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  • Jonathan Letterman: Civil War Doctor.Robert Huitrado

    Robert Huitrado

    Prof Shrout

    Hist 571


    Jonathan Letterman: Civil War Doctor.

    In the middle of the 1800s, the United States struggled through the most devastating conflict in American history, the American Civil War.

    Susan-Mary Grant, author of The War for a Nation: The American Civil War discussed a wide range of topics in her book: the founding of Jamestown and the United States, the buildup of tensions in the early 1800s, the divisions that developed between the North and the South, the settlements or compromises that were agreed upon to ease tensions, the beginning of the war, the war itself, and the legacy of the war. A surprising feature of The War for a Nation is that Jonathan Letterman is not mentioned by name anywhere in her book, nor is The Letterman System, his autobiography, or his biography, Surgeon in Blue, by Scott McGaugh.

    An interesting caveat was found on page 152, where Grant seems to ascribe parts of The Letterman System to General Hooker and gave him full credit for them. In early February 1863, Grant states that Hooker “

    There is nothing wrong with Grant implying that Hooker went about improving the army’s physical health, especially after Fredericksburg. However, Grant does not give details on how the physical health of the army was improved or what was improved upon, what the medical treatments were lacking before Hooker began improving them, what the diet was before and after Fredericksburg, nor how Hooker’s improved them, and what the sanitation was like before and after Hooker’s enhancements. It is assumed on the part of the reader that if the conditions needed improvement, it must have been bad. She writes this sentence and moves on with the war. Grant does not acknowledge that Letterman’s System was well established by this time and much of Hooker’s ...

  • In the Name of Mercy: The Legacy of the American Red Cross on Gender and WarDiana Nguyen

    Diana Nguyen

    HIST 571T

    Dr. Shrout

    16 December 2016

    Following the First World War, the American Red Cross achieved international recognition and fame but also transformed itself into a global and powerful organization by the end of the war. In addition to its phenomenal growth, the American Red Cross also implemented various nursing programs including the development of first aid, water safety, and organized public health campaigns in order to alleviate the pain and suffering of soldiers, civilians, and foreigners alike. Scholars have mostly focused upon the highlights and achievements of the major relief organization and yet through their use of propaganda, the American Red Cross also promoted militarism, sacrifice, and traditional notions of gender during wartime. Future historians should further analyze the omniscient power of the American Red Cross and how it was an organization that ultimately became a symbol of peace and charity that mobilized thousands of men to enlist in the war effort while also encouraging countless of women to prepare themselves and their men for war. By examining how historians have conceptualized and viewed the significance of the American Red Cross and its impact on gender and war during the First World War, scholars must look at the contradicting and manipulative nature of the American Red Cross through a critical gendered lens and how it fundamentally transformed both itself and the United States into a major international power through its relief programs by the end of the war.

    In the interest of moving the current state of academic scholarship on the history of the American Red Cross and their rise to power by the end of the First World War, one would have to consider the intimate connections between international humanitarian aid and the ideologies of American exceptionalism and manifest destiny in the twentieth century. Julia Irwin, author of Making the World Safe: The American Red Cross and a Nation’s Humanitarian Awakening, sought to examine how the American Red Cross gave rise to a new type of international sensibility and helped foster a new sense of responsibility in Americans to help foreign others during the First World War and its aftermath. In their efforts to reduce the suffering of others, Americans aspired to such ideals and believed “the United States had to behave as a benevolent world power, a nation ready and willing to direct its burgeoning material and intellectual resources toward the improvement of international health and welfare.” Compared to Gavin and Turk’s positive image of the American Red Cross, Irwin details the contradicting nature of the humanitarian organization in both a favorable and negative light as she follows their expansion from a privately funded voluntary group that focused on emergency aid for disasters to one that concentrated on relief programs and aided both sides of the conflict during World War I. Irwin further affirmed that by providing aid to noncombatants, the American Red Cross used a manipulative strategy in order to prove themselves to the world and their allies that Americans cared about the people of Europe and would do all they could to help those in need. But despite its goal of advancing U.S. national interests, Irwin does acknowledge its growing importance in international relations with the world as well as its ability to forge a nonviolent, cooperative, and mutually beneficial relationship with foreign civilians through aid.

    In her attempt to further emphasized the American Red Cross’ role as a quasi-governmental organization that enjoyed unprecedented government support and direction for its work in the First World War, Julia Irwin continued looked at the international humanitarian efforts that the American Red Cross provided, but specifically in Italy, in her article, “Nation Building and Rebuilding: The American Red Cross in Italy during the Great War.” However, in its attempt to emphasize on American methods, expertise, and alliance, Irwin noted that the American Red Cross essentially enacted reforms in order to transform Italy into their own vision of a modern western nation. Not only did the humanitarian organization pledged “to restore southern Italy but also

    Similar to Irwin’s own statements about the American Red Cross, Marian Moser Jones, author of The American Red Cross from Clara Barton to the New ...

  • Final paper: Cadwell Boosting Boundaries of Power: Revealing Future Los Angeles in a 19th Century Pueblo Townqueenlove35

    Boosting Boundaries of Power:

    Revealing Future Los Angeles in a 19th Century Pueblo Town

    Los Angeles is the city of the future. Urban destiny in the making, people, American and Non-American place their fears and dreams into its budding metropolis. Los Angeles plays a central role in defining malleable cultural, geographical barriers. Los Angles, centered as a geographic nucleus, many commuters situate their geospatial location on how far away they sit from Los Angeles’ destination and destiny.  However, commodifying and assigning Los Angeles’ borders commenced before California’s 1850 entry into statehood. City selling itself on the commodity of promise, appealed to both Anglo-Americans and non-Anglo Americans, much like the entire Western region in the nineteenth century. Inherently, the cityscape and its space promote a mythicized culture and consistent class shift resulting in Los Angeles’ geographic reassignment. In the twentieth-century, the term gentrification:

    1. A class shift in a given area in which wealthier residents and consumers replace poorer residents and consumers, or in which residents and consumers with more cultural or financial capital replace residents and consumers with less cultural or financial capital.
    2. The restoration, rehabilitation, or adaptive reuse of existing buildings rather than large-scale slum clearance and redevelopment.

    Despite historians’ understandings of who created Los Angeles boundaries and discussions held on the treatment of non-Anglo elites, the two intersections are rarely discussed in conversation with one another. Historians, often focus on broader themes of nineteenth-century Los Angeles. Frameworks like the ‘stockade state,’ heterogeneous political responses, tourism of spatial memory, who qualifies as ‘American,’  transnationalism, booster industrialization and reconstruction in the West are analyzed with mono-lensed mentality of ‘us versus them’ methodology. Methodological approaches in nineteenth-century spatial and cultural assignment contain these frameworks, but seldom speak of how non-Anglo authority and identity is reconstructed with the influencing booster and working class Anglo-Americans. Further, works on Los Angeles infrequently examine how reassignment of cultural and geographic containment affected the established population of non-Anglo communities. These frameworks and methodologies accurately establish occurring pre-gentrification movements in the late-nineteenth century Los Angeles. Also, these systems grossly neglect the perspectives, principles, and cultural relationships in Orange County history. Cultural assignment of geography and stories of navigating built rival geographies rarely find their way out of the Orange County’s agricultural and citrus fields. Applying nineteenth-century frameworks to founding Orange County cities’ history, like Santa Ana, provides an opportunity for significant revisions to the way we understand Anglo American and non-Anglo-American cultures co-existing south of Los Angeles. Moreover, examining these cultural frameworks provides a new diversified perspective in early Orange County History. This essay considers why did Los Angeles Anglo-Americans transform geographic borders and shift cultural boundaries of non-Anglo groups? Also, how did this assignment of cultural boundaries affect non-Anglo groups’ identity and authority within the California? Examining these intersections provides new insights into how racial and economic perspective influences memory of non-Anglo groups?

    Los Angeles adapted from a small pueblo city, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Ángeles del Río Porciúncula, in the late eighteenth-century to a burgeoning metropolis by the early twentieth-century. Scott Zesch describes Los Angeles as “undoubtedly the toughest town of the entire nation during the 1850s and 1860s.”

    Contrary to this argument, Scott Truett argues the violence of vigilante groups detract the rich borderland history. “The borderlands remain ensnared in their ‘wild west past’….thus as unstable as they are divided.” These changes of social geography gentrified early Los Angeles.

    William Estrada argued, “when history and fantasy converge, both a profound political symbolism  and a clear expression of cultural hegemony emerge, particularly when we consider the dialectic relation between who is doing the “preserveing” and what is being “preserved.” Hise focused on contested space and theoretically illustrated newly constructed geography becomes a place of political struggle. The industrialization of Los Angeles provided booster Anglo-Angelenos opportunity to generate wealth. City boosters, engaged in environmental cognition, created a complex Los Angeles urban environment by assigned social space, creating industry, and romanticizing mythical cultural of non-Anglo Angelenos. Navigating created ‘rival geographies,’ immigrant clusters of communities formed geographic space into place by creating enterprise through tourism, cross-ethnic communities, and established an agency within forced cultural boundaries.

  • “The Better Angels of Our Nature”yaremenkolena

    The historiography regarding the political contributions of white women and the African slave population (referred to as people of color in this paper), on the subject of human rights during the Civil War antebellum era, 1781-1860, is now vast, but it was at one time considered to be a less important subject as this group of people’s contributions were rarely if ever included in the official government records of their time, “the gap between national, political history, social history, described by Ellis in terms of subjects of kinds of people, becomes a rigid chronological barrier as well when self-described historians of the founding era define a brief,  Camelot-like early republic, when high politics ruled the day – a last bastion, apparently, of history as the interaction of great men.” Their history would have been forgotten if not for the writings of later historians with more diverse perspectives on what, and who, made up history.  The common thread that connected white women and the African slave population was a strong faith in the religious/moral beliefs that ran through the whole of the antebellum society at that time in history, and they used this common thread to make their voices heard. All had come to the same conclusion, that all humans should be treated equally and that through their words and actions they should be able to achieve this peacefully. While white women had social purpose and a degree of respect in society, their contribution to history was not fully appreciated by earlier historians who did not see them as having important political influence during this antebellum time frame. Earlier historians did not understand the power that white women and people of color had through the shared common thread with most people in the country: religious moral teachings. This general acceptance of white women and people of color (as defined above) as essentially physical and social tools whose writings, speeches and activism was not particularly important to the events leading up to the Civil War was brought into clear focus by the work of later historians whose scope of what elements might be considered history, gives these people greater consideration by encompassing not just the official records of the past, but also the less traditional records such as diaries, letters and the arts to give a better picture of their overall historical contribution.


    Primary source analysis:

    There were many activists, speaking and writing to affect the fight for human rights during the Civil War antebellum era, but few that made such an impact on the world as Harriet Beecher Stowe with her 1854 fictional book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe was raised in “a prominent religious family” and following the tenets of faith, she felt it was her duty to speak out against slavery, “the heroic element was strong in me, having come down by ordinary generation from long line of Puritan ancestry, and just now it made me long to do something, I knew not what: to fight for my country, or to make some declaration on my own account.” She wrote to politicians in an attempt to affect change through her words. Stowe’s fictional book is a tale of morality that might not have been considered significant in the events of history by historians interested in the political elites and official records, but in this book, she managed to find the pulse, or steer a direction among those in the grassroots equal rights and abolitionists movements. Her book with regard to white women and people of color had the effect of humanizing people of color and raising the awareness that women had moral power through religious equality with men. In her book, a man of color is the peaceful, thought-provoking and self-sacrificing hero whose faith—the common thread and equalizer of all humankind, and through a white woman with a vision of a better future through her faith, deliver ...

  • American Isolationism and the Monroe Doctrine in the Nineteenth CenturyTaylor Dipoto

    Taylor Dipoto


    16 December 2016

    American Isolationism and the Monroe Doctrine in the Nineteenth Century

    For a great deal of American history, the United States remained—or attempted to remain—independent from the political affairs of other nations. George Washington set this precedent with his Farewell Address, expressing hope that his country “may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected…Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European Ambition, Rivalship, Interest, Humour or Caprice?” Although the United States did fight engage European powers in war, this germ of isolationism—a form of nonintervention that prized peace for Americans over any international involvement—presented by Washington, took root.

    Despite the early origins of this idea, the bulk of scholarship on American isolationism specifically focuses on the period of the twentieth century that encompasses the World Wars, and often ignores any earlier manifestations of the idea. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the major questions facing historians who tackle these prior incarnations of isolationism center around its origins. While these historians do not often directly engage in a debate, their ideas nevertheless fall into two different camps: one considers the implementation of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823 as the official starting point, while the other looks to various earlier moments in American history. Most historians writing on the subject fall into the first category. Carl Becker wrote “The Monroe Doctrine and the War” shortly after the end of the First World War, making him the first historian to notice a connection between the Monroe Doctrine and the broader idea of isolationism, likely because isolationism was more prevalent than ever before in the years directly leading up to American involvement in the war. Several subsequent historians have shared his opinion; Gretchen Murphy (Hemispheric Imagining: The Monroe Doctrine and Narratives of U.S. Empire), Jay Sexton (The Monroe Doctrine: Empire and Nation in Nineteenth Century America), and John Kasson (“The Monroe Doctrine in 1881”) make the Monroe Doctrine the focus of their respective works on the American idea of empire in the nineteenth century. More recently however, several historians have come forward to suggest even earlier beginnings to isolationist practices. William Belko’s “The Origins of the Monroe Doctrine Revisited” traces its development to a very specific event: the 1810 West Florida Revolt, which he proposes shaped the eventual “no transfer” policy of the Monroe Doctrine. Reaching even further back, Marie-Jeanne Rossignol looks to the 1790s as a period of early isolationism following George Washington’s suggestion to avoid entanglement in Europe in her article “Early Isolationism Revisited: Neutrality and Beyond in the 1790s.”

    While the establishment of a concrete point of origin for isolationism is undoubtedly the most contested point within the historiography, other historians have established an ancillary debate centering around the dichotomy of internationalism and isolationism. Some see these two ideas as completely incompatible, and choose to focus their work on the arguments between “imperialists” and “anti-imperialists” within the American government. David Healy (U.S. Expansionism: The Imperialist Urge in the 1890s) and Berkeley Tompkins (Anti-Imperialism in the United States: The Great Debate 1890-1920) both hold this view in their books dealing with both expansionism and anti-imperialism. On the other side of the debate, Marco Mariano’s “Isolationism, Internationalism and the Monroe Doctrine” and James Sofka’s “American Neutral Rights Reappraised” both point out the similarities between these two ideas, stressing the ways in which they could coexist. Both questions demonstrate the relative lack of consensus among the academic community when it comes to the history of American isolationism, making its study both useful and important in terms reaching new conclusions that may further the field.

    Historical works relating to American isolationism vary quite greatly in their specific topics, because scholars do not agree on exactly what “isolationism” comprises in a specifically American sense. Twentieth century historians view it in a narrow sense, defining it as the United States’ reluctance to involve itself in the world wars. These historians rarely acknowledge the existence of isolationism, at least by their definition, before 1914. Understandably, this prevalent idea causes problems when it comes to defining isolationism as it existed in nineteenth century America. This historiography will view isolationism more broadly, as the desire for both distance from and non-intervention in European affairs, Therefore, the major problem in examining works relating to American foreign policy in the nineteenth century—regardless of the emphasis their individual works directly place on it—is discovering exactly how prevalent isolationism was during this period.

    Until quite recently, many scholars avoided using the term isolationism at all, even when writing on American foreign policy. However, this does not mean earlier works ignored the possibility of its presence. Instead, a trend carrying from the end of the nineteenth century through the early twenty-first century appears to emphasize imperialism, while failing to acknowledge its connections to isolationist ideas. The implementation of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823 and mass territorial expansion throughout the nineteenth century split both politicians and American citizens into two factions: imperialists and anti-imperialists. Evident by their names, the first group supported territorial expansion outside of the continental United States and the establishment of what essentially amounted to a colonial empire. The second opposed this aim, arguing that imposing American rule upon a foreign group “represented a flagrant violation of the fundamental principles upon which the government of the United States was based.”

    Berkeley Tompkins and David Healy both published books on these factions in 1970, emphasizing the ways in which many anti-imperialists viewed colonialism/imperialism as a problem not only for the oppressed, but for the wellbeing of the United States as well. Neither author directly relates anti-imperialism to isolationism, but the two ideas are remarkably similar, as they respectively center on keeping the United States out of foreign territory and foreign affairs. This suggests that in its broad definition, isolation did indeed exist during the nineteenth century. Earlier historians ...

  • Orange County: Integration in the Early Citrus Industry20perez16

    Victoria Perez

    Dr. Shrout

    Hist 571: Directed Readings Seminar

    December 16, 2016

    Final Paper

    Orange County: Integration in the Early Citrus Industry

    Southern California gradually transitioned from a rural region of ranches into a more urban setting in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This transformation is attributed to the establishment of industrial agriculture and, specifically, the citrus industry. Overall, scholars studied the citrus industry both in broad and specific terms. Regional and state histories allowed them to view citrus as a whole unit that drove the economic development of Southern California and the state in general. Historians also compiled case studies about the specific communities in early cities, such as those in San Juan Capistrano. Starting from a smaller group of people revealed a more personal perspective of the social and cultural changes associated with the citrus industry. This paper utilized the latter method in order to contribute to the small, but growing, selection of Orange County history.

    In general, historians approached this industry by examining either the institutions or the people that contributed to urban development. Understanding citrus from a top-down perspective of institutions like the Fruit Exchange or the railroad established the historical background, but it left out many people. Scholars responded to this issue in the historiography by shifting the focus onto the ordinary people experiencing the region’s development. Histories from this second group understood the narrative from the bottom-up. In the last ten years, workers who migrated to California became more visible in the historical narrative. While citrus did in fact promote the region’s growth, it would not have made such an impact without the daily contribution of people

    Perez 2

    who picked and packaged the citrus. Those workers consisted of migrants from other states and countries who created new communities in Southern California. During the early twentieth century, immigration and migration influenced the creation of a diverse population and the development of the citrus industry. In general, scholars approached community development within the context of both local and national migration trends in this period of growth. By working from the bottom up, historians eventually established a narrative that attempted to represent more of the Southern California population.

    In addition to describing how the state of the field became more inclusive, this paper will also explain that the historiography should now focus on cross-gender and cross-ethnic interactions in the early Orange County communities. Future research would examine how and why the commingling of women and non-Anglos was significant in the make up of the county’s citrus workforce. This paper will build on previous histories by using photographs to explain how interactions among diverse groups of people affected citrus communities. Historians adding to the narrative should not only recognize the diversity within the citrus workforce, but they should also realize that those workers transformed the social and cultural environment of the citrus industry. Studying these aspects more closely will also develop a history seeking to portray a more relatable past for those living and working in a modern and diverse world today.

    Since the growth of Southern California’s citrus industry is multi-faceted, historians tried to analyze it in different ways. Theoretical approaches to this subject ranged from economic history to cultural history. Specifically, scholars who wrote social and cultural histories of Southern California established a more complex story. Historians developed a more dynamic perspective when they acknowledged ordinary people’s contributions to growth, instead of describing their

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    impact in brief and general terms. This newer approach from the last ten to twenty years highlighted many aspects of Orange County communities, but it also left out other characteristics that have yet to be fully realized. Historians described ethnic groups in distinct and separate worlds, but they still did not entirely explain one aspect of early integration in the work place. The historical debate most related to this discussion deals with this struggle to understand community, whether it is viewed as a significant participant or only a minor contributor to the citrus industry. How much did immigration or migration play a role in developing Orange County’s communities and how should the ordinary person’s story inform its citrus history?

    The historical counterargument to this debate approached the question with considerably less focus on people and immigration. It is important to note that these historians published their works before, and sometimes around the same time as, other scholars who argued for the other side of the debate. Although top-down histories mentioned people, they did not always represent every gender or ethnicity that should hold a place in the narrative. Instead, these scholars drew attention to major institutions and their leaders in order to create a broader understanding of significant changes occurring in Southern California.

    While histories from above provided a good foundation for the narrative, they minimized the role of the ordinary person in order to identify general trends in the region’s history. William Deverell, in “The Southern Pacific Railroad Survives the Pullman Strike of 1894,” used this top-down approach to explain the power of California’s railroads and its leaders in the midst of labor strikes.1 Ronald Tobey and Charles Wetherell used an approach similar to Deverell in “The Citrus

    1  William Deverell, “The Southern Pacific Railroad Survives the Pullman Strike of 1894.” in Major Problems in California History. ed. Chan Sucheng and Spencer Olin, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997), 183, 192.

    Perez  4

    Industry and the Revolution of Corporate Capitalism in Southern California, 1887-1944.” These three historians did not really consider migration in their analysis of the region’s main factors for growth and success. With an impersonal approach to regional expansion, they argued from the perspectives of company leaders or citrus growers in general terms.2 Unlike histories from below, top-down histories did not emphasize laborers who were unable to make substantial profits from the railroad, real estate, or citrus. However, historians did not try to leave people and immigration out of the story. Instead, they chose to focus on the structures that allowed the region and the citrus industry to flourish. This part of the narrative preceded histories of other people and immigrants because it was important to first understand the environment that drew them to the state. Yet, histories of institutions were still not complete without the laborers who boosted the success of those structures.

    Edward Bachus, in “Who Took the Oranges Out of Orange County?: The Southern California Citrus Industry in Transition,” provided another example of how scholars studied community in broad terms, rather than in specific examples of cultural ...

  • Lynching: Mass Mob Violence in the Late Nineteenth Centurymark_t_garcia

    Lynching in the United States is a well-documented topic with countless journal articles and books written on the subject. What struck me was the proliferation of lynching after the high death counts caused by the civil war. The mass mob violence of lynching seems to counter how the nation was exhausted over of the amount of deaths. Half way through the Civil War, almost every household had mourned the death of a loved one. In Drew Faust’s book, The Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, she examines dying and killing and “explores how those experiences transformed society, culture, and politics in what became a broader republic of shared suffering.” The shared suffering transformed how the United States dealt with the memory of death. Memories of shared suffering did not stop the mob violence killing of African Americans in the South. How have scholars argued the rise of lynching after the civil war and how have they been in conversation with each other?  I will argue what has been scholars common thread and how they expanded it in their own arguments. The common thread that has linked scholars is the Southern justification of lynching by labeling African-American’s as the “Black Rapist” and how they used lynching as a spectacle.

    Throughout the Civil War Americans, from North and South, have become desensitized to killing. During this period the amount of killings became the norm. To continue killing, after the many years of suffering, a justification was needed in order for it to continue. Crystal N. Feimster’s article What If I am a Women: Black Women’s Campaigns for Sexual Justice and Citizenship provides a justification of how white southerners were depicting African American as the “Black Rapist.” Feimster writes, “In constructing the image of the “Black rapist,” southern white men sought to challenge black men’s and women’s rights to citizens, while expanding their own sexual power over African Americans. The portrayal of black men as beastly and unable to control their sexual desires served to justify lynching, segregation, and disfranchisement.” The disappearance of the North and reclaiming political power of white Democrats by using Jim Crow legislation helped increase the large amounts of lynching and suppressed black women’s rights.

    In Amanda K. Frisken’s article “A Song Without Words”: Anti-Lynching Imagery in the African American Press, 1889-1898 she builds on the “Black Rapist” argument, but expands on how imagery justified lynching. Frisken argues, “The stereotype of the black rapist amplified the visual short-hand then developing in the sensational illustrated news…the Police Gazette gradually distilled a version of the southern rape/lynching narrative, namely that African American men had an innate tendency to rape white women, and the lynching was necessary to keep them in check.” Frisken ties her argument with the “Black Rapist” narrator through images of how white Southerners used it to justify lynching. However, she writes how it prompted black newspapers to respond to mob violence and to use images to put pressure on Northern Republican legislatures to provide protection laws for African Americans.

    Christine DeLucia’s article Getting the Story Straight: Press Coverage of Italian-American Lynchings from 1856-1910 expands the “Black Rapist” notion by expanding this justification to other ethnic groups. She explains, “In justifying African-Americans lynchings, white southerners drew upon distinct constructions of black men as rapists, while violence against Sicilians was legitimated by construction of them principally as murderers.” Focusing on ...

  • Final Paper: Picking up the pieces of the U.S.-Mexican Warhigbeejonathan


    The U.S.-Mexican War saw the rapid succession of territorial expansion second only to the Louisiana Purchase. The rise of the prominent tacticians and generals who would forge legendary careers with the outbreak of the Civil War, and once President James K. Polk called for war it created a controversy among Congressional members who viewed it as an opportunity to expand slavery westward. The biggest debate surrounding the war is what is left out of the established narrative, which labels it a glorious and justifiable war? For many years, historians such as Dr. Robert W. Johannsen a J. G. Randall Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Illinois, believed the decision to go to war with Mexico war was reluctantly taken by President Polk and his cabinet. Once word was received of the ambush of an American unit north of the Rio Grande in which several lives were lost. Gave the United States a reasonable excuse to call for a state of war. As a result whatever doubts remained were now removed when Polk sent his war message to Congress, and two days later both houses approved a war bill by overwhelming majorities.  However, this paper seeks to use new scholarly works to argue that the U.S.-Mexican as an unpopular war, which created controversy among Congressional members and the public alike. In addition, to call for the the advancement of the field to view the war itself as a manufactured war created for the purpose of American imperialism. Resulting in the leaving out of California and Mexican narratives in the newly conquered lands west of Texas. Because it is important to have a complete perspective on the war, which encompasses all narrative, so that scholars and students alike can gain a better understanding as why the war was fought and its effect on the people already living in the lands the U.S. won.


    On May 11, 1846, President James K. Polk sent a special message to the Congress of the United States for a declaration of war against Mexico. Polk stated that on April 12, Mexican forces at the small border town of Matamoras under the command of General Pedro de Ampudia assumed a belligerent attitude and notified General Zachary Taylor to break up his camp within twenty-four hours and to retire beyond the Nueces River. If Taylor failed to comply with these demands and he would announced that arms, and arms alone, must decide the question. However, April 24 General Mariano Arista, who had succeeded to the command of the Mexican forces engaged with a large body of  Taylors troops, and after a short affair sixteen U.S. troops were killed and wounded while reaming men were surrounded and compelled to surrender. As such, Polk argued for the vindication for the rights and defense of the United States for which Congress must recognize the existence of the war.  As such, he urged Congress to place the disposition of the Executive the means of prosecuting the war with vigor, and thus hastening the restoration of peace. As result of this, message Congress officially declared war on another nation for the second time in the history of the nation. Nevertheless, the actual decision to go to war provoked controversy among the congressional members and the public alike, which seems to have been swept under the rug, do the notion of history books empathizing America’s victory over Mexico and the observation that the majority of American don’t like controversy surrounding military operations like the Iraq War.

    Several historians argue that even though the Mexican-American War caused a firestorm of controversy among Congressional party members who called into question was the  war necessary. Historians like Associate Professor Michael A. Morrison from the University of Michigan, argues that the Whig Party was committed to a program of controlled, peaceful expansion.  However, they became disturbed by Polk’s method of acquiring California and the borderlands of the Southwest. Arguing that the fruits of the war-land hunger, greed, and a widely dispersed population-promised to destroy the social and economic conditions necessary to a virtuous. Morrison work is important because he provides the main opposition agonist the war, which is not mentioned in most history books.  As such, resulting enthusiasm of going to war questioned the morality that with victory the possibility of slavery expanded to the west became a reality something that the Whigs feared the most.

    While other scholars like Assistant Professor of English at the University of South Carolina Lancaster Nicholas Lawrence, believes that this enthusiasm for the United States’ military action in Mexico saturated national discourse and political figures. At all levels of government, along with a virtual armada of newspaper writers and literary authors, responded, argue that even popular writers such to the war as a galvanizing moment. However, writers like Henry David Thoreau criticized the war as being “the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool.” What Lawrence ...

  • The National Parks: Spaces of Wonder and Controversyandrewjarralkelly

    During a journey in 1832 to the Dakota region, American painter George Catlin worried that America’s expansion westward would have destructive effects on Native American livelihood, wilderness, and wildlife. He wrote and wished for their preservation, “by some great protecting policy of government . . . in a magnificent park . . . a nation’s park, containing man and beast, in all the wild and freshness of their nature’s beauty!” His vision, along with other romantic writers and painters helped change the perception of nature from something to overcome to something to admire. This new image would create fifty-eight national parks and 124 national monuments.

    In March of 1872, Congress passed the Yellowstone Act, which established Yellowstone as America’s first national park. The government intended these lands to serve “as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”

    Almost two decades passed between the establishment of Yellowstone and the next national park. The Progressive Era, a period defined by extensive social activism and political change, created the conditions for environmental conservation to occur on an unprecedented scale. The quick expansion of industrialization and the sprawl of urbanization resulted in a burgeoning appreciation for nature and a want for places to escape all the commotion.

    In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act which created the National Park Service (NPS), a new federal bureau belonging to the Department of the Interior. At the time, they were responsible for the protection of the thirty-five established national parks and monuments. “The service thus established shall promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations . . . by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of the said parks, monuments, and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life.”

    In spite of this effort and government support, the national parks and the conservation movement received some resistance. The inadequacies in policies and the absence of coordination between the government and park administration caused many problems. For almost fifty years the nation’s parks and monuments fell under the supervision of a variety of different departments, including the departments of the Interior, War, and Agriculture. None of the departments coordinated well, which resulted in the mismanagement of the parks and many unforeseen problems.

