What It Means to Be American
A National Conversation

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Ideas

How Fashion Overcame the Transatlantic Divide

Celebrities Erased National Differences in Women's Style, but American Men Still Refuse to Dress With British Sophistication

Crowe on fashion LEAD

By Lauren Goldstein Crowe
March 11, 2016

An American woman I know in London recently posted on Facebook about being grateful to be out of the country during the current presidential election. That prompted a feisty response about American exceptionalism from a friend of a friend in Texas: “Sorry, I refuse to buy into your anti American socialist/communist rhetoric. We ARE better than everybody else, by far… If you believe otherwise, you are delusional. The entire world DOES revolve around us, from our economy… to our culture, …

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Ideas

Ben Franklin Was One-Fifth Revolutionary, Four-Fifths London Intellectual

The Enterprising Philadelphian Was a Longtime Royalist and a Late-Blooming Rebel Who Infused the American Project with English Ideals

Benjamin Franklin in London image

By George Goodwin
March 3, 2016

Two hundred and fifty years ago, in February 1766, Benjamin Franklin, the most famous American in London, addressed the British House of Commons. His aim, which he achieved triumphantly, was to persuade Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act, the legislation that had usurped the power of the colonial assemblies and caused the first major breakdown in relations between Britain and its American colonies. Franklin was determined to heal the breach; unlike most British politicians, he understood the American continent’s vast …

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Journeys

From a London Alley to the White House

Louisa Catherine Adams, the Only First Lady Born Outside the U.S., Had to Prove Herself to Her Husband’s Family, Congress—and the Country

Louisa Catherine Adams, First Lady

By Louisa Thomas
October 31, 2014

It was hard for Louisa Catherine Adams, the only first lady born outside the United States, to say where she came from. She began her life in a narrow alley in London, in 1775, but she was taught not to think of herself as British. Her mother, Catherine, was English; her father, Joshua Johnson, was a merchant from Maryland and an American patriot.

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