“The Tide Is Setting Strongly Against Us”

Lincoln’s bid for reelection in 1864 faced serious challenges from a popular opponent and a nation weary of war

For a good part of 1864—the year he faced reelection—Abraham Lincoln had little faith that he would win or even be renominated. Despite the decisive Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg the year before, the Confederacy had sustained recent victories outside Richmond at the Crater and Cold Harbor. Three long and bloody years of war, with still no end in sight, had rallied significant political support for peace. The Democratic challenger, his former general, the popular George B.Read more »

The Fate Of Leo Frank

He was a Northerner. He was an industrialist. He was a Jew. And a young girl was murdered in his factory.

ON DECEMBER 23, 1983, THE LEAD EDITORIAL IN THE ATLANTA Constitution began, “Leo Frank has been lynched a second time.” The first lynching had occurred almost seventy years earlier, when Leo Frank, convicted murderer of a thirteen-year-old girl, had been taken from prison by a band of vigilantes and hanged from a tree in the girl’s hometown of Marietta, Georgia. The lynching was perhaps unique, for Frank was not black but a Jew. Frank also is widely considered to have been innocent of his crime.Read more »

Caution: I Brake For History

A BOLD NEW KIND OF COLLEGE COURSE BRINGS the student directly to the past, nonstop, overnight, in squalor and glory, for weeks on end

 

O Public Road … you express me better than I can express myself. ” I first read Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road,” in Leaves of Grass , as an Ohio schoolboy. The great democratic chant struck me hard, a lightning bolt of simple, authoritative words proclaiming that only in motion do people have the chance to turn dreams into reality. Even as a fourteen-yearold I already suspected this. Read more »

The Road To Modern Atlanta

THE VISITORS WHO COME HERE FOR THE OLYMPICS this summer won’t find Tara. What they will find is a city facing an unusual—and sometimes painful—past with clarity of vision and generosity of spirit.

 

When the olympians fly into Atlanta, the first sign of the city they will see from the air is not the skyline of proud towers, shimmering in the humidity, but Stone Mountain, the immense dome of granite sixteen miles to the east. Even from a mile in the air they will be able to see clearly the three huge figures carved into the face of the rock: Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson. Read more »

Country

It’s the fastest-growing music in America. It’s a three-billion-dollar-plus industry. Cable stations devoted to it reach sixty-two million homes. And yet, says one passionate follower of country music past and present, its story is over.

Country music is one of those phenomena that remind us how much we’ve packed into the twentieth century, for it is younger than many of our parents. This is its story. Read more »

The Rock Of Chickamauga

Lee. Grant. Jackson. Sherman. Thomas. Yes, George Henry Thomas belongs in that company. The trouble is that he and Grant never really got along.

Of all the great commanders in the Civil War, the most consistently underrated and overlooked is Gen. George H. Thomas, the big Virginia cavalryman who fought for the Union. From January 1862 at Mill Springs, where he won the first major Federal victory of the war, through December 1864 at Nashville, where he destroyed the Army of Tennessee, Thomas never lost a battle when he was in command. Read more »

The Bottle

Seventy-one years ago, a designer working frantically to meet a deadline for the Coca-Cola Company produced a form that today is recognized on sight by 90 percent of the people on earth

The cries of the thirsty faithful resounded across the land last year when, after refreshing Americans for the better part of a century, the Coca-Cola Company announced it was introducing a new Coke and retiring the old version. Eventually the company recanted, of course, and depending upon which story you prefer, either bowed to popular demand or played its next card. The original soft drink is now back on store shelves, but not before having undergone a sort of corporate beatification process —now it’s Classic Coke. Read more »