• Essay

    What Benjamin Franklin Ate When He Was Homesick

    Living Abroad, the Founder From Philadelphia Saw America's Essence in Turkeys, Succotash, and Cranberries

    By Rae Katherine Eighmey

    In the midst of the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin envisioned the turkey as an exemplar of the ideal American citizen. In a 1783 …

  • Connecting California

    Could a New River City Transform California?

    Along the San Joaquin, Madera County Is Building Thousands of New Homes—and Perhaps Shaping the State's Next Great Region

    By Joe Mathews

    Could the San Joaquin River, long a dividing line in the heart of California, unite the state in pursuit of a more metropolitan future ...

  • Essay

    Why Are There so Many Statues of Men on Horseback?

    Since the Time of Marcus Aurelius, It's Been Viewed as the Perfect Combination of Power and Virtue

    By Peter Louis Bonfitto

    Statues are created to project meaning. Contemporary public artworks, for example, use purposely veiled messages aimed to generate thoughtful exchange with the viewer and to prompt reflection. By contrast, historic monumental sculptures …

  • Essay

    The "Little Giant" Who Thought That Backing Slavery Would Unite America

    Stephen Douglas' Push to Allow Human Chattel in Nebraska Lit a Match to the Civil War

    By Graham A. Peck

    One of the most ambitious attempts to unite America ended up dividing it, and altering it forever.
        At the opening of the 33rd Congress on December 5, 1853, Stephen A. Douglas, the short, rotund U.S. Senator from Illinois, ...

New at Zócalo

By Elizabeth Bucar

In 2018, Islamic clothing is officially cool. CoverGirl has a hijabi ambassador. H&M sells a popular modest clothing line. Even Barbie wears a headscarf on a doll modeled after the American fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.
   Despite this cool factor, Islamic women’s headscarves and clothing retain strong associations with piety and politics, symbolism that is wielded both by the woman in the clothes and the people around her. In countries where Muslims are minorities, as in the United States, merely wearing hijab is seen as a political act, albeit one that can be interpreted in many ways. Shepard Fairey created an image of a woman ...

In Whose God Do Americans Trust?

How the Religious Right Projected Evangelical Conservatism Onto the Founding Fathers

By Matthew Bowman

Charles Bennett, a Democratic Congressman from Jacksonville, Florida, was afraid of communism. In July 1955, he spoke of his concerns on the floor of the House of Representatives. “In these days, when imperialistic and materialistic communism seeks to attack and destroy freedom, we should continually look for ways to strengthen the foundations of our freedom,” he told his fellow members of Congress. Bennett’s proposed solution was simple: Americans could add the phrase “In God We Trust” to their dollar bills. By consensus, Congress adopted Bennett’s resolution. ...

Connecting California/Joe Mathews

  • Could These Four 'Lady Bird' Sequels Save Sacramento?

    Greta Gerwig Has Promised a Quartet of Films About Her Hometown, and California's Capital Needs New Narratives

    Here’s the good news in Sacramento: “Lady Bird,” a coming-of-age film set in Sacramento—and written and directed by the California capital’s own Greta Gerwig—has been nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture.
       Here’s the better news for Sacramento: Gerwig, having achieved such success with ...

  • O Canada, Please Colonize the Coachella Valley

    Snowbirds Have Saved SoCal's Desert Economy. Why Not Just Deed Them the Land?

    Let’s give the Coachella Valley to Canada.
        After all, Canadians already run the place in winter.
        Over the past 40 years, snowbirds from the True North have grown into a winter fixture in greater Palm Springs. They get a lot more than an escape from cold winter weather. The California desert is a much shorter flight than Maui, and it offers an array of arts and ...

  • Will Los Angeles Tear Down the Walls That Keep It Apart From Latin America?

    By Standing up to Trump and Letting People Move Freely, We Could Become a True LA-LA Land

    Los Angeles is a great many things, but it is not Latin America.
        Such a statement should be as uncontroversial as a map of the Western hemisphere. But today, elite conventional wisdom runs the other way.
        Lewis D’Vorkin, the editor of the ...

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