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From the Archive

The Ideal State

People in Chicago will tell you that there is a happy land not far away. Sitting on the ash heap of their own miseries, they mournfully explain that just over…

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The Jitters

Fear is an old emotion, laid down deep in the nervous system. Without its promptings no species of animal life could have survived and civilization could not have developed. Certainly…

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The Complicating Germs

In April, an epidemic of influenza exploded in the Far East. Starting in Hong Kong, it spread thousands of miles in all directions in less than two months. As we…

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Fifty-One Percent

During the Dayton trial there was much discussion about what had happened to William Jennings Bryan. How had a progressive democrat become so illiberal? How did it happen that the…

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Who Has the Guns?

The genuine sportsman’s voice is seldom heard in the outcry against gun-control laws. The dominant note is the shrill voice of the superpatriot. His sentiments were once well synthesized by…

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The Most Hated Nation

It was the foggy end of a drizzly day. Along the lunch counter of the Ferry Dock Tavern, gray-haired men in overalls and leather jackets were eating oyster stew. A…

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The Radical Right

In tracing the pedigree of the American conservative movement we must note that from, say, 1935 to 1955 (from the rise of Father Coughlin to the demise of Joseph McCarthy),…

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Criminal Minds

Just over an hour after he had been threatened with assassinationin Sacramento, President Ford spoke about the troubling rise in crime in the United States. The little of his remarks…

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San Francisco Blues

I am aware, of course, that San Francisco’s reputation is based largely upon reminiscence. Much of its glamour belongs to a past upon which the native is only too prone…

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American Cowboys

I have known cowboys broken in body and twisted in spirit, bruised by debt, failure, loneliness, disease, and most of the other afflictions of man, but I have seldom known…

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The Precipice of Disunion

Upon the election of Andrew Jackson, the conflict over the rights of the states had reached a perilous height. The Constitution was on a lee shore; neither the sun nor…

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End Zone

The average athlete begins to wonder when his career is going to end almost as soon as he starts it—knowing that it either can be shortened with devastating swiftness by…

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All the Nothing

Maggie had nothing in the world but Mike and the twins and the other two little boys, none of whom could be considered anything of an asset. Mike had landed…

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El Corralón

Bayview, Texas, the Immigration and Naturalization Service Processing Center. The camp lies well to the north of the Rio Grande, covering 317 acres of the flatlands beside the Gulf of…

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Shadow Dancing

Infinity is a disco in Lower Manhattan. It is 3 a.m. on Friday, the dead of night, but the evening is not yet half over and there are still two…

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Into the Woods

The idea for the Civilian Conservation Corps sprang into action almost overnight, in March 1933, during the magnificent ferment of the first hundred days of Roosevelt’s New Deal. It became…

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Literary Failure

There used to be the notion that Keats was killed by a bad review, that in despair and hopelessness he turned his back to the wall and gave up the…

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The Real Jimmy Carter

At 4:30 in the afternoon in the Admiral Benbow Inn in Jackson, Mississippi, Jimmy Carter sits opposite a dozen seventeen-year-olds, asking them to help him become president. “I grow peanuts…

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Russia and Red China

For the past six years the largest country in the world—with a quarter of the earth’s population—has been a blank space on the map of American foreign policy. For many…

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Unyielding Ice

On the sixteenth of July, 1905, the steamer Roosevelt left New York Harbor for her northern voyage. Her course from the anchorage was noisy with the friendly greetings of every…

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Black Lives Televised

I can remember as a child sitting upstairs in my bedroom and hearing my mother shout at the top of her voice that someone “colored . . . colored!” was on the…

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Jet-Age Federalism

Most of the time, Americans seem to thrive on change. The meadow converted to a real-estate development is regarded less as a sacrifice to progress than a symbol of it.…

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Living Animals

We shall not understand what a book is, and why a book has the value many persons have, and is even less replaceable than a person, if we forget how…

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Workingmen’s Machine

Within the next few years, the Congress of Industrial Organizations Political Action Committee may become the most powerful vote-herding and lobbying organization in the country. It now has prestige, cohesive…

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Strike Team

The first thing we did was build a bridge over Slough Creek, a pristine trout stream in the northern reaches of Yellowstone National Park. I felt strange—digging and hammering in…

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Unreconstructed

Mrs. Goode was a little toad of a woman, dark and fleshy-featured. If my mother had seen her, she would have said she looked like she had a “touch of…

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Good Morning, Texas

Before dawn I woke, shivering with cold. I had never been so cold in my life. While it was still dark, the bugle sounded reveille. We dressed as close to…

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An Ordinary Man

He stayed drunk the first week. He paced up and down the apartment howling, and Mrs. Voltaire hid behind the stove. After a week he went back to the office…

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October 2020