What Crime Does the Thanksgiving Turkey Answer For?

A Philosopher Reflects on How Pardoning the Birds Only Compounds the Holiday's Hypocrisy and Brutality

“Merciful President Pardons Turkey” declared headlines when John F. Kennedy saved the turkey gifted to the White House from being on the dinner table in 1963. But the tradition of sparing a turkey goes all the way back to when Thanksgiving was first declared an official holiday a century prior, in 1863. That year, Tad Lincoln, youngest son of Abraham and Mary, grew attached to the live turkey that had been sent to the White House and persuaded his dad to grant clemency to the bird to stop it from …

Thanks for Being Obsessed with Us, America | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Thanks for Being Obsessed with Us, America

This Holiday Season, Be Grateful to Your Out-of-State Friends and Relatives Who Have California on the Brain

Thank you, America, for always keeping California in your thoughts.

Now it’s that time of the year when we should give thanks for the only California real estate that’s still cheap—all …

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 …