    Historians and other scholars have widely discussed the national parks. In a broad sense, the conservation movement and the creation of the national parks and monuments had good intentions. Yet, these intentions seemed only to benefit a particular group of people: white Americans. The American government used laws and policies in an attempt to preserve nature for “the enjoyment of future generations”, but ended up in the expulsion of native and other occupying groups from park lands and had dramatic effects on the wildlife of the parks. The issues with the creation of and early administration of parks have caused scholars to view these events in a negative way.

    In order to fully grasp this negativity, we need to examine the mindset of the people involved in the history of the national parks and conservation. Roderick Nash’s “The Value of Wilderness” does the perfectly. To Nash, the wilderness provided a state of mind for the American people. The United States sprung out of the wilderness. Europeans settled in it, natives that occupied North America for 20,000 were unfortunately considered wild animals. “The American attitude wilderness was highly unfavorable. Wild country was the enemy.”

    Until the development of the national parks, the word “park” meant something closer to a garden, where one could bask in the pleasantries of nature. Maintaining a garden meant cutting the grass, clearing undergrowth, trimming hedges, and planting preferred flora and fauna. It was something man could control. The creation of the national parks gave man an area he could control. The man versus nature dichotomy swung dramatically in man’s favor. The understanding of this relationship is crucial to the historiography because it explains why humans take conservation and the environment seriously, and why nature’s role is no longer the enemy.

    Yellowstone is, by far, the oldest national park on the planet. After its establishment in the early 1870s, the park had over four decades of government administration before the National Park Service inherited its vast and varying landscape. Alston Chase’s Playing God in Yellowstone: The Destruction of America’s First National Park narratives the long and contentious history of the NPS in Yellowstone. He depicts how the Park Service’s rigorous, petty, and hard-lined policies led to the mismanagement of not only wildlife, but tourists and other NPS personnel. Policies on wildlife management hurt the ecosystem of the parks. First, the NPS wanted to protect big game animals by killing predators. Chase continues to charge the NPS with mishandling of funds and even visitor policy at the cost of maintaining the landscape.

    Playing God in Yellowstone is a perfect example of how the historiography of the parks is moving towards a polemic mindset. Chase has nothing positive to say about the National Park Service. His acerbic language attempts to discredit the NPS, but also highlights to delicate mission the parks was tasked with in 1916. They must maintain a difficult balance of preserving nature while maintaining the parks for the public and future visitors. Chase takes this mission into little consideration.

    Chase’s book is well-researched. He includes a plethora of sources from newspapers and ...

  • A Movement for Wholeness in a Fragmented World: Women, Religion and Activism in 19th Century America by Janelle Vannoyvannoyj

    A Movement for Wholeness in a Fragmented World: Women, Religion and Activism in 19th Century America

    While the Second Great Awakening began in the late eighteenth century, it wasn’t until the nineteenth century that the movement gained traction within the United States. This Protestant Christian revival movement came from a Postmillennial concept at the beginning of the nineteenth century that the eminent return of Christ meant the general population needed to prepare the world for his return. The Second Great Awakening spawned new and uniquely American protestant denominations. One of the traditions, the reform movement, began to take shape and spread across eastern and Midwestern towns in the United States. The effects of the revival movement on men such as Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone often become the focus of both historical and religious writings while the women of the movement tend to be ignored. The Second Great Awakening also changed the way women viewed their role in society. Changing the social structure of private and public sphere, women found strength in their newfound religious experiences. These women gravitated to the revival movement in the late eighteenth century in large numbers, constituting the majority of Christian converts and dedicated parishioners. Betty DeBerg noted that in 1892 a survey of eight churches resulted in the fact that only twenty-eight percent of a congregation’s membership and thirty-eight percent of the church worshippers were male. This meant that to keep a church going women had to take on roles as leaders in their church, such leadership needs saw women fighting for their right to become ordained as they took over many roles that previously belonged to men. Religious fervor also helped to inspire many women to provide help to the less fortunate and fight for the purity they desired. It led to women stepping out of the home or private sphere to enact social change within their society. But, women who stayed at home worked just as hard behind the scenes. Author Nancy Hardesty contends that one of the largest changes to occur in the nineteenth century happened within the family structure . Where before families were housed together in multi-generational family structures with Women in charge of the home, the nineteenth century saw a number of changes in this structure. Families no longer lived within multi-generational structures and the birthrate declined leaving the mother “in charge but without real authority.” While women such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton garnered a majority of historical interest, recently scholars are turning to lesser known women who found their true calling through the religion they held so dear. Even when scholars focus on such prodigious women of the movement, their views on faith and the importance they placed on the faith of the women who followed them is not addressed.
    Although historians agree that religion played an important role for women working in public for social reform, they disagree on the extent of religious impact on women who fought for political reform. One major difference in the research is the focal point of the researcher. Looking at a topic such as this one must include not just historical works, but the works of religious historians and authors as well. When including their works as an overall source within the subject matter, one must consider the point of view of the researcher. Looking at the works of religious authors are just as important to the historiography of women, religion and activism as the works of historical researchers. Both fields of study looked at together allows for a more comprehensive discussion to occur. Historical scholars often overlook the impact of religion on women and the activism they took up, religious scholars tend to only focus on the religion, often failing to mention any activism that women took up as a mantle of their faith.
    One of the first historians to focus on evangelical women and its relationship to feminism and activism is Nancy Hardesty. Her book Women Called to Witness: Evangelical Feminism in the 19th Century argues that female activism came about through organized Christian involvement. She claims that, “nineteenth century American feminism was deeply rooted in evangelical revivalism.” As one of the first writers on religious women in the public sphere she delves into a topic that had little in the way of historical background. She views the religious reforms and social work in the name of God as activism, this brings in the idea that not all activism is the same. In contrast, Lori Ginzeberg argues in Women and the Work of Benevolence: Morality, Politics and Class in the Nineteenth-Century United States, that it wasn’t until the postwar period that the religious woman stepped out into the public sphere and became active political and social reformers. Catherine Brekus agrees with Ginzeberg. She states in her article, Female Preaching in Early Nineteenth-Century America that women did not begin as early supporters of the women’s rights movement. These evangelical women were less likely to argue against the status quo of social hierarchy. She suggests it wasn’t until later in the nineteenth century that women began to transfer their interests into the various reforms that began to emerge. Female preachers took special precautions to insure that they were not mistaken as feminist leaders, they felt this would belittle their work and question the fact that their “pious” Christian voices deserved to be heard. But it did not stop some ordained women from reaching out and publically activating for causes they held dear. While women found it necessary to fight for leadership roles, they did not always attribute their fight as a form of activism. For these women, they viewed their fight as a step towards living their faith to the fullest.
    Betty DeBerg on the other hand looks at the activism incited by religion as a powerful shift in the social structure. In her book, Ungodly Women: Gender and the First Wave of American Fundamentalism, DeBerg argues that the religious revival movement began a push for women ...

  • Beirne – Primary Sourcebeirne

    “They Ought to Deceive No One”: Lysander Spooner and the Civil War
    David A. Beirne
    The primary document that best encapsulates my study of the role of economics in the American Civil War is the pamphlet “No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority,” written by lawyer, abolitionist, and anarchist Lysander Spooner and published in 1870, five years after the war. Though Spooner was fervently anti-slavery and hailed from Massachusetts, he brutally criticized the wartime president, the Republican Party for furthering in an unprecedented manner what he considered to be a dangerous consolidation of governmental, military and, apropos this paper, economic power.


    Spooner hailed from a family of abolitionists, by 1845 already having written The Unconstitutionality of Slavery that argued that not only was slavery contrary to natural law, but never expressly sanctioned by the U.S. Constitution. Spooner wrote that the founding document “not only does not recognize or sanction slavery, as a legal institution, but that, on the contrary, it presumes all men to be free; that it positively denies the right of property in man; and that it, of itself, makes it impossible for slavery to have a legal existence in any of the United States.” Spooner was even involved in efforts to try and free John Brown. (Barnett 980)


    By 1870, he seemed to believe that the slaves had gained their freedom at the expense of the freedom of the American states and, accordingly, the populace at large. “residents, senators, and representatives . . . are really only the agents of a secret band of robbers and murderers, whom they themselves do not know, and have no means of knowing, individually.” (Spooner 52) He continued, “And they expect to repay the loans, if at all, only from the proceeds of the future robberies, which they anticipate it will be easy for them and their successors to perpetrate through a long series of years, upon their pretended principals—if they can but shoot down now some hundreds of thousands of them, and thus strike terror into the rest.” (Spooner 53)

    Lysander, though fighting his entire life for the abolition of slaves, posited that his government’s rhetoric and selective actions were not aligned with its wider ambitions and abuses. Slavery, in Spooner’s mind, was merely a pretense by which the aims of power were wrought. “All these cries of having “abolished slavery,” of having “saved the country,” of having “preserved the union,” of establishing a “government of consent,” and of “maintaining the national honor” are all gross, shameless, transparent cheats—so transparent that they ought to deceive no one.” “In short, the industrial and commercial slavery of the great body of the people, North and South, black and white, is the price which these lenders of blood money demand . . . in return for the money lent for the war.”

    “In short, the North said to the slaveholders: If you will not pay us our price (give us control of your markets) for our assistance against your slaves, we will secure the same price (keep control of your markets) by helping your slaves against you, and using them as our tools for maintaining dominion over you. (Spooner 54-55) “On this principle, and from this motive, and not from any love of liberty or justice, the money was lent in enormous amounts, and at enormous rates of interest. And it was only by means of these loans that the objects of the war were accomplished.” (Spooner 55)

    Spooner concludes that “The lesson taught by all these facts is this: As long as mankind continue to pay “National Debts,” so-called,—that is, so long as they are such dupes and cowards as to pay for being cheated plundered, enslaved, and murdered—so long as there will be enough to lend the money for those purposes; and with that money a plenty of tools, called soldiers, can be hired to keep them in subjection.” This viewpoint regarding the Civil War is often overlooked, even though Spooner’s case shows that it was not unique and crossed ideological boundaries that made more sense in the mid-nineteenth century than now.


    Barnett, Randy E. “Was Slavery Unconstitutional Before the Thirteenth Amendment? Lysander Spooner’s Theory of Interpretation.” 28 Pacific L.J. 977-1014 (1997).

    Johnson, Reinhard O. The Liberty Party, 1840-1848: Antislavery Third-Party Politics in the United States. Louisiana State University Press, 2009.

    Spooner, Lysander, “No Treason No. VI: The Constitution of No Authority,” in The University of Michigan’s Labadie Collection, 1870) 52-53.

  • Polk’s Diary: Formal Primary Sources Analysishigbeejonathan

    Of all the major sources surrounding the controversial decision of the United Sates declaring and waging war on Mexico, the diary of President James K. Polk, tends to be under utilize by scholars when examining the cause of the U.S.-Mexican War.  Written between 1845 and 1849, the diary is essential to find out why Polk pushed for war, which caused a firestorm among congressional members and public alike. More importunity it puts in to play on how the war with Mexico should be remembered as the result of his ambitions of finishing the conquest of the continent, which sought to gain the remaining European holdings in the Pacific Northwest and any disputed land left after the Texas Revolution (1835-1836). Similar to how the  works we read for the class over this semester expanded our notion of not looking a the big events or subjects like the Civil War or slavery as one solid identity, but rather a multilayered network of connections that link people, places, and ideals to each other.

    In his earliest dairy entry dated August 26, 1845, Secretary of State James Buchanan suggested to Polk that the United States assert and enforce their authority in the whole Oregon Territory and settle on a comprise between the border of the U.S. and Canada on the 49th parallel of the north latitude. However, when the British government refused the comprise Polk became infuriated that he was dined access to the Pacific and that rejection to him meant he would no longer give Britain peace. When Buchanan told Polk that if he were to carry out such intentions the U.S. would have war; to which Polk replied, “If we do have war it will not be our fault.”

    From his diary, we can see that Polk had established his intentions on the possible acquisition of California seven months before war was officially declared against Mexico. During a cabinet meeting on Friday October 24, 1845, in which they discussed the dispute over the Oregon Territory, Polk recognized that California played a key role in the balance of power in the Pacific and argued that the United would not permit Britain or any other European monarchy to establish any new colony. Since he believed, the Monroe Doctrine gave him the justification to take California and its fine San Francisco Bay in addition to Oregon.

    This diary entry alone opens the door on how scholars can see how Polk looked at this situation as an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. With the refusal of Mexico to negotiate and the rejection Senator Slidell, Polk wanted war in order to finally claim California for the U.S. and insert American authority firmly on the continent. However, this is where the debate gets murky in regards to Polk’s involvement in the actual start of the war. Did he purposely send troops down to the disputed boarder lands to start the fighting or was it an actual attack by Mexican forces that lead to war? Although Polk never mentions having perpetuated any wrongdoing he does make it perfectly clear that the entire objective in going to war with Mexico was not for conquest however in actuality:

    “It was clear that in making peace we would if practicable obtain California and such other  portion of the Mexican territory as would be sufficient to indemnify our claimants on Mexico and defray the expense of the war which that power by her long continued wrongs and injuries had forced us to wage.”

    This passage completely changes the perceptive of the war that is either missing in history books or in other scholarly articles how we should remember the war itself. Yes, some do argue it was a means of spreading slavery but this idea was never an issue because the passage of an appropriation bill on August 10, 1846, which prohibited slaveholding in the newly acquired territory and even Polk, recognized that slavery would not work in the new provinces. More importantly, it was not fought for the retribution for the soldiers killed near the border but for the long awaited ability for Polk to claim the land he wanted. The land he felt was rightfully his in the name of American progress ...

  • Disaster Citizenship: Survivors, Solidarity, and Power in the Progressive Eramark_t_garcia

    Historian Jacob A. C. Remes book Disaster Citizenship: Survivors, Solidarity, and Power in the Progressive Era examines how citizens and government responded to city disasters in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Salem, Massachusetts. The Halifax fire occurred in 1914 and the Salem fire in 1917. The book focuses on the relationships between victims, first responders, formal organizations, and the state. Remes analyzes each groups perspective on how they responded to the disasters. For example, during the Halifax fire, Remes breaks up the responders in three different groups: the relief workers, relief managers, and survivors. Many of the relief workers left their workplace to volunteer in hospitals due to the overwhelming amount of victims. Relief workers with no formal hospital training were able to organize themselves and adapt quickly to the needs of the hospital. Remes states, “The created order and efficiency without direction…middle-class volunteers who appear to have had little or no connection with those they were helping were not being randomly altruistic. Rather, they were reenacting their own everyday solidarity in extraordinary times.” (p. 29) During the disaster the group that appeared to be disorderly were the relief managers. Relief managers consisted of leaders from businesses, formal organizations, and politicians. The relief managers, due to their lack of knowledge, were not able to responds to the magnitude of the disaster. Due to communication lines being down throughout the city they were unaware of the impact in the city’s North End. In addition, the relief managers did not immediately go to city hall as they tended to their own needs first, securing their homes from the disaster. This was in contrast to the relief workers who also had a lack of knowledge of how to assist in the hospital, but still in their preexisting social order were able to adapt. The lack of knowledge for relief managers prohibited them from adapting quickly. In addition, because of the lack of knowledge they were not able to supply adequate solutions just as yaremenko stated in her post.  The survivors were able to create their own order. Remes writes, “Like relief workers, the built this order on the basis of their preexisting communities, relationships, and networks.” (p. 23) The survivors used the order they built to assist family and close friends.

    In Disaster Citizenship, all the actors during and after the disaster had to renegotiate the relationship between each other. After the disasters the state took a more active role to better protect their citizens and improve interaction and formal organization in response to future crisis’s. Remes extensive use of primary sources included the Red Cross, city, military, diaries, personal narratives, church records and newspapers. Remes also provides a well written introduction providing a clear argument and a theme for the book.

  • Supplemental Reading – Disaster Citizenshipvannoyj

    Supplementary Reading: Disaster Citizenship: Survivors, Solidarity, and Power in the Progressive Era

    “The Emergence of a National Politics of Disaster, 1865-1900”
    By Gareth Davies

    In his essay “The Emergence of a National Politics of Disaster, 1865-1900”, author Gareth Davies traces the evolution of a federal policy towards disaster. His argument contends that it wasn’t until the Civil War that the Federal Government became involved on a national level to an extent it had never before considered possible. This occurred through the creation of the Freedmen’s Bureau. The Bureau came about because the Federal Government needed a clearinghouse to help escaped slave refugees that the “army had no choice but to shelter, clothe and feed.” Falling under the auspices of the War Department, the Freedmen’s Bureau and led by General Oliver Otis Howard. Howard found that his job was antithetical to what the Federal Government had provided to citizens up to that point in history. The Freedmen’s Bureau found itself protecting African Americans from violence, reuniting families and negotiate labor contracts.

    The Freedmen’s Bureau became the point of relief distribution when a combination of natural disaster on an epic scale. For the first time a large-scale relief operation occurred when extreme flooding and crop failures swept the South two years in a row. According to Davies, this large-scale disaster had congress providing a budget to Howard which then extended the life of the bureau. The next year more flooding, crop failures and citizen destitution occurred again, but this year an added disaster infected the surviving crops. Caterpillars and cutworms swept through the area. There was an added factor of Yellow Fever epidemic that also devastated the area. Davies contends that the impact was so overwhelming that local governments and private citizens were unable to help. They were also unable or unwilling to “relieve the plight of African Americans.” This put the federal government in a position of having no alternative but to provide relief.
    According to Davies, what truly began the relief movement came with the grasshopper plague that occurred in 1874. While the plague was known nationally, the extent of its effects were unknown. It wasn’t until an army major, James Brisbin, traveled through the area to find out if settlers needed more weapons for defense against Indian attacks that the truth of the devastation was revealed. Upon his return, Brisbin insisted that instead of arms, the War Department needed to send people to shoot down buffalo for food to feed the starving citizens. Unfortunately, congress was not in session at the time and it came down to president Grant to authorize the measure without congresses approval, he would seek it when congress returned. Such action freed up the Army to provide resources for those in the Platte area.
    Davies also contends that federal relief policies developed from technological advancement. He argues that the development of two specific technological advances truly pressured congress and the federal government to provide relief to more disasters. The first advancement is not new technology. The railroad had been around prior to the Civil War, but it wasn’t until after the war that the railroad had national connections that helped to speed up communications and “change political culture in the more densely steeled areas of the East” The second technological advancement, the extension of the telegraph, sped up communication and allowed for an almost instantaneous reaction. With the telegraph, readers received news of a disaster almost immediately and would be provided updates and given dramatic accounts from various sources. Sometimes newspapers printed hourly updates from disaster areas. This led to the increase of letters in support of relief to congressmen. Davies argues that the simultaneous advancements with both the telegraph and the railroad was more impactful towards the federal government developing a policy of disaster aid than anything else at the time. Davies also shows that not every disaster received federal funding. The more dramatic the public perceived a disaster to be, the more likely it was to receive said funding. One example used by Davies, is the Chicago Fire. On the same day of the Chicago Fire, a more deadly and damaging fire occurred in eastern Wisconsin, killing as many as twenty-five hundred people. Due to the remoteness of the area and lack of dramatic retelling of the event, it never got the attention of the nation and no aid was provided to this area from the Federal Government.
    While Davies looks at the development of a policy of Federal Disaster Relief funding compliments the reading for this week. Jacob Remes’ book Disaster Citizenship: Survivors, Solidarity, and Power in the Progressive Era looks at the local impact of such disasters and how local authorities worked with and against the federal government to provide aid and compete for power structure within a devastated locale. Where Davies article leaves off, Remes’ book begins. Both show how devastating a disaster can be and both look at the political structure surrounding relief aid. While Davies looks federally, Remes looks to the local and private authorities of each city.

    Gareth Davies, “The Emergence of a National Politics of Disaster, 1865–1900,” J. Policy Hist. Journal of Policy History 26, no. 03 (2014): 306, doi:10.1017/s0898030614000141.
    Davies, 306.
    Davies, 307.
    Davies, 307.
    Davies, 310-311.
    Davies, 312.
    Davies, 314.
    Davies, 317.

  • Beirne – Disaster Citizenshipbeirne

    Review of Jacob A. C. Remes’s Disaster Citizenship

    David A. Beirne



    The Progressive Era was largely a backlash to the widespread private-public avarice represented in The Gilded Age, as named after Twain’s 1873 book. The economic and cultural realities of the time can be identified in an incident in Jacob A. C. Remes’s Disaster Citizenship (2016) that a judge refers to as representing an “an overdose of ‘BUSINESS EFFICIENCY.'” (Remes 109) On the flip-side, progressive reformers have often over-espoused the virtues of the capacity of the state to solve problems. When the state says it wants to help its citizens or others, in particular providing them something for free, it is sometimes hard to see the downside from a purely theoretical sense.

    Conservatives, apparently since Edmund Burke, have at least partially agreed with Reagan’s assessment that “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Conservative questioning the state’s use of power to give and take resources is often perceived as simply mean-spirited and reactionary. Remes cites anarchist analyst Colin Ward in the book’s conclusion, in which he said that a “society which organizes itself without authority is always in existence, like a seed beneath the snow, buried under the weight of the state.” (Remes 190) In a paper I wrote for Dr. McLain, Burke was a voice that decried what he understood to be a capricious use of power by the British state in India, in the name of benefit to all largely for this reason: communities have individual histories that can all too easily be overlooked by a distant governmental regime.

    Disaster Citizenship reveals the positive good that state aid can have, but also the typically unintended consequences of accumulation of power in a state that does not always recognize what is truly best for local traditions and understandings. The ‘citizenship’ aspect of the title references the changing outlook on just what, exactly the state, armed with public resources, is supposed to do. Knowledge production is created to support this expansion and control, as Warwick Anderson’s Colonial Pathogens (2006) made evident. Community bonds, “organization without any organization,” and varying definitions of public and private responsibilities permeate different places. (Remes 22) In spite of often unhelpful interference, “everyday forms of solidarity” arose that provided different meanings to citizenship, and reflected in differing responses to disasters that ranged from policies to displays of “identity and empathy.” (Remes 10)

    The work uses a transnational perspective comparing the two early twentieth century disasters at 1914 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and 1917 in Salem, Massachusetts, one that is highly reminiscent of the borderland perspective employed by Samuel Truett’s Fugitive Borderlands (2006). I appreciated Ms. yaremenkolena’s reference to Halifax disaster, where “the local order that allowed families to save their possessions was lost, and all that remained was confusion.” (yaremenkolena) Here, it was not so much citizen versus military that was critical to the effectiveness of relief as it was local versus distant, framing the debate over who was to have the civic power to react. Disasters additionally “exposed the economic value of labor that before had gone unremarked,” an argument feminists have long made about traditionally women’s household labor. (Remes 115) Rahm Emanuel had a great line in a 2008 Wall Street Journal conference that, when it comes to the state, “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” and Disaster Citizenship shows how crises “do more than take a snapshot of a moment; they alter the direction of historical change.” Thus, these events can transform the way we look at what the state, as ‘the people,’ is supposed to be responsible for, as well as what is left to, well, the people to figure out. (Seib; Remes 5)




    Remes, Jacob A. C. Disaster Citizenship: Survivors, Solidarity, and Power in the Progressive Era. Urbana: Illinois University Press, 2016.

    Seib, Gerald F. “In Crisis, Opportunity for Obama.” November 21, 2008. Wall Street Journal. Accessed November 28, 2016.

  • Blog/extra: The Disaster Citizenship: Survivors, Solidarity, and Power in the Progressive Erayaremenkolena

    In the book, The Disaster Citizenship: Survivors, Solidarity, and Power in the Progressive Era, historian Jacob A.C. Remes, analyzes social and political structures in regard to responses to devastating fires in the towns of the Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada) in 1914 and Salem (Massachusetts, U.S.) in 1917. It examines those social and political structures that existed prior to the Progressive era. The Progressive government did not understand the concept of communities coming together and helping each other. The author describes how during that era prior social and political structures that had already been in place adversely influenced the events that followed these disasters, as a result. Remes, in his effort to fully understand this situation takes into consideration the writings of political and social scientists on the subject social and political structures at that time. The author shows that in these two disasters, at the social level, people in these communities understood how to react and interact with their neighbors and within their communities, and in fact responded to the disasters more efficiently than government institutions did. For people on the ground, the government was a faceless, soulless entity that the citizens preferred to avoid dealing with, and they didn’t believe that the government could be relied on to help them. The government tried to impose solutions based on an incorrect theories about what the problems were, and this only added to the disconnection between the institution and the citizens in need on the ground.

    In Halifax, after the explosion, people initially went to check on their families. Those who had not been injured or who could help “often without direction or even suggestion…went to the devastate areas or to hospitals to help the rescue effort…they created order and efficiency without direction” (p.29). In the Halifax disaster, Remes uses “archives of letters, reports, and, most important, oral history. “This archive is primary in this chapter” (p.27). In the Salem disaster, the author shows how people on the ground were assisting voluntarily, including some military people on site, and were more effective than the military that was sent later by the government and brought only confusion: “the local order that allowed families to save their possessions was lost, and all that remained was confusion” (p.59). The military off duty and not sent by the government were helpful and were coordinating with the people on the ground, responding to their needs as the situation warranted. The minute the government got involved, efficiency disappeared in Salem. Remes expresses that memory fades, and nobody remembers the government, but still remembers their neighbors’ help seven decades later (p.47). The lack of timely aid from relief organizations on the ground drew people and communities together, unifying them in response to the occurring event in a way that the government seemed incapable of doing.

    Community support without regard to territorial borders is also seen in the Fugitive Landscape, by Truett, wherein the legal boundaries, government officials, and their involvement were ignored by people on the ground, showing a disconnection between the average person and government officials and organizations. As Robert and higbeejonathan  agreed in regards to Truett’s Fugitive Lanscape  “…most Americans have long forgotten the history of th area or have no interest in it,” but that history traced in Truett’s and Remes’ works shows a clear pattern of the early enterprise among citizens and the disconnect of a distant government. Finally, both authors successfully immerse the reader in the historical events of the past with great details, effectively connecting the past to the present.



  • Polished Paragraph Aka scholarly works survey part 2higbeejonathan

    On May 11, 1846, President James K. Polk sent a special message to the Congress of the United States for a declaration of war against Mexico. Polk stated that on April 12, Mexican forces at the small border town of Matamoras under the command of General Pedro de Ampudia assumed a belligerent attitude and notified General Zachary Taylor to break up his camp within twenty-four hours and to retire beyond the Nueces River. If Taylor failed to comply with these demands and he would announced that arms, and arms alone, must decide the question. However, April 24 General Mariano Arista, who had succeeded to the command of the Mexican forces engaged with a large body of  Taylors troops, and after a short affair sixteen U.S. troops were killed and wounded while reaming men were surrounded and compelled to surrender. As such, Polk argued for the vindication for the rights and defense of the United States for which Congress must recognize the existence of the war, and to place at the disposition of the Executive the means of prosecuting the war with vigor, and thus hastening the restoration of peace. As result of this, message Congress officially declared war on another nation for the second time in the history of the nation. Nevertheless, the actual decision to go to war provoked controversy among the congressional members and the public alike, which seems to have been swept under the rug, do the notion of history books empathizing America’s victory over Mexico and the observation that the majority of American’s don’t like controversy surrounding military operations like the wars of Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

    As such scholars today seek, argue that in order to  understand any war that the United States find itself fighting we need to present all aspects of how and why America deicide to take up arms against its supposed enemies, even if certain materials are not in favor of going to war or completely bash it. For example, J. Javier Rodríguez argues that the war against Mexico generated not just the stabilizing narratives of racial or national dichotomies but also intense counter-narratives wherein Mexico and Mexicans were either equivalent Americans defending their republic from invasion, or, in a further extension, and far more disturbing, agents of existential disturbance, standing against the very possibility of meaning itself. As such, he points to one of the clearest examples of this kind of agonistic US–Mexican War literature The Biglow Papers. As such, these papers represent a silent side of the war, which give a deeper understanding on the various thoughts, feelings, and observations people had on the events surrounding the conflict between U.S. and Mexico rather than those who outwardly supported it.

    However, one must not only look at the public opinion to see the disagreement of the U.S. picking a fight with Mexico but to look at those who fought on the frontlines. According to Dr. Paul what is missing from the grand narrative of the U.S.-Mexican War is the disenfranchise of the many men who volunteer to fight Polk’s war. He argues that the self-conception of soldiers and the differing standards of discipline marked the two branches (regular enlisted men and volunteer) as distinct. Regular army officers were notoriously quick to resort to the lash against miscreant soldiers. In the volunteer regiments solider as the bulwark of national policy, but the despised regulars were chief instrument of those same politicians on launching and prosecuting the Mexican War.

    Armed with these scholarly works with addition to other I seek to track how scholars today argue for the need to present, display, and introduce various sources of discontent towards the U.S. conflict with Mexico in order for the public to gain a better understanding of the war itself. Because understanding why people criticized it can expand our understanding of how we remembered it.

                    Brad Lookingbill, ed, American Military History: A Documentary Reader (Malden, Massachusetts: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 112-13.

                    J. Javier Rodríguez, “The U.S.-Mexican War in James Russell Lowell’s the Bigelow Papers,” Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory, 63.3 (2007): 2.

                    J. Javier Rodríguez, “The U.S.-Mexican War in James Russell Lowell’s the Bigelow Papers,”7.

                    Paul W. Foos, A Short, Offhand, Killing Affair: Soldiers and Social Conflict During the Mexican-American War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002), 13.

                      Paul W. Foos, A Short, Offhand, Killing Affair, 17-18.

                      Ibid, ...

