How Modern India Was Built on the Legacy of British Institutions

Indians Have Drawn From a Dark Colonial Past to Create a More Liberal and Open Society

In the years after India’s independence in 1947, Britons tended to congratulate themselves on their legacy to the subcontinent.

Although the empire’s successor states, India and Pakistan, had been born amid the confusion and tragedy of Partition, the British relationship with both countries remained good. Most of the British departed, peaceably, marching to their ships in Bombay harbor, but a sizeable minority “stayed on,” as the phrase went, more than 2,000 of them remaining in the armies and administrations of the new states.

When Pakistan’s leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, appointed new governors …

The Philosopher Who Coined the Term ‘Nationalism’ Also Preached Inclusivity

275 Years Ago, Johann Gottfried Herder Imagined Nations Forming Around a Common Language and Culture, Not a Common Enemy

Since the French Revolution, a brilliant cast of ideologies has starred on the world stage, ranging from conservatism to liberalism to communism. Yet the -ism that has been most resilient, …

Why the ‘New Nationalism’ Can Only Flourish in Conflict

Built on Hatred, and the Need for an Adversary, It Thrives on Contempt for Other Cultures, Religions, and Even Languages

Nationalism as we know it today—a global movement of states led by strongmen decrying globalization—is a recent invention. But a brief and broad history of nationalism reveals its important paradoxes …

The Savvy Press Agent Who Invented Buffalo Bill

"Arizona John" Burke Perfected the Art of Hype That Converted a Bison Hunter Into a Symbol of National Character

To appreciate the wonder and luster of a star in the sky, one must look off to its side—“averted vision,” it is called.

So it was in the late 19th century …

The Bedouin People Who Blur the Boundaries of Egyptian Identity

An Indigenous North African Minority Near the Libyan Border Has Often Been Treated Like Foreigners

In November 1940, a group of Bedouins from Egypt’s Western Desert region sent an unusual petition to the Egyptian government. The petition arrived at a time of great turmoil in …