In this op-ed, I examine similarities between President Donald Trump and P.T. Barnum (1810-1891), both entertainment moguls and public figures, as well as icons of populism, capitalism, and democracy. As Barnum biographer Terence Whalen notes, he “inflicted himself upon a surprisingly willing public in a wide variety of roles” and “embodied all that was grand and fraudulent in American mass culture.”

Read more in the Hartford Courant.


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Jennifer Tucker is a historian who studies the interrelations of art and science, photography, and mass visual culture, with a specialization in 19th to mid-20th century British, U.S., and trans-Pacific history. The common threads in her diverse research fields are the dynamics of visual media in modern history, the nature of evidence, public perceptions and practices of history, and the interrelationships of science, technology, and the law.

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