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 …

Why George Washington Embraced the Idea of a ‘Nondescript’ God | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why George Washington Embraced the Idea of a ‘Nondescript’ God

The First President Wanted to Unite Americans of All Religions Without Alienating Catholics, Freethinkers, and Jews

George Washington issued what might be considered the first executive order. To commemorate the end of a bloody Revolutionary War, Washington set aside the last Thursday of November as a …

Why Has America Been So Reluctant to ‘Own’ the South?

A Preeminent Historian Explores How a Region Central to U.S. Identity Gets Written Out of the National Narrative

James C. Cobb is Emeritus B. Phinizy Spalding distinguished professor in the history of the American South at the University of Georgia. He has published 13 books and many articles …

A Very Cheech Marin Thanksgiving

Stoner, Boy Scout, Yogi, Art Collector—the Actor-Comedian Contains Multitudes

This week, California should give thanks for Cheech.

Richard Anthony Marin deserves our gratitude not just because his new autobiography, Cheech Is Not My Real Name … But Don’t Call Me …

What’s the Deal With Canned Cranberry Sauce?

The Pilgrims’ Plates Looked Nothing Like the Holiday Meal We Eat Today

No American holiday conjures up images and memories of food like Thanksgiving. Starting in preschool, most of us learned that Thanksgiving commemorates the moment in 1621 when Pilgrims sat down …