The Atlantic

The Atlantic Democracy Reader

For 161 years, magazine contributors have written about the gravest dangers and darkest hours for America’s political institutions.
Source: AP

“Democracy in America … is suffering from unforeseen evils, as well as enjoying unforeseen blessings. It will probably be worse before it is better,” wrote The Nation’s founder E. L. Godkin in a July 1896 article for The Atlantic, expressing a sentiment that resonates across eras in the magazine’s pages.

“Democracy in the United States is at greater risk than ever before,” wrote Robert D. Kaplan in December 1997, expressing another.

In the 161 years since it was founded on the eve of the Civil War, has borne witness to some of American democracy’s darkest hours. The magazine has survived, and published accounts of, the secession of the South and the failure of Reconstruction; the attempted packing of the Supreme Court and the Watergate scandal; impeachment hearings against three U.S. presidents and the assassination of four others—moments, not

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