What It Means to Be American
A National Conversation

Encounters

The Sleeping Car King Who Brought America to the “Ragged Edge of Anarchy”

George Pullman’s Unbending Business Acumen Made Him a Mogul, But Also Inspired the Greatest Labor Uprising of the 19th Century

by Jack Kelly

George M. Pullman literally raised Chicago from the mud. He introduced luxury to the nation’s rail lines. He even created a model company town for his workers—a feat that prompted some to proclaim him the “Messiah of a new age.”

Then, in the greatest labor uprising of the nineteenth century, he found himself cast as the villain and his reputation turned to dust.

Pullman began his career lifting buildings. Taking over a business started by his father, he moved warehouses and barns …

Encounters

Ulysses Grant’s Forgotten Fight for Native American Rights

The President and His Seneca Friend Ely Parker Wanted Indians to Gain Citizenship, But Their Efforts Are Mostly Lost to History

by Mary Stockwell

The man elected president in 1868—Ulysses S. Grant—was determined to change the way many of his fellow Americans understood citizenship. As he saw it, anyone could become an American, not just people like himself who could trace their ancestry back eight generations to Puritan New England. Grant maintained that the millions of Catholic and Jewish immigrants pouring into the country should be welcomed as American citizens, as should the men, women, and children just set free from slavery during the …