  • Historiography Reviewyaremenkolena

                Zaggari in Beyond the Founders, Chapter 3 and 4 discusses women’s expanding social power based on entrepreneurship, but what he does not discuss, which is more evident in Slavery’s Capitalism by Becker and Rockman, is that women of color and white women were essentially used as tools. White women were tools for producing heirs and therefore had greater social importance than women of color, and women of color were used as tools that produced more slaves/workers: cogs for the machinery of the capitalist economy of the antebellum South. Through entrepreneurship, they became part of the labor class. They were creating a space for themselves that equaled no longer simply being tools. While the question of human inequality in the South led to the Civil War, changing the place in society for all slaves, and for men of color this meant political power was possible if not immediately available, it did not change women’s political position in this same world. All women, white and of color, were now socially free, but politically almost powerless except by their own bottom-up revolution through their labor/ entrepreneurial efforts.

                In the World of Civil War Made, Zimmerman discusses the idea of women of color being part of the machinery of capitalism. He cites Marx, using his fairly dispassionate and purely analytical argument with regard the roles of humans in general living under a capitalist system. Marx, despite not writing directly about the Civil War, was known to have written against the practice of slavery and for its abolishment and he saw society in general as beginning at the division of labor of the sexes.

                Zaggari points to the progress made by white women and women of color, wherein they begin to become their own means of production, as Marx predicted, in a bottom-up movement in society. Marx comes closest to recognizing women being used as tools in the division of labor, but that would also apply to men. He doesn’t make a distinction about how white women were used as opposed to how women of color were used. Both were used for the purposes of empirical men. Marx saw women’s place in society as defining it, or as a measurement of the society as a whole. This indicates only that Marx recognized women as tools in a society; however, since his theory tends to see all the people as tools of their society to some extent, it is difficult to tell if Marx was particularly concerned about the place the women held specifically.  He, like the men of his age, lived in an era that may have made it difficult to see that women were treated not merely as tools, but as lesser ones, and tools with virtually no political power, like slaves. As proof of this possibility, he never doubted that slavery was primarily the cause of the Civil War. Therefore, it may be fair to say that he didn’t see women’s roles as tools to serve others as a problem, or as a slave-like condition that needed addressing that arose to the level of justifying war.

                Marx did say, however, “Labor in a white skin cannot emancipate itself where it is branded in a black skin” (p.320). The idea was that the struggle of the wage laborer was part of the fight against slavery, and once again women were not seen as that part of this wage labor movement. Therefore, they were unintentionally invisible in the revolution against unequal power in the world.

                Zaggari and Zimmerman had the benefit of hindsight over Marx. Zaggari, however, despite recognizing that white women and women of color were making themselves part of the labor class, does not address that fact that they were following Marx’s bottom up revolutionary theory. According to Zimmerman, white women were tools that helped society function in the Marxist sense, but with power limited to the social sphere, on par with women of color. What Zaggari and Zimmerman both miss, it that women entrepreneurs were creating a place for themselves in politics, as the labor and social worlds did influence the political world, and this was also true of women of color. Entrepreneurship was doing more to change their world than the fight for equal rights for all people, as white women were still not equal to any men, even after the Civil war, and women of color were freed from slavery but found themselves, like white women, not relevant politically. Entrepreneurship was the key to women being relevant and rising in political power versus remaining tools for other’s uses.


  • Medical American Exceptionalism…Tropic Edition (Post 7) (Re-Write of Post 2)queenlove35

    Warwick Anderson’s Colonical Pathologies American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippines (one of the coolest names ever besides Crockett) utilizes cultural and environmental lenses to examine how medical and racial intersect with imperialism and American boosterism and exceptionalism. Dividing the book into sections examining engagement of American military medicine, how Americans reshaped both public and private spheres, and reviewing case studies that further his stance. Utilizing this new history from the Pan-Pacific side, Anderson asserts that all medicine is colonial in its relation to the body. This ideology evolves over time into racialized epistemologies that change Filipino cultural discourse. ‘Medical Mobilization of civic potential ‘(p.4), combined with the bureaucratic boosters backing, creates this cultural change.

    Diana Nguyen stated in her post, “What I found most intriguing was that Anderson never truly defines the concept of “biomedical citizenship” throughout his book but rather instead, her merely infer that compliance with medicalized colonial regimes would be interpreted as evidence for citizenship. “

    I completely agree with this as I never actually could locate anything that nailed down what seemed like a key term and a critical point to the argument as Anderson states that the intention of the book is to “chart the colonial development and deferral of what might be called “biomedical citizenship,” (p.3). However, I do see the points that he laid out is defining what biomedical citizenship is within Americanization and its self-exceptionalism to desire to make non-American’s clean and fit for the new globalizing world. Characterizing both Filipino body and culture to show both progress and modernization creates a manufactured sense of place and self within the medical space. What he argues is an experience between both race and empire within the medical field. The result of this faux created citizenship through American medical exceptionalism is biomedical citizenship.

    The other readings that came to my mind are Camp and her utilization of racialized agency within cultural boundaries set by Americans. Using the medical field as space, American’s cultural assertion on Filipino culture creates a myth of the culture as something less than American exceptional. The idea of how one’s body can not only be utilized to create mythicized agency and colonial boundaries of non-American cultural is apparent throughout the book. Another theme throughout the reading selections has been issuing authority over people’s body. How does one obtain it, keep and utilize tactical strategies to deploy faux agency? Moreover, with assigning authority, what history is left to be examined against the grain? I find this true with both this book and our covered histories like Commanche Empire, Fugitive Landscapes, A Misplaced Massacre, Chinatown War and Closer to Freedom.  Imperial order always has a cost and is often at the expense of the people who live in created marginalized boundaries (both geographical and cultural). The last chapters of the book were by far my favorite as they examined boosterism group The Rockefeller Foundation and created racialized agency by associating disease with Filipino culture.

  • 4-6 Primary Sourcessuzanna.melendez

    Suzanna Melendez

    November 11, 2016

    4-6 Primary Sources


    Fraser, Simon, and W. Kaye Lamb. 1960. Letters and Journals, 1806-1808. Toronto: Macmillian Co. of Canada.

    • Emphasized in his biography, explorer Simon Fraser is one of the most neglected explorers in Canada. While Lewis and Clark explored the Louisiana Territory in 1805-6, Simon crossed the Rocky Mountains and built trading posts. During my research, I want to focus on his journey because Frenchmen that utilized his trading posts were Frenchmen married to native women.

    MacDonald, Lois Halliday, Francis Eratinger, and Edward Ermatinger. 1980. Fur Trade Letters of Francis Ermatinger; Written to his brother Edward During his Service with the Hudson’s Bay Company, 1818-1853. Glendale, Calif.: A. H. Clark Co.

    • The framework of the scholarship highlights the North Americans fur trade and mountain men. It is important to point out that majority of native women married to French men participated in the fur trade. The scholar utilized letters, post journals, fur trade accounts, and official government documents. My intention is not only to focus on the social history of interracial marriages between native women and French men, but also research the political and economic factors.

    Morton, Desmond, and Reginald Herbert Roy. 1972. Telegrams of the North-West Campaign, 1885. Toronto: Champlain Society.

    • A critical re-examination of European official interactions between the native populations in North America. The vividly details the violent confrontations between two different societies. He utilized diaries, letters telegrams and other government documents. It will be interesting to research the native women’s position, especially, during these violent altercations.

    Petitot, Emile Fortune Stanislas Joseph, John S Moir, Paul Laverdure, Jacqueline Moir 2005. Travels Around Great Slave and Great Lakes, 1862-1882. Toronto: Champlain Society.

    • Although the story is set in Canada, the primary sources in the book provided by four Frenchmen explorers are critical to my historiography. Letters, diary entries, essays, artifacts, and a compile of dictionaries and grammar of native languages emphasize their presence not just in America but also in Canada. As I organize my essay, I will try and find connections related with native women despite the difference in location.





  • Colonial Pathologies – Response #6Diana Nguyen

    By tracing the history of the Philippine-American colonialism in the early twentieth century, Warwick Anderson’s Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippines sought to examine ideas of colonial medicine in the Philippines while also charting the development of “biomedical citizenship” and how the integral body not only played a significant role in the colonial situation between Americans and Filipinos but also in its ability to frame ideas of whiteness and masculinity as well. What I found most intriguing was that Anderson never truly defines the concept of “biomedical citizenship” throughout his book but rather instead, her merely infer that compliance with medicalized colonial regimes would be interpreted as evidence for citizenship. In addition to dealing with the tropical environment, medicine, and race, Anderson also argued that for many Americans, preventing disease had become a process that fundamentally racialized and even disciplined native bodies. As Jonathan stated in his post, the degree in which guaranteeing the health of white people and their whiteness versus the “threatening microbial pathology that lurked within native bodies” became a matter of racial tensions between white Americans and Filipinos. For example, Anderson claimed that “as they investigated, treated, and attempted to discipline allegedly errant Filipinos, America medicos were revealing previously hidden aspects of their own characters and disclosing their fears and anxieties in alien circumstances” (6).

    Despite the book’s many strengths from its well-written and comprehensive study on the cultural history of U.S. colonialism in the Philippines, colonial medicine, as well as ideas on whiteness and masculinity, I found Anderson’s lack of a Filipino voice beyond their roles as doctors, medical personnel, or patients to be a particular weakness. He focused much too entirely on the anxieties and obsessions of his white, male colonialists; not to mention, Anderson’s “protagonists” were all exclusively confined to white, male medical officers. Similar to Jonathan once again, I did see many similarities with Scott Zesch’s The Chinatown War: Chinese Los Angeles and the Massacre of 1871 as well as Ari Kelman’s A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek for all of their depictions on white American racism, prejudice, and lack of sympathy towards a group of minorities. In an effort to mitigate the fears of a “white degeneration” in the tropics, white Americans decided to civilize the Philippines and its people by training Filipinos in the hygienic disposal of feces while simultaneously labeling them as irresponsible and lacking self-restraint over their bodily fluids and defecation.

    As for what I liked most about this book, Anderson’s ability to highlight the complex situation and racialized tensions between white Americans and Filipinos during the U.S. colonial rule of the Philippines in the twentieth century to be a powerful one. Race turned out to be an important factor as ideas of whiteness and masculinity occupied the mindset of many white Americans toward the natives. Using a wide range of sources from medical records, photographs, and personal accounts from white male officers as well as Filipino doctors and medical personnel, Anderson successfully incorporated the many themes of empire building, colonial medicine, race, and gender within his book.

  • Beirne – Health Care Imperialismbeirne

    Warwick Anderson’s Colonial Pathologies looks at the example of the American colonial experience in the Philippines to highlight the intersection of race and medicine. (Anderson 1) After the U.S. defeated the Spanish in the colony in 1898, the victor instituted policies that continued America’s nineteenth-century liberal reforming national identity. (Ibid) Scientific advancements were understood not only as a means to sanitize the natives, but to provide them with a chance to reach civilized status. The dangers of colonialism were not so much in the geography as in the people, where disease became an element of racialization of Filipinos and disease (Ibid 2) While there was never formal segregation in the Philippines, the viewpoint of Filipinos as part innocent child and dangerously backward permitted demarcation between colonized and colonizer. (Ibid 4, 108) White male bodies could also descend to the level of the native, giving them a personal stake in civilizing process. These experiments in the Philippines provided a microcosm of society at large in which the minds of the West could experiment and take notes. (Ibid 6)




    The insights provided by Anderson reminds me of Greg Grandin’s Empire’s Workshop, where the U.S. imperial experience in Latin America gave it the strategies it used for larger-scale warfare in later periods. As Michael Adas of Rutgers University notes in his review, “American interventions in Cuba, Panama, and other Caribbean locals shared the same military genesis, motivations, and modes of organization.” (Adas) Anderson also argues that the “racializing of liberal governmentally” turned the formerly private lives of native people into the collective realms of public discourse, where military personnel became hygiene inspectors as evidenced in the “clean-up weeks.” (Ibid 2-4, 117) I also reminisced about Bernard S. Cohn’s Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge, where knowledge was a significant contributor to the Western colonial encounter. I appreciated that Mr. highbeejonathan mentioned the most controversial aspect of Anderson’s book; namely, that many people benefited from this imperialistic excursions as sanitation improvements did, in fact, occur in the Philippines and techniques were developed and brought back to the U.S. (higbeejonathan; Anderson 3-4) A shortcoming in Colonial Pathologies, as noted by Laurence Monnais of the University of Montreal, is that the “the Filipino body makes itself “heard” in Anderson’s volume more than the “voices” of Filipinos. (Monnais) This is due to the dearth of resources maintained by the colonized, themselves, which renders a work focused on the goals and prejudices of colonizers. Still, this is a great lesson in how nineteenth-century imperialistic impulse both formed and was influenced by the science and technology of the emerging twentieth-century.





    Adas, Michael. Review of Colonial Pathologies. American Historical Review (Dec. 2007).


    Anderson, Warwick. Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippines. Durham: Duke University Press, 2006.


    Monnais, Laurence. Review of Colonial Pathologies. American Ethnologist, Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 3059-3062 (2008).





  • Colonial Pathologies Article Assignmentandrewjarralkelly

    Silvia, Adam M. “Modern Mothers for Third World Nations: Population Control, Western Medical Imperialism, and Cold War Politics in Haiti.” Social history of Medicine 27, no. 2 (March 2014): 260-280.

                In “Modern Mothers for Third World Nations”, Adam Silvia examines American Unitarian Universalist missionaries who were avowed anti-imperialists. They wanted to remove Third World dependency from imperial powers like the United States. However, in these attempts they became cultural imperialists when they “empowered a Haitian physician named Ary Bordes to promote Western medicine and contraception in a peasant community in Haiti in the 1960s.”

    For Silvia, a key part in understanding how this cultural imperialism happened lies in neo-Malthusian discourse that “bound nation building to motherhood and a rhetoric of women’s empowerment.” He breaks his article into four parts. First, he examines how American missionaries and Haitian physicians came to think of Western medical culture, especially female contraception. They believed that birth control would unburden an overpopulated nation and free overburdened mothers. Neo-Malthusian thought reveals how women were seen as nation bearers and how their excess reproduction and backwards customs would keep Haiti, and nations like it, in poverty. The Unitarian Universalist missionaries and Bordes wanted to turn peasant Haitian women into “modern” mothers: “a responsible nation bearer”, a mother who will work and use Western medicine to keep her children alive.

    In the second part of the article, Silvia analyzes the relationship between Borders, the Unitarian Universalist missionaries, and American contraceptive suppliers – who viewed the missionaries as imperialists. Silvia dives into a long history of how the United States used missionaries as pawns in a war on overpopulation, “a struggle to make sure that overburdened nations would not turn to communism”, like China. Silvia links these two section using an oxymoron, calling the Unitarian Universalists “imperial anti-imperialists.” In the third part, Silvia shows how the missionaries’ doctrine proved anti-imperialists, but the use of medicine belongs into a long history of American Imperialism. The Unitarian Universalists became medical imperialists when they opened clinics with Bordes in Haiti.

    The last section shows how a “Western medical empire” tried to modernize the peasant mother. Bordes and the missionaries tried to teach Haitian mothers how to mother. The clinic opened became a chapter in the long history of policies in Latin American that tried to modernize women’s work, as mothers and in the home.

    Silvia utilizes many secondary readings and government documents. Given the limited scope of the article, Silvia does an excellent job at highlighting these sources. However, the period he analyzes is the 1960s. Given the he could have used interviews and other personal sources to really drive home his point on how the Unitarian Universalist doctrine and how that fit with them being imperial anti-imperialists. He places this in the context of the Cold War, but issues arise when solely analyzing government documents during this time. The United States government proved extremely anti-communist and that could play into the creation of the sources Silvia utilizes.

    Warwick Anderson’s Colonial Pathologies discusses similar themes that “Modern Mothers for Third World Nations” does. Both create a sense that medicine became an agent of imperialism, though not deliberately. Anderson describes how imperial officers saw their “new colony as a laboratory of hygiene and modernity, American medical officers were indulging in a form of magical thinking, creating sympathetic associations in the hope of changing the world.” The key words that link the article and the book together are modernity and medicine. How did the Unitarian Universalist missionaries and the American medical officers use medicine in an unintentional attempt to modernize other parts of the word?

    Both Silvia and Anderson give off the idea that their subjects – the Unitarian Universalist missionaries and the medical officers respectively – had this burden to modernize Haiti and the Philippines. For Silvia, the idea of the mother in Haiti needed to change in order for the country to thrive and grow. The Haitian mother mentality contributed to the overpopulation of the country. For Anderson, the amount of disease and hygiene issues in the Philippines created a sense that the United States could come in and modernize the nation. Medicine, whether for birth control or hygiene, become the agent for modernization.

    Both studies discuss the separation and differentiation of the public and private spheres. In “Modern Mothers”, Silvia highlights how western medicine attempted to create a role for women inside and outside of the home. However, this idea only solidified the idea that women should be in the home. Allowing women to have control over their body and their children firmly placed them in the private sphere and the realm of the home. Colonial Pathologies speaks to how the idea of citizenship became part of who was clean and who was not. Cleanliness became associated with whiteness, and if the native Filipinos could become clean, they could obtain a certain level of citizenship.

    One thing lacking from either study is the voice of the “modernized.” Anderson and Silvia include little to no sources on how Filipinos and Haitians felt about the modernizing process. Maybe the authors saw that these voices remained outside the scope of their respective studies. The inclusion of such sources would allow the readers to view the study more holistically.

    Adam Silvia, “Modern Mothers for Third World Nations: Population Control, Western Medical Imperialism, and Cold War Politics in Haiti,” Social History in Medicine 27, no. 2 (March 2014): 260.

    Silvia, 261.

    Silvia, 262.

    Silvia, 264.

    Warwick Anderson, Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippines (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006), 5.

    Anderson, 3.

  • Beirne: Primary Sourcesbeirne

    1. Chávez, Ernesto, ed. The U.S. War with Mexico: A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008.


    I am going to use this handy book for over fifty primary sources related to the war that took place a decade prior to the Civil War to see if there’s any economic or expansionist themes I can use to make my case that the Civil War fits into the general mindset of the times.
    2. Finkelman, Paul, ed. Defending Slavery: Proslavery Thought in the Old South, A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.


    Another book in the great Bedford/St.Martin’s series of collections of commentary and primary resources, this time pertaining to those in the North and South who defended slavery, including for economic reasons.



    3. Stampp, Kenneth M., ed. The Causes of the Civil War, 3rd revised edition. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1991.


    This is a classic work that contains a number of primary sources pertaining to the myriad of causes of the Civil War, including economic ones.



    4. Vorenberg, Michael, ed. Emancipation Proclamation: A Brief History with Documents. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010.


    Primary sources pertaining to one of the defining documents of the Civil War, one that changed the military and moral course of the war. I am going to employ this primary source compilation to understand prevailing sentiments right smack-dab in the middle of the war, picking up on any references to economics and labor system ideology.

  • Colonial Pathologieshigbeejonathan

    The American acquisition of the Philippines is an event in American history that is largely forgotten, overlooked, or briefly mention in textbooks. Fortunately, Dr. Warwick Anderson form the University of Sydney seeks to not only establish why Americans sought take possession of the Philippines but what was the American intention after U.S. troops island hopped across the archipelago in the name of civilizing the Filipinos with the Krag. Armed with photos, personal counts( by physicians and U.S. troopers), and racist  Social Darwinist propaganda, Dr. Anderson seeks to chart the colonial development and deferral of what might be called biomedical citizenship and to suggest continuities between the late colonial civilizing process and international development projects. Which will all Anderson trace the genealogy development back to the medical mobilization of civic potential on the Philippines in the early twentieth century (pgs. 3-4).                                                                                                             

    The strongest aspect of Dr. Andersons work is that it pulls no punches when comes to describing the mental attitude the Americans had toward the Filipinos. In practice, the term healthy native referred to a deceptive appearance not to any exemption from disease carriage, which usually implied a qualifier: apparently. As such, physicians did not hesitate to magnify the threatening microbial pathology that lurked within native bodies (pg. 94). Anderson argues that American physicians saw themselves as being doubly representatives for the  body and unlike Filipinos, they produced abstraction, by mouth and by hand, not waste or at least neither dangerous nor visible waste. White Americans talk, report, police, supervise, hunt, fish, and fight: but after reading the medical documents produced in the Philippines in the first decade of the century, one suspects they rarely went to the toilet. Americans bodies became abstracted from the filthy exuberance of the tropics, represented as truly civilized models for Filipinos. However, this American sublime demanded relentless self-discipline and in this sense, the disparagement and civilizing of Filipinos would be a labor of American repression (pg. 111). By including these instances of racial judgment  Dr. Anderson opens allows the reader to understand why many American textbooks shy away from showcasing not only the American acquisition of the Philippians but the brutality and disgusting reality happen during the Philippine War but the insertion of American ideals after the war. I would compare Anderson’s work to what Diana said about Scott Zesch’s The Chinatown War: Chinese Los Angeles and the Massacre of 1871, in a sense that what the Americans choose to do with the Philippines and its citizens was not out kindness and compassion for improving the public health of the Filipinos. Rather a choice they made because they wanted to make the Philippines into a place that they can call civilized because they felt it needed to be. As a result, the reader is left feeling sympathetic for these individuals who are forced to conform to American standards and the consequences that resonate from them which can be consider good or bad pending which perspective the reader chooses to look at. 

    Nevertheless, the most controversial aspect of Dr. Anderson’s work is that he seems to argue that l the racial stereotypes, social Darwinist ideals, and conformity that the Americans placed on the Filipinos regarding their health seemed to advance public health in both the Philippines and the United States. For which he mentioned the influence of the colonial Philippines on the public health in the United States varied considerably. In general, the medical experiences of empire served to amplify pr channel existing features of domestic public health work to reshape or extend structures and policies already on place, rather than introducing wholly new procedures and goals. In particular, colonial experiences tended to focus more attention on the fault lines of race and force recognition of the need to intervene more vigorously to reform the personal and domestic hygiene of those on the margins of society to propel them into civic and medical trajectories (pg. 230). Although what he needs to clarify is that the advancement and improvements on public health on both sides of the Pacific was a gradual process in which was accomplished by improved methods and practices of doctors who gained a better understanding of biology in addition to advances in science. Because the he seems to jump around between different decades a lot, which can through the reader off if he or she is not familiar with the subject material.

  • Colonial Pathologies Blog Yaremenkoyaremenkolena

    In the book by Warwick Anderson, Colonial Pathologies, the author, a medical historian, argues that the “colonial laboratories” were not only the way the Filipino population was pushed to assimilating into the imperial lifestyle and its hygiene, by the Anglo-colonialists, but also by medical doctors and bureaucrats who “were itinerants, with the global view of things. . . were prepared to find the modern in the colony, the colonial in the metropole” (p.7). Due to this organic exchange, the author “. . .enables us to recognize that colonial technologies of rule could also be used to develop the ‘nation’ and its various disciplines in both locations” (p.8.). With the military, medical, and hygiene programs that created a new “bureaucratic matrix” came acknowledgment of the importance of bacteriology and parasitology with a shift in these fields to the political and civic recognition. Using sources from the fields of anthropology, history, sociology, political and military studies, the author delivers a very clear understanding of the system, its development in the after-war frame of the colonial time. Tremendous research from social and medical journals, manuscripts, letters, military documents, and official documents were selected by author to confirm her theories on the effects of colonization on the Filipino people.

    The analogy for this book is similar to Drew Gilpin Faust’s book, This Republic of Suffering. As sbremer points out, “Faust’s book tackles a seemingly obvious fact – that many people died in a war. However, Faust is able to successfully show that in many ways death in the American Civil War occurred in many unprecedented ways.” As in Anderson’s book, Colonial Pathologies, poor hygiene added drastically to the toll death during the Philippine-American War. And as morganstocks mentioned in her block on The Republic of Suffering, “Faust is able to effectively produce an emotional book while maintaining her objectivity. This Republic of Suffering is a deeply moving work. This much is very clear from just the beginning pages of the book.” That is exactly how the work of Anderson echoes her readers.

    I wish the author would write more about why the government and the Rockefeller’s foundation were there in the first place, why they stayed there, and why they were helping with malaria.  I wish that this author had maybe just briefly expressed her thoughts on the history of the Philippines war events.



  • Primary Source Annotated Bibliography – Expansionism and The Bear Flag Revoltsbremer

    Bryant, Edward. What I Saw in California. 1848. Reprint, Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1985.

    Edward Bryant’s book is a detailed look at what an American immigrant to Alta California faced in their primary years in the country. Bryant’s book skyrocketed to fame following the California Gold Rush, and it is invaluable in that it shows the opinions of the westward movement of an ordinary citizens, as well as the motivations of an ordinary Kentucky newspaper man for travelling out west and who ultimately met up with Colonel Frémont and fought under his command.

    Duvall, Marius. A Navy Surgeon in California 1846-1847: The Journal of Marius Duvall. Edited by Blackburn Rogers. San Francisco: John Howell, 1957.

    Duvall’s daily journal entries that last from April of 1846 to May of 1847 gives us an “outside” American military perspective regarding the Bear Flag Revolt and its major players in that Duvall was stationed on the Portsmouth, a ship off the coast of California when the revolt broke out. Duvall’s account is most likely the earliest account to give adverse criticism to the Bear Flaggers, and it also gives detailed accounts of Frémont and his character as well.

    Frémont, John C. The Expeditions of John Charles Frémont. Vol. 2, The Bear Flag Revolt and the Court-Martial. Edited by Mary Lee Spence and Donald Jackson. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1973.

    John C. Frémont is one, if not the the most, important player in the event that was the Bear Flag Revolt. No history of the revolt is possible without discussing Frémont, and by looking at his journals, particularly the ones dealing with the year 1846 since they are many, one can attempt to seek out passages that give a clue as to whether Frémont was acting alone, acting in accordance with government wishes, and to what extent expansionist policies played a role.

    Ide, Simeon. A Biographical Sketch of the Life of William B Ide. 1880. Reprint, Glorieta, NM: The Rio Grande Press, 1967.

    Although Ide’s work is technically a biography, it is a biography of the first (and only) President of California, the prominent Bear Flagger, and the brother of the author of this volume. Simeon Ide declares that much of the information presented in his work is taken from knowledge he procured from his brother, so in some ways it is the detailing of William B. Ide’s own history of the Bear Flag Revolt, carrying with it no small amount of challenges in using it as a primary source.

    Larkin, Thomas Oliver. The Larkin Papers: Personal, Business, and Official Correspondence of Thomas Oliver Larkin, Merchant and United States Consul in California. Vol IV, 1845-1846. Edited by George P. Hammond. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1953.

    Thomas O. Larkin served as the only United States Consul to Alta California, and in that position he had constant communication to several high-ranking officials in both the American and Mexican governments. This volume’s preservation of his letters show the increasing alarm that Larking began to feel as he saw an increasing American presence in Alta California, and his correspondence with American officials, especially Secretary of State James Buchanan, reveal the American government’s official response as well as Larkin’s heightened suspicion.

    Larkin, Thomas Oliver. The Larkin Papers: Personal, Business, and Official Correspondence of Thomas Oliver Larkin, Merchant and United States Consul in California. Vol. V, 1846. Edited by George P. Hammond. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1955.

    This volume of Larkin’s correspondences covers only the year 1846 since there are a considerable amount more of them due largely to the outbreak of the Bear Flag Revolt and soon thereafter open warfare with Mexico. Larkin’s letters of this period illustrate that the revolt was an unexpected event that threw California into chaos, and they also illustrate that the Bear Flaggers and their rebellion clearly upset a plan for peaceful annexation that Larkin was working towards.

  • Primary Source Annotated Bibliography – American Red Cross in World War IDiana Nguyen

    Dock, Lavinia L. History of American Red Cross Nursing. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1922.

    Focusing on the section devoted to the period of the First World War and the activities of the American Red Cross throughout the war, Dock’s book includes numerous extracts such as letters and illustrations that not only add a personal touch to the narrative but also value and interest to the book. Dock also includes an appendix, which lists the various organizations conducted by the American Red Cross in the United States as well as other parts of the world.

    Hall, Margaret. Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: The World War I Memoir of Margaret Hall. Edited by Margaret R. Higonnet. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.

    Hall’s first-person account of her life and experiences in the First World War explores her departure from New York and across the Atlantic to work with the American Red Cross organization in France. In a series of letters, journals, and photographs, Hall weaves a powerful narrative of the conflict and her own experiences and opinions of the war during her stay in a field hospital near the Western Front. Many of the photographs include movement of troops through town, women working behind front lines, and even what was left of the landscapes after the war.

    Millard, Shirley. I Saw Them Die: Diary and Recollections of Shirley Millard. New Orleans: Quid Pro, LLC, 2011.

    Millard’s book features a contemporary account of an young American woman who traveled to France in the spring of 1918 as a volunteer nurse to care for the war wounded. As a diary-based book, Millard’s perspective on the horrors of war as well as her fears offer a compelling insight into the lives of women who were constantly under intense pressure during the war, in addition to the bombings nearby. Millard also describes the medical horrors as well the philosophical transformations many of those in her generation shared about the war and life after the conflict.

    Wagner, Anges. “My Beloved Poilus.” Accessed November 11, 2015.

    Written by an unknown American women who served and cared for the wounded in France during the First World War, the letters featured in this primary source were not written for publication but instead, for friends and families. These letters offer a brief glimpse of the hardships and distress many American volunteers and nurses often faced in times of war when caring for those who are suffering from the effects of battle. The letters also reveal what some women did in order to bring relief to the war wounded.

  • Annotated Biblography for Primary Sources Bound Memories: Cultural Assignment and Placement through 19th Century Boosterism in Los Angelesqueenlove35

    Bell, Maj. Horace. Reminiscences of a Ranger; or, Early Times in Southern California. Los Angeles: Yarnell, Caystile, & Mathes, 1881.

