Articles by Anthony Esolen

Lessons from Another World

y experience,” wrote Booker T. Washington in Up From Slavery, “is that there is something in human nature which always makes an individual recognize and reward merit, no matter under what color of skin merit is found. I have found, too, that it is the visible, the tangible, that goes a long ways in softening […]

Is America Even a Nation of Laws?

hen Grover Cleveland was elected president for the second time, he said in his inaugural address that he would adopt an “unconstrained” view of the duties laid out for the executive in the Constitution. He meant that he would not constrain or force the words of the Constitution to mean something that they did not […]

Scorch the Field

n 1947, a few months after Jackie Robinson had broken the color barrier in the National League, the Cleveland Indians jumped into the ring, signing Hall of Fame outfielder Larry Doby, who was in the middle of his career, and Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige, who was 41 years old and had spent what […]

A Reign of Error

t the end of The Unheavenly City: The Nature and the Future of Our Urban Crisis (1968), Edward Banfield presents a prospect regarding race relations that seems to have been fulfilled since his tumultuous years and ours: a reign of error. Let me set the stage. America had become the wealthiest nation in the history […]

Kangaroo Nation

he premise behind much of the protesting we hear in our time from women, African Americans, gays, and other groups granted the special status of being in the minority (how that applies to women, who make up more than half of the population, is hard to see), is that they are to be believed when […]

The Indispensable American Family

n August 1884, Washington Gladden, possibly the most famous Christian preacher in the America of his day, wrote an article in The Century Magazine on “Three Dangers” besetting the welfare of the nation he loved. Of the first and third dangers he named, intemperance and gambling, I have little to say here. I will note […]

The Expectations Abyss

collect magazines. Not the brightly colored paper things that fall apart. My magazines are bound in large volumes of about 1,000 pages, six months at a time: The Century Magazine, Harper’s Magazine, Scribner’s, and others, and they date from around 1875 to 1930. In those magazines, you will find articles of what would strike us […]

A ‘Christmas Carol’
For Our Times

I have heard it said that Charles Dickens, by his famous novella about the miserly buyer of bad debts who is visited by a series of ghosts and who consequently learns to open his heart and his purse, “invented” Christmas for us speakers of English. That is how we have ended up with a holiday […]

Finding America
Among the Ruins

Under the town of El-Bahnasa, west of the Nile and 160 miles upriver from Cairo, lie the ruins and the garbage dump of the ancient city of Oxyrhynchus. The Muslims had governed the area for 1,200 years, and they had not bothered to search among the ruins. These were finally investigated in 1896 by British […]

Education Is Not About Your ‘Lived Reality’

Three years ago, I was smeared before all the students, professors, and staff members of Providence College, where I had taught since 1990. That was some 5,000 people. The authors of the smear were the president of the college, whose final term expires next spring, and the vice president, who will be taking over for […]

We Need More Fat, Boring, Sensible Men

Early in the spring, driving along Interstate 93 in New Hampshire, I passed a large billboard featuring a smiling, attractive woman, the caption “The Heart of a Soldier,” and the name “Tulsi.” She didn’t look like a soldier, and at the time I did not know who she was, so the billboard puzzled me. Of […]

How We Colored Our Public Squares Red

Reports tell us that church attendance among Americans is falling. I am acquainted with secular professors who apparently have learned nothing from the experiences of atheistic social experiments in the last century. Social experiments, I say, and not societies, because such monstrosities as Soviet Russia and Red China were never social enough to raise the […]