Reconstruction, and an Appeal to Impartial Suffrage

A former slave urges Congress to grant black Americans the vote.

The Freedmen’s Bureau

A leading black intellectual surveys the government’s efforts to aid the freed slaves.

The End, and After

A Confederate soldier recalls the chaotic days following surrender.

A Rebel’s Recollections

A Confederate soldier from a plantation family provides a Southern perspective.

Late Scenes in Richmond

A reporter describes the rebels’ flight from Richmond, and Lincoln’s surprise visit two days later.

Lee in Battle

A Northerner pays tribute to the general’s humility and heroism.

The Reign of King Cotton

In 1861, the grandson of John Quincy Adams argued that slavery could still end without war.

Where Will It End?

In its second issue, The Atlantic urged readers to take a stand against slavery.

John Brown and His Friends

How a coterie of New Englanders—including the author—secretly funded the raid on Harpers Ferry

The Freedman’s Story

An escaped slave recalls his violent showdown with slave-catchers.

Nat Turner’s Insurrection

An account of America’s bloodiest slave revolt and its repercussions.

Bread and the Newspaper

In 1861, an Atlantic editor captured the anxious mood on the home front.

Our March to Washington

A dispatch from a Union soldier who was later killed in action

My Hunt After the Captain

An account of the author’s frantic search for his wounded son, who lived to become a Supreme Court justice

Charleston Under Arms

A Northern journalist records his visit to Charleston during the Fort Sumter standoff.

The End of Chinatown

Does China’s rise mean the end of one of America’s most storied ethnic enclaves?

Why Veterans Should Get Their Own Courts

As troops surge back into domestic life, incarceration isn’t always the answer

The Appeal of Death Row

Why would a California convict opt for a death sentence? With few executions and better living conditions, why not?

The Secret History of Guns

The Ku Klux Klan, Ronald Reagan, and, for most of its history, the NRA all worked to control guns. The Founding Fathers? They required gun ownership—and regulated it. And no group has more fiercely advocated the right to bear loaded weapons in public than the Black Panthers—the true pioneers of the modern pro-gun movement. In the battle over gun rights in America, both sides have distorted history and the law, and there’s no resolution in sight.

About That Day

A diary of 9/11

On 9/11/11

Paddling the Everglades Trail

Kayaking Florida’s saltwater trail—with crocodiles, sharks, and other predators

The False Heroism of a Civil War Photographer

Taking a closer look at the legendary Mathew Brady

The Lazarus File

In 1986, a young nurse named Sherri Rasmussen was murdered in Los Angeles. Police pinned down no suspects, and the case gradually went cold. It took 23 years—and revolutionary breakthroughs in forensic science­—before LAPD detectives could finally assemble the pieces of the puzzle. When they did, they found themselves facing one of the unlikeliest murder suspects in the city’s history.

The Failure of American Schools

Who better to lead an educational revolution than Joel Klein, the prosecutor who took on the software giant Microsoft? But in his eight years as chancellor of New York City’s school system, the nation’s largest, Klein learned a few painful lessons of his own—about feckless politicians, recalcitrant unions, mediocre teachers, and other enduring obstacles to school reform.


Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more


Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.


What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world



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