With The Nation researchers can access 14 decades of historic articles, editorials, letters, reviews, poems, and puzzles dating back to the magazine's first issue from July 6, 1865. The Nation is an important clearinghouse of primary source material in American and world history, offering a 150-year archive of reporting opinion and criticism.
In the first year of publication, one of the magazine's regular features was The South As It Is, dispatches from a tour of the war-torn region by John Richard Dennett, a recent Harvard graduate and a veteran of the Port Royal Experiment. Dennett interviewed Confederate veterans, freed slaves, agents of the Freedmen's Bureau, and ordinary people he met by the side of the road.
From 1880 to 1930 the magazine became a literary supplement to the daily newspaper New York Evening Post as it was acquired by the Henry Villard, a newspaperman turned railroad baron.
During the 1930s the magazine praised the accomplishments of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal and wrote in support of the nationalization of many industries.
The Nation supported the war effort during WWII and because of its far left ideology it was banned by several school libraries during the height of the McCarthy era.
Today the magazine remains a left leaning magazine and it celebrated its 150 year anniversary in 2015 with a documentary and a 268-page special issue.