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.

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?

Brooks Kraft / Corbis

The Rove Presidency

Karl Rove had the plan, the power, and the historic chance to remake American politics. What went wrong?

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.”


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.

CBS Photo Archive / Getty

CBS: The Power and the Profits

However the Toynbee or the Gibbon of the future adjudges what happened to American society, he will need to reckon large with the impact of radio and television.

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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.”

Bob Nye / NASA / Donaldson Collection / Getty

Science: Careers for Women

The growing need for research workers and scientists has opened new doors for women. Helen Hill Miller, who for many years was Washington correspondent for the London Economist, describes some of the work being done in science both by single women and by those who successfully combine marriage and a career.

Hulton Archive / Getty

High Hurdles and White Gloves

The first modern Olympic games took place in Athens sixty years ago in a stadium holding seventy-five thousand. The American hurdler Thomas P. Curtis won the Gold Medal in his event; he also found time to make notes of what happened.


The Control of Energy

One pound of uranium carries more releasable energy than 1500 tons of coal, and the solar energy that reaches the earth in a single day is equivalent to that released by two million Hiroshima A-bombs. Better control of these and other forms of energy is basic to man's progress.


New England and the South

“The southward migration of industry from New England has too frequently taken place for causes other than normal competition and natural advantages.”  


Our Mistakes in Korea

“The deliberate political design by which two Administrations treated the Korean War as if it were an insoluble military problem … confused the American public and, confusing it, dulled its memory.”


News and the Whole Truth

“Too much of our news is one-dimensional, when truth has three dimensions (or maybe more); and in some fields the vast and increasing complexity of the news makes it continually more difficult—especially for us Washington reporters—to tell the public what really happened.”  


The Open Mind

The former head of the Manhattan Project wrote about how to advance peace in the nuclear age, just four years after he directed the construction of the world’s first atomic bomb.

Bettmann / Getty

Death of a Pig

“I just wanted to keep on raising a pig, full meal after full meal, spring into summer into fall.”


Atomic War or Peace

Seventy years ago, Einstein offered the United States and the international community advice on how to coexist in the shadow of the bomb.


Loot for the Master Race

“Göring resorted to every conceivable device to fill the walls and the coffers of Carinhall, bargaining, cheating, even invoking where necessary the prestige of German arms or the terrible threat of intervention by the Gestapo.”


As We May Think

“Consider a future device …  in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.”


The Education of a Queen

Princess Elizabeth will be eighteen on her next birthday. How does her education compare with that of an American girl of the same age? And how does it compare with that of Victoria, who was also educated to be queen?

George R. Skadding / AP

China Emergent

In the midst of World War II, as China's Nationalist leader, Chiang Kai-shek, struggled against Japanese invaders from without and the Communist movement from within, his Wellesley College–educated wife decried the exploitation of China by the West and delineated a vision for a more democratic future.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration

Concentration Camp

“Men ... are brought, for the 'protection of the people and the State,' into a concentration camp without hearing, without court sentence, without the possibility of redress, and for an indefinite time.”


Love in America

“It is as if the experience of being in love could only be one of two things: a superhuman ecstasy, the way of reaching heaven on earth and in pairs; or a psychopathic condition to be treated by specialists.”


Hitler Looks Eastward

Two years before Hitler invaded Poland, an Atlantic author predicted the Reich’s expansion and how it would affect the various nations of Eastern Europe.

Dorothea Lange / Library of Congress

Letters From the Dust Bowl

When drought struck Oklahoma in the 1930s, the author and her husband stayed behind to protect their 28-year-old farm. Her letters to a friend paint a picture of dire poverty, desiccated soil, and long days with no sunshine.



“National Socialism is not only a protest against the Treaty of Versailles. It is a revolt against the ideals of democracy.”

Harris & Ewing / Library of Congress

The Roosevelt Experiment

“The Roosevelt experiment, in a word, is a systematic effort to put capitalism into leading strings of principle. It is to be the servant, and not the master, of the American people.”

New York Public Library / Emily Jan / The Atlantic

Confessions of a Novelist

"What I mean to try for is the observation of that strange moment when the vaguely adumbrated characters whose adventures one is preparing to record are suddenly there, themselves, in the flesh, in possession of one, and in command of one’s voice and hand."

Library of Congress

Put Your Husband in the Kitchen

“I am tempted to think that the perplexed businessman might discover a possible solution of his troubles if he would just spend a few days in his wife's kitchen.”


Whirlwinds of Speculation

“The pouring forth of this great torrent of new units of speculation results in the inevitable consequences dictated by the law of supply and demand.”


State Pensions or Charity?

“It is time for us to devise ways of meeting the inevitable disaster of old age and the almost equally inevitable disasters of sickness and unemployment, and these must be ways that will not fail when the stock market breaks or a new machine is invented, that will function in the lean years as in the fat years, and that can be accepted without loss of self-respect.”

Library of Congress

‘Inside Information’

“Securities in corporations whose directors are known to be trading in and out of the stock on special information for their own personal profit are coming more and more to be looked upon askance by investors.”



"People called them hoodlums, and hoodlums they were, but they were a gusty element in community life, noisy and forceful."

Library of Congress

Stop, Look, Listen! The Shareholder's Right to Adequate Information

Just a few years before the Crash of 1929, Harvard economics professor William Z. Ripley warned that corporations weren't providing accurate financial information to their investors and argued that a framework of regulatory oversight was needed. The creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1934 has been in part attributed to Ripley's Atlantic writings.


In China, Too

Pearl S. Buck, an American-born writer who was raised in China and continues to live and teach there with her husband, reflects on the social and cultural changes transforming China's young people.

