In Whose God Do Americans Trust?

How the Religious Right Projected Evangelical Conservatism Onto the Founding Fathers

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.

Americans’ ready embrace of …

More In: American history

How Dodge City Became the Ultimate Wild West

Fake News and Smoking Guns Made the Kansas Town a Symbol of Frontier Lawlessness

Everywhere American popular culture has penetrated, people use the phrase “Get out of Dodge” or “Gettin’ outta Dodge” when referring to some dangerous or threatening or generally unpleasant situation. The …

When a Fiery Populist Inflamed the Nation—but His Political Rivals Won the War

Over Time, the Whig Party's Moderate, Modern Agenda Trumped Andrew Jackson's Imperial Presidency

Two centuries after he served as president, Andrew Jackson remains an enduring figure both in history—the 1820s and ’30s are known as “The Age of Jackson”—and in American political conversation, …

American Populism Shouldn’t Have to Embrace Ignorance

Rejecting Authority and Expertise Doesn't Make All Opinions Equally Worthy

Public ignorance is an inherent threat to democracy. It breeds superstition, prejudice, and error; and it prevents both a clear-eyed understanding of the world and the formulation of wise policies …

The “Crying Indian” Ad That Fooled the Environmental Movement

Behind the '70s Anti-Pollution Icon Was an Italian-American Actor—and the Beverage Industry

It’s probably the most famous tear in American history: Iron Eyes Cody, an actor in Native American garb, paddles a birch bark canoe on water that seems, at first, tranquil …

When Variety Theaters Tantalized the Frontier West

In 19th-Century Spokane, Risqué Performances Set off a Battle Over Civil Morality

In the spring of 1897, Spokane, Washington’s Spokesman-Review published an exposé of its city’s thriving red light district—known as Howard Street. The newspaper lingered on distasteful scenes in variety theaters …