And it reminded […]

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A Patron Saint for Television


Mention the phrase “patron saints” and plenty of people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, will think it a quaint, outdated custom that assigns a heavenly protector to keep an eye on barrel-stave makers and ward off Viking invasions. In fact, patron saints keep up with the times. Back in the early 1990s, when the Internet was […]

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The Quality of Mercy


Last Monday, my best friend went to prison. It never occurred to me that I would say or write that sentence. And yet, here we are. I love all my friends — who doesn’t — but my friend did a few foolish things, and so the court revoked his probation. He will be in jail […]

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If Only the Pilgrims Had Been Italian (November 2007)


Editor’s Note: A classic from our November 2007 issue. I would be willing to bet serious money that right now in your kitchen you have olive oil, garlic, pasta, parmesan cheese, and dried basil (maybe even fresh basil!). Nothing exotic there, right? They’re ingredients we take for granted. But their appearance in our kitchens is […]

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Bones of St. Peter


For the conclusion of the Year of Faith, Pope Francis has done something unprecedented—he has decided to place the relics of St. Peter on exposition for public veneration. For the first time in the history of the Catholic Church, the faithful will have the opportunity to pray before the remains of the first pope. While […]

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Mothers of Invention


AS YOU read this, the United States Patent Office has issued patents for over 4 million inventions. That figure is an astonishing testimony to American ingenuity, yet in all likelihood, very few of those patented inventions will make a major impact on our day-to-day life in the way that the electric light bulb, the telephone, […]

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We Have an American Pope!


Within hours of Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement that he was stepping down as Supreme Pontiff, speculation was swirling about the top contenders to succeed him. National Catholic Reporter’s veteran and eminently fair-minded Vatican correspondent, John L. Allen, Jr., was taken aback when the Italian press began floating the idea that the papacy could go to […]

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The Medal of Honor for Father Kapaun


On February 22, former Kansas Representative Todd Tiahrt called the offices of the Wichita Eagle with momentous news: Kansas native and Korean War chaplain, Father Emil Kapaun, will be awarded the Medal of Honor. The Kapaun family has known for weeks — in December President Obama called Father Kapaun’s sister-in-law, 83-year-old Helen Kapaun, to invite […]

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The Man Who Abjured His Native Victuals


ABOUT FIVE IN THE AFTERNOON ON MAY 7, 1784, not long after dinner had been served at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson sat down to write a brief but newsy note to his friend and protégé, William Short. “Congress have to day,” Jefferson wrote, “added me to the commission for negotiating treaties of commerce with the European […]

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