    Bell’s first penned memoir discusses the Los Angeles Rangers establishment and becoming founder of Los Angeles’ earliest paper The Porcupine. Defending the Californios and the Chinese Community, and mentioned in a variety of my secondary and primary sources on eighteenth century life in California, his ‘colorful’ commentary on cultural life in Los Angeles provides a first-hand perspective of cultural conflict and the creation of cultural geographic boundaries. Note: This original item was located at the Huntington Library, however is not accessible without a written request for PhD research.


    California. 1850. Reports on cases determined in the Supreme Court of the State of California. San Francisco: Bancroft-Whitney.

    This primary source document describes the legal case surrounding the damage incurred during the Chinese Massacre of 1871. Chinese merchants collectively sued the Mayor, City Council, and the City of Los Angeles for repair costs of destroyed goods. This primary source, in conjunction with the estimated costs, illustrates bias cultural segregation in the development of nineteenth-century Los Angeles. This is available by public access of the Orange Legal Law Library computers only, but located my remarks online through Google.


    David, Leon Thomas. “The Oral History of Leon Thomas David: This History of Los Angeles as Seen from the City Attorney’s Office”. California Legal History, (2011). 277-319.

    Judge David recalls his oral history and interactions on his experience and empirical research on Los Angeles in 1950. Becoming a pioneering legal historian, his service in the City Attorney’s office provides a direct perspective and specific aspects on Los Angeles’ changing cityscape. This modern oral history discusses key topics in my research; including the city attorney’s reaction to 1871 Chinese Massacre trails and cultural exclusion changed the Los Angeles cityscape. This was accessed through CSUF’s database.


    See, Lisa. On Gold Mountain: The One-hundred-year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family. New York: Vintage Books, 2012.

    Beginning with her great-great grandfather, Lisa See examines her heritage from Canton to San Francisco and Los Angeles. Organized, as Drew Faust’s This Republic of Suffering¸ she utilizes cognitive mapping of Los Angeles, her two-family linage, census records, and oral histories to track their trek to Gold Mountain in California. Using her first hand experiences as a ‘red-haired girl with a Chinese heart’, pointing to her privileged merchant family history, she argues late nineteenth-century non-Anglo Angelenos melted into a blended formation of American-Chinese This book assists discusses first hand-accounts of her grandfather’s prostitute undergarment factory coming under scrutiny for hiring Chinese workers during 1882 Exclusion Act. Also ties to the transnational and cultural authority themes of my topic. This was accessed through CSUF’s database.

  • Orange: From Communities to Cities – Primary Source Bibliography20perez16

    Primary Source Annotated Bibliography

    Bartlett, W. C. “The Tropical Fruits of California” Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine. Vol. 1, Issue 3 (Sept 1868): 263-268. Making of America Journal Articles

    This source demonstrates how people viewed the citrus industry as it was developing. It is an early example of a positive reaction to Southern California’s growth that may have enticed people to move to the state.

    By-laws of the Yorba Linda Citrus Association, 19 June 1915. Box 1, Folder 7. Local History: Citrus Collection CA4, University Archives and Special Collections. California State University, Fullerton Pollack Library.

    This source is an example of the business and cooperative side of the citrus industry. It will help me understand the institution’s perspective in contrast to my other more personal primary sources related to the citrus industry.

    Campbell, Ensley J. Community History Project (Orange): Early Orange; and the Citrus Industry. By Milan Pavlovich and Florence Smiley. OH 1507. Oral History Program at California State University, Fullerton, September 1, 1970.

    This source is helpful because the narrator discusses his role in the early development of Orange and in citrus ranching. It also includes commentary about several ethnicities living in the city and different aspects that contributed to the success of citrus.

    David Hewes’ Packing House Interior With Workers, ca. 1905. 1905. Orange Public Library Collection, Orange Public Library and History Center, Orange, CA.

    This is one of several relevant photographs from the Orange Public Library and History Center archive. While this image shows Anglo women citrus workers, other photographs identify men, women, Anglos, and Mexicans working in fields and packing houses. The images demonstrate the types of laborers associated with the citrus industry.

    Smiley, Florence. Community History Project (Orange): Reminiscences of Early Childhood. By Milan Pavlovich. OH 478. Oral History Program at California State University, Fullerton, August 17, 1970.

    This is another oral history that provides a personal and detailed view of Southern California life around the turn of the nineteenth century. This source is useful because it explains the growth of the city of Orange from the perspective of a woman who grew up in Southern California and whose family had migrated to the state.


    Additional Source:

    Bartley, George. Community History Project (Orange): Constable of El Modena. By Milan Pavlovich and Florence Smiley. OH 477. Oral History Program at California State University, Fullerton, July 2, 1970.

    While this source has some information regarding Orange community life, the other two oral histories are more related to my paper. It focuses more on the narrator’s experiences as a constable and a walnut farmer, rather than in citrus.

  • Annotated Bibliographyyaremenkolena


    Grimke, Angelina. Letter XII Human Rights Not Founded on Sex. October 2, 1837, and Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women, 1838.

    Grimke, Sarah Moor. Letter 1: The Original Equality of Woman. July 11,1837.

    Sarah Moor Grimke, and her sister, Angelina were Civil Rights and Women’s Rights Activists. Angelina’s Epistle to William Lloyd Garrison was published in The Liberator, and the writings     and speeches of both sisters regarding their personal interpretations of the divine order and how it related to equality for all people. Their writings illustrate the cognitive dissonance that prevailed in that time regarding the moral beliefs expressed by the founders and men of faith at that time, and rights that they claimed the Bible were extended to all human beings. Specifically, Sarah spoke out about how the religious views expressed in the Bible and by those professing to follow its tenants prohibited the enslavement of humans. Regarding the reasons behind white women working toward abolition of slavery, these letters support there was a religious moral authority of that day did not support precluding women or people of color from being treated as equals that motivated these women to act. Their writing supports the claims that white men saw white women and people of color essentially as tools for their won use and not as complete or competent individuals.

    Advertisement, Seneca County Courier, July 14, 1848.

    Seneca Falls Convention, July 14, 1848.

    This is a description of what happened when women delegates from the U.S. to an anti-slavery convention were not allowed to participate. It shows the that these women were considered by the men at that time as basically lesser human beings with ironically no right to speak at a convention about slavery—a condition under which people had no right to speak. It illustrated the cognitive dissonance that prevailed among men of that era in that they were able to both hold a convention dedicated to putting an end to slavery and at the same time refuse to seat women, or to even allow them to speak—a basic right of free people, who had been on the frontline of this movement. It raises the question of women’s motivation to fight for freedom and wither they were interested only in putting a stop to slavery or in equality for themselves as well. It also connects abolition of slavery and the right for women to vote to the fact that initially, some women did have the right to vote in a number of states prior to 1776 and how this may have affect their support of abolition. This supports the idea that initially women were allowed to be more involved in politics, and how upon having this right rescinded, they believed they had a vested interest in reclaiming that right. They began to see the similarities between themselves and people of color. This in turn led to their involvement in gaining or regaining political recognition and power as well as equality. It shows that women, once they discovered that did not have be only placed on earth to serve others, rebelled.

    Stanton, Elizabeth Cady. Seneca Falls Convention Speech, July 19,1848.

    The writer is a suffragist, women rights activist, and abolitionist. She addressed the inequality of the convention saying, “Man’s intellectual superiority cannot be a question until woman’s has had a fair trial. When we shall have had our freedom to find our own sphere, when we shall have our colleges, our professions, our trades, for a century, a comparison then may be justly instituted” and “In consideration of man’s claim to moral superiority, . . . he is infinitely woman’s inferior in every moral quality, not by nature, but made so by false education . . .” Her speech supports the fact that women understood, clearly, that they, like slaves, were not being treated fairly based on the tenants of the moral authority acquired from their society’s professed faith, but were just being used for the purposes and benefits of others. These women were also pointing out the cognitive dissonance, which once expressed and seen for what it is, becomes hard to undo.    

    Frederick Douglass, 1845. Frederick Douglass: A Biography.

    Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass. 1845.

    Douglass was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, and freed slave. He focused on ending slavery and gaining equal rights for African-Americans and also collaborated on women’s suffrage and equal rights for all. His writing supports the fact that white women, like slave, were not being treated as fully human in that their rights to express themselves and to vote, which kept them in a position of powerlessness politically. He shows that white women and people of color were treated as tools of white men, and that they were given very little to no respect beyond those roles.   

    Hedrick, Joan. Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life. ...

  • Primary Source Bibliography – 19th Century American IsolationismTaylor Dipoto

    James Madison to Thomas Jefferson. 12 March 1815. The James Madison Papers at the Library of Congress. Accessed 10 November 2016.

    The Library of Congress hold several of Madison’s letters concerning the negotiation of the Treaty of Ghent, and his seeming overarching concern to obtain peace and keep it at all costs. Analysis of these documents, perhaps in tandem with the treaty itself, would make an interesting study of how prevalent isolationist ideas were in terms of ending the War of 1812.


    Monroe, James. “Monroe Doctrine; December 2 1823.” The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School. Accessed 10 November 2016.

    While the Monroe Doctrine is part of my general research questions, no historian has looked at the doctrine itself to make specific connections to the rise of isolationism. Given as part of President Monroe’s address to Congress, several sentences directly allude to isolationist ideas. Close analysis of the complete text could provide interesting insights into the rise of isolationism.


    “Report of the Committee appointed to inquire into the causes and extent of the late commotions in Baltimore.”  The Maryland Gazette. 13 August 1812. Accessed 10 November 2016.

    Most opposition during the War of 1812 stemmed from Federalists who feared extensive government control. The circumstances of this violent riot in Baltimore connect Federalist concerns to isolationism, by characterizing Democratic-Republicans as too pro-European. Examining the riot in detail could be an interesting way of getting at popular sentiment regarding isolationism.


    Washington, George. “Washington’s Farewell Address.” 19 September 1796. George Washington Papers, University of Virginia. Accessed 10 November 2016.

    I would argue that George Washington’s Farewell Address as he left office served as the first important advance in the development of American isolationism. Incorporating it into research on the topic as a concrete starting point would make it much easier to reconstruct the trajectory this strain of thought took throughout the nineteenth century.



  • Primary Sources Bibliography  higbeejonathan


    Conway, Christopher B. and Gustavo Pellon, eds. The U.S.-Mexican War: A Binational Reader. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Co, 2010.

    Drawing on a rich, interdisciplinary collection of U.S. and Mexican sources, this volume explores the conflict that redrew the boundaries of the North American continent in the 19th century. Among the many period texts included here are letters from U.S. and Mexican soldiers, governmental proclamations, songs, caricatures, poetry, and newspaper articles.

    Lookingbill, Brad, ed. American Military History: A Documentary Reader. Malden, Massachusetts: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

    The book presents a series of primary source documents relating to America’s armed forces from colonial period to the present. Of the sources in the book that are vital to the understanding of the U.S. Mexican War like President James K. Polk’s declaration of war and Whig Party disapproval of going to war with Mexico.

    Polk, James, and Allan Nevins. Polk; the Diary of a President, 1845-1849: Covering the Mexican War, the Acquisition of Oregon, and the Conquest of California and the Southwest. New York: Longmans, Green and Co, 1968.

    The diary kept by James K. Polk form 1864 to 1849, which covers such events as the Mexican War, the acquisition of Oregon, and the conquest of California and the Southwestern United Sates. Polk’s diary is very important when discussing why Polk called for war with Mexico and his motives on establishing American dominance across the continent.

    Grant, Ulysses S. Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant,  Volume 1. New York, Charles L. Webster       & Company, 1885.

    The personal memoirs of The 18th President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant who served during the U.S.-Mexican War who roused from the rank of Second Lieutenant of the 4th Infantry to First Lieutenant of the 4th Infantry during his deployments while on duty. Although considered one of the greatest American generals of all time he personally dislike the U.S.-Mexican War stated that annexation of Texas could be justified however the manner in which the subsequent was forced upon Mexico cannot. In addition, to mention that the war was a one sided affair that saw a stronger nation crushing a much weaker opponent.

  • Women, Religion, Activism Primary Source Bibliographyvannoyj

    Coffin, George Yost, and Constantino Brumidi. “The Apotheosis of Suffrage.” Digital image. Library of Congress. Accessed November 11, 20106.

     This is a drawing that was published in the Washington Post on January 26, 1896. The importance of this artistic        image is twofold. First, it is a representation of the kinds of publicity the women’s movement worked to promote. The second important aspect is that it has a number of allegories within the picture. While the most obvious allusion occurs within the political realm, there are a number of allegorical references to religion which helps the argument that the women’s movement really came out of a revival and new evangelical belief system in which women emerged as strong voices for their own beliefs.

    Willard, Frances E. “Address to Women’s National Council.” Modern History Source Book, 1997. Accessed November 8, 2016.

    The address to the Women National Council occurred at its First Triennial Meeting in Washington in 1891. This primary source speaks not only on women’s rights and the fight for suffrage but Frances Willard also takes the time to include the Women Christian Temperance movement and the role religion is playing in her life as an activist.

    Unknown Author, “General News Summary.” Readex. Accessed November 09, 2016. News Summary.

    This is a news article from September 1853. In this there is a mention of Antoinette Brown speaking at the World Temperance Meeting. Antoinette Brown is one of the first women ordained to preach. She was ordained at the age of 28 through the United Church of Christ Revival movement.

    Unknown Author, “News/Opinion.” Readex. Accessed November 10, 2016.

    This page from the Baltimore Sun on Sept 21, 1853 acknowledges that Rev. Antoinette Brown was installed as a pastor of a church in South Butler, New York. This is one of the first women to lead a standing church as their pastor in the United States. She was approximately 28 when she was installed and a vigorous supporter of the Women’s Suffrage and Women’s Temperance movements.

  • Primary Source Bibliographyandrewjarralkelly

    Department of Commerce. Bureau of Public Roads. Phoenix Division Office. Lees Ferry Bridge or Marble Canyon Bridge. Phoenix: National Park Road Project Records, 1949-67.

    The making of roads does two things to national parks and visitor experience. First, they alter the landscape. They create divides in the landscape. Second, the creation of roads designate where most of the visitors will go, and therefore view the park.

    Gramann, James H. “Trends in Demographics and Information technology Affecting Visitor Center Use: Focus Group Report.” Report to National Park Service Social Science Program, 2003.

    This source shows how the National Parks Service actively looks at the visitor experience. The purpose was to help the NPS plan visitor centers and other related projects. Visitor centers are a key part to visitor experience, most of them enter through these places to gather information about the parks.

    Tuler, Seth & Dominic Golding. “A Comprehensive Study of Visitor Safety in the National Park System: Final Report.” Prepared for the National Park Service, 2002.

    This report is a systematic analysis of visitor safety. How can the safety of the visitor better contribute to their experience and perception of the parks. How can the parks protect people and create a safer wilderness.

    Department of the Interior. National Park Service. Carlsbad Caverns National Park. “Postcard of Carlsbad Caverns National Park.” 1934.

    This image is an example of how the national parks portray themselves through photography. The Ansel Adams images do this as well by highlighting the “main attractions” of the park. This in turn alters how the visitor sees the park. By highlighting the positive, they inadvertently cover the negative. They also create monuments which visitors associate an identity of the park.

  • Blog Post #6 The Chinatown War: Chinese Los Angeles and the Massacre of 1871suzanna.melendez

    Suzanna Melendez
    Blog #6

    Scott Zesch’s The Chinatown War: Chinese Los Angeles and the Massacre of 1871 delivers a riveting and well researched moment in American history that is often overlooked. During the 1870s a small-scale turf war began between three Chinese gangs in a small Los Angeles neighborhood. To settle the dispute, a group of Angelenos lynched a group of eighteen Chinese men. Scott Zesch’s research on the Massacre of 1871 offers a compelling account of one of California’s earliest hate crimes. As a historian, his research process was extremely difficult and challenging. During the 1850s and 1880s, the Chinese communities left behind very few written documents. Throughout the book, there are examples of Chinese men writing letters to friends and family back in China. Unfortunately, due to the lack of Chinese sources, Zesch relied heavily on American journalists and Los Angeles County court records. Therefore, as a scholar he emphasized on the historical and political context of the early-Chinese communities in California.

    The framework of the book is chronologically organized and provides a thorough background of Los Angeles. In addition, Zesch provided in depth details about the Chinese intention to sail to the U.S., eventually, settling in San Francisco and Los Angeles. As a scholar, he did an exceptional job detailing their traditional roots of family and culture. “Unlike those immigrants from Europe who pulled up stakes and essentially cut their ties with their pasts, the first Chinese who came to America remained closely connected with their kin back home.”(8) Family and culture were important values emphasized in Zesch’s scholarship. In relation to Zesch’s research, Ari Kelman’s A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over Memory of San Creek focused on the Natives attempt to preserve their history and traditional values. aly692 wrote that “They are trying to provide agency to their ancestors and heritage in order to make sure all narratives are being displayed for the Sand Creek Massacre … not the ones the Federal government wants us to hear regarding the ill treatment of Natives.” During the Gold Rush an influx of immigrants traveled to California to earn enough money for their families back in China. Despite the prejudices against the Chinese “new buildings were constantly under construction, and manual laborers were in demand. A local newspaper broadly welcomed immigrants in 1869, proclaiming: Let them come and settle with us; there is room for them and more.” (11) In a paradox, by 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed by the U.S Congress and therefore, prohibited all immigration of Chinese laborers.

    Overall, it was astonishing to read about the hurdles and violence inflicted against the Chinese. As a migrant community, they strived to build businesses and permanently settle in America. Although the author provided a detailed historical background of the Chinese in California, only one chapter is dedicated to the lynching. In spite of the lack of resources, one critique that I would give Zesch is that he could have explored the lynchings more in detail. Moreover, the topic of gender was what intrigued me the most in the book. My classmate sbremer highlighted some interesting points about gender. “For the Chinese women in the sex trade in Los Angeles at this time, I think the argument that they are given no voice or agency a compelling one. There are only a few instances where Chinese women are given a voice and a surprising degree of agency.” Despite the violence and bloodshed inflicted on the Chinese population, Zecsch did a phenomenal job researching a little-known event that would forever stain our history.

  • Annotated Bibliography #2Robert Huitrado

    •Whitman, Walt. The Sacrificial Years: A Chronicle of Walt Whitman’s Experiences in the Civil War. Edited by John Harmon McElroy. Boston: David R. Godine, Publisher, Inc., 1999.

    Walt Whitman, a northerner living in the south prior and during the early years of the Civil War, traveled north in 1862 to find his wounded brother in Virginia. What he found and saw in Virginia shocked and astonished him; rows of unburied dead, piles of amputated limbs, thousands of wounded men lying on the ground without protection from the elements and hospital staff overworked and undermanned. Due to these sights, Whitman decided to volunteer and soon became a trusted nurse. He tended the sick and wounded, and consoled the dying. At great personal and professional sacrifice, Whitman continued to nurse men in and around Washington, D.C. until the war’s end four years later. Although he never kept a personal diary of his experiences, he wrote hundreds of letters and newspaper articles on his time in the nursing corps.

    •Twichell, Joseph. The Civil War Letters of Joseph Hopkins Twichell: A Chaplain’s Story. Edited by Peter Messent and Steve Courtney. University of Georgia Press, 2006.

    Books on the Civil War are full of battles, generals and tactics, but not many of them focus on the non-combatants in the armies, the chaplains. Joseph Twichell left his studies to become a Chaplin in New York’s Excelsior Brigade, a Protestant Chaplin in a Brigade made up of mostly poor Irish-American Catholics. Twichell’s letters to his family speaks of life on campaign, in camp, being a Protestant among Catholics, of battle, and of the aftermath of battle. He was involved in seven major battles, from the Wilderness to Fredericksburg to Gettysburg. In addition to writing about “army” life, Twichell writes on politics, slavery, blessing the dead and dying and on the end of the war.

    •Eggleston, Larry G. Women in the Civil War: Extraordinary Stories of Soldiers, Spies, Nurses, Doctors, Crusaders, and Others. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2003.

    Women in the Civil War looks at women in the Civil War from a unique perspective, not only as non-combatants, but as spies, soldiers, nurses and doctors. While other books portray women only as keepers of the home while the men went to war, Women in the Civil War shows that women North and South saw it as a civic duty to do more. Some went so far as to dress like men and enlist, 400-700 women did this, and 60 or more were killed or wounded during the war. In addition to soldering, women also engaged in spying, nursing, guerrilla raids, and as combat doctors on the frontlines. Women played a larger role in the Civil War than many realized.

    •Hancock, Cornelia. Letters of a Civil War Nurse: Cornelia Hancock, 1863-1865. Edited by Henrietta Stratton Jaquette. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998.

    Often called the “Florence Nightingale of America,” Cornelia Hancock worked tirelessly in field and evacuating hospitals, and on the battlefield. She was a constant companion to those wounded and dying, from Gettysburg to Appomattox. She was one of the great heroines of not only the nursing corps, but of the entire medical field. She wrote to her family of the neglect of wounded soldiers, black refugees and of those in contraband camps.

    •McGaugh, Scott. Surgeon in Blue: Jonathan Letterman, the Civil War Doctor Who Pioneered Battlefield Care. New York: Arcade Publishing, 2013.

    Jonathan Letterman was a medical doctor before the Civil War and was stationed in the Western territories including Indian country. Soon after the Civil War started, he was withdrawn to Washington, D.C., where he was appointed Chief Medical Officer of the Union Army. This new position allowed him to reinvent combat medicine by creating the first ambulance corps, and reorganize the field hospital system. In addition, he was instrumental in improving the health, hygiene and dietary standards of the army.

    •Hamilton, Leni. Clara Barton. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1988.

    Clara Barton was a remarkable women, she was not only schooled formally but also in the finer details of farm life including horseback riding thanks to her brother. Clara Barton by Leni Hamilton incorporates quotes and passages from her letters and journals. Not only was she well educated, but she also volunteered as a nurse during the Civil War, a passion had since childhood.   Clara is best know for establishing the American Red Cross and her dedication to the Nursing Corps. She nursed hundreds of soldiers and civilians from the battlefields of the American Civil War to battlefields of France and Germany during the Franco-Prussian War in the early 1870s. Clara Barton was a central figure in the Nursing Corps for the Union Army, and continued to be until her death in 1912.

  • The Chinatown War Postsbremer

    Scott Zesch’s book tells the largely forgotten history of what occurred in Los Angeles on October 21, 1871 in which eighteen Chinese men were killed by an angry mob comprised of non-Asians. The incident was in retaliation for the shooting of one Robert Thompson by Chinese thugs. Zesch gives a detailed, hour-by-hour breakdown of what occurred that night. Fifteen men were hanged and another three were fatally shot, and mostly all of them were innocent Chinese who were unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Zesch uses the Chinatown Massacre of 1871 as the backdrop for a larger discussion regarding the early history of the Chinese in Southern California. Zesch discusses the first Chinese immigrants to Los Angeles, and how they made their lives and settled into the rough, difficult society of the city. Of certain importance to Zesch’s book is his discussion of the Chinese “tongs” and huiguans, which were groups or organizations of Chinese, some legitimate and legal and some being criminal in nature. Zesch also details the issue of Chinese prostitution and marriage practices, both of which were central to the outbreak of violence.

    As beirne points out (in his nicely titled post), Zesch’s book is titled The Chinatown War, because it details a much longer time period than just that fateful night. He breaks his book into two parts, with the first part detailing the establishment of a Chinese population in Los Angeles around 1850 and continues up to the night of the massacre. The second part details the massacre itself and the ramifications that ensued. Zesch argues that the general lawlessness and violence of wild west era Los Angeles that the Chinese moved into shaped and influenced how the Chinese developed and reacted to their new surroundings. Prior to the massacre, in fact, much of the violence presented is between the Chinese themselves. This is not to say that the Chinese were not persecuted and faced racism on a daily basis, they most certainly did. However, the very act that kicked off the events resulting in the massacre was the killing of one Chinese man at the hands of another Chinese man from a rival organization (P. 121).

    I found vannoyj’s comments of Zesch’s book quite interesting. As others have noted, Zesch is an independent scholar, and it seems to me that he clearly wrote this book with a general audience in mind. However, I did not find his sentence structure confusing. In fact, I found it quite streamlined and I believe it to be the easiest to read of the books we have covered thus far. However, I found vannoyj’s assessment of Zesch’s discussion of women in his book to ring quite true, for the most part. For the Chinese women in the sex trade in Los Angeles at this time, I think the argument that they are given no voice or agency a compelling one. There are only a few instances where Chinese women are given a voice and a surprising degree of agency. This is mainly realized in Chinese women’s (and Chinese men for that matter) to pursue legal options. This is illustrated in the event in which the widow of one of the men killed in the massacre had the sad distinction of being the first Chinese women to lodge a criminal complaint in Los Angeles in which she accused another Chinese man of inciting a mob resulting in her husband’s death (P. 163).

  • The Chinatown War – Response #5Diana Nguyen

    In his attempt to examine a relatively “unknown” moment and period of time in American history, Scott Zesch’s The Chinatown War: Chinese Los Angeles and the Massacre of 1871 explored the life and struggles of Chinese immigrants in Los Angeles and their subsequent murder by the native citizens who resented them in 1871. Through his detailed descriptions of Chinese life in Los Angeles as well as the events leading up to the massacre, Zesch made a compelling case for himself by providing a valuable window into the lives of Chinese workers and their society in California. By surveying the settlement of Chinese immigrants in Los Angeles in the first half of the book, Zesch sets the stage for the gradual build-up of anti-Chinese sentiment and the extreme violence that resulted in the death of eighteen Chinese on October 24, 1871. Although only one chapter dealt exclusively with the mass killing of Chinese immigrants while the rest of the book followed the history of the Chinese who lived in Los Angeles, I thought Zesch did a fantastic job of detailing the conditions in China that ultimately compelled Chinese men to leave their hometown and journey to the United States in order to earn money and return to their country soon after. However, many ended up choosing to stay in California, especially San Francisco and Los Angeles, and even “started their own businesses, washing clothes or peddling vegetables or fish… those with no capital took positions as housekeepers, cooks, waiters, and farmhands” (pg. 6).

    Using a range of historical sources from newspaper archives to court records, Zesch also persuasively described how adept the Chinese were at using the American legal system to their advantage. For example, Zesch stated that “the Chinese of Los Angeles learned as early as 1864 that they could use the local courts to resist maltreatment and right the injustices committed against them… the American legal system could be manipulated to thwart one’s enemies and facilitate illicit transactions” (pg. 51). As David B. pointed out in his post, I also thought Zesch did an excellent job of making use of the sources available to him, especially considering the lack of specificity in many of the historical sources and inability of Americans to properly record Chinese names. I would also have to agree with both Elena and David B. again that The Chinatown War certainly brought to mind similarities with Ari Kelman’s A Misplaced Massacre for its depiction of violence toward a particular group of people and how innocents were slaughtered indiscriminately due to racism. In addition, both books share a common theme in asking how history has either been created, changed, or remembered differently over time.

    As for what I liked most about this book, I thought Zesch did a commendable job highlighting the increasing tensions and anti-Chinese sentiments ultimately resulted in murder throughout the book. By starting the book with the reasons and conditions on why many Chinese men left their villages for America, readers are left feeling sympathetic for these individuals as they struggled to acquire enough money to return to China and live a comfortable life there. Despite Zesch’s unwillingness to fully explore or explain why the native citizens in Los Angeles slaughtered the Chinese-Americans, I thought Zesch’s discussion on the contemporary significance of the massacre in his last four pages to be a powerful one. He leaves readers with the claim that the local inhabitants of Los Angeles “did what they did not because they felt threatened or because their families were out of work but because they wanted to. It seemed fun. They thought they could get away with it because their victims were people who didn’t matter” (pg. 219).

  • Chinatown Massacre-blog #6vannoyj

    Often ignored in the historical writing of Los Angeles, the Chinese community has a reach history. In his book, The Chinatown War: Chinese Los Angeles and the massacre of 1871, author Scott Zesch attempts to bring the history to life. Going into this book with no background on the Chinese community in Los Angeles, I was anxious. The last time I read a book on a subject I was unfamiliar with, I found myself lost. But Zesch did a great job in providing enough background material that I felt familiar with the history before he jumped into the Massacre event. He writes like a novelist, and from David Bierne’s comments of his history as an historical novelist, it answers the question that I had in that regard.
    The book was interesting in that Zesch brought together the overall community within his telling of the story. The interactions of the Chinese community and the inter-racial relations that occurred in Los Angeles at the time were truly unique. Zesch spent much of his time reading between the lines in his quest to find out what occurred during the Massacre in 1871. His use of trial transcripts and newspaper articles helped him in determining what occurred in reality and what was said to occur. I really like how he was able to tell a mostly complete story with the use of these sources, which he notes in the beginning of his book were terribly incomplete.
    I did have a couple of issues with the book. His novelistic style did not sit to well with me in the telling of this story. It seemed there was a lot of jumping back and forth in the story telling, he often wrote the phrase “as has been told/described” or “as we will see later/in a later chapter.” This spoke of a knowledge that he might be confusing his reader and makes one wonder why he didn’t feel the need to streamline his writing into a more comprehensible style.
    Another issue I found was his portrayal, or lack of portrayal of the women in this Chinese community. In his effort to give them a voice, it seemed that he made them straight pawns with little or no agency within their own lives. One story that stands out is obviously the woman who might have very well began the massacre, Yut Ho. He tells the story of her “kidnapping” her eventual return and subsequent re-kidnapping. He comes to conclusions in the story that I find hard to follow by looking at his sources. He very definitely comes down on one side of the event but never mentions or even questions in his narrative, the feelings of the woman at the center of the controversy. He does this over and over in the telling of stories that involve women, they become a prop for his story telling. While it is understandable that there would be no documentation regarding the women’s feelings, it is odd that he never even questions where Yut Ho would rather spend her life.

