The Atlantic

The Atlantic Democracy Reader

For 161 years, magazine contributors have written about the gravest dangers and darkest hours for America’s political institutions.
Source: AP

“Democracy in America … is suffering from unforeseen evils, as well as enjoying unforeseen blessings. It will probably be worse before it is better,” wrote The Nation’s founder E. L. Godkin in a July 1896 article for The Atlantic, expressing a sentiment that resonates across eras in the magazine’s pages.

“Democracy in the United States is at greater risk than ever before,” wrote Robert D. Kaplan in December 1997, expressing another.

In the 161 years since it was founded on the eve of the Civil War, has borne witness to some of American democracy’s darkest hours. The magazine has survived, and published accounts of, the secession of the South and the failure of Reconstruction; the attempted packing of the Supreme Court and the Watergate scandal; impeachment hearings against three U.S. presidents and the assassination of four others—moments, not

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic8 min readPolitics
The U.S. Is About to Do Something Big on Hong Kong
Protests there have demonstrated the enduring appeal of American values and power. But can Washington live up to that promise?
The Atlantic9 min read
The Plot Against Persona
It’s preposterous for Lana Del Rey and other musicians to deny that they’re playing characters. But in this pop landscape, that denial might be necessary.
The Atlantic5 min readScience
A Woman’s AncestryDNA Test Revealed a Medical Secret
As a cancer patient, she had received cord-blood cells from an anonymous donor. The DNA from those cells led her to him.