From a London Alley to the White House

Louisa Catherine Adams, the Only First Lady Born Outside the U.S., Had to Prove Herself to Her Husband’s Family, Congress—and the Country

It was hard for Louisa Catherine Adams, the only first lady born outside the United States, to say where she came from. She began her life in a narrow alley in London, in 1775, but she was taught not to think of herself as British. Her mother, Catherine, was English; her father, Joshua Johnson, was a merchant from Maryland and an American patriot. When she was 3, after the American Revolution broke out, and when it was hard for a …


Up For Discussion

Trains Are Not the Silver Bullet

A Successful Rail System in L.A. Has to Help People to Get to Work, Complement Existing Bus Routes, and Serve 1,000,000 Riders a Day.

Trains and rail are inseparable from California’s past. When Leland Stanford hammered “The Golden Spike” in an 1869 ceremony in Utah, he united the first transcontinental railway in the U.S.—and tied California to the rest of the country. That connection between the two coasts set the state on a path to becoming the economic and cultural force it is now.

In the 21st century, California, and Southern California in particular, is once again poised to be reshaped by trains and rail …