How to be American

The American Revolution “infused into our culture our noblest ideals and highest aspirations”: An interview with Gordon Wood, editor of The American Revolution: Writings from the Pamphlet Debate 1764–1776. Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America is the book every new American citizen — and every old one, too — should read: It explains everything. Andre Fleche on America’s first Red Scare: For many of its ideologues, a slaveholding Confederacy was meant to be a bulwark against radical politics of all stripes. Robert J. Miller (ASU): The Doctrine of Discovery, Manifest Destiny, and American Indians. Wild Wild East: America has never stopped repeating stories about cowboys and Indians, even when the frontier is somewhere else. What can Star Trek teach us about American exceptionalism? John Feffer on how the quintessentially American urge “to boldly go,” regardless of consequence, has gotten humanity into a heap of trouble.

How to be American: Eric Liu on why cultivating a shared cultural core is more important than ever — and why such a project serves progressive ends. Which political party loves America? Democrats embrace modern America as Republicans reject it.