How LBJ Saved the Civil Rights Act

Fifty years later, new accounts of its fraught passage reveal the era's real hero—and it isn’t the Supreme Court.

Why Cities Work Even When Washington Doesn't

The case for strong mayors

The Elephant Trainer

Christine Toretti is on a quest to make the GOP the party of women.

The Case for Corruption

Why Washington needs more honest graft

Machiavelli Was Right

The shocking lesson of The Prince isn’t that politics demands dirty hands, but that politicians shouldn’t care.

Do Democrats Make Better Neighbors?

Possibly, though not if you need a kidney, or your plants watered while you’re away

How John Kerry Could End Up Outdoing Hillary Clinton

Critics say he's pompous and reckless—but his relentlessness may end up making him the most consequential secretary of state in years.

Oval Office, Open Door

President Kennedy's leadership style generated a "creative tension" that energized the executive branch, but his proposals failed to excite Congress.

The Medical Ordeals of JFK

The core of the Kennedy image was, in many respects, a lie. A presidential biographer, granted access to medical files, portrays a man far sicker than the public knew.

The Cold War Logic of the Peace Corps

A former first lady's notion for competing with the Soviets: give young Americans a chance to spend two years in an underdeveloped country, offering help and spreading goodwill toward the West

Death of a Man

Team of Eggheads

In assembling the youngest Cabinet in generations, the 43-year-old president insisted that his appointees think along similar lines and communicate easily. For the first time since the New Deal, an administration was in the hands of intellectuals.

Playing Hardball

During the Kennedy years, The Atlantic regularly published unsigned reports that provided an insider's perspective on the mood in Washington. Here, the column described Kennedy's political ruthlessness, which helped him secure the Democratic nomination for president in 1960.

The Perils of Charisma

Kennedy's team treated the bureaucracy as the enemy, launching a counterinsurgency that centralized authority in the White House, and placed a dangerous amount of power in one man's hands.

JFK’s Civil-Rights Problem

Candidate Kennedy promised a civil-rights bill, but President Kennedy was cautious—overly cautious, critics said—in proposing legislative action.

Too Cool for Congress

Kennedy never worked well with Congress, even while he was a member. Here, a longtime television correspondent examines the cultural roots of JFK's problems on Capitol Hill.

What Missile Gap?

In 1960, Kennedy campaigned hard against the Republican negligence that had allowed the Soviet Union to overtake the United States in producing missiles. Once in office, however, JFK learned that there was no missile gap—which gave him an opening to negotiate with Moscow from a position of strength.

The Dawn of Nuclear Diplomacy

Every president of the postwar era longed for the approval of Walter Lippmann, the voice of the Eastern establishment. Here, Lippmann praised Kennedy for avoiding nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis.

Did Kennedy Cause the Crisis?

Conventional wisdom has tended to rank the Cuban missile crisis as the Kennedy presidency's highest drama and grandest success. Drama, yes. But this provocative recounting of the administration's policy toward Castro's Cuba suggests that Kennedy brought the crisis on himself.


How a Kennedy brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, fell victim to the jealous acolytes of a political dynasty in mourning

What JFK Saw: November 22, 1963


A photo essay

Here Comes Kennedy

A photo essay

Ask Not

A photo essay

November 22, 1963

A photo essay


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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