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Connecting California

How Long Can the Military Defend Camp Pendleton?

The Marine Base Sits at a Crossroads of an Urbanizing Southern California Starving for Open Land

By Joe Mathews

    The American military may be the finest fighting force in the history of the world. But how long can it defend Camp Pendleton?
    Marine Base Camp Pendleton is best known as our state’s signature military facility, a center for training the men and women who fight for our country.
    But Pendleton is also one of our state’s most desirable pieces of land, making it an increasingly inviting target in a coastal Southern California starved for housing, parks, infrastructure, and transportation. In the years to come, trends in economics, budgets, politics, demographics, environment, and warfare itself will create pressure for Californians to take at least some of it back from the federal government.
    The military’s defenders will ridicule this suggestion, but here’s the reality on the ground, soldier: Camp Pendleton may be too wonderful for the Marines to hold it forever. ...


Why Do So Many Public Buildings in the U.S. Look Like Greek Temples?

In the Architectural Void of a New Nation, William Strickland Borrowed from Ancient Athens to Express America's Democratic Ethos

By Robert Russell

    President Andrew Jackson took a keen interest in the construction of the federal mint in Philadelphia, a grand, columned edifice, inspired by the temples of ancient Greece, that opened in 1833. Jackson was not a man known for his appreciation of cultural and artistic pursuits. A populist who famously railed against the elites, he had initially wanted to construct a simple building for minting money quickly, because there was a severe shortage of specie—coins—in the country at the time.
    Gradually, though, he came around to the idea of a grander mint, and became personally involved in many aspects of the building’s design, from its placement in a prime location, backed up to one corner of Centre Square, at the literal center of Philadelphia, to the rich materials used in its construction. Brick became marble, a copper ...

Connecting California Joe Mathews


  • By Magda Kapa

    How does the night move?
    There must be a moment
    when it moves over your body.
    You are half night, ...

  • By Caitlin Mohney


    from here the earth
    is a shade of the darkest
    blue before black ...

  • Video Highlights

    Looking Back at Four Years of “What It Means to Be American”

    The Smithsonian/ASU/Zócalo Project on U.S. History and Identity Is Just Getting Started

    Since its launch on April 14, 2014, the "What It Means to Be American" project has convened 12 events in seven cities and published more than 300 essays on American history and identity. And we're just getting started. Here's a look back at where we've been, and where we're going.