How Vain, Stubborn, Thin-Skinned George Washington Grew Up

Through the Trauma of War, and By Learning From His Mistakes, the First President Gained Empathy and Gravitas

At 21 years of age, George Washington was a very different man than the one we know and hold sacred, different from the stately commander, the selfless first president, the unblemished father of our country staring off into posterity. This young Washington was ambitious, temperamental, vain, thin-skinned, petulant, awkward, demanding, stubborn, hasty, and annoying.

He was in love with his close friend’s wife. He was called an ingrate by his commander. He was accused of being a war criminal, a murderer, an incompetent leader, and an international embarrassment.

What is …

Mexico’s ’85 Earthquake Didn’t Start a Revolution

And Neither Will the 2017 Tremor—Unless Public Disillusionment Erupts

Can the shaking of earthquakes upend political power?

This question often has been answered by referencing Mexico. Political scientists often link Mexico City’s devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake on September 19, 1985, …

The Unlikely Journalist Who Dethroned America’s Robber Barons

We May Revere Our Millionaires, but Thanks to Ida Tarbell, We’re Not Afraid to Expose Their Shenanigans

Over the last few years, the idea of “the one percent” has become a popular way to discuss the gap between the fantastically wealthy—the one percent of Americans who control …

Journalist Ann Louise Bardach

Ann Louise Bardach is the author of Without Fidel and Cuba Confidential. Before participating in a discussion on whether the Cuban Revolution failed, she talked in the Zócalo green room …

When Punk Rock and Hijabs Collide

An Iranian-American Artist's Veiled, Metal-Studded Self-Portraits

In the 1980s, punk rockers wore black leather jackets dotted with metal, pyramid studs to signal their rebellion and toughness. Today, those studs are a popular fashion embellishment found on …

The Revolution Iran Missed

Focusing on Ideology, Nuclear Power, and Crushing Its Enemies Has Denied the Nation an Economic Transformation

Iran’s 1979 revolution still reverberates across the world. A revolution in the truest sense, it swept away the old order, delivered a new one, reordered regional and global geopolitics, and …