  • Beirne – Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown…beirne

    On October 24, 1871, after one white life was lost in the crossfire of Chinese gang warfare in Chinatown, Los Angeles, a riot of 500 white Los Angelenos murdered eighteen Chinese, seventeen of whom were entirely innocent. The madness was partly swift angry vengeance, but mostly an act of brutality that, Zesch argues “seemed like fun. They thought they could get away with it because their victims were people who didn’t matter.” (Zesch 219) Decades of pent-up racial resentment against the influx of Chinese immigrants caused such acting out as a celebratory trip to saloons after victims had been hung, mutilated, or shot. Chinese immigrated to San Francisco, and then to Los Angeles thoughout the middle of the nineteenth-century, where businesses sprang up and internecine Chinese turf war was common. The massacre, Zesch argues, was inspired by the local Los Angeles press’s longtime stories about the prostitution and violence engaged in by the immigrant community, and seeing a fellow white caught in the crossfire fit well into this narrative. Furthermore, the press highlighted the dangers posed to white male labor with the influx of migrants. Small businesses, a lynchpin in the Chinese immigrant experience, were looted as well as local communities in the outbreak.

    Zesch is not a full-time academic, and his background as a historical novelist comes through strongly in The Chinatown War. It is interesting that the book was called The Chinatown War instead of The Chinatown Massacre; this is because Zesch paints the landscape in the decade-plus leading up to the main event as a drawn-out struggle of which October 24 was a boiling point. Nothing happens in a vacuum, but without the full scope of violence and lawlessness that plagued this part of the old American West, Los Angeles, a place not for the weak of heart, the event in question would not be so informative to historians. The general lawlessness of the times is on display, where vigilance committees, sometimes featuring officials themselves, took the place of structured law. Only twenty-five men were indicted, and eight were given short sentences for manslaughter. While this result was obviously not indicative of justice at work, Zesch earlier in the book points out that justice and cosmopolitanism was served more often than we might think in the Los Angels , with many Chinese Americans becoming recognized members of the community and bringing their cases to court, with the exception of testifying against whites.

    Although one reviewer from the University of Nevada noted that Zesch’s lack of specialty Asian-American comes into play, the Chinatown War does an excellent job of making use of sources available to us, particular court records from the Huntington Library and newspapers. Another reviewer says that the dearth of sources on early Chinese immigrants was not as bad as Zesch made it out to be. As one of our classmates noted, the book bears a great similarity to A Misplaced Massacre, not only in its depiction of racially-based mob violence but in how it brings its narrative into the present. (yaremenkolena) Both are little known today; marked by plaques but not widely known. Zesch’s work is also reminiscent of Samuel Truett’s Fugitive Landscapes in its analysis of how different groups interact within limited space with what was, at best, an emerging system of law and justice. Who remembers remembers events and how reveals much about a nation’s framework for understanding itself. The question is: what IS the meaning of this event? Scott Zesch refers to it as “The Riot That Didn’t Change a Damned Thing.” (Zesch 213) The press and law simply went back to their normalized sensationalist routines. Zesch attempts to connect the event to modern day hate crimes as well. It is also important to remember what happens when mob mentality reigns, particularly when there are complicated histories of entirely different groups attempting to occupy the same space.


    Zesch, Scott. The Chinatown War: Chinese Los Angeles and the Massacre of 1871. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

  • Supplementary Reading to Scott Zesch: Gaining Agency within Cultural Boundariesqueenlove35

    Supplementary Reading:

    La Fiesta De Los Angeles: Race, Ethnicity, and History on the Parade in Los Angeles, 1894-1903.

    By Rachel Grace Shuen

    Scott Zesch illuminates the original outbreak of racial violence in Los Angeles in The Chinatown War: Chinese Los Angeles and the Massacre of 1871 While Los Angeles tried to overcome the stigma of Chinese Massacre trails, both agree that it set racial epistemologies within the Los Angeles’s urban landscape discourse. La Fiesta was an attempt to regain back the city’s national identity as a diverse cultural space while attracting the traveling tourist and their dollars through the expansive development hotel, shopping, and cultural districts.

    Dividing the project into two sections, Shuen first contextualizes the historical background of La Fiesta, by focusing specifically on tracing the history of the Chinese culture in developing Los Angeles. Shuen then examines La Fiesta itself: addressing the different cultural images portrayed in the parade planners and the first controversies involving the inclusion of the lawfully segregated Chinese community. She pointedly describes how race in Los Angeles focuses on the Mexican heritage gained and lost within the shifting geographic boundaries of Mexico within the annexed city. Utilizing parade photographs, newspaper articles, travel literature and eyewitness accounts captured by paper media outlets about Chinese parade participation, Shuen asserts the cultural commodification, segregation laws, cultural bias and urban development around these topics shaped the social structure in Los Angeles’ racial environment. Methodologically, Shuen interplays cultural authority and ethnic stratification in Los Angeles to question, ‘why the city’s leaders used the past as a cultural tool to build the city and its regional identity while also trying to “whitewash” Los Angeles’ early history.’

    A strong sense of identity began to rebuild Chinatown in Los Angeles after Black Tuesday.

    Looking to tap Los Angeles booming tourist business, the La Fiesta was created with inspiration of the 1893 World’s fair, and Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses. The Merchants Association, specifically designed La Fiesta to target the exotic, yet the romantic allure of Los Angeles. An initial investment of $10,000, the parade comprised of concerts, marches, and various activities. The name La Fiesta de Los Angeles (presently named Fiesta Broadway) was the result of a city-sponsored naming contest, evoked thoughts of the city’s Spanish past. Shuen elaborates the city’s desire to have the parade showcase the history of Los Angeles by asking Mexican Americans to ride horses as Spanish conquistadores; Yuma Indians display their float and the Chinese to perform their dragon dance during the parade. Shuen argues that “not only were various cultures commodified for the purpose of economic boosterism, but these groups were expected to enact their own subjugation in this supposed “celebration” of Los Angeles’ historical past.”

    Shuen details the float processional, utilizing photographic primary evidence and newspaper articles written about the inaugural event. Describing how the parade progresses through various historical epochs, Shuen pointedly asserts parade organizers were committed to presenting a ‘monolithic ideology’ of Los Angeles’ history. Native American groups played into stereotypes of Native American practices and culture alongside the discovery of California in 1545, the first Anglo immigrants to California, gold mining period, water irrigation and the current prosperity of the last period of Los Angeles’ history.  Spectators admired the elaborate displays that highlighted “typical Spanish life made quite real by the present of genuine senoritas and the company of gallant caballeros on prancing steeds.” As a carnival-sized manifest destiny, the Chinese community still made every effort to gain agency and authority through their Anglo set cultural ...

  • Blog6:The China Town War: Chinese Los Angeles and the Massacre of 1871yaremenkolena

    Scott Zesch, the author of the China Town War: Chinese Los Angeles and the Massacre of 1871, relies on the records of ancestors of those connected to the massacre and court records to explain the history of the See-Yup dispute that led to the massacre of 1871. Only small number of letters and diaries still exist. They are mostly vanished over time. The author argues that it is a major problem with the research on the subject. And even the sources that still exist might be difficult to find and identify because they probably were written in Chinese. In order to explain the Asian- Anglo situation in Los Angeles, Zesch turns to examples of other cities, such as San Francisco, that had a large Asian population. This book primarily relies on two sources “Los Angeles area court record at the Huntington Library and California newspapers of that time” (p.225). Most of the narratives, comes from the court cases after the massacre. The documents, which were likely to have been translated accounts, could be inaccurate, and self-serving. People frequently relocated and it was very difficult to track them. English transcriptions of names from Chinese could also be changed based on a person transcribing the name that only added to the difficulties of findings.

    Zesch’ intent is not to create a perfectly accurate history of the event, but to make readers “” less ignorant” in the words of Him Mark Lai” (p.226). The Author is filling in what life was like using information he finds about Chinese life in San Francisco. Due to the limited resources, this book reads very much like a fascinating historical novel. The author is a historian because of his use of the official and unofficial documents to connect events that took place, but he is also a historiographer because he relies so heavily on the research of Him Mark Lai whom he calls “unofficial dean of Chinese American studies” (p.225).

    To give the readers a true sense of life in Los Angeles at that time, the author uses photography, pictures of advertisement, pictures of art, and posts from 1870. What including pictures do – it adds the reality to a historical novel. Picture of a notice of the rewards that sparked massacre is just an amazing evidence, and photograph of massacred bodies of victims also included in the book that create a tone for the massacre of 1871. Fascinating information found among the photograph is about Los Angeles Justice of the Peace, William H. Gray, who the local Chinese thought treated them fairly, and hid some of the potential victims in his caller (between pages 154-155).

    The China Town War: Chinese Los Angeles and the Massacre of 1871, has a great deal of similarity to Ari Kerman’s book, the Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek, in collecting historical materials and comparable sources. Both authors have done an incredible work of portraying each event. In Robert Huitrado’s commentary on the Misplaced Massacre, Robert states that the author, Ari Kerman, “focuses on one event and thoroughly investigates it from multiple angles,” that is well expressed about Kerman book and it is precisely how Scott Zesch delivers the history of the event to his readers.

  • Supplementary Reading – The World the Civil War MadeDiana Nguyen

    In comparison to the chapter, “The Burnt District: Making Sense of Ruins in the Postwar South” by K. Stephen Prince in Gregory Downs and Kate Masur’s The World the Civil War Made, which examined how northerners have turned to look at ruins and war-torn landscapes in order to make sense of the South after the American Civil War, Thomas J. Brown’s “Monuments and Ruins: Atlanta and Columbia Remember Sherman” specifically looked at the burning of the cities in Atlanta and Columbia and how civic memories of the events eventually took on different shapes after the war. While Prince’s chapter focused on the legacy of the Civil War through the use of images and discussions of ruination in postwar South, Brown’s article discussed the ways in which American memory of the Civil War turned from monuments and ruins to other forms of commemorations instead. Despite their differences, however, by linking national memory of the war to the use of public spaces for mourning in order to commemorate the war dead, both Prince and Brown successfully argued their points while simultaneously showcasing the significance of monuments and ruins in their works.

    As depictions of the ruined South became an integral part of northern print and visual culture, “southern ruins

    Focusing on the fires that burned Atlanta and Columbia, Thomas J. Brown commendably highlighted the differences and similarities between the two cities during and after the Civil War. Brown stated that while “Atlanta tended to build monuments to its renewal; Columbia preferred to highlight ruins of its lost glory… monuments of Atlanta Illustrated weeklies such as Harper’s Weekly published graphic illustrations of the fire its aftermath while famous photographers from George N. Barnard to Richard Wearn either included powerful pictures of destroyed buildings in books or documented the damage in a series of photographs.

    The idea of commemorating the American Civil War through memorials and ruins also played an important role in creating memory of the war in both Atlanta and Columbia. Not only did “commemorations of the burning of Atlanta and Columbia illuminate the resolution and persistence of the sectional tensions that exploded in the Civil War” In the end, while memory in Atlanta and Columbia turned from monuments and ruins toward new ways to commemorate the war through battle flags, license plates, and even costumed simulations of the battles fought in the conflict, Brown ends his article by stating that the burning of the two cities ultimately demonstrate the continuities and discontinuities of memory and remembrance in the postwar era.

    K. Stephen Prince, “The Burnt District: Making Sense of Ruins in the Postwar South,” in The World the Civil War Made, ed. Gregory P. Downs and Kate Masur. (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2015), 106.

    Ibid, 108.


  • Post on The World The Civil War Made20perez16

    The World the Civil War Made (edited by Gregory P. Downs and Kate Masur), is a collection of essays that analyze the “historical distinctiveness” of the postwar period through themes such as “personalized power,” individual rights, and rampant violence (14-15). As higbeejonathan explained, the book’s argument is based on how the Civil War changed the nation (3). The authors examine “new possibilities for imagining government, claims-making, and narrative” (17). These historians were not confined by traditional approaches to slavery or regions; rather, they perspectives of the United States spanned regions, ethnicity, and even territories that had not yet joined the Union. Although the South directly experienced most of the physical destruction and emancipation, the Civil War impacted the west and the north as well as politics at the federal, state, and local levels. The authors demonstrated these developments through the use of monographs, journal articles, treaties, newspapers, photographs, novels, and letters.

    The essays in Downs and Masur described several historical events or movements that were considered failures. It reminded me of David Sim’s A Union Forever and the failed attempts of Irish nationhood in the same time period. This method was not simply about labeling failures but also understanding the complexities and consequences of postbellum developments that contributed to those failures. For example, the federal government, or the “Stockade State,” became more powerful during the war but it was not always able to enforce laws and treaties effectively in the Western territories (ch. 2, 3, 7, 9, p. 6, 223). History is not often remembered from the perspective of failure, but historians can consider previously downplayed elements of history with this approach.

    This book explained several aspects of the “Reconstruction” era that I had not yet considered. Before reading this, I did not realize that Indian tribes tried to gain citizenship and land based on the Homestead Act. Stephen Kantrowitz’s description of this movement in relation to the postwar period and Western expansion proved that the war affected all parts of the United States, not just the South. Indian relations and other Western developments make much more sense in light of the changes occurring in the rest of the U.S. after the 1860s. This idea of studying regions together instead of separately is visible in Slavery’s Capitalism where historians argue that the North and the South both benefited from slavery. I was also fascinated with the discussion of ruins in chapter four. K. Stephen Prince explained how northerners initially viewed the postbellum South as an idea to be “recreated” (108). He explained that journalists and their readers adopted a mindset of viewing southern destruction as a northern opportunity to renew the south. Postwar Americans had to reconsider the intellectual meaning of destruction and death, which is explained in This Republic of Suffering as Sbremer also pointed out.

    Overall, I think this book successfully reimagined the “Reconstruction” period after the Civil War. It was a complicated era that involved continuity and change as Americans tried to reunify their nation going into the twentieth century.

  • Blog Post #5 The World the Civil War Madesuzanna.melendez

    Suzanna Melendez


    Blog Post #5


    In Gregory P. Downs and Kate Masur riveting collection of essays The World the Civil War Made sheds light to the profound changes the Civil War caused in the East and throughout the Southwest. The impressive cast of scholars wrote on a variety of themes which ranged from race, economics, politics, and religion. Even though the aftermath of the Civil War has been largely written about, Downs and Masur have asked questions and incorporated new innovative methodologies. Although their volume highlights how the field has matured, older works such as    Eric Foner’s Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution cannot be overlooked. On the contrary, “… historians of the postwar United States almost inevitably draw from Foner’s scholarship, particularly on his ambitious vision of the transformation of Republican ideology and his wide-ranging insights about African American politics.” (6) Ultimately, the existing interpretations about the Civil War have been expanded past the comfortable boundaries of a North-South conflict.

    As scholars, they organized the book in a unique manner. “Rather than presuming that Reconstruction is the best framework for understanding the postwar period-and thus envisioning a Reconstruction of the West or the Plains or the world-in this volume we ask whether thinking across regions might in fact might help us understand not just the regions themselves but the entire nation and its place in nineteenth century history.” (2-3) Therefore, the context of the book was not chronologically frame worked. On the contrary, instead of telling new stories, their goal was to frame new questions and modes of analysis. More recent work such as Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of Economic Development have adopted this similar methodology. On their blog post, 20perez16  said “the book as a whole included discussions on the main U.S. regions as well as the international scene.” Historians have brilliantly reimagined the geographic, cultural, political, and ideological landscapes of a world impacted by slavery, war and racism. In both manuscripts the readers are able to see the United States’ dynamic impact upon the world.

    In order to write an in-depth analysis of the long-term implications of the Civil War, Downs and Masur abandon the term “reconstruction.” They did a remarkable job explaining that “reconstruction” historically limits the social, political, and legal change to the postbellum South. On the other hand, social changes impacted women, African Americans and Native Americans. In Laura F. Edwards essay Reconstruction and the History of Governance illustrates how grassroots freedom on a local level impacted and shaped the rights claims and legal protections of African Americans. In addition, it was intriguing to read sbremer’s blog post that highlighted that “the government was still in the transitioning phase, and still learning from its experience of tearing itself asunder.” Furthermore, as Drew Gilpin Faust’s This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War the nation was still mourning the deaths of thousands of Americans. In order to rebuild the nation, Faust argued that families had to mourn the deaths of their loved ones. In conclusion, the Civil War not only nearly divided the United States but the aftermath had a nationwide effect.

  • Beirne – The World the Civil War Madebeirne

    The World the Civil War makes clear that the period broadly understood as Reconstruction was even more complicated than widely recognized. Rather than simply the Republican-led attempt to remake the South, a historical view that is tinted with the notion of “American exceptionalism,” the authors contained herein show that the post-Civil War period can only be really understood by looking at the United States across regions, ethnicities and borders. (Downs 5) It is easy to view Reconstruction through the filter of the behemoth the US became in the twentieth-century, but these essays reveal that US centralized power, for all its growth in support of the war effort, may not live up to its ‘Yankee Leviathan’ reputation. In spite of the intentions of the state to liberalize all within its reach, the West, South, Native Americans and others were not always willing participants. Divergent opinions within Republican party itself, eventually causing Reconstruction efforts to gradually dissipate, was just one example of a force that was fragile to begin with. Yet it was a moment of where great internal improvement measures were realized, heralded evidenced by those like Henry Carey, also featured in Slavery’s Capitalism. Economic solutions would be the best way to solve societal problems, with an American system to create a “harmony of interests” among classes that class-conflict socialism never could (312)




    There is even an transnational perspective on the evolution of the American economic system, where “the Civil War and Marxism developed in tandem” according to. (304) As I am writing my paper on economics in the Civil War, I was especially grateful for related discussions. While some see economic elites with an expansionist vision getting a stranglehold on national power through the Civil War, Karl Marx saw the Civil War as a revolution in line with his understanding of class overthrow, and his opinions were directly at odds with Carey’s (312). Andrew Zimmerman’s essay states that the Civil War, to many contemporaries proved that revolution could be accomplished through social rather than governmental or economic change. This understanding rendered the South as essentially the bourgeois power on the run. The Civil War was also more of a “redefinition” of American ideals as opposed to a “repetition” of revolution, according to Zimmerman (304).


    The Civil War also asked how much government should power versus the states, as well as what did true freedom and equality really mean. I agree with sbremer that K. Stephen’s Prince’s “The Burnt District” was a fantastic chapter for revealing “how the North viewed these ruined cities as their opportunity to rebuild the south in its image.” Furthermore, the collection shows that liberalism in thought or rhetoric does not always equate with reality on the ground. The sense that very different cultures would voluntarily surrender a way of life and be remade was a common mistake in Western expansionist mindset. The talk about liberalism reminded me of Liberalism and Empire by Uday Singh Mehta that I have read for Dr. McLain’s exam, revealing how high-minded notions of bringing civility to those that need is often blinded to its own biases, not to mention violent means by which they can be accomplished. For instance, while blacks were to be incorporated into the free-labor system, they were not necessarily desired in the expansion westward, and Indian Americans received a mixture containment and forced integration policies. We also cannot take rhetoric or even the of law for granted, as Gregory P. Downs and Kate Masur note that post-war America was “perhaps a nation ruled by violence interrupted by flashes of rights.” (13) This collection effectively moves us toward a more all-encompassing “Greater Reconstruction,” as Elliott West phrased it. (4)





    Downs, Gregory P. Downs and Kate Masur, eds. The World the Civil War Made Chapel Hill: North Carolina University Press, 2015.


  • The World the Civil War Made Postsbremer

    The World the Civil War Made is a collection of essays that seeks to rethink the reconstruction paradigm as a means of best understanding the massive changes that the United States underwent after the Civil War. The essays cover a broad array of different peoples, regions, and ideas that the editors hope will suggest new framing questions and new modes of analysis (P. 2). Of central importance to the new types of thinking this book puts forth is the concept of the United States federal government as being composed of “stockade states.” This refers to the idea that the US government was not a broad, overreaching, powerful “Yankee leviathan,” but rather was a collection of military and civilian outposts that were powerful within narrow geographical boundaries, but were limited in their reach. These outposts were sometimes capable of enforcing their will, were sometimes overpowered, and were almost always beset by competing individuals and power centers who desired to live outside of the reach of authority (P. 6). A prime example of the use of the “stockade state” within the broader context of the book can be found in the third chapter, detailing the trials of the Ho-Chunk Indians of the Great Lakes area. Upon their removal from their homeland, they are forced into boxcars and carted off to Nebraska. Here, from the perspective of the Ho-Chunk, the state takes the form of a boxcar. The boxcar is the symbol of the United States’ federal power, and to the Ho-Chunk who faced the perils of forced migration that federal power was very much real (P. 96).

    A further emphasis that this collection of articles puts forth is the idea of the illiberality of post-Civil War America. This is put forth in the essays that detail the championing of debt peonage in New Mexico and Chinese labor in California, the essay detailing the continued persistence of pro-slavery Christianity despite the death of slavery, the essay detailing the horrible practice of night riding, in which African Americans were kidnapped and whipped by roving bands of white men, or in the essay that raises the question of whether emancipation allowed free blacks to attend the theater. The final essay of the book also serves to place post-Civil War America onto the international stage as well. Zimmerman’s essay, as yaremenkolena points out, does this through the lens of Marx’s view towards the Civil War. It also places the American Civil War among the European Revolutions of 1848-1849, the October Revolution of 1917, and even the Popular Front of 1934-1939 (P. 306).

    This collection of essays is also all about transformation, and how the United States transformed, both in terms of government and society, as a result of the Civil War. As queenlove35 points out, a central argument to Faust’s This Republic of Suffering is that the United States government had to transform itself in order to deal and cope with the massive loss of life as a result of the Civil War. Downs and Masur’s book also deals with this idea, though in a different fashion. Here, the government is still in the transitioning phase, and still learning from its experience of tearing itself asunder. One chapter in which this is illustrated is in the essay entitled “The Burnt District.” In what I thought to be one of the more powerful essays of the book,  K. Stephen Prince is able to successfully show how Northerners viewed the ruined cities of the south. Prince illustrates how the North viewed these ruined cities as their opportunity to rebuild the south in its image and how northerners made sense of these ruins. The essay also hints towards Faust’s book in that it details something that is dark and slightly depressing, though it is done in a very thoughtful and non-conventional means.  

  • Remember pizza tomorrow night in class – bring a dollar $aly692
    Remember pizza tomorrow night in class - bring a dollar $
  • Supplementary Readingyaremenkolena

    Elena Yaremenko

    I have chosen the peer-reviewed journal article titled “A Symposium on the American Civil War and Slavery” written in 2011 by Steve Edwards, a historiographer who reviews the perspectives of a number of historians from 1920 to the 1960s that referenced Marx’s writings on the subject of the Civil War, along with the works of present-day writers from 1980 to the 2011, who in the 1990s appear to have rediscovered the connection between Marx’s theory regarding the evolution of class struggle. Edwards covers the range of these writings as they explore and discuss the connection they have made between the Marxist theory of “bottom up revolution” and which he believes “offer a platform for further debate in particular fields of study to help clarify and define the conceptual armory of historical materialism” (p. 43), in this case, as it relates to the Civil War.

    “Marx and Engels did not apply ready-made concepts of revolution to the U.S. Civil War. Rather, the Civil War and Marxism developed in tandem, as components of a dynamic transnational set of revolutionary movements.”(p.304) Edwards, in his paper, looks at Marxist historians as they focus their attention “on economic and social transitions or transformations; to think about class agency; and compare modes of production and forms of exploitation” (p.33), which the American Civil War represented. They saw this war as a global referendum on free, as opposed to, unfree labor and its compatibility with capitalism. This in turn led to a worldwide discussion on the subject of personhood and property, an idea that is echoed in the book, The World the Civil War Made, in Ch.12 by Zimmerman, who discusses the Civil War as a redefinition of the revolutionary war.

    Edwards revisits the connection of lost Marxist historical scholarship on the subject of the Civil War. He notes that most of the history regarding the causes of the Civil War was predominantly written from the point of view of the elites and empiricists. Edwards personally looks at this new Marxists view of history as a rebellion that favors a change of emphasis from the empiricist view to one of “the class-character of society” (p.34). Thus, he believes that a narrative of the Civil War as a bottom up class struggle, fits well into the of Marxist Theory of causes for revolutions. Edwards notes that in the 1960 that there was “a strong Marxist presence in debates concerned with slavery and the Civil War” (p.33), and he lists a number of authors whose work follows the Marxist tradition of writing about “history from bellow” (p.33). He then compares and contrasts their writings in the Marxist style, to those of the “ethno-religious” and “political elite,” and “born-again empiricists” (p.34).

    Comparing the views of Marx, Edwards states, is “no substitutes for historical research, but it is worth turning to his work for some questions, if not answers” (p.39). A fascinating fact that emerges from this article is that Marx wrote is series of commentaries published in the New York Tribune and the Viennese liberal paper Die Presse, on the subject of abolishing slavery (p.39). However, Marx did not study the Civil War or slavery specifically, but he did use the observations about slavery and how it relates to capitalist production in his writings. In Marx’s writings, he discusses slavery in the American South as both “a mode of production corresponding to the slave and a slave or plantation economy. In essence comparing this struggle between the North and South during the Civil War as two social systems that “can no longer peacefully coexist” and which, “can only be ended by the victory of one system over another” (p.40). In his studies of governance structures, economics, and revolutions Marx does not discuss the morality or ethics of slavery directly.

    Edwards does not just compare the writings of these authors, but he also argues with them about their views of the Civil War, and about how their theories relate to Marxist theory. Edward’s comparisons examine where these writers’ ideas originated and explains how their perspectives either mesh or do not mesh with Marx’s work. Edwards acknowledges that these historians have done a great deal of research connecting the social class structure to the economy of the capitalist world market and its connection to the North and South pre-war America, but he believes that they attribute thoughts to Marx that Marx never expressed about the Civil War. Probably closest to Marx in this regard was Davidson who explains that “The real blockage on capitalist development was not feudalism or feudal impediments to capital-accumulation, …but slavery” (p.38), as it affected the Southern economy, then the Northern as well, followed by a spread into the British trade: it had a cascade effect. The implosion of the slave-based capitalist system threatened to take down the capitalists economy in the U.S. with global ripples.

    The recognition of the connection to Marx’s idea of the underlying that the power of a society came from the “bottom up” can be found in this new wave of writers. These authors generally agree that one of the greatest cause leading to the Civil War was the economics of capitalism and slave labor and that trying to link this to Marx’s theories on social order. They took it a step too far by implying that Marx, in his study of the Civil War and other similar revolutions, advocated that slavery was a negative element. Marx, in his writings on bottom up revolutions merely documented as objectively as it was possible to do, the events that took place with an analysis of why he believed they occurred the way they did. While he did write about the need to abolish slavery, this is not what his theory was about, it was rather based on identifiable facts, not a referendum against slavery. Edwards looks at Marx’s writings and how the elements he writes about can be identified as underlying causes that existed at the core of the Civil War, and that also existed on a global scale in bottom up revolutions as he noted occurred during the French Revolution. These historians under review by Edwards use elements of ...

  • The World the Civil War Madehigbeejonathan

    When we think of the aftermath of the Civil War we tend to remember and fixate on the rebuilding of the South, the institution of Jim Crow, and the U.S. expand westward. However, the world in which the Civil War created is much more complicated and complex then we realize with relatively untold narratives that provide a greater understanding of what happened once the smoke had cleared of the battlefields and the dead mostly accounted for. As such the goal of The World The Civil War Made is to highlight and ask precisely how the the changes that rippled out from the Civil War did and did not echo in people’s lives and communities. They portray a federal government located in outpost, often beset and besieged able to enforce its policies in concentrated areas but hard pressed to extend its sovereignty thought the land. Using court documents, personal testimonies, newspaper articles, maps, and even tribe dissolution forms the authors within the book create the image of a nation defined by shared assumptions about democratic processes and peaceful governance; the essays within the book portray a place convulsed by violence and a government stymied by common people’s stubborn assertions of power and prerogative. In the end they seek to invite us to envision the enduring illiberal and chaotic qualities of life in the postwar U.S. as being imperfect in consolidating liberal nation, but as central to the American experience and as such seek to answer the question how the Civil War change the nation (pg. 3).

    The greatest strength of most of the essays in the book which give the reader a better understanding of the world that Civil War are the ones centered around ethnic minorities and how they struggled with ownership of their identity and whether it be their property such as land or their physical body. Similarly to Pekka Hamalainen’s Comanche Empire, Dr. Stephanie M.H. Camp’s Closer to Freedom Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South, and Dr. Ari Kelman This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War which give agency to minority groups in their respected books. I also would agree with Mark that the book is more about “local resistance on the ground made it difficult to enforce Reconstruction protections due to the federal governments reach was overstressed” and as such, they took matters into their own hands. In chapter 2, Stacey Smith discussed how merchants and workers protested the unfair wages the received to the Govoner of California and stated that they were not coolies if by that word you mean bound men or slaves (pg. 63). While In chapter 3, Stephen Kantrowitz argued that when the Ho-Chunk Tribe of Wisconsin neither used the words “citizenship” and “civilization” they seem to have attached meanings and hopes to them quite different from those intended by policymakers nor did they seek assimilation into the US nor did they imagine they could fully escape it (pg. 99). In chapter 6, Kidada E. Williams displayed the bravery of African American taking the stand and testifying in courts down south in addition to how emancipation allowed many African Americans to assert new control over their lives through economic means and migration to the Western Territories (pg. 173). Finally, in chapter 10, Crystal N. Feimster traces the black women’s resistance to sexual violence whose crusade for sexual justice took many forms written protest to violent resistance in order to challenge the panoply laws, traditions, and ideas that reinforce white men’s sexual power (pg. 251).

