Civil War soldiers on horseback with pistols.

The Hunt for John Wilkes Booth Goes On

A new television miniseries depicts the pursuit of Lincoln’s killer. But the public appetite for tales about the chase began even as it was happening.
William Howard Taft, with the Supreme Court building under construction in the background.

The Architect of Our Divided Supreme Court

100 years ago, Chief Justice William Howard Taft made the Court more efficient and more powerful, marking a turning point whose effects are still being felt.
The cover of "The Deadline" by Jill Lepore.

The Hold of the Dead Over the Living

A conversation with Jill Lepore about the past decade — “a time that felt like a time, felt like history.”
Political cartoon of Trump praying at the foot of a Jefferson Davis statue.

What Happened When the U.S. Failed to Prosecute an Insurrectionist Ex-President

After the Civil War, Jefferson Davis, was to be tried for treason. Does the debacle hold lessons for the trials awaiting Donald Trump?
Stack of papers with an image of the Capitol building printed on the side.

What the January 6th Report Is Missing

The investigative committee singles out Trump for his role in the attack. As prosecution, the report is thorough. But as historical explanation it’s a mess.
Illustrtion of wild turkies on a sidewalk

The Return of the Wild Turkey

In New England, the birds were once hunted nearly to extinction; now they’re swarming the streets like they own the place. Sometimes turnabout is fowl play.
An American flag stylized as a ball bearing maze.

The United States’ Unamendable Constitution

How our inability to change America’s most important document is deforming our politics and government.
Contemplation of Justice statue

The Supreme Court’s Selective Memory

The Court’s striking down of a New York gun law relies on a fundamentally anti-democratic historical record that excludes women and people of color.
Illustration of people on different types of bicycles

Bicycles Have Evolved. Have We?

Biking innovations brought riders freedom. But in a world built for cars, life behind handlebars is both charmed and dangerous.
Photo of Samuel Alito

Why There Are No Women in the Constitution

There is little mention of abortion in a four-thousand-word document crafted by fifty-five men in 1787. This seems to be a surprise to Samuel Alito.
A stand from 1925, selling William Jennings Bryan's books, featuring a sign reading "Anti-Evolution League: The Conflict, Hell and The High School"

Why the School Wars Still Rage

From evolution to anti-racism, parents and progressives have clashed for a century over who gets to tell our origin stories.
An unkempt cemetery

When Black History Is Unearthed, Who Gets to Speak for the Dead?

Efforts to rescue African American burial grounds and remains have exposed deep conflicts over inheritance and representation.
box of matches with faces drawn on the match sticks

Burnout: Modern Affliction or Human Condition?

As a diagnosis, it’s too vague to be helpful—but its rise tells us a lot about the way we work.
Silhouette with pieces of constitutions and other prints inside

When Constitutions Took Over the World

Was this new age spurred by the ideals of the Enlightenment or by the imperatives of global warfare?
Person wearing pro-Trump attire in front of the U.S. Capitol.

What Should We Call the Sixth of January?

What began as a protest, rally, and march ended as something altogether different—a day of anarchy that challenges the terminology of history.
A picture of Trump going through a shredder.

Will Trump Burn the Evidence?

How the President could endanger the official records of one of the most consequential periods in American history.
Painting of the rocky mountains

How ‘America the Beautiful’ was Born

The United States’ unofficial anthem, a hymn of love of country.
Jill Lepore and the cover of her Book "If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future"

“We Don’t Want the Program”: On How Tech Can’t Fix Democracy

“Start-ups: they need philosophers, political theorists, historians, poets. Critics.”

How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future

When J.F.K. ran for President, a team of data scientists with powerful computers set out to model and manipulate American voters. Sound familiar?

The Invention of the Police

Why did American policing get so big, so fast? The answer, mainly, is slavery.

The History of the “Riot” Report

How government commissions became alibis for inaction.

Kent State and the War That Never Ended

The deadly episode stood for a bitterly divided era. Did we ever leave it?

The History of Loneliness

Until a century or so ago, almost no one lived alone; now many endure shutdowns and lockdowns on their own. How did modern life get so lonely?

What Our Contagion Fables Are Really About

In the literature of pestilence, the greatest threat isn’t the loss of human life but the loss of what makes us human.