Philadelphia Reflections

The musings of a physician who has served the community for over six decades

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Interest rates as signs of the future.

The Nation, 1865-2015

Franklin Roosevelt famously put together a political coalition which contained both rich white people and blacks. It has long seemed a puzzle that such extremes of society could join in an enduring coalition, but perhaps the 150th anniversary of The Nation supplies a clue. The magazine must have its share of ordinary working people, but the editorial core seems to be drawn from rich whites and poor blacks. They don't share the same dances and supermarkets, so why should they share a common political viewpoint?

So perhaps a clue to outsiders is the founding date of the magazine -- 1865. That was the time of Reconstruction in the South. It may have been the time of other public movements, too. It led to the Ku Klux Klan and violent re-segregation movements, Governor Faubus and the rest. But it must have offended the children of the planter class in the South, as well. It must have offended the border states, forced to stand silently while their leaders went the other way. The great European immigrations were several decades later, so the present composition of the magazine's leadership enlisted later volunteers perhaps. So perhaps the present leadership does not completely reflect the views of the founding members. And Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy mixed things up, considerably.

Does anyone know the history of the founding?

Originally published: Saturday, November 28, 2015; most-recently modified: Friday, June 07, 2019