• July 4 Was Once a Day of Protest by the Enslaved

    by Matt Clavin

    The public declarations of freedom and political equality that accompanied Independence Day were a prompt for protest, escape, and rebellion for the enslaved. 

  • Militarized Super Bowl Abuses Truth of Pat Tillman's Life and Death

    by William Astore

    Tillman’s statue captures the essence of a man full of life. His death by friendly fire in a misbegotten war, made worse by the lies told to the Tillman family by the U.S. military, reminds us that the essence of war is death. The NFL, as a sponsored partner of the Pentagon, would like us to forget.

  • What is the Meaning of America's Oldest July 4th Celebration?

    by Ben Railton

    Bristol, Rhode Island's patriotic festivities are the oldest Independence Day festivities in the nation, but the town's history sits at the uncomfortable intersection of independence with the slave trade and wars of extermination against Native Americans. 

  • The Dangerous “Patriotism” of the January 6 Insurrection

    by Ben Railton

    The participants in the attack on the Capitol a year ago reflected a "mythic patriotism" founded on the belief in an authentic, white, Christian nation under attack by enemies dangerous enough to justify any measures in opposition. 

  • Has the Myth of the "Good War" Done America Harm?

    Remembrance of the second world war obscures the ambivalence many Americans felt about the conflict and the frequent divergence of military strategy and propaganda from the noble ideals of freedom and democracy. Elizabeth Samet's book asks if the myth of the good war has encouraged war since.

  • Partisans Often Try to Claim July 4 as their Own. It Usually Backfires

    by Kevin M. Kruse

    Intense partisans seeking to use July 4 celebrations as a way to denounce their opponents as unpatriotic have seldom succeeded, though despite some notorious episodes of Independence Day chaos they will probably keep trying. 

  • The Battle for 1776

    How will the re-emergence of history as a culture war battle front impact the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence? Annette Gordon-Reed, Jane Kamensky, Michael Hattem, Kevin Gover, Philip Mead, Robert Parkinson and Alan Taylor are among the historians commenting.

  • We, the Nation, Born Under This Tree

    by Sean Cleary

    A speech of Edward Everett and a painting by N.C. Wyeth create a mythical founding moment of an American nation conceived as a white homeland. 

  • “Patriotic” Veterans Only, Please

    by Gregory A. Daddis

    While perhaps an indication of our current toxic political environment, the attacks on “unpatriotic” veterans like U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman actually have a long and checkered history in post-World War II America.

  • Battles over patriotism, Pledge of Allegiance in schools span a century

    by Randall Curren and Charles Dorn

    Seventy-five years ago, at the height of America’s involvement in World War II, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette that guaranteed public school students’ right to refuse to stand in patriotic salute.