Evan Osnos is a staff writer for The New Yorker. He lived in Beijing from 2005 to 2013.
In honor of the Fourth of July, we’re revisiting Ted Widmer’s 2008 piece “Where Does American History Begin?” For many, the obvious answer is in 1776 Philadelphia, with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Others might argue that hints of modern America emerged in the Jamestown and Plymouth settlements. But America’s true beginnings, Widmer writes, go back much further.