Bioshock: Infinite is no exception. The creators carefully studied the late 1800s and early 1900s in order to create the setting, and spent equal amounts of time carefully selecting names.
Bioshock: Infinite: the game itself. The late 1800s and early 1990s was an era of unparalleled optimism in America’s future. Both domestically and internationally, the United States seemed to have nothing but potential. The rift of the Civil War had largely healed, and overseas expansion grew our resources and our markets. In other words, America’s possibilities seemed infinite.
Columbia: the floating city. In the 1700s and 1800s, the United States of America was represented by the female symbol of Columbia. She overlapped with the now more familiar Uncle Sam for half a century, and was largely replaced by the Statue of Liberty as the female symbol of America. It’s fitting that a city symbolizing America’s greatness bears the name of its historical icon.
Boxer Rebellion: Columbia’s disappearance. Columbia went on a world tour, both to demonstrate America’s glory and its supremacy. In China, Columbia opens fire at the Boxer Rebellion, at which point it breaks away from the United States government. Following decades of foreign control (after the Opium Wars and being divided into foreign spheres of influence), a nationalist political and military group led a failed attempt to expel foreigners. Foreigners, not recognizing martial arts, called them boxers after seeing them practice kung fu.
Pinkerton Agency: De Witt’s employer. The premiere private detective agency of the time, whose all-seeing eye logo gave rise to the term “private detective.” The reality is that they were frequently used as strike-breakers to protect wealthy corporate interests, like at the Homestead Strike.
Booker DeWitt: the protagonist. Booker means one involved in the creation of books. DeWitt, no exaggeration, means “the white one.” His story is the story of the game, so in that sense he authors the plot. At the same time, his racial identity (as white) gives him the opportunity to side with the racist Founders, an option not available to characters of color.
Wounded Knee: not a Skyrim reference. DeWitt previously fought at Wounded Knee, one of the darkest days of U.S. military service. As part of the larger “Indian Wars” to kill and force Native Americans off land for white settlers, the U.S. cavalry killed over 150 unarmed Lakota men, women, and children.
Zachary Comstock: Zachary means “remembered by God,” which is fitting, considering the religious destiny he sees for himself and the other Founders. His last name may be a reference to Anthony Comstock, postal inspector in the late 1800s. The Comstock laws outlawed any and all sending of “immoral” materials using the United States Postal Service. Both Comstocks were reactionary in their moral and political beliefs.
Vox Populi: the resistance. Vox Populi translates from Latin as “the voice of the people,” and is usually part of the phrase “vox populi, vox dei” or “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” This phrase is usually used to say that, in a democracy, the voice of the people is the ultimate authority.
Daisy Fitzroy: the resistance leader. Daisy is a common flower (fitting for a woman leading the common people) and Fitzroy, meaning “illegitimate child of a king.” A woman of color, she is the antithesis of the old, white men who Founded and lead Columbia. Given her last name, it seems possible/likely that she is either the child of a Founder, or perhaps the descendent of a slave master and his female slave.