    The biggest complement I can give The World The Civil War Made is that it seeks to to tell the unknown stories that are needed to be heard in order for anyone to understand America after the war. For example before this reading, I never heard about Elly S. Parker. I thought C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa did an amazing job bring to life a relatively unknown historical figure to hopefully a wider audience. As such, one can see the significance of Parker’s mission of having the government protect Native tribes form settlers to maintain their tribal sovereignty (pg. 190). While Barbra Krauthamer on the other display that yes, Native American did own slaves which is not really mentioned lot but she takes to one step further by showing how they ended the practice of slavery which I have never personally come cross in any history book. Since she states that black people in the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations waited longer that most before gaining their freedom and clear picture of their future but they still had plans and ideas about their lives as free people in the nations should look like (pg 232).

  • The World the Civil War Mademark_t_garcia

    The United States federal government expanded its roll during the Reconstruction period. The federal government, led by Republicans helped the passage of the Reconstruction Amendments. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery. The Fourteenth Amendment provided equal protection and citizenship rights for all persons. The Fifteenth Amendment prohibits discrimination of voting rights by “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” The Amendments expanded the federal government while enforcing the protections. How was the federal government able to enforce the protections in the south and the far west? What challenges did the federal government face during the Reconstruction period? The World the Civil War Made is a collection of essays that help answer these questions. When historians began to study the aftermath of the Civil War they focused on the “political power and the organization of labor.” (p. 4). Gregory P. Downs and Kate Masure in the introduction state, “Reconstruction refers to the dynamic period of political debate and social upheaval in the South that followed the Civil War.” (p. 4) The essays concentrate on how the federal government had a limited role due to the state local forces. Downs and Masure express this period at the Stockade State, “a collection of outposts—both military and civilian—powerful within narrow geographical boundaries but limited in their reach, sometimes capable of enforcing their will, sometimes overpowered…” (p. 6) I agree with yaremenkolena that “The World the Civil War Made has shifted the focus on the history of the Civil War era from the influence of the federal and state governance to the entitles on the ground…” Local resistance on the ground made it difficult to enforce Reconstruction protections due to the federal governments reach was overstressed. “…federal officials were often frustrated by the army’s incapacity, its limited size, and it dispersal across the vast lands.” (p. 8)

    One example of local forces challenging the federal government Reconstruction protections was the physical and psychological terrorization of African Americans from white southern night riders. The terrorization was to stop African Americans newly gained equality. Southern white intimidation imposed fear on African Americans to the point they were afraid to fight. “Oftentimes, the night riders’ mere presence…had the power to reduce, as Herman puts it, “victims’ sense of autonomy” and undermine their willingness and ability to resist.” (p. 163) Even though African American had full and legal protection of the federal government, their lack of reach prohibited protection due to the brutal coercion of the southern night riders. This one example demonstrates how the federal “Stockade State” was undermined by local ground forces in the Reconstruction protections.

  • Blog5: The World the Civil War Madeyaremenkolena

    The consequences of the Civil War and the abolishment of the slavery spread far beyond of east coast of the United States and actually had an effect on the world globally according to The World the Civil War Made essays. While Americans fought a war for freedom and independence from Great Britain in 1776, it was a war that also expanded aspects of what it meant to be free individuals in general. The Civil War was refining of this concept of freedom on the grander scale. While some of the nation’s founders believed that war of independence should have included all people, slave and free people, they understood that this concept was not held by many of those in the southern states, and they believed that if they tried to force their particular view of freedom, which would include slaves on those in the south they would not have gotten the military support to fight against the British that they desperately needed, leaving the country in a status quo situation which they found unacceptable—better to get some of what they wanted than nothing.

    According to Zimmerman, Ch.12, Marx saw the American Civil War as a new type of revolutionary experience that emanated from the workers at the lowest level of political power in an attempt to gain political influence. This view of the more subtle influences on the political spectrum is echoed in Beyond the Founders, which examines the seemingly powerless non-citizens, including white women and people of color, explaining how they did actually did hold a number of keys to change in the political system through entrepreneurial expression and social life. The World the Civil War Made has shifted the focus on the history of the Civil War era from the influence of the federal and state governance to the entities on the ground, and opened up the prospects of a broader sense of understanding of the nation and its formation after the Civil War. The most fascinating approach seems to me that author shown a light into the perspective on the idea that there had previously not been a concept of “rights” for all individuals (p. 28). This was a movement form the ground up that reflected the common thought that if freedom was valuable for some, it should be common for all people—a bottom up concept the Marx elaborated on as an integral part of his doctrine. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were thus influenced by African American, who according to the author, had influence in the “central roles in the major events of the time rather than appearing as inert subjects to whom federal lawmakers gave freedom and rights” (p.27) and that the fact that they were instrumental in procuring their right to be free was not just a construct of the white politicians or white majority at that time.

  • Beirne – Economics and the US Civil Warbeirne

    Economics and the US Civil War



    This paper will examine the importance of the national economy, ideologically and practically, in the origins and four years of perpetuation of the US Civil War. The South’s secession over the likely trumped-up threat of Lincoln’s presidency to the instituion of slavery, the lynchpin of the region’s economic system, was simultaneously a political, economic, moral, and Constitutional. I hold, along with Russell McClintock in Lincoln and His Decision for War (2008), that slavery was resolved through military means by choice; one that claimed upward of 600,000 lives. Furthermore, economics played a role in this decision, as decades of interdependence and resultant political compromise between the northern free and southern slave economics gave way to a new reality of lost resources direct competition. While there were sectional differences enough to prompt Southern claims to independence, both Northern Southern understandings of patriotism and common culture developed, with the South understanding the North as an attack on their culture and economic lifeline while Northern emotions were spurred on in opposition to a collective bloc of millions of traitors. Melinda Lawson’s Patriot Fires (2002) discusses the new form of patriotism and Union identity, propelled by the newspaper industry and other business interests, that helped gather momentum for war amidst considerable uncertainty. This appears an update to the fervor of Manifest Destiny on display a decade prior in the US War with Mexico, a controversial military offensive this paper will look at for any similarities who provided supporting arguments and resources to fund the effort. As Richard Franklin Bensel writes in Yankee Leviathan (1990), the business interests that were benefited by the war did not follow through in supporting Reconstruction efforts pushed by Radical Republicans.


    The South also had a particular vision for a slave-based economic system that reached as far back as Thomas Jefferson’s”empire of liberty.” However, the Old South in the final decades before the Civil War was no longer the small yeoman farmer, but a Cotton Kingdom based large-scale farming with a strict racial hierarchy where it was essentially assumed blacks were enslaved unless proven otherwise. Recent work like Slavery’s Capitalism (2016), edited by Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman and Walter Johnson’s River of Dark Dreams (2013) argue for slavery’s centrality to increasing economic behemoth that was the nineteenth century US. These works have shown that the South was no backward place in spite of its now apparent backward practices, but part of an intertwined economy with the North; the absence of which would have been a significant loss to the country. The South, in its high export of cotton, paid a heavy share of taxes from federal tariffs. Gene Kizer, Jr., in Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States (2014), references a post-secession North’s economy was in a tailspin with mass unemployment and popular unrest. Immediately after secession, the high Morrill Tariff made matters worse, according to Kizer, increasing international trade into the South at the expense. There has been great historical debate over slavery’s relation to free trade, with economics Thomas J. DiLorenzo and author of the classic revisionist history The Real Lincoln (2002) viewing the South as constitutive of true free trade while the North pushed high tariffs and attempts deprive state independence everyone from the Founders and Andrew Jackson had recognized. Marc Egnal argues that economic factors, in particular, caused the Civil War, and not the righteousness emancipation or even preserving the union, while James L. Huston looks at slavery with regard to the law of property, and how the institution threatened free labor and dominated much of the Constitutional discussion.




    Finally, this paper will examine broader US economic histories like Michael Lind’s Land of Promise (2012) and John Steele Gordon’s An Empire of Wealth (2004) to understand how the country’s political economy was transformed by reunion. Lincoln’s centralization of power has been posited as Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists’ heir, as Bensel posits. Lincoln’s political career in favor of central banks, tariffs and internal improvement evidenced in Henry Clay’s “American System” gives credence to Lincoln’s understanding of the economic role of government. It is relatively well-known that one of, if not the most, important factors in Lincoln’s decision-making was his pure desire to preserve the Union. The expansion of slavery was something he was against, but Lincoln, from his Inaugural Address to his 1862 letter to Horace Greeley, Jr., made it clear that keeping the country together was paramount to everything, even if it meant preserving slavery. Examined herein will be perspectives on Lincoln’s adherence to “American System”-type policies. Both River of Dark Dreams and John Majewski’s Modernizing a Slave Economy (2009) reveal that the Confederacy had a particular vision a state that could compete on a global scale, with Majewski highlighting the CSA dream of an active state in the realm of infrastructure and commerce. Could the Union, with all its population and industry, ever have hoped to become the international economic powerhouse it became without rejoining with the South, albeit without the old slave economy? Bringing together a variety of historiographies surrounding secession, Lincoln, the Civil War and the birthing of modern American capitalism will help bring a unique narrative about the commonly overlooked economic angle of America’s most bloody and personal battle.






    Beckert, Sven and Seth Rockman, eds. Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016.

    Bensel, Richard Franklin. Yankee Leviathan: The Origins of Central State Authority in America, 1859-1877. Cambridge University Press, 1995.

    Blight, David W. Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2001.

    DiLorenzo, Thomas J. The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War. Roseville: Random House, 2002.

    Egnal, Marc. Clash of Extremes: The Economic Origins of the Civil War. New York: Hill and Wang, 2009.

    Finkelman, Paul. Defending Slavery: Proslavery Thought in the Old South: A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.

    Gordon, John Steele. An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power. HarperCollins Publishers, 2004.

    Huston, James ...

  • Polished Paragraphsuzanna.melendez

     Suzanna Melendez


    Polished Paragraph


    Prior to the 1970s, American women’s history tended to be neglected furthermore, scholarship focusing on native women was non-existent. Not until the 1980s, did scholars begin to focus on interracial marriages. Throughout my paper, I will focus on French men and Native American women. The reader will differentiate my historiography from other works because my research will mainly focus on Native womens’ experiences and intentions to marry outside their own race. In addition, I will also include a variety of sources focusing on marriages between Indian women and Spanish men in Mexico. It is important to take into consideration the lack of primary sources. During the nineteenth century, majority of women were illiterate and did not record their history. As a result, I had to read around my topic and look at other kinds of interracial marriages in order to put together a robust historiography.

    The historical synthesis and methods utilized by scholars are government documents, travel journals, historic maps, and manuscripts. While majority of my sources addressed topics such as gender, economics, politics, and geography the issue of race appeared in every text. In Barbara Fields essay Ideology and Race in American History she addressed how historians have approached race and racism. One of her questions is how the concept of race came to be deeply embedded into our society? The concept of race is a complicated subject matter because an individual’s physical traits did not discourage interracial marriages. In Susan Sleeper- Smith Indian Women and French Men: Rethinking Cultural Encounter in the Western Great Lakes highlights the high number of mixed-blood kinships which unified Indian women and French men. Women not only worked as brokers between two different societies but they helped connect the Great Lakes which expanded the transatlantic economy. By reading Sleeper’s narrative I identified that Indian women’s actions mainly impacted their husband’s interests. Further research by Sylvia Van Kirk in Many Tender Ties: Women in the Fur-trade Society, 1670-1870 tried to identify how native women benefited from an interracial marriage. She provided in depth details about family life among the Native Americans. During the early 18th century, marriages between French men and Native women were encouraged. But there are debates among scholars as to the date and reason interracial marriages were disapproved by French aristocrats. By the 19th century, physical traits began to be emphasized opposing differences between and discouraging French-Indian relationships. Therefore, are there other components that attributed toward the disproval of mix raced relationships? Although French men wanted political and economic alliances these correspondences began to represent a form of dishonor. Guillaume Aubert’s article The Blood of France: Race and Purity in the French Atlantic World highlights the criticism of interracial relationships. Despite economic and political gains, the social construct a racial hierarchy interfered. Overall, can an emphasis on race reveal an accurate account of native women’s experience in an interracial marriage and the lives of their multiracial children?

  • Source Debates/Questionsdshanebeck

    The central goal of my historiography is to trace the ways in which slave owners, traders, or governments established capitalistic modes of efficiency in the slave system. The central question should rest on how historians have viewed the claim that the slave system was a backwards, feudalistic structure that kept the plantation system technologically and economically behind the rest of industrialized societies. There are three clear debates between my various sources dealing with how slaves are viewed or used by traders and planters. The first major debate centers around methodical decisions made by those involved in the slave trade. Historians such as Beckert and Rockman, Stephanie Camp, and Rees, Komlos, Long, and Woitek make clear arguments for the intentional ways in which slave plantation owners maximized output of their slave populations through food allotments, quota systems, and detailed record keeping. All of these historians agree that the slave system was not random or feudalistic, but intentionally attempting to maximize efficiency of production and output much like industrial factory. The second major debate follows technological advancements and incentives in order to reach peak production. Walter Johnson, John Majewski, and Chad Morgan all argued that there were very specific advancements in technology or economic structure that pushed slavery forward in its efficient modes of production. These could be as simple as steamboats  to expand southern cotton empires and production capabilities or active pursuit of a southern modernization of factories. Some southern governments even pushed for tax incentives and incorporations in order to modernize the southern structures. The last area of discussion centers around the slave trade and its efficient structures of transport and space usage. Robert Harms, Marcus Rediker, Greg O’Malley, and Stephanie Smallwood all clearly argue that the slave trade created a commodified product of human beings that were treated like other goods for sale (whether on the slave ship itself or in port). The commodification that occurred allows these historians to argue for an intentional capitalistic system that dehumanized the commodity of transport and increased the efficiency of the system.

    I will also provide one voice from an early history that challenges the above assertions by various historians. Douglas Egerton’s work was much earlier than the above historians and really might be the voice that they were attempting to silence. His assertions center on the idea that slavery cannot inherently be capitalistic due to its hierarchical society that was established. Edgerton believed that the paternalistic natures of the system and lack of wage for laborers could not create a capitalistic or advancing southern economy.

  • Polished Paragraph – The Legacy of the American Red Cross on Gender and WarDiana Nguyen

    Following the First World War, the American Red Cross achieved international recognition and fame but also transformed itself into a major national humanitarian organization by the end of the conflict. In addition to its phenomenal growth during the war, the programs it created in order to alleviate the pain and suffering of soldiers, civilians, and foreigners alike would forever cement its place as the nation’s humanitarian relief organization. One of the many debates surrounding the topic of the American Red Cross on gender and war came in the form of its transformation or the “rise and fall” of the organization as it began to adopt an international sensibility and responsibility to help others, especially foreigners, during the war. In Julia F. Irwin’s Making the World Safe: The American Red Cross and a Nation’s Humanitarian Awakening, she explicitly stated that by implementing languages of obligation as part of their rhetorical strategy during World War I, the American Red Cross helped convinced U.S. citizens that it was of a vital national interest to donate their money and time to not only help foreigners in need but also the war effort. Marian Moser Jones’ The American Red Cross from Clara Barton to the New Deal, on the other hand, also detailed the transformation of the American Red Cross and how the war ultimately transformed the organization into the powerful institution that remains today.

    Another debate or theme involving the American Red Cross that the authors in my annotated bibliography all have in common with would be the experiences of women who have made countless of sacrifices for their nation in times of war. From their roles as nurses and volunteers, these women battled sexism and racism, worked long hours and in sufferable conditions, and yet, they still accomplished an extraordinary amount of work through their philanthropic efforts overseas. In addition to exploring the cultural shifts of women’s involvement and the responsibilities of women during wartime, historians have also looked at how ideas of motherhood have come to shape the war effort both at home and abroad. Through the use of American Red Cross posters produced between 1914 and 1918, P.J. Lopez’s “American Red Cross Posters and the Cultural Politics of Motherhood in World War I” looked at how they became a fundamental propaganda tool for communicating notions of femininity and patriotism to American women while also exploring the influences of U.S. involvement in the war as well as the social constructions of white femininity of the time.

  • Polished Paragraph(s) – American IsolationismTaylor Dipoto

    The bulk of scholarship on American isolationism specifically focuses on the period of the twentieth century that encompasses the World Wars, and often ignores any earlier manifestations of the idea. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the major questions facing historians who tackle these earlier incarnations of isolationism center around its origins. While these historians do not often directly engage in a debate, their ideas nevertheless fall into two different camps: one considers the implementation of the Monroe Doctrine in 1832 as the official starting point, while the other looks to various earlier moments in American history.

    Most historians writing on the subject fall into the first category. Carl Becker wrote “The Monroe Doctrine and the War” shortly after the end of the First World War, making him the first historian to notice a connection between the Monroe Doctrine and the broader idea of isolationism, likely because isolationism was more prevalent than ever before in the years directly leading up to American involvement in the war. Several subsequent historians have shared his opinion; Gretchen Murphy (Hemispheric Imagining: The Monroe Doctrine and Narratives of U.S. Empire), Jay Sexton (The Monroe Doctrine: Empire and Nation in Nineteenth Century America), and John Kasson (“The Monroe Doctrine in 1881”) make the Monroe Doctrine the focus of their respective works on the American idea of empire in the nineteenth century. More recently however, several historians have come forward to suggest even earlier beginnings to isolationist practices. William Belko’s “The Origins of the Monroe Doctrine Revisited” traces its development to a very specific event: the 1810 West Florida Revolt, which he proposes shaped the eventual “no transfer” policy of the Monroe Doctrine. Reaching even further back, Marie-Jeanne Rossignol looks to the 1790s as a period of early isolationism following George Washington’s suggestion to avoid entanglement in Europe in her article “Early Isolationism Revisited: Neutrality and Beyond in the 1790s.”

    While the establishment of a concrete point of origin for isolationism is undoubtedly the most contested point within the historiography, other historians have established an ancillary debate centering around the dichotomy of internationalism and isolationism. Some see these two ideas as completely incompatible, and choose to focus their work on the arguments between “imperialists” and “anti-imperialists” within the American government. David Healy (U.S. Expanisionism: The Imperialist Urge in the 1890s) and Beverly Tompkins (Anti-Imperialism in the United States: The Great Debate 1890-1920) both hold this view in their books dealing with both expansionism and anti-imperialism. On the other side of the debate, Mariano Marco’s “Isolationism, Internationalism and the Monroe Doctrine” and James Sofka’s “American Neutral Rights Reappraised” both point out the similarities between these two ideas, stressing the ways in which they could actually coexist. Both of these questions demonstrate the relative lack of consensus among the academic community when it comes to the history of American isolationism, making its study both useful and important in terms reaching new conclusions that may further the field.

  • Polished Paragraphs – Southern California Communities20perez16

    Since Southern California’s early growth is multi-faceted, historians have tried to analyze it in different ways. One of the main historical debates deals with the development related to the citrus industry. What was the most important factor for the region’s expansion and why? How much did immigration play a role in region’s growth? Some scholars, like Edward Bachus, argue for a traditional history of institutions impacting growth, which include irrigation, the railroad, and the Fruit Exchange. Similarly, William Deverell in“The Southern Pacific Railroad Survives the Pullman Strike of 1894” uses a top-down approach to discuss the power of California’s railroads in the midst of labor strikes (Deverell 183, 192). Other scholars argue instead that it was the labor force, such as Mexican immigrants, which drove the citrus industry’s growth. Stacey Smith, in Freedom’s Frontier, offers a broader analysis on the state’s labor and slavery in the 1800s by connecting them to similar national developments. National trends are also explained from the immigrants’ perspective in James R. Barrett’s “Americanization from the Bottom Up.” Douglas Sackman seems to be in the middle of this debate because he emphasizes the citrus corporations’ marketing as a significant growth factor in Orange Empire, but he also recognizes the role of migrant workers. Samuel Truett, in Fugitive Landscapes, can build on Sackman’s work by viewing immigrants and native peoples as key contributing factors in the Southwest borderlands’ development (Truett 129).

    Another related historical debate is one that considers the California Dream alongside efforts to establish successful Southern Californian communities. Was this dream attainable for everyone who lived in the state, why or why not? Should historians use cultural and social history, rather than economic history, for instance, to understand how communities developed and grew? Kevin Starr’s Americans and the California Dream discusses “the imaginative aspects of California’s journey to identity” by studying how settlers created and sought after their ideas of the dream (Starr vii). Many people pursued this dream but economic success came mostly to those who had power, money, or land. Starting with this idea of success, historians have studied Southern California’s expansion from the perspective of booming citrus corporations (Ronald Tobey and Charles Wetherell). Yet, this method marginalizes laborers who were not able to make substantial profit from the railroad, real estate, or citrus (Smith). Some of my sources including Slayton and Estes, Sackman, and Starr refer to key figures, often men, who shaped communities. However, scholars, such as Gilbert Gonzalez, Stephen O’Neil, and Lisbeth Haas, have also identified Mexicans, and women in particular, as important figures in their communities. In my early research, there appears to be a general historiographical turn towards more of a cultural and social history of California’s growth. Rather than viewing the history mainly through major institutions and themes like the railroad or the California Dream, recent scholars have reconstructed the story to shift the focus onto ordinary people and the spaces they inhabited.

  • Polished Annotated debate/Questions – Disease: “The Grimmest Reaper” of the Civil War.Robert Huitrado

    The American Civil War was four of the darkest years in American history. Family fought family, brother fought brother, and the American people fought each other over the right to own and sell slaves, an institution established long before the combatants were ever born. Yet, this war would change the way the United States saw itself and how it was seen worldwide. However, this new view would come at the cost of approximately 620,000 to 752,000 men, women and children. That is a staggering number considering the population of the United States in 1860 was 31 million.

    Despite the violence and brutality of the battles during the Civil War, the darkest specter of the soldiers and civilians on either side was unseen, that of disease. Dysentery, malaria, yellow fever, typhus, typhoid fever and pneumonia were constant companions and killers in cities, towns and military camps. My annotated sources discuss three questions/debates frequently: 1) Which disease killed the most people, soldiers and civilians, during the Civil War? 2) How did hospital sanitation and care contribute to Civil War deaths? and 3) Why did the care of Black soldiers and Black civilians differ from the care given to the White population?

    Question number one is unique because every source has its own opinion on which disease was the deadliest. Andrew Bell, author of Mosquito Soldiers, chose Malaria and Yellow Fever. Dr. Drew Faust, author of This Republic of Suffering, discussed Typhoid Fever and Scarlet Fever primarily, but she also mentioned outbreaks of Smallpox, Malaria and Yellow Fever. Dr. Margaret Humphreys, author of Intensely Human, mentions Malaria and Pneumonia as primary killers; yet, she says Yellow Fever was not a primary agent of death. Robert Reilly MD in his article Medical and surgical care, mentions Dysentery, Malaria, Yellow Fever, and Typhoid Fever as the top killers, with Measles and Smallpox as secondary. Dr. Jim Downs author of article The Art of Medicine, says Dysentery, Typhus, and Pneumonia were the top killers, with Yellow Fever, Typhoid Fever and Smallpox coming in right behind. Dr. Helle Mathiasen author of the article Bugs and Battles, focuses his short article on Malaria and Yellow Fever and how they were spread by mosquitos in the South.

    For question #2, Dr. Drew Faust, author of This Republic of Suffering, also covers hospital sanitation and care, and that doctors and nurses frequently contracted illnesses from the patients they were treating which included: Typhus, Typhoid Fever and Smallpox. Dr. Megan Nelson, author of Ruin Nation, wrote on death, hospitals and hospital care. She documented how easy it was kill, how there were so many ways to do it during the war, and how hospital staff, especially after large engagements, were overwhelmed by the wounds they saw and how to care for so many. Robert Reilly MD, in his article Medical and surgical care, spoke not only of the diseases that ravaged the armies, but on the medical advancements the war helped to create. He wrote extensively on the advancements in both the medical and surgical fields.

    To answer question #3, Susan Grant, author of The War for a Nation, focused her book on the African-American plight in contraband camps, military hospitals, and the treatment of Black POWs. Dr. Margaret Humphreys, author of Intensely Human, focused her book on African-American care in hospitals which were separate from White facilities, Black doctors/surgeons, and the regions in the South where Black troops were known to become ill more frequently. Dr. Jim Downs, author of the article The Art of Medicine, wrote on how emancipated slaves and runaways in contraband camps became sick due to the proximity of these camps to Union army camps and the lack of food and clean water available to them.

    Reilly, Robert F, MD. “Medical and surgical care during the American Civil War, 1860-1865.” Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings 29, no. 2 (2016): 138.

  • Polished Paragraph: Politics of Space and Memory: Construction 19th Century Urban Los Angeles Spacesqueenlove35

    Los Angeles adapted from a small pueblo city, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Ángeles de Porciúncula, in the late 18th century to a burgeoning metropolis by the early 1900s. Immigrant clusters of communities formed geographic space into place, within the social boundaries Anglo-Americans, created. My historiography focuses on how transnationalism and globalization shaped and confined urban culture geographies in the 19th century, Los Angeles. Thematically, my sources share arguments that border-making processes have defined 19th century Los Angeles social geography.

    Utilizing the legal history perspective of The History of Los Angeles: As Seen from the City Attorney’s Office provides consistent issues that concern all of my sources: housing, land, water, transportation, immigration, and integration of the newcomer. Erika Lee’s book At America’s Gates: Chinese Immigration During the Exclusion Action 1882-1943, asserts that the United States ceased being a nation of welcoming immigration and integration without restrictive borders. Its policy of becoming a ‘gate-keeping’ nation with an active federal control set the standards of race and class. This new policy shift affected immigrant patterns, communities, and racial identities and led to America’s exclusionary culture. Los Angeles culture becomes affected by 18th-century European colonization ideologies and its 19th-century expansion and area migration of immigrants. The culture mixture and clashes of perceived identity and community are formed by American’s industrialization and desire for globalizing dominance.

    In Williams Estrada’s article Los Angeles’ Old Plaza and Olvera Street: Imagined and Contested Spaces and Phoebe S. Kropp’s book California Vieja reconcile Los Angeles’s cultural Spanish past through investment of cultural memory through the creation of built environment. In an ambitious attempt to create Southern California a geographical space of work, live and play, and desire to honor local history, they focus on the romanticized memory of Olvera Street. Anglos’ primary vision to desire yet disdain non-Anglo culture is a consistent strategy found in the 19th century and 20th century. The incorporation of constructed places becomes a place of political struggle and reconciliation. Historical areas like China City, now Chinatown, and Senoratown, now Olvera Street are created out of space for Anglo-American’s consumption of traditional culture. On the other side, it forces the excluded to create personal ecologies within these jarred landscapes in Los Angeles. Forming ethnic enclaves into the physical landscape is a theme throughout all of the works when building the industry in the Los Angeles area. The public practices of social distinction are organizing culture through Anglo-American cultures and traditions a reader can gain a sense of how Los Angeles creates these boundaries.


  • Polished Paragraph – Spectacle of Lynchingmark_t_garcia

    The purpose of my historiography paper is to examine after the Civil War what were the contributing factors of the proliferation of lynching in the south. Specially, the factor I plan to focus on is the historiography of the rise of the lynching as a spectacle. During my initial research there has been a lot of examining of the socioeconomics of lynching in the south. However, there has been a recent turn to the complex culture effects that produced white mob violence.

    The latest turn in scholarship highlights how lynching formed a culture of violence. In Michael Pfeifer’s 2004 Rough Justice: Lynching in American Society, 1874-1947 that “rough justice” a culture complex authorized harsh, demeaning, and communal punishment. William Carrigan’s 2006 The Making of Lynching Culture: Violence and Vigilantism in Central Texas, 1836-1916 proposes how historical memory of harsh punishment in the antebellum period affirms mob violence and the historical tradition of a culture of violence. Jacqueline Goldsby’s 2006 A Spectacular Secret: Lynching in American Life and Literature builds off Pfeifer and Carrigan’s use of traditional historical methods. Goldsby employs a poststructuralist approach to her analysis. Karlos K. Hill of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaigns book review states, “…she argues that discursive representations of lynching such as poems, novels, plays, and short stores are important historical sources because they capture culture processes that tend to be muted or omitted from traditional lynching sources…” Amy Louise Wood’s 2009 Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America 1890-1940 expands from Goldsby’s research and studies technology of this period and how white southerners used it to strengthen white supremacy with the use of photography. Bringing another perspective of the use of photography is Amanda K. Frisken article, “A Song without Words”: Anti-Lynching Imagery in the African American Press, 1889-1898. Frisken’s perspective counters how the lynching imagery helped fuel the anti-lynching movement. Frisken writes, “Recent scholarship shows that in the early 1900s, the black press published lynching photographs and postcards, redeploying the propaganda of the lynch mob to prove that lynching occurred, and gradually to present a visual critique of lynching.” One gap, through my initial research, is how women and children responded of the use if imagery. There is very little or not any scholarship on how women and children responded to the mob violence and its imagery. This may be my argument for the future direction of my topic that could be expanded.

