Cover Stories: Whose America?

A growing emphasis on the nation's multicultural heritage exalts racial and ethnic pride at the expense of social cohesion

Exactly 215 years ago this week, some subjects of Britain's King George III adopted a Declaration of Independence that asserted the necessity for a sovereign and free United States of America. The ground moved under that hall in steamy, summertime Philadelphia; an idea was proclaimed that would shake and reshape the world. Yet the entire world was hardly represented. All 56 of the signatories were white males of European descent, most of them wealthy property holders. Like some of his co-revolutionaries, Thomas Jefferson, who was primarily responsible for the soaring language of the document ("We hold these truths to be self...

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