Fintan O’Toole: In the US, the 19th century is coming to a very slow end

The unfinished business of slavery, emancipation and Civil War is still playing itself out

US president Donald Trump arrives for the Independence Day events at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota, on Friday July 3rd. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

US president Donald Trump arrives for the Independence Day events at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota, on Friday July 3rd. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

In 1936, the French novelist and screenwriter Vladimir Pozner took a long trip around the United States. The richly impressionistic account he published in French two years later was called Les États Désunis – the Disunited States, a title that resonates as much now as it did in the era of the Great Depression.

It could perhaps serve as well as any other as a title for the conversations I will have next week as part of the Irish Times Summer Nights Festival with two brilliant women who have been very close to the centre of power in Washington, Melody Barnes and Samantha Power.

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