  • Polished Paragraph – Women who Reformvannoyj

    While the Second Great Awakening began in the late eighteenth century, it wasn’t until the nineteenth century that the movement gained traction in the US as a whole. This Protestant Christian movement came from a Postmillennial concept at the beginning of the 19th century that the eminent return of Christ meant there was a need to prepare the world for his return. The momentum of the Second Great Awakening. Through the Second Great Awakening came new religious movements. This stemmed especially out of the Reformed tradition that began to take shape. Revival Preachers such as Barton Stone and Alexander Campbell independently created a reformed movement that merged together in the 1830’s. Through the popularity of the Second Great Awakening, social changes within the midst of the private and religious lives of women change. While many historians and religious scholars write on the men of the movement, Stone and Alexander just to name a few, women are often removed from the conversation. The role women played in the development of the Reform Tradition and other social movements changed. Women took roles as leaders and, in some instances, Preacher. The creation of the Women’s Christian Temperance movement stems from these overarching social and religious changes. The conversation involves scholars from multiple areas. Through this historiography the conversation will encompass scholars from both the historical and religious fields.
    One discussion noted between the various authors is the changing scope of the Private and Public Sphere. With the large number of revivals and reinvigoration of evangelism within the social structure of society, the public role of women changed. For scholars, the largest debate stems from this changing societal structure. As religion became a cornerstone in the lives of these women, some scholars see the transition of leadership roles in bible reading and prayer in the home helping women emerge as leaders in the religious public sphere. Women helped to lead the creation of denominations. According to Loretta Young, the wife of Alexander Campbell, Selina, was the backbone of the Christian Church reform movement. Other scholars find that the revival and reform movement led to a strengthening of the separation between private and public spheres. Some scholars, such as David Harrell, attribute this parting to Selina Campbell as well.
    The Authors’ debates are developing through careful research. The role of the Second Great Awakening and emerging female roles on the creation of the Women’s Christian Temperance movement, the role that women preachers played on society are threads that emerge as I continue to read and negotiate my way through the texts.

  • Polished Paragraph – Righteous Conservationandrewjarralkelly

    The history surrounding the National Parks is more complex and disturbing that what we think. In the Progressive Ere, America became increasingly urbanized. This caused much of the government to enact policies that restricted urbanization and environmental impact. Out of this wave of policies came the National Parks System (NPS). The NPS was tasked with lofty and righteous goals of protecting nature from the sprawl of man and save the delicate ecosystems the government identified as important. These newly established parks also encouraged the American public to “got back to nature,” and escape the slums and pollution caused by urbanization. However, the consequences of this system, as some historians and scholars argue, proved more harmful than good.

    General themes come from the context of the National Parks System. The most obvious one is conservation and man’s place in nature. In Playing God In Yellowstone, Alston Chase argues that the mission to protect Yellowstone has actually hurt the park. With the creation of the park, the ecosystem suffered consequences that started when park rangers began hunting the predators in the park. Wolves and mountain lions were targeted because they were seen as “threats” to the ecosystem and man. In turn, this caused the elk and bison population to increase, which then caused a loss in vegetation which other animals fed off of. Also, the park became government property which evicted indians, who hunted the bison and elk, from the park. Similarly, Karl Jacoby’s Crimes Against Nature argues that the development of the NPS imposed a a view of nature upon the land. Park rangers and managers created “nature as it ought to be.” Basically, they designed the parks so people could visit them. Jacoby goes into more depth about the people who lived and survived off park lands. Rugged individuals were now seen as squatters, and indians, who hunted in the park, were now poachers. Jacoby creates this rugged dualism of the park system and the people involved in its creation.

    Another theme coming from the National Parks is that of a social space. Jacoby speaks about how park managers created a space that was in nature, but not natural. Lynn Ross-Bryant’s Pilgrimage to the National Parks talks about how the visitors of the parks created meanings of the parks and how these meanings have shifted over time. She views the parks as a symbolic function that generated ideas about nature and nation. The parks also became sacred spaces for the individuals that visited them. They could forge their own experiences or reenact the visits told by an older generation.

  • Polished Paragraphyaremenkolena

    Elena Yaremenko HIST571Fall2016

    One of the primary questions/debates by numerous authors in Beyond the Founders and in Slavery’s Cpitalism, is the consequences of the choices of material selected and rejected by past empiricist historians and how this gives an incomplete picture of the time early pre-civil war era. Empiricist historians did not include in their histories, according to these authors, how people of color and women (the non-voting population), influenced politics. Thus, they missed the opportunity to examine all aspects of the interconnectedness that economic development and social order had on politics in this era. In the Beyond the Founders series of essays, historiographers/historians explain how these empiricist historians appear to have simply ignored the power and influence of these historically underrepresented groups, and thus, important facets in the sphere of political influence they had.

    In Beyond the Founders, Chapter 4: “Women and Party Conflict in the Early Republic,” author Zaggari explains that past historians saw the non-voting groups of Americans as powerless and without influence in the affairs of politics and government. They appeared to see politics as the purview of the white men. However, Zaggari notes that over time, with the inclusions of, and understanding about, the social order of that society, women and those engaged in entrepreneurship had more political influence than was previously thought: “through a variety of informal notes, processes, and symbolic actions can be considered genuinely ‘political’ in the sense that they influenced the structure of political power or the dynamic of political action” (p.108).

    In Beyond the Founders, Chapter 3: “Why Thomas Jefferson and African American Wore Their Politics on their Sleeves,” author David Waldstreicher’s first words are expressed in the form of a question: “Why bother re-dressing political history?” In his writings, he looks at political “language” found even in the clothing made and worn by various groups and notes that is was ignored by historians. The author expresses the lack of past attention paid to the relationship of “clothing and politics” (p.80) in an era of boycotts and tariffs. He further explains how some groups, through economic actions, “particularly African Americans, Native Americans, and women,” were considered by past historians to have been “marginal figures” and thus unimportant in their contribution to politics (pp.80-81). Waldstreicher’s research demonstrates the unseen, but not discussed power of these groups in the political arena.

    The authors of the collection of essays in Beyond the Founders, and the book, Slavery’s Capitalism, follow the progress of white women and people of color, who though disenfranchised politically, did have political influence through economical and social means. The authors argue that they had an important place in early American politics, and that their roles, which were rarely, if ever, included in prior histories on the pre-Civil War era, should have been included in order to have a truer picture of early political workings in this era. c

  • Polished Paragraph(s): She Works Hard(er) for the Moneymorganstocks

    In my paper, “She Works Hard(er) for the Money: Investigating Historical Intersectionality within the 19th Century Female American Workforce,” I will analyze multiple historical perspectives revealing the ways in which wage-earning women, of various backgrounds, were discussed, theorized and analyzed. I will also interpret how the scholarship evolved, contextualizing industrial work in new methodologies and structures to reveal more about marginalized working women. Spanning from the 1970’s to the later 2000’s, historians have employed some cohesive presentations of female factory and mill workers from the early to mid nineteenth century. Most employ a combination of economic perspective with a social framework, balancing the need for both factors. Some, such as, Julie A. Matthaei in An Economic History of Women in America favored the commercial aspect, while others such as Alice Kessler-Harris in Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States leaned towards a social orientation. Yet, all historians and scholars conferred in this paper show both elements to be integral to the study of women’s labor. Most historians also addressed the social construction of gender and how the industrial revolution, in the United States, but also around the world, shaped and shifted gendered notions of women’s and men’s work.

    Moreover, historians and scholars examined in this historiography also maintained some consistency in the essential questions leading their work. These authors are concerned with questions such as: Which women worked? Why kind of work did they do? Why was the female labor force predominantly young and single? If they were married, what was the impact on family life? How did gender impact the Industrial Revolution in the shift from private to public sphere? What were the limitations of the independence of women gained from wage work? As these questions demonstrate, there is an apparent familial thread throughout all analysis of women’s work which ties into the shift from the home to the factory, private to public. As the historical analysis developed, historians began to add additional layers to the questioning, such as researching the ways in which women protested or accepted their position, and in which ways their independence was a promising or threatening.

    Despite some evidence of a clear and consistent analysis of female wage-work, there also emerged a trajectory in which this analysis was developed and built upon. Starting with Joan Scott and Louise Tilly, with their foundational text based on European workers, and Thomas Dublin’s multiple texts concerning New England textile mills, other scholars developed deeper and more diverse analysis. In my research, up until the late 1990’s, a heavy Marxist perspective was used by historians to interpret the class and gender conflict coming out of factory work. This made for a very broad and vast interpretation of workers, often seeing them as a unit. Every text cited at least one of Dublin, Scott, or Tilly’s work, showing these texts to be the beginning and therefore it would seem necessary to provide much of the theoretical framework for others to build upon. However, they are not the end. Preceding historians and scholars used these texts to open the door to new interpretations, some using Foucault or a feminist perspective in which to launch their own analysis.

    In addition to the various approaches historians or scholars employed, they also used the same sources but for different ends. Many authors used the same body of work, again creating cohesion in the material. Many utilize diaries, letters, and more specifically, The Lowell Offering, a newspaper written by female textile workers. They also rely on more impersonal sources such as census, tax lists and city directories. While their sourcing might be similar, the methodologies used by the author transformed the source for their intended purpose. Julie Husband used the newspaper to show the connection in discourse concerning the treatment of factory workers in comparison and to slaves. Yet, Dublin used this source to provide a more intimate narrative of the mill workers. Finally, some also weight the types of evidence differently. Especially early historians, some leaned towards a more quantitative driven interpretation while others show a more emotional and qualitative position. Based on the interpretation of the existing body of scholarship, there are arising questions this paper hopes to elucidate. How can we use these questions concerning economic and social history to discuss the working world in which women, beyond single white middle class wage workers, operated in? What space do historians give the even further marginalized or how does a particular work open up a dialogue for such a discussion to occur?  Despite the massive amount of literature on the subject, even the historians in the texts agree, there is still much more work to be done.

  • Polished Paragraph: Picking up the pieces of the U.S.-Mexican Warhigbeejonathan

    When it comes to presenting the Mexican-American War the biggest debate surrounding the war is what is left out of the established narrative, which labels it a glorious and justifiable war? For many years, historians such as Robert W. Johannsen, believed the decision to go to war with Mexico war was reluctantly taken by President Polk and his cabinet. Once word was received of the ambush of an American unit north of the Rio Grande in which several lives were lost a gave them a reasonable excuses enough to call for a state of war. As a result whatever doubts remained were now removed when Polk sent his war message to Congress, and two days later both houses approved a war bill by overwhelming majorities . However, that is not what histories of today see the war.

    Today several histories seek to argue that even though that the Mexican-American War was the second war Congress ever declared it caused a firestorm of controversy among Congressional party members who called into question was the the war really necessary. Historians like Michael A. Morrison argue that committed to a program of controlled, peaceful expansion, Whigs were especially disturbed by Polk’s method of acquiring California and the borderlands of the Southwest and the fruits of the war- land hunger, greed, and a widely dispersed population-promised to destroy the social and economic conditions necessary to a virtuous .”

    What is also missing in the grand narrative of the Mexican-American War is the lack of sources form the Mexican side of the conflict. Which sites up another debate as to if we are going to discuss or write about the Mexican-American should we include Mexican sources and narratives. To which one should argue that yes, they are needed to tell the complete story of the war and break with older traditional narratives. Fortunately, historians like Lisbeth Haas, who seeks to uncover the unexplored accounts of the Californios who have been largely forgotten form the war’s narrative. As such, she argues Californios had a long fought to create and protect their political autonomy in territorial affairs and would not allow either Mexico or the United States to erode their sovereignty without significant resistance. Even those who sympathized with the United States’ republican system and democratic ideals would express a strong sense of having been deceived by Americans whose race ideas were pervasively expressed against them during the war and occupation . By combing all these new narratives with their sources can we gain an understanding as how we must accurately understand the Mexican-American War.

    Robert Walter Johannsen, To the Halls of the Montezumas: The Mexican War in the American Imagination (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), 8.
    Michael A. Morrison, “New Territory versus No Territory: The Whig Party and the Politics of Western Expansion, 1846-1848,” Western Historical Quarterly 23, no. 1 (February 1992): 28.
    Nicholas Lawrence, ““This boa-constrictor appetite of swallowing states and provinces:” Anti-Imperialist Opposition to the U.S./Mexican War,” South Central Review 30, no. 1 (2013): 55-56.
    Lisbeth Haas, “War in California, 1846-1848,” California History 76, no. 2/3 (1997): 336-337.

  • Final Paper Polished Paragraphsbremer

    The Bear Flag Revolt occurred on June 14, 1846 when a small band of Americans in Sonoma, California raised a rudimentary flag marked by a lone bear above the Mexican stockade there. This ushered in the brief existence of the Bear Flag Republic, the independent California that ceased to exist less than a month later when on July 9, 1846 the United States military raised the American flag over northern California. The Bear Flag Revolt has resulted in numerous controversies, many of which have naturally been picked up by scholars. One such controversy that has proven central in many scholarly works is the role that United States expansionism played in the outbreak of the rebellion. The question of whether the Americans who declared their independence from Mexico and the Californios were directly motivated by American expansion comes to the forefront. An extension of this question is that of whether the United States government had an active role in promulgating the rebellion. Scholars of this notion point to the clear fact that President James K. Polk was an avid expansionist, who partially gained office by stating that he would bring California into the Union. This argument is furthered by the mysterious journey of one Lieutenant Archibald Gillespie, who was known to have met with Polk, and then traveled to California where he met with the United States consul in Alta California, Thomas O. Larkin, and the commander of the Pacific Fleet John D. Slope. Upon delivering his messages he went north and met Colonel John C. Frémont, who turned south, rode into California, and then the Bear Flag Revolt conveniently took place. Many scholars point to this rather suspicious series of events as proof that President Polk sent secret orders to Larkin, Slope, and Frémont to take California by dubious means, thereby adding a crown jewel of American expansion to the empire. However, as one may imagine, this is not the only viewpoint shared by scholars.

    Other scholars point to the fact that the content of Gillespie’s letters was never recorded. Gillespie most likely memorized the letters and then destroyed them to avoid an intelligence leak. The point is made that if the actual content of the letters was, and never can be known, a true declaration of Federal involvement cannot be made. Others argue that within Alta California, as Mexican California was then known, there was a growing degree of dissent by the Americans who had settled within it.  To some, the Bear Flag Revolt was an event that American settlers turned to the American Revolution as inspiration for. They were an isolated band of Americans, who no longer wished to be under the thumb of Mexican rule. This viewpoint is bolstered by other bands of Americans throughout Alta California who called for looking to Texas as an inspiration to resist Mexican rule over their lives. Other bands suggested looking overseas, to Britain or France, for support against Mexico. Scholars of this view argue that Frémont and his men only joined the Bear Flaggers later, when they had already made their claim for independence without any word or aid from the United States.

    Of certain importance in answering this question of the role of American expansionism on the Bear Flag Revolt is understanding the “leader” of it, Colonel John C. Frémont. His aims, goals, and actions in California have also resulted in much scholarly debate, with some praising him and others condemning him. Regardless, he stands as an important figure in this quagmire, and must feature in any discussion regarding the Bear Flag Revolt. Frémont’s actual role in the revolt has been much debated, as has his legitimacy of reentering California after he and his small cadre of men had left to Oregon. For many years Frémont has been prominently featured in this expansionist question, with both sides using him to further their arguments. He is very much an enigma within the riddle that is the Bear Flag Revolt.

  • Polish Paragraph: The Relationship of Legal Rule and Slavery during the Nineteenth Centuryaly692

    The purpose of this paper is to focus on historiographical synthesis, the methods uses, theories engaged, and theoretical interventions proposed by the sources used throughout the paper.          After reviewing the different sources that will be used for The Relationship of Legal Rule and Slavery during the Nineteenth Century historiographical paper there was about two to three debate or questions the sources share.   The majority of the topics that are represented within the works are: race, gender, social order, politics, space, power, economics and identity within the antebellum south. One of the questions that came up is how does a patriarchal society work within legal institutions when there is a “double character” associated with slaves? “Double Character” is describes how slaves were seen as both person and property. This is looked at in Double Character, written by Ariela J. Gross, by issuing the paradoxes of slaves as person and property within the south. Her book is written within the context of social history, similar to the other sources, in order to show the interlinking of law and society through close statistical analysis of trial. On the other side of the coin, Walter Johnson’s book Soul by Soul looks at everyday dealings of traders, buyers, and slaves within the social networking of the slave market. Johnson focuses on the patriarchal society and the roles that slave-owners and traders wanted to present outward. By taking these two concepts together provided by Gross and Johnson, I initially thought how does this change when gender is looked at separate from race? What does it mean for class and honor as well, especially within a social society that is ruled by the identity you presented in the public sphere. The other question or debate that occurred in my initial overview of the sources is looking at Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman text as well as the article by Matthew Axtell “Toward a New Legal History of Capitalism and Unfree Labor”. Axtell argues focuses on the new history of capitalism by arguing how slavery was an essential component of economic expansion. Beckert and Rockman demonstrate how slavery played a vital role in the expansion of the market place in American History. By combining both of these topics together, which are similar in nature, how can we use the methods of social history to better understand the relationship of slavery and legal rule? Each of the sources shows the history of how the topics of slavery and legal rule have been altered, changed, and developed by different historians.

  • A Misplcade Massacre Blog4yaremenkolena

    Ari Kelman’s book, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek, approaches the subject of the events that transpired in the southeast corner of the Colorado in 1864 that at the time were seen as a victory for the Union army and as an unnecessary massacre by the Native Americans. The author attempts to trace this bifurcated history through written documents of that day, and through the oral and spoken testimony of people recalling their own ancestors’ past recollections. He then focuses on analyzing the information gathered, rather than doing away with these narratives which may, or may not, contain false or elaborated memories, which he acknowledges can happen with time, and which he demonstrates using Chivington’s (the U.S. Colonel at Sand Creek) own recollections and reinterpretations of the event throughout his own life.

    Kelman decides not to speak for these sources, opting instead to attempt a reconstructive mode that does away with the narrative elements and uses an interpretive mode that encourages and interprets the narratives.  He tries to remain neutral and in the background; however, in collecting all these materials, written and oral, by necessity, he is involving himself in the process and in the interpretation of the history of this place.  He talks about the tribal traditionalists and their concern that the history of Sand Creek would be written by individuals representing the white federal government and consequently, that it would not be their history. So, while there were some activists within the tribal community who determined to not let the U.S. Government to write the history of this place after declaring it a National Park, the author believes that the practicality of economics of the region also played into to the narratives of other Native American representatives who spoke at the opening ceremony. The author interpreted their speeches as being more “politically correct” than accurate, as they understood the park would draw tourists and much needed income to the area. The author believed that there was a real fear that Federal Government rhetoric would dilute the truth of the actual history of, and the tragedy of the massacre, here.

    The author uses as his basis for gaining a perspective on all involved in this history, three well-documented accounts of the Sand Creek events, beginning with Colonel Chivington, who writes to his superiors about his victory over the hostile natives, to Silas Soule, who calls the battle a massacre, and from George Bent who seems to be uncomfortable about it and describes it as an unfounded attack (p. 8). Within these three documents, the interpretation of the event range from its having been a glorious battle to its having been a hideous massacre. Additionally, there is almost complete disagreement about the cause, the political reason for it, and who should be accountable for what happened (p. 8). Part of the problem, which the author writes about, is that people on the both sides of the narrative are defensive and/or uncomfortable. The ancestors of the white settlers of the area don’t want to be portrayed as “bad guys” (p.7) and the present day Native Americans don’t want to create anger over a past event that could hurt their community economically.

    Every interview, the author finds, has a component about it that is motivated by political, cultural, and/or social persuasions that revolve around the portrayal and analysis of the events of the Sand Creek. The interviews are awash in ideologies and ideas, movements, government agencies and dealings, political parties and voters, political leaders and cabinet members, with analyses of social, economic, and cultural institutions, and the norms of a people that portray the disconnect with the average common folk of the past and present that could be seen in the “Fugitive Landscape,” where people on the ground are disconnected from the politics, policies of their governments, and the elites going it on their own without people’s consent.

    Comparing the study of peoples’ culture of the past and present, focusing on the struggle over understandings and perspectives, and how this struggle affects their view of historical events and memories, confirms the importance of cultural and social history movements. This is well expressed by peer, Robert, with regard to his own view imposing itself into his interpretation of Colonel Chivington’s behavior with respect to this event, “ had to stop and remember the state of affairs of the Union at the time, what his background was, what he thought and believed in, and what his focus was.” Though, it is definitely left for the reader and future generations to decide how or whether Kelman’s information should be validated.

    The book ends with an acknowledgement that there is a real, if terrible and unintended irony, that at the same time the U.S. Government was fighting to free slaves in the South, it was also pushing to expand into Native American territory. It was killing one group of people while fighting a war to save another group (p.278-279). It is difficult to understand how objective observers could hold such vastly differing views of these events, but as Robert pointed out, it may only seem obvious by today’s standards and our more modern perspective from a century and a half later.



  • A Misplaced Massacre – Alyssaaly692

    On November 29, 1864, Colonel John Chivington’s volunteer regiments attacked a Native American encampment where their violence became unchecked in doing so slaughtering women, children and elderly. In A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over Memory of San Creek Ari Kelman is a detailed study of Sand Creek by exploring the different memories of the event, determining the event as massacre or battle, and by offering the narration through place. The problem is determined by when the events actually happen and where it occurred. Kelman is able to be as detailed as possible by using the Cheyenne and Arapaho oral traditions, archaeology, and cartography.

    A Misplaced massacre seeks to challenge the popular rhetoric that “memorialization has palliative qualities” (pg. 4) and that erecting monuments in remembrance has a way of providing closure for the past. This is not case. Rather, Kelman portrays how individuals and communities can denounce the integration of a nationalistic memory and rather chose the anti-colonial resistance portrayal of what occurred at Sand Creek. Kelman states “the Native people who helped to create Sand Creek historic site rejected what they saw as a hollow offer of painless healing and quick reconciliation at the opening ceremony” (pg. 5). The Cheyenne and Arapaho voices argued that the site also needed to tell the story about the massacre from the Native perspective and to acknowledge their heritage.

    Similar points that VANNOYJ had mentioned in their earlier post, the crux of the book really focuses on the difference between memorialization and historical records. I felt that Kelman is able to provide agency, a topic discussed often in this class, to a topic that for the most part would get its typical American federal history mark and move on. But rather what makes his book so fascinating is the struggle the Cheyenne and Arapaho have in making sure that does not happen. They are trying to provide agency to their ancestors and heritage in order to make sure all narratives are being displayed for the Sand Creek Massacre … not the ones the Federal government wants us to hear regarding the ill treatment of Natives. Kelman states, “the memorial would help them preserve their cultural practices, securing their future by venerating the past. For these activists, the site would serve tribal rather than federal interests” (pg. 6).

    Unlike the Comanche Empire, the Native voices within this book can defiantly be heard. One of the things I enjoyed the most about this book was the oral history component Kelman is able to use. He was able to use a lot of primary sources, direct quotes from tribal leaders & the National Forest, political interviews, and historical interviews to give an excellent portrayal of how Cheyenne and Arapaho push their agency through the sand Creek site.

    The other aspect I wanted to acknowledge was by HIGBEEJONATHAN when he discusses the positive attributes of the work. I defiantly agree that one of the compelling attributes is when Kelman acknowledges that historians need to seek out other methods or theoretical inventions that may not lie in just history. To artfully portray a full big picture understanding of Sand Creek you had to do it the way Kelman did. You needed to see out history, humanities, social sciences, archeology and social history to paint the picture of the federal and Native memory of Sand Creek.

  • Kelman’s A Misplaced Massacrevannoyj

    A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek by Ari Kelman tells the history of the Massacre that occurred at Sand Creek and the eventual and controversial declaration and installation of a memorial site that honors the Sand Creek Massacre. The central issue in the book, the difference between memorialization and historical records really intrigued me. Having studied Public History during my graduate tenure, I found this book absolutely fascinating. The use of primary sources included various oral histories and interviews the author conducted himself really brought the conflicting beliefs to light. The book, for me also served a dual purpose. While telling the history of the installation and conflict involved with instituting the Sand Creek Massacre Memorial Site, the book also provides an in depth historiography of works that have previously been written regarding the Sand Creek Massacre and the various arguments and changes that have occurred in historical authorship through the years.
    Intriguing was the look at whether the site was to use the word “Massacre” or “Battle.” The historical development and cultural changes that occurred to allow the government itself to recognize that the site was one of a massacre and not a battle showed how such minute words can change the impact a historical site can engender on, not just visitors, but the surrounding community as well. I found Jonathan Higbee’s argument that ethno history and the importance of using multiple sources to be insightful.
    The books detail regarding the conflict between two very different historical cultures was insightful. All semester we have looked at agency and how minorities can be given agency in a historical work. This book does something completely different. Kelman writes of how the Cheyenne and Arapaho worked both within and around the political system in order to force their will on the project. In essence, the book details how the Native American’s involved in the Sand Creek Massacre site literally created a way to push their agency forward.
    The creation of a community memory was a great argument in the book. The fact that history had always been told with the Sand Creek Massacre in one area, only to be discovered (maybe) that the site is located miles away and the resulting conflict due to a cultural remembrance shows how public historians have to always take absolute care when working with a varied community such as the one in Colorado. With a goal to work as a Public Historian, the book acted as a warning for me. While Public Historians need to tell an accurate history, they have to make sure that the community that will be most impacted is heard and their stories told. The distrust the government provoked by not being completely open with the Native American Communities shows how a small mistake can derail an entire project.
    In the end, the project is able to move forward, not because of the historical work, and not because of the power of the Native American community to ensure their community memory stays intact. They are able to come together because an outside source was able to tell both sides that they were right. It is sad that the government was not able to create a better relationship with the Native American communities and that the communities continued to distrust the government. If they could have worked together and allowed trust to build, maybe the Native American perspective could be told in more Federal Historic Sites.

  • Ari Kelman – A Misplaced Massacremark_t_garcia

    A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek by Ari Kelman describes the Sand Creek massacre from the aftermath of the massacre to the creation of the Sand Creak Massacre National Historical Site. Kelman uses traditional methods using archival records, like newspapers and letters to name a few, but his main methodology is the use of oral histories. He writes, “As I began doing this research for this book, I realized that I would have to move beyond archival records and consult oral histories as well. As a result, I conducted well over a hundred interviews that eventually produced in excess of 3,500 pages of transcribed text.” (p. x) One of the main goals of the book is to recount the massacre through memory, “You hold in your hands the result of my efforts: a sturdy of the collision of history and memory, of past and present, at Sand Creek.” (p. x) I would like to build off Robert Huitrado insight,  “I found Professor Kelman’s use of multiple angles out of the ordinary.”, due to Kelman’s approach of understanding this approach through memory. The reason the massacre is hotly contested is through the different ways participants remember this event. Memory was central to Native Americans, more importantly than written accounts. Kelman writes, “…the descendants viewed oral histories as crucial to their cultural sovereignty. For Larid Cometsevah, oral histories were the best way to transmit Cheyenne history.” (p. 111)

    Chapter Two I found very interesting from a public history perspective with the creation of monuments. Kelman discusses how memory also has an impact on how monuments are created. He states, “The upsurge in memorialization was akin to what students of collective memory call ‘the invention of tradition,’ the way that societies create historical narratives or rituals to suit contemporary political or cultural conditions, Invented traditions are often crafted to maintain power relations and uphold the status quo.” (p. 73) During the beginning of the twentieth century when many Civil War monuments were created, the Americans viewed the war through nostalgia remembering the brave sacrifices of the military. The monuments captured this view and as Kelman states, “…inspired onlookers to venerate a shared iteration…” (p. 73) The collective memory of the early twentieth century helped dictate how the Civil War monuments would be depicted. As we know through time, views change often with more information of an event and also the cultural politics of the current day. This reminds me of how cultural politics were used in previous articles in Beyond the Founders. During the mid-twentieth century the Native Americans voices permeated Sand Creak as a massacre versus a battle. A reaction to the Native American voice was a creation of a second monument providing how the memory of the event can be viewed as a battle or massacre. “Bearing a bronze plaque headed by the mixed message “Sand Creak: ‘Battle’ or ‘Massacre,’ the state column suggested that by 1950, cultural politics had already begun complicating efforts to memorialize the violence.” A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek seeks to discover the memory and how it can impact and change the view of history.

  • A Misplaced Massacrehigbeejonathan

    There are certain events in history that blur the lines of how we remember and represent them. Sometimes we remember them for being cornerstones and foundations of our national character and identity and as such, we think of them as pivotal movements in which we either came together as a nation to fight a common enemy like the attack on Pearl Harbor. While others, are seen as mistakes that shake our concepts of politics and government like the war in Vietnam. However, as we continue to move forward some events are forgotten and their significance is lessen to the point they lose their meaning or they are missed represented. Fortunately, Dr. Ari Kelman a McCabe Greer Professor of History at Penn State University seeks to uncover one of those forgotten events of American history the Sand Creek Massacre.    