Peter Newell / New York Public Library

Relativity and the Absurdities of Alice

“Since 1913, a number of gentlemen wearing glasses and looking wondrous wise, and no doubt as wise as they look, have proved to us that it can always be teatime if we care to figure it out properly.”

Library of Congress

Revolutionary Justice

“I felt like Alice in Wonderland. I had swallowed a magic pill which had transformed things. Cooks and duchesses; ragged soldiers and resplendent generals; collarless workingmen and bewigged and begowned judges, had changed places.”

Library of Congress

Some Confessions of a ‘T.B.’

“There is no walk of life which we have left entirely uninvaded. We are everywhere, in everything. If a climax is desired, even the throne has no immunity from our adventurous and versatile persistence in attempting occupations.”

Library of Congress

The Lawrence Strike: A Study

“At present there probably cannot be a judicial presentation of the case; time is needed to put events in true relation to causes. But it is possible to correct some falsities and relieve some perplexities regarding essential facts.”

Library of Congress

Why I Came to America

“’We live in a land of strangers, where there is no soil for the seeds of our activity to find roots. Remember, David, we are strangers!’”

New York Public Library

The Heart of the Race Problem

“The problem, How to maintain the institution of chattel slavery, ceased to be at Appomattox; the problem, How to maintain the social, industrial, and civic inferiority of the descendants of chattel slaves, succeeded it, and is the race problem of the South at the present time. There is no other.”

Library of Congress

Politics (1857-1907)

“The process by which a nation was created and unified came at last to an end, and a still more fateful process began which was to determine its place and example in the general history of the world.”


An American Primer

“These States are rapidly supplying themselves with new words, called for by new occasions, new facts, new politics, new combinations.”

Library of Congress

The Negro in the Regular Army

“The sterling characteristics of the colored soldiers, their loyalty to the service as shown by the statistics of desertion, and, above all, their splendid service in Cuba, should have entitled them to additional organizations.”

Alfred R. Waud / Library of Congress

The Freedmen's Bureau

“No sooner had Northern armies touched Southern soil than this old question, newly guised, sprang from the earth, — What shall be done with slaves?”

C. M. Battey / Library of Congress

Strivings of the Negro People

“It dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil.”

Library of Congress

The Awakening of the Negro

“It is through the dairy farm, the truck garden, the trades, and commercial life, largely, that the negro is to find his way to the enjoyment of all his rights.”


Mars (Part I)

The first in a four-part series about the planet’s physical conditions—and its possible habitation.

Library of Congress

The Railway War

“It is idle to suppose that organized labor has been crushed, or that it will permanently submit to defeat. It is only a question of time when another outbreak will occur ... accompanied with violence, bloodshed, and fire.”


Political Assessments in the Coming Campaign

“The clerk is bound to feel that there is some duress in the matter, when a committee of the association with which his immediate superior is closely connected requests him for campaign funds. He ought to be allowed to contribute or not, just as he sees fit.”

Library of Congress

The Red Cross

“The Red Cross [is] destined to become the great almoner of the people’s bounty on occasions of swift calamity, the tried and trusted agent of national and international benefactions.”

Library of Congress

Responsible Government Under the Constitution

“The question is not merely, How shall the methods of Congress be clarified and its ways made purposeful and responsible? There is this greater question at stake: How shall the essential arrangements of the Constitution be preserved?”

Ed Wray / AP

The Red Sunsets

“When this volcanic dust ceases to glorify our skies at dawn and eve, we shall part with what has probably been the most remarkable and picturesque accident to the earth's physical life that has been known with the limits of recorded history.”

Library of Congress

Colonialism in the United States

“We alone can use properly our own resources; and no work in art or literature ever has been, or ever will be, of any real or lasting value which is not true, original, and independent.”


Some Traits of Bismarck

He “fought out the battles of his generation with ‘blood and iron, not with parliamentary speeches;’ and restored the medieval brigands to the place which had so long been usurped by a race of dyspeptic philosophers.”

Currier & Ives / Library of Congress

The Story of a Great Monopoly

”These incidents in railroad history show most of the points where we fail ... to maintain the equities of ‘government’—and employment—‘of the people, by the people, for the people.’”

Frances Benjamin Johnston / Library of Congress

The Future of Invention

“Everywhere we meet with the same state of facts. The labor-saving machine is entering every field, and its entrance is to the workman an irresistible command to go.”

Frank George Carpenter / Library of Congress

A Century of Congress

A year after the national centennial, a long-time member of the House of Representatives and future president of the United States reflected on the development of the American legislature.


Lincoln's Plans of Reconstruction

“Here were no humiliating terms of submission imposed on a brave people: no amnesty qualifications exacted; no banishment or confiscation laws; no test-oaths, to incite to perjury or foster the resentments of war.”

Gary Ward Stanton / Library of Congress

Is Marriage Holy?

“What attitude of mind does a perception of the inward holiness or religious sanctity of marriage enjoin upon those who suffer from any of the offenses included in the violation of the outward bond? — a vindictive attitude or a forgiving one?”

New York Public Library

Werewolves and Swan-maidens

“The mediæval belief in werewolves is especially adapted to illustrate the complicated manner in which divers mythical conceptions and misunderstood natural occurrences will combine to generate a long-enduring superstition.”

Edwin Forbes / Library of Congress

The Brothers

Set in a wartime hospital, and narrated by a Civil War nurse, Louisa May Alcott's 1863 short story is a tale of siblings—one black, one white.

Library of Congress

Review of the Kansas Usurpation

“It was scarcely opened, before it became, as might have been expected, the battleground for the opposing civilizations of the Union, to renew and fight out their long quarrel upon. From every quarter of the land settlers rushed thither, to take part in the wager of battle.”