Jacques Louis David's painting The Oath of the Horatii

The Oath of the Horatii, by Jacques-Louis David, 1784. Louvre, Paris.


Volume VII, Number 2 | spring 2014


Georges Cuvier, founder of the field of paleontology, wrote in 1812 that examination of the strata of the earth revealed “traces of revolutions.” He surmised, “Innumerable living beings have been the victims of these catastrophes; some have been destroyed by sudden inundations, others have been laid dry in consequence of the bottom of the seas being instantaneously elevated. Their races have become extinct and have left no memorial of them, except some small fragment which the naturalist can scarcely recognize.”

If not us, who? If not now, when?

—Czech slogan, 1989


The World in Time

Olivier Zunz

Lewis H. Lapham speaks with the author of The Man Who Understood Democracy: The Life of Alexis de Tocqueville. More