    Armed with personal accounts, maps, courtroom testimonies, newspaper articles, and federal laws Kelman recounts the events surrounding the Sand Creek Mass  acre by using a central narrative of the historic site’s creation as the book’s spine and flesh out that tale with flashbacks to the era of the massacre and various moments when people struggled over Sand Creek’s memory (pg. x-xi). As a result, Kelman describes how discrepancies in historical record can be ascribed to the so-called fog of war. Scenes of violence, especially mass violence are notorious for breeding unreliable and often irreconcilable testimony. The stories of Sand Creek with all their disagreements stem not only the havoc they experienced but also from the politics of memory surrounding the points, they dispute. In regards to what caused the bloodshed? Could it have been avoided? Who should be held accountable for what happened?, and was it a glorious victory or a horrendous massacre? Such questions still raised issues of racial identity and gender ideologies that structured an emerging multicultural society in the American West, their interplay of politics and violence on the American borderlands, and about the righteousness of the continental expansion and the bloody conflicts of both the Civil War and the Indian Wars that accorded by that process (pg. 8).                                                                                                                   

    One he greatest strengths of Kelman work is that he acknowledges that historians need to drift comfortably between the humanities, the social sciences, and anthropologist who typically identify with the latter category, archeologist are social scientists who flirt with harder sciences. In addition, for a young subdiscipline like battlefield archeology, questions of scholarly taxonomy or methodological orientations became all more important. Meaning that to real uncover the meaning and truth of an event one wears many hats to better gain information to challenge and rewrite the established narrative of an event like the Sand Creek massacre. As such, historians become detectives who go into the archives to interview witnesses and possible suspects. Form those materials; they get the story down on paper. However, historians are often left conflicting stories and as such that when the anthropologist steps in to get the hard evidence. Only by combining the two disciplines is it possible to complete a more actuate picture of the past. Much like how archeologist  Doug Scott hoped that his data would be unimpeachable answering without any doubt at all the questions of where the massacre happened and perhaps hinting at how blood was shed (pg. 125).                                                                                                          

    Another strength of Kelman’s work is much similar to the work of both Pekka Hamalainen’s Comanche Empire and Dr. Stephanie M.H. Camp’s  book Closer to Freedom Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South which give agency to minority groups. To which I will agree with Robert when he stated, “it was interesting that no matter who was involved in the research and search for the official site of the massacre, political, tribal, and cultural tensions still played an integral part in the creation of The Sand Creek Massacre National Park, and continue to this day in some way, shape or form.” Since it is Kelman’s main objective to showcase how the native tribes of the Cheyenne and Arapaho who rejected what they saw as a hollow offer of painless healing and quick reconciliation at the opening ceremony. Concerned that the memorial might be stalking horse for an older assimilationist project these skeptics instead portrayed the site as an emblem of self-determination. They understood that controlling the interpretative apparatus at a national public space offered them an opportunity to define insiders and outsiders. As such, they fought for years to steer the commemorative process to call the site the Sand Creek Massacre National Site. In doing so they believed that the memorial would help them preserve their cultural practices and securing their future through venerating the past (pgs. 5-6).   

    Correspondingly, the story of memorializing Sand Creek suggests that history and memory are malleable, that even the land can change and that citizens of the United States are so various that they should not be expected to share a single tale of a common past. Sometimes their stories complement one another and sometimes they clash. Sometimes they intersect and other times they diverged. Depending on who tells it the story of Sand Creek for instance suggest that the Civil War midwifed in President Lincoln’s words, “a new birth of freedom,” but also that it delivered the Indian Wars; that it was a moment of national redemption for some Americans, but of dispossession and subjugation for others. While the National Park Service officials and the descendants will never concur on every element of Sand Creek’s interpretation, but they might agree that the historic site should challenge visitors to grapple with competing narratives ...

  • Sand Creek Massacre: An American Tragedy.Robert Huitrado

    Ari Kelman’s book, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek re-told the “massacre” of Sand Creek from three different points of view: 1) From Colonel John Chivington, 2) Captain Silas Soule, and 3) George Bent. Each man experienced or saw the events of Sand Creek differently. Colonel Chivington viewed his involvement as a glorious victory over hostile native tribes; Captain Soule considered Sand Creek for what it was… a “massacre of peaceful Indians” (12), and Mr. Bent, who was living in the native village when Chivington attacked, saw the attack as a unlawful assault on peaceful natives who were unjustly targeted and who endured untold atrocities by Chivington’s troops and Colorado Militia volunteers. In addition to these view points and discussions surrounding the “truth” of what happened at Sand Creek,  A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek also covers two other topics, those of establishing Sand Creek as a National Park, and of returning the bodies of Native Americans to the Cheyenne and Arapaho nations for proper burial. I found each chapter intriguing and captivating.  I had always assumed that the Sand Creek Massacre/battlefield location was known, until a massive NPS (National Park Service) investigation took place which included NPS representatives, Congressional researchers, and Native American representatives from the Cheyenne and Arapaho nations to find the official site.  From an historical perspective, I enjoyed Chapter Three the most because it went hand-and-hand with historic research techniques. We as historians follow many of the same procedures mentioned in the text, especially focusing on primary sources like participant testimony, and secondary sources, while placing “hearsay” and such works at the bottom of the totem pole unless they can be authenticated. Despite our modern fast-paced lifestyle, “That the descendants , which they buried following strict tribal protocols, spoke volumes about the persistence of the Cheyennes and Arapahos as well as their ongoing respect for a traditional way of life.” (267) It was interesting that no matter who was involved in the research and search for the official site of the massacre, political, tribal, and cultural tensions still played an integral part in the creation of The Sand Creek Massacre National Park, and continue to this day in some way, shape or form. Interpretations may differ as to the purpose and meaning of the National Park, but hopefully someday, “the massacre will no longer be misplaced in the landscape of national memory.” (279)

    Like mark_t_garcia, I found the discussion surrounding the terms “Massacre” and “Battle” interesting. It was fascinating to read and understand the federal government’s argument of why Sand Creek should be called a “Battle” and not a “Massacre.” I can understand, especially at that time, why “Battle” would be preferred. The very minute the Native Americans fought back and defended themselves against the cavalry and militia, it became a “Battle” and not a “Massacre”. However, the federal government of the 21st century should have known better than to press the “Battle” issue considering Captain Soule’s known disapproval of Colonel Chivington’s recounting of the “battle”. Captain Soule disproved of any attack on the Native Americans at Sand Creek, and he spoke publicly on the topic pre-and post-battle, and in his letters to his mother, sister, and former commander, Edward Wynkoop.  In addition, there were Mr. Bent’s Frontier articles and letters written to historian, George E. Hyde,  which spoke of the “battle” from the Native perspective in which he saw it not as a “Battle” but a “Massacre.” Although labelled as a Confederate, which he was, and thus forced to live with his mother’s people the Cheyenne for protection, his words were no less  true, especially when added to the oral histories collected by Ari Kelman and other transcribers. To read the interactions between the federal government, anthropologists, archaeologists, researchers/investigators, and  Native Americans was intriguing. I can see why the NPS and the federal government wanted to protect themselves from the blemish of Sand Creek, but reading Chivington’s multiple-altered accounts should have told them something; i.e. his accounts could not be trusted and should not be seen as factual. Despite what some might say, the Civil War did play a part in Sand Creek, but only in that many of the cavalry officers involved in Sand Creek and George Bent himself fought in that War. To go beyond that connection is to stretch the truth and history.

    I have read a lot on Native Americans, especially in my Anthropology classes, but even then, this book is unique, for it focuses on one event and thoroughly investigates it from multiple angles. I found Professor Kelman’s use of multiple angles out of the ordinary. Normally, historic books focus on an event, and information surrounding that “event” is straight forward. Sand Creek however, from the start was never going to be straight forward, just based on the history of the massacre. A Misplaced Massacre covers five narratives, three from Colonel Chivington, and the last two from Captain Soule and Mr. Bent; in addition, the topics of establishing Sand Creek as a National Park, and returning Native remains to their rightful nations is also discussed. What makes this narrative even more unique is Chapter Three, which discusses how the real site of Sand Creek was found. As I was reading Chapter One: A Perfect Mob, I kept shaking my head in disgust and in anger because the reasons Colonel Chivington gives for attacking a peaceful Indian camp are insane and off the wall. However, as a reader and an historian, I had to stop and remember the state of affairs of the Union at the time, what his background was, what he thought and believed in, and what his focus was. If all of these aspects of his personality and life were taken into account, a reader could “somewhat” understand why he did what he did.  That does not mean that what he did was right or necessary. Then to have Chivington change his story three times throughout the years and embellish it more and more with every telling should have sent up red-flags, especially to modern historians and researchers. His narratives and claims should be questioned and their legitimacy investigated. Stepping away ...

  • This Republic of Suffering – Response #4Diana Nguyen

    In her attempt to examine the history of a mostly ignored aspect of the American Civil War, Drew Gilpin Faust’s This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War takes a look at the history of death, dying, and suffering on a massive scale and how American society in both the North and South dealt with such a loss. Although my knowledge of the American Civil War tends to be limited to what has been often told in popular American history, I did find Faust’s attempt at bringing a new perspective to previous Civil War scholarship through the idea of “empathy” refreshing. Early on in the book, Faust noted that a majority of the deaths and fatalities were either caused by combat but “disease proved a far more deadly killer than combat… twice as many soldiers died of disease as from battle wounds” (p. 48). Throughout the book, Faust’s main argument revolved around the idea that the war produced untold suffering yet it also helped transform American society, culture, politics and its institutions in the nineteenth century. Not only did the war dramatically alter the way Americans previously thought about death but it also changed their perceptions on the subject matter of religious faith during wartime.

    By exploring the topic of religion and war and its significance on the soldiers who willingly risked their lives just so that they could die in God’s good grace, Faust claimed that the war undeniably challenged the foundations of American faith and religious devotion. Drawing on a huge range of primary sources from Ambrose Bierce, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., to Emily Dickinson and Herman Melville, Faust made great use of the documents, letters, and diaries scattered throughout her book while relying heavily on the writings of others as well. Like sbremer and Taylor, I was also reminded of Jay Winter’s Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning as well as Susan R. Grayzel’s Women’s Identities at War when Faust focused on the topic of mourning and how women essentially coped with the deaths of their loved ones after the war. While Winter’s and Grayzel’s books both took place during the First World War, they similarly addressed the strict regulations of mourning dresses for women and how society ultimately dealt with mass death through the use of public spaces and war memorials.

    As for what I liked most about this book, I found that although nothing Faust talked about in her book was particularly new, innovative, or insightful—especially when it came to the killing of others on a national scale and the consequences of it in the aftermath of the war, she did an incredible job detailing the struggles of Americans as they reacted to the systemized slaughtering of others while maintaining a strict and long-cherished belief in their faith. Her use of letters, poems, photographs, and memories of soldiers and their families made for a heartfelt read. Despite its repetitiveness, This Republic of Suffering should still be considered a powerful, well-researched, and well-written book that covers much more than just the Civil War but on the true meaning of war and human life.

  • This Republic of Suffering ResponseTaylor Dipoto

    Drew Gilpin Faust’s This Republic of Suffering is not only an examination of how death occurred during the Civil War. More broadly (and importantly), it is a fascinating look at the ways in which the Civil War fundamentally changed Americans’ relationship to death and its meaning. Faust structures her book in such a way that her major argument, which she states most succinctly as the fact that “death created the modern American union – not just by ensuring national survival, but by shaping enduring national structures and commitments,” (6) is clearly proven in each chapter. Rather than moving chronologically or jumping between case studies, she focuses each chapter on a specific aspect of death. This allows her to demonstrate the ways in which each of those specific aspects transformed the nation.

    Each of these chapters is quite strong, but the most impressive and unique spin on the traditional Civil War narrative is chapter 6: “Believing and Doubting.” The majority of the chapter focuses on the ways in which the carnage of the war inspired both renewed religious faith and questions regarding its validity. While interesting, this is not particularly revolutionary, as Faust notes that “religion remained the most readily available explanatory resource, even as it was challenged by rapid cultural and intellectual change.” (174)  So although the traditions of religion came into question, Fust seems to conclude little really changed in this regard. What is far more interesting, and what I believe to be the most innovative part of the book, is the end of the chapter’s focus on irony as a response to the war, and the more wide-reaching implication of doubt not only in regards to religion, but “a more profound doubt about human ability to know and to understand.” (210)

    I see this discussion as important because in studying the Great War, it is so often pointed to by European historians as the first “modern” war, the first war to blur the lines between home front and front lines, the first war to cause mass disillusion. Faust does not overtly challenge these ideas as the bulk of the book progresses, but here in chapter 6 she draws a distinct parallel between the study of the Civil War and the World Wars, specifically quoting Paul Fussell’s work on the First World War (194), she seems to make the suggestion that the Civil War also encountered these “new” developments over fifty years prior. Perhaps due to this interest, I was excited to see that sbremer also took note of the WWI connections, looking at Faust’s methodological similarities to Jay Winter’s. I completely agree with sbremer’s assertion that Winter’s work on mourning and memorials as forms of memory work as a sort of continuation of Faust’s work. I see this (especially given her specific reference to Winter) as perhaps subtle acknowledgement of the importance of the American Civil War in terms of world history. It is interesting to see the similarities between disillusionment and reactions to death in Civil War and Great War scholarship.

  • Blog #4 This Republic of Sufferingsuzanna.melendez

    Suzanna Melendez

    Blog #4



               This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War is a powerful academic scholarship which focuses on nineteenth century American’s attitude toward death, grief and mourning. Drew Gilpin Faust examines and provides readers with extraordinary statistics that prove that the Civil War was as one of the bloodiest wars in American history. The theoretical framework of the book not only provides a voice for the thousands of men who perished during the war, but Faust skillfully incorporated mothers, wives, and sisters personal experiences on how they mourned their loved ones death.

    Faust thesis suggested that the high number of casualties incorporated with a violent death transformed Americans understanding of death. As dshanebeck emphasized in his blog entry for Pasley, Robertson, and Waldstreichers’ Beyond the Founders “…editors of this massive collection of essays attempted to weave an argument that expounds the ideas of American political history beyond that of powerful white men who shaped the early institutions of American political structures and theory.” As a result, Faust’s study highlights the bloodshed and sacrifices Americans endured in order to preserve those political ideologies. This bottom-up history highlights the deaths of union and confederate soldiers. Her work suggested that family members wanted to mourn the corpse of a soldier. On the contrary, Americans faced the physical dilemma of rotting corpses on the battlefield and pieces of bodies as a result of explosive weaponry of the industrial era. The Civil War changed the circumstances of a soldier’s death and proper Christian burial. America in the nineteenth century was a nation of strict religious beliefs and assumed that a person’s death was a certain indication about one’s afterlife. In order to be eternally saved “… family members needed to witness a death in order to assess the state of the dying person’s soul, for these critical last moments of life would epitomize his or hers spiritual condition.” (10). Faust did a remarkable job of explaining the importance of the “good death,” and its dramatic change during the Civil War. The four year war transformed America’s Christians notions of the proper way to die. A dying man was no longer surrounded by his family who they hoped to reunite in heaven. On the battlefield, majority of men died alone, anonymous, and without comfort, their families unaware of their fate.

    Faust does an exceptional job describing a families’ effort to recover a body from the battle field. The family fallen soldiers went to the battle field to recover the bodies and escorted them home. On the contrary, “in northern cities entrepreneurs also established themselves as agents who would seek missing soldiers for a fee.” (117) If there was no physical body or letters to inform a comrade’s whereabouts, spiritualism was a means to communicate with the spirits of the dead. Toward the end of her book, Faust highlights the importance of fashion during the stage of mourning in both the North and South. Different colored garnets displayed a stage of mourning, while showing respect to a loved one’s memory. Economics and a woman’s location also played an important role in the way they mourned. Women in the South endured shortages of clothing and money compared to women in the North. Mourning was not a private matter but was displayed in the fashion worn by women.

    The Civil War nearly divided the United States, but its aftermath traumatized every citizen. Women along with men mourned the sheer numbers of deaths during the conflict. Faust’s accounts claim that in order to rebuild and move forward as a nation, Americans had to grieve the deaths of their fathers, uncles, brothers, sons and friends. Over several decades, mourning developed into different traditions and rituals, which helped family members cope with the death of a loved one. One suggestion given to Faust would be to include African Americans in her scholarship. Thousands of black soldiers joined the war effort and died in combat. It would be interesting to see how African American families mourned the death of their fathers, sons, or relatives.






  • Assigning Authority to Death: Reconciling the Work of Death Faust (Post 6)queenlove35


    In Drew Faust’s book, she assigns authority to all aspects of death during and after the Civil War. She points out that war about union, citizenship, freedom and human dignity required a transformation of the federal government.  Arguing that it takes equally as much ‘work,’ effort and impact, to deal with death as it does to create and fighting wars. She continues to illustrate that Americans had to redefine their roles in self-identity because of the massive number of deaths caused by their own hands. It is interesting to point, all of the books read this thus far, talk about American’s fighting other cultures and the boundaries but never speak really about the aftermath of fighting and the reconcilation of death.


    Agreeing aly692 that Faust redefines the American Civil War with this study of death. It is less focused on the actual military history of it and paints the faces and lives that were involved through the Civil War. The soldiers and supports become more than just a part of the battle. They are given a humanity normally not covered in Civil War books and poor sappy movies, that don’t quite get the picture (I think one of the modern movies getting assigning authority is Glory, and I cannot get through that movie without bawling my eyes out).

    The least talked about chapter so far in the postings is chapter 6 Believing and Doubting. Faust takes her argument and reconciling. Death required meaning, and to cope with new identities. Before I proceed, these new ‘widow’ identities given to wives, children and the childless, locating ways to cope with their new term ‘widow’ strongly reminded me of Stephanie Camp’s assigned identities to bondswomen and bondsmen. She describes in her book that they actively sought out ways to not only resist, but would abscond with dresses, materials and sometimes, themselves, to cope with their identify as a slave. Secretly crafting and making food for late-night bondspeople parties, were equivalent to widow’s identifying with spiritualism. Chapter 6 discusses the sudden rise again in spiritualism after the Civil War. After the first wave of spiritualism, it was its ideologies that were directly connected to dealing with their new identity. Traditional religious arguments did not allow people to reconcile the loss of their loved one. The idea that rejecting something a popular like Christianity, and embracing spiritualism are very powerful. People believing in heaven, even more, coming from a place of a reunion was a change in American’s assignment to death. Living just beyond the veil, allowed widows to believe that this plight and assignment is life, was only a temporary way of being. Spiritualism and the idea of consoling a widow by telling them that their loved one died on the principles of ars moriendi, the good death, provided ways for people to reconcile post-Civil War death. Faust also connects the North and South, like Beckert/Rockman, by comparing death to industrialization. “northerners and southern lie mingled together, “fame or country least their care.”” (page 202). Both the idea of industrialization/to raw cotton to death/to speechlessness undoubtedly tied the states together.

  • Faust – Death and the American Civil Warsbremer

    Drew Gilpin Faust’s brilliant book This Republic of Suffering details how the massive death toll of the Civil War changed American society. Faust’s book tackles a seemingly obvious fact – that many people died in a war. However, Faust is able to successfully show that in many ways death in the American Civil War occurred in many unprecedented ways. First was the massive scale of loss, with 600,000 soldiers being killed, or equivalent to six million of today’s population (P. xi). Second was the rapidness, unpredictability, and efficiency that soldiers killed.  Faust illustrates how new technological advances, such as rifled barrels and greater artillery, led to greatly increased ranges and effectiveness for killing (P. 39). Faust also illustrates how it was not just soldiers who lost their lives, but also an estimated 50,000 civilians were killed between 1861 and 1865. As a result of such a massive loss of life, society had to come up with new means of coping with death, and soldiers doing the fighting had to develop means to come to terms with the carnage occurring all around them.

    As morganstocks points out, Faust is able to effectively produce an emotional book while maintaining her objectivity. This Republic of Suffering is a deeply moving work. This much is very clear from just the beginning pages of the book. However, as Morgan points out, she also looks to factual number data from the government as a means of study as well. Faust also portrays the effects death had on people from nearly every angle. Understandably her focus is on the troops involved, but she gives the Union and the Confederacy an equal treatment. She also includes an (albeit brief) discussion regarding African-American soldiers and how they coped with dying and killing and how they were in some ways uniquely affected by death. However, an interesting thought was raised by Robert, in that the focus is much heavier on the eastern campaigns than the western ones.

    As many have already pointed out, Faust’s sources are fantastic. Her book is heavily primary-source based, and she uses them brilliantly. Her selection of soldiers’ letters perfectly describe the horrors of war, and are positively heart wrenching at times. I was also impressed with Faust’s selections for her chapter titles. They are simple, one-word titles but they perfectly encapsulate the theme of her chapter. I found this to be particularly true in the “Naming” and “Realizing” chapters. Faust is able to show how the deaths of the Civil War were instrumental in bringing out modernity as well. Whether it be in the creation of dedicated cemeteries for fallen soldiers such as that at Gettysburg, in improved bureaucracies for documenting fallen soldiers, or in refrigerated coffins or embalming methods this argument is repeatedly proven to be true.

    In reading Faust’s book I cannot help but think of Jay Winter’s book Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning, which details the massive deaths of World War I and how those of the cultures involved dealt with it. Winter argues that society turned to preexisting, more traditional methods of coping, many of which can be found in This Republic of Suffering. Faust also mentions Winter, but only in passing (P. 30). Winter’s book, though published first, can be read as something of a continuation of Faust’s book. In sum, Faust’s book is a profound, deeply moving, very well researched, and thought-provoking work.  I cannot speak more highly of Republic, and I think one would be hard pressed to find someone who did not feel the same. 

  • Republic Supplementary ReadingRobert Huitrado

    Disease and Death go hand and hand, and the American Civil War was a breeding ground for both of these vectors. Death was the primary focus in Dr. Faust’s book The Republic of Suffering, and as such, she goes into great detail on how Death effected the American psyche, civilian, soldier and family alike. Death from battle wounds was high, not because of lack of medical knowledge, but because of Disease caused by a wide variety of factors. These factors included: “ignorance, climate, poor sanitation, lack of medicine, bad nutrition, movement of soldiers from north to south, density of warm bodies, and decisions made by military commanders…” especially when it came to free Black persons and runaway slaves. The Diseases that ravaged the American countryside, military camps, hospitals, and cities during the Civil War included: malaria, yellow fever, plague, cholera, typhus, typhoid fever, smallpox, dysentery, and pneumonia, all of which had devastating effects on the human populations of the north and south.

    Despite the widespread outbreaks of Disease during the Civil War, Republic of Suffering only sporadically covers these outbreaks and their consequences. However, Dr.’s Mathiasen and Downs in their respected articles, Bugs and Battles during the American Civil War and Emancipation, sickness, and death in the American Civil War, concentrate their focus on Disease, its causes and its results. Dr.’s Mathiasen and Downs see Disease as the primary cause of Death in the Civil War, not battle. Dr. Mathiasen eloquently sums up Disease’s place in history by quoting Hans Zinsser, MD., in his 1935 book, Rats, Lice, and History, “soldiers have rarely won wars … typhus, with its brothers and sisters – plague, cholera, typhoid, dysentery – has decided more campaigns than Caesar, Hannibal, Napoleon, and all the inspector generals in history.” Disease is only the unified name for agents or non-human vectors of Death.

    We have all heard of these agents: malaria, yellow fever, plague, cholera, typhus, typhoid fever, smallpox, dysentery, and pneumonia. Each one caused countless deaths during the Civil War, and in some cases continue to do so. Dr. Mathiasen cites from Andrew McIlwaine Bell’s book, Mosquito Soldiers: Malaria, Yellow Fever, and the course of The American Civil War, that “disease, not war produced the majority of deaths.” Hospitals too were highly susceptible to Diseases.

    Hospitals, no matter if at the front or in a city were prime environments for the spread of disease. “nurses, matrons, and other medical workers often contracted illnesses from the patients they attended or from the polluted water supply they all shared.” Unfortunately, many of these Diseases were spread by unseen agents, namely ticks, fleas and mosquitoes. Lice also played a role but, they were more of a pest and annoyance that an agent of Disease.

    Ticks were a common occurrence of troops marching North and South, especially through long or tall weeds, grass and shrubs. Fleas, like their tick cousins, were also a normal occurrence; yet, as we know from the Black Death or plague, they could be the undoing of an entire army if proper hygiene was not properly maintained and controlled. One area where fleas were agents of Death was in the military prisons established during the war, most notably, Andersonville and Libby Prisons. Andersonville was one of the worst Confederate prisons. It held 45,000 Union prisoners with nearly 13,000 dying of scurvy, diarrhea and dysentery. Libby Prison, a Confederate prison for Union officers was quickly overcrowded, with many of the prisoners dying of malnutrition and disease. The prison was supposed to hold 300 prisoners in three rooms, but by 1863 that number increase exponentially to over 2,000. Deaths due to ticks and fleas, however, were merely a drop in the bucket compared to the Deaths caused by the favorite spreader of Disease, the mosquito. Dr. Mathiasen wrote, “the Civil War was an environmental catastrophe causing immeasurable suffering for soldiers and civilians.” In her article, she focused on two Diseases, malaria and yellow fever, both spread by mosquitos, and both of ...

  • This Republic of Sufferingaly692

    Drew Gilpin Faust’s book, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War artfully gives a new portrayal of the American Civil War. Faust’s covers the most obvious fact of the war in that it produced the highest fatalities ever to be seen in American History. What makes Faust’s book different than any other Civil War book out is his focus on how Americans and their institutions confronted the idea of death, a good death, and how death during the war propelled a new transformation in beliefs, cultural practices, and political structures in America. He states in the beginning, “the presence and fear of death touched Civil War Americans’ most fundamental sense of who they were, for in its threat of termination and transformation, death inevitably inspired self-scrutiny and self-definition” (page xv).

    Faust sections her book in away to show the components of death: “dying”, “Killing”, “Burying”, and “Accounting” in hopes of showing how Americans faced cultural transformations with death during the Civil War. The Civil War gives a window into understanding how wartime began to alter, how the romanticism of war death became gruesome, and how to deal with the decay seem a dehumanizing task. She explains further, “In the Civil War death the distinction between men and animals threatened to disappear, just as it was simultaneously eroding in the doctrines of nineteenth-century science” (page vxii).

    In agreement with Robert’s post, I agree that Faust found a particular niche that gives new excitement within looking at the Civil War without looking at the military battles. She is able to pull emotion throughout her entire book by using the components of death to further exemplify her focus in showing how death became transformed in the nineteenth century.

    I also agreed with 20perez16 in how Faust’s book had similarities with Stephanie Camp’s book in the assessment how groups handled difficult events. Both authors take popular history topics and are able to derive new findings within the field. This also ties in with the objective of our final to understand what the current field is with a particular topic, where it can go, and what sources could assist in pushing it forward.

  • Discussion #6: This Republic of Sufferingmorganstocks

    This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust

    I was surprisingly captivated by this somber book about death and loss during the Civil War. Faust brilliantly captured death as a multidimensional construct during the later part of the nineteenth century, prevalent across the country, as literally everyone mourned or was affected by death in some way, shape or form. In the preface, she stated that “death’s threat, its proximity, and its actuality became the most widely shared for the war’s experiences” (xiii). As 20perez16 mentions, one needs to understand the “shared suffering” just as much as the individual suffering that was going on. Despite the regional and racial differences driving the conflict, death was common ground in which the North and South could reunite at the conclusion of the war (xiii). Throughout the book, Faust utilized many sources, most coming from the words of the soldiers experiencing death directly or the loved ones who were challenged with coping and grieving, often without the closure a body would bring. As Robert and 20perez16 pointed out, she integrated her evidence and narrative seamlessly, using newspapers, letters, photographs, and poetry to show the pervasive nature of death throughout all parts of society.

    The first aspect to the book that I found very compelling was the balance of the emotional angle and presenting an objective reflection of the data, both from a present analysis but also from the time. Especially in the first three chapters, Faust created an emotional and heartbreaking picture of the battlefields and at home. In the first chapter, “Dying,” she discusses how soldiers and those writing home desired to portray their death as morally “good” versus as “bad” death that could result from being executed for desertion (7, 18). The motivations for war became complicated, as vengeance entered into play and soldiers were compelled to fight against those who killed their brothers in arms (35). The emotional side of war contrasts with a removed analysis on the actual data concerning the numbers of casualties. In “Accounting” and “Numbering,” Faust looked at the actions by the government to account for the dead in a systematic and organized way. The cause for counting actually shifted after the war ended, as it tried to bring closure to families instead of account for remaining resources (252). While the numbers can not be fully devoid of the human element, Faust effectively shows the varying ways in which to understand death.

    In addition, I appreciated Faust’s attention to those who worked to identify the soldiers. Often times, these were women, such as Clara Barton, who resolved to notify as many families as possible. It was these people who attempted to heal a very broken nation. Even more so, I thought the discussion on the “female responsibility for mourning” was particularly interesting (242). In this section, Faust showed how women took this informal and traditional role and turned it into “motivation for women’s leadership of the souther reburial effort” (242). Through these efforts, women who tried to honor the Confederate soldiers who had fallen, in addition to Union fighters, were displaying a personal and private act gone “unavoidably public and political” (242). To me, this connected to last week’s text, Beyond the Founders. Women were able to gain political agency after the war through public mourning of those the country deemed not worthy of grieving for. Just as in Beyond the Founders, women, like Clara Barton, were able to establish some political culture as a result.

    Finally, Faust delves into ideas and thoughts about memory, as the soldiers and their families desired to create closure. Soldiers did this through their actions of wanting to be identified, such as keeping artifacts on them that could help them be named if found dead on the battlefield (28). The entirety of chapter 3, “Burial” showed the lengths at which the military tried to give combatants proper burials. However, it was the families of those who had died who suffered the most in terms of memory, as some drove to great lengths in order to preserve the memory of their loved one loss. J. M. Taylor, who lost his son, spent many years after the war still looking for specific details on how his son died (134). In sum, this text was incredibly put together, with an effective structure and use of evidence, woven to create a heartbreaking but irresistible story of Civil War death.


  • This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil Warhigbeejonathan

    The dead, the dying and the living are all represented in Dr. Dew Gilpin Faust’s This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, which covers how the Civil War changed the American perspective on just how devastating a war can be. From the killing of soldiers on the battlefields to the mass graves where they were buried, the Civil War took its toll on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line and left a nation sacred. From the book, one does get a sense of just how one goes out and counts the unprecedented number of bodies lying in the fields and streets. However, even with such a grim subject and successfully telling it in a sufficient manner, the book is not without its faults and does lack some strength to it.

    The book is about the work of death during the American Civil War and how between 1861 and 1865 and into the decades that followed Americans undertook a kind of work that history has not adequately understood or recognized (