Annette Gordon-Reed is Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard. She is the author of, among other books, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, which won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 2009, and “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination, with Peter S. Onuf. Her essay in this issue was written at Hedgebrook in Washington State, a retreat for women writers.
 (January 2017)

IN THE REVIEW

The Captive Aliens Who Remain Our Shame

Johannes Adam Oertel: Pulling Down the Statue of King George III, 1848

The Common Cause: Creating Race and Nation in the American Revolution

by Robert Parkinson
It is a commonplace that being an American is a matter neither of blood nor of cultural connections forged over time. It is, instead, a commitment to a set of ideals famously laid down by the country’s founders, and refined over generations with a notion of progress as a guiding principle. Of course, what it means to be an American is not—has never been—so simple a proposition.