What It Means to Be American
A National Conversation

Identities

The Savvy Press Agent Who Invented Buffalo Bill

"Arizona John" Burke Perfected the Art of Hype That Converted a Bison Hunter Into a Symbol of National Character

By Joe Dobrow

To appreciate the wonder and luster of a star in the sky, one must look off to its side—“averted vision,” it is called.

So it was in the late 19th century with the rising star of republics—the United States—and with the man who, more than any other, came to epitomize our nation’s drive, character, promotional flair, and obsession with celebrity: William F. Cody.

In the second half of the century, Cody, also known as “Buffalo Bill,” achieved a measure of renown in …

Event
Engagements

Suppressing Voting Rights Is as Old as the Republic—But the Tactics Keep Changing 

Discriminatory State Constitutions, Poll and Literacy Taxes, and Now Photo ID Laws All Have Been Used to Keep Ballots From the Less Powerful 

By Allan J. Lichtman

The more that efforts to suppress voting rights in America change, the more they remain the same.

From the earliest days of the republic to the present, politicians have sought to limit the ability of non-whites to vote. What has changed is the nature of suppression—either the addition of regulations, or the deregulation of parts of the process—as well as the degree to which would-be vote suppressors reveal their intentions.

The American problem with voter suppression started with a void in the …