Sean Wilentz

The Halloween Concert That Reinvented Bob Dylan
Philharmonic Hall, New York City, October 31, 1964
October 31, 2014 12:00 AM

Bob Dylan was the cynosure of hip, when hipness still wore pressed slacks and light brown suede boots (as he did that night).

Why Has the American Literary Canon Admitted So Few Historians?
Two mid-century scholars are finally getting their due
September 06, 2014

Two mid-century scholars finally get their due

Would You Feel Differently About Snowden, Greenwald, and Assange If You Knew What They Really Thought?
January 19, 2014

Understanding the real motivations of Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, and Julian Assange.

Does the Gettysburg Address Distract Us from the Real Lincoln?
A prominent historian on the politician behind the oratory
November 18, 2013

Tuesday marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. In this 2009 essay, historian Sean Wilentz argues that we have let Lincoln's feats of oratory—like the Gettysburg Address—overshadow his political achievements.

Lincoln in Hollywood, from Griffith to Spielberg
December 21, 2012

Spielberg's film ought to put an end to the Lost Cause mythology.

Blood and the Ballad: Bob Dylan’s Macabre New Album
September 07, 2012

Soon after I first listened to Bob Dylan’s intense new album, Tempest, a friend who’d also heard it wanted to know what a historian made of its line, early on, about the British burning down the White House. I replied that I had no idea. And many listenings later, I still don’t.

Efficacy and Democracy
June 21, 2012

Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of PowerBy Robert A. Caro (Knopf, 712 pp., $35) I. MANY LIBERAL Democrats have yet to come to terms with Lyndon Johnson.

The Mirage
October 26, 2011

I. The American dream of politics without conflict, and of politics without political parties, has a history as old as American politics. Anyone carried along on the political currents since 2008, however, might be forgiven for thinking that the dream is something new—and that a transformative era was finally at hand, in which the old politics of intense partisan conflict, based on misunderstanding, miscommunication, and misanthropy, could be curbed if not ended. After the presidency of George W.

20 Years Later: How Bill Clinton Saved Liberalism From Itself
October 01, 2011

October 3rd marks the twentieth anniversary of Bill Clinton’s announcement of his candidacy for the presidency. The distance of time permits some perspective on what Clinton was attempting to do when he set out on his quest. Since the end of World War II, every Democrat who has sought the presidency has attempted to update the legacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Above and Beyond
May 02, 2011

Sean Wilentz wonders if bin Laden’s death will bring a close to the era of paranoid politics in America.

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