Katie Martin / Emily Jan / The Atlantic

On Turning 160

The Atlantic was first published in November of 1857. Its 160th anniversary calls for a celebration.

AP / The Atlantic

What ISIS Really Wants

The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.

Billy Brooks
Carlos Javier Ortiz

The Case for Reparations

Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.

Andy Reynolds / Wonderful Machine

Can the Middle Class Be Saved?

The Great Recession has accelerated the hollowing-out of the American middle class. And it has illuminated the widening divide between most of America and the super-rich. Both developments herald grave consequences. Here is how we can bridge the gap between us.

Felix Sockwell

The End of White America?

The election of Barack Obama is just the most startling manifestation of a larger trend: the gradual erosion of “whiteness” as the touchstone of what it means to be American. If the end of white America is a cultural and demographic inevitability, what will the new mainstream look like—and how will white Americans fit into it? What will it mean to be white when whiteness is no longer the norm? And will a post-white America be less racially divided—or more so?

Classen / ullstein bild via Getty

How Do I Love Thee?

A growing number of Internet dating sites are relying on academic researchers to develop a new science of attraction. A firsthand report from the front lines of an unprecedented social experiment

Yun Jai-hyoung / AP

North Korea: The War Game

Dealing with North Korea could make Iraq look like child's play—and the longer we wait, the harder it will get. That's the message of a Pentagon-style war game involving some of this country's most prominent foreign-policy strategists

Oded Balilty / AP

The Logic of Suicide Terrorism

First you feel nervous about riding the bus. Then you wonder about going to a mall. Then you think twice about sitting for long at your favorite café. Then nowhere seems safe. Terrorist groups have a strategy—to shrink to nothing the areas in which people move freely—and suicide bombers, inexpensive and reliably lethal, are their latest weapons. Israel has learned to recognize and disrupt the steps on the path to suicide attacks. We must learn too.

Amr Nabil / AP

The Fifty-First State?

Going to war with Iraq would mean shouldering all the responsibilities of an occupying power the moment victory was achieved. These would include running the economy, keeping domestic peace, and protecting Iraq's borders—and doing it all for years, or perhaps decades. Are we ready for this long-term relationship?

Nathan Benn / Getty

One Nation, Slightly Divisible

The electoral map of the 2000 presidential race became famous: big blocks of red (denoting states that went for Bush) stretched across the heartland, with brackets of blue (denoting states for Gore) along the coasts. Our Blue America correspondent has ventured repeatedly into Red territory. He asks the question—after September 11, a pressing one—Do our differences effectively split us into two nations, or are they just cracks in a still-united whole?

Ron Edmonds / AP

An Acquired Taste

Al Gore is the most lethal debater in politics, a ruthless combatant who will say whatever it takes to win, and who leaves opponents not just beaten but brutalized. But Gore is no natural-born killer. He studied hard to become the man he is today.

Bettmann / Getty

Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?

The sensational revelations of recent years about the Central Intelligence Agency almost obscure a larger point: The Agency is just no good at what it's supposed to be doing. So writes the author, a former CIA officer, who describes a corrosive culture in which promotion-hungry operatives collect pointless intelligence from worthless foreign agents. Reform, the author warns, may be impossible.

Gjon Mili / Getty

Was Democracy Just a Moment?

The global triumph of democracy was to be the glorious climax of the American Century. But democracy may not be the system that will best serve the world—or even the one that will prevail in places that now consider themselves bastions of freedom.

Stephan Savoia / AP

Why Americans Hate the Media

Why has the media establishment become so unpopular? Perhaps the public has good reason to think that the media's self-aggrandizement gets in the way of solving the country's real problems.

David Butow / Getty

In the Strawberry Fields

The management of California's strawberry industry offers a case study of both the dependence on an imported peasantry that characterizes much of American agriculture and the destructive consequences of a deliberate low-wage economy.

Michael Reinhard / Getty

The Wild East

Organized crime has Russia even more firmly in its grip than has been reported. Lawlessness has made Americans in Moscow fear for their lives, thrown obstacles in the way of businesses both foreign and domestic——and eroded the government's control over its nuclear weapons and materials.

Bettmann / Getty / Arsh Raziuddin / The Atlantic

The Story of a Gun

After 60,000 deaths from firearms use over the past two years, America is in a gun crisis. Yet gun laws remain weak, gunmakers continue to promote killing power, and gun dealers accept no responsibility for the criminal use of what they sell.

Paul Sakuma / AP

Crashing the Locker Room

Why are there so few women in Congress? Why is it especially difficult for women to make it to the Senate? With a record number of women running for the Senate this year, our reporter takes a careful look at the obstacles in the way of women candidates and at their emerging advantages.

Wally McNamee / Getty

Waiting for the Weekend

A whole two days off from work, in which we can do what we please, has only recently become a near-universal right. What we choose to do looks increasingly like work, and idleness has acquired a bad name. Herein, a history of leisure.

Pavel Horejsi / AP

What Kind of Democracy?

At a time when citizens in Eastern Europe and elsewhere were demanding the right to self-determination and converting their governments to democracies, a social scientist considered the degree to which civil liberties within a democracy require protection.

Nathan Benn / Corbis / Getty

Ethics and Animals

"Suppose, just suppose, that the Animal Welfare Act were replaced by an animal-rights act, which would prohibit the use by human beings of any animals to their detriment. What would be the effect on medical research, education, and product testing?"  

Lynn Goldsmith / Getty

Not Being There

“Television is poised to absorb and emasculate the movies, all in the name of home entertainment.”

Harvey Georges / AP

Inside the Department of Dirty Tricks

“The evidence, fragmentary as it is, suggests that the CIA customarily drew the line at what is commonly meant by the word ‘murder.’ However, in the late 1950s, the CIA began to get orders to kill people.”

AP

Life on Mars

Space scientists won't say so, but the results of three brilliantly conceived experiments lead inevitably to one startling conclusion: Life, in some form, exists on Mars.

Bettmann / Getty

The Man Who Runs the Senate

Robert Byrd, a little-known, fiddle-playing West Virginian, is the Senate’s Democratic whip, probably its next majority leader, and just possibly a favorite son at the 1976 Democratic Convention. Says he: “I believe that a big man can make a small job important.” Some of his colleagues think Byrd also proves the converse: that big job can help a small man to grow.

AP

The Runaway Presidency

As a steady stream of disturbing revelations surfaced in the Watergate investigation, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.—a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and a former adviser to President Kennedy—argued that under Richard Nixon's insidious influence, the power of the presidency had spiraled out of control.

AP

The Pentagon Papers Trial

“Inevitably political, the Pentagon Papers case is a decisive test of the federal government's capacity to control the disclosure of information stamped 'secret,' of an individual's right to defy the security classification system, and at least peripherally, of the press's ability to rely on 'leaks' in government circles.”

AP

How Could Vietnam Happen? An Autopsy

From the beginning of John Kennedy's Administration into this fifth year of Lyndon Johnson's presidency, substantially the same small group of men have presided over the destiny of the United States. In that time they have carried the country from a limited involvement in Vietnam into a war that is brutal, probably unwinnable, and, to an increasing body of opinion, calamitous and immoral. How could it happen?

Harris & Ewing / Library of Congress

Death at an Early Age

Countless sociological studies and official reports have described the dreadful condition of the nation's ghetto schools in abstract terms, but the general public has no concrete idea of what goes on inside them. Jonathan Kozol recounts his experience as a teacher in the Roxbury section of Boston.

AP

The Great Marijuana Hoax

“I've never had a chance to explain my position on this subject without interruption, and to a large audience. So people mistakenly think I'm asking people to take dope-fiend dope.”

Chick Harrity / Library of Congress

One Woman's Abortion

In 1965, an anonymous woman described the steps she took to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer / Getty

The Baleful Influence of Gambling

“The housewife, the factory worker, and the businessman will tell you that they are against such things as narcotics, bootlegging, prostitution, gang murders, the corruption of public officials and police, and, the bribery of college athletes. And yet this is where their money goes.”