Thank the Pilgrims for America’s Tradition of Separatism, Division, and Infighting

They Were Not the Nation's First Settlers, but They Were the Most Fractious

December marks the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ landing at Plymouth, the moment habitually yet mistakenly thought of as the beginning of America. The conflation of New England’s history with that of the nation at large, encouraged by generations of Harvard-reared scholars, continues to warp Americans’ understanding of their past. By the time the Mayflower dropped anchor off Cape Cod, the Jamestown settlement in Virginia had survived (barely) for more than a decade, while Spanish settlements at Santa Fe, New Mexico, and St. Augustine, Florida, were far older.

In part, the …

Our Search for Human Connection Continues in 2020 | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Our Search for Human Connection Continues in 2020

The 11th Annual Zócalo Book Prize Honors the Best Writing on Community and Social Cohesion

Since 2011, Zócalo Public Square’s annual book prize has recognized the nonfiction book, published in the U.S., that best enhances our understanding of community and the forces that strengthen or …

How the ‘Yellow House’ Helped Make Washington, D.C., a Slavery Capital | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How the Yellow House Helped Make Washington, D.C., a Slavery Capital

The Notorious Jail Lent Institutional Support to Slavery Throughout the South

Washington, D.C., was a capital not just of the United States, but of slavery, serving as a major depot in the domestic slave trade. In the District, enslaved men, women, …

Why Americans Still Eat Barbecue on July Fourth | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Americans Still Eat Barbecue on July Fourth

More Than Two Centuries Ago, Roasted Meat Met Independence Day and Hasn’t Left the National Consciousness Since

Dearly beloved, we are gathered in this moment to celebrate the culinary union of barbecue (a.k.a. barbeque, bar-b-que, bar-b-q, and BBQ) and Independence Day (a.k.a. July 4 or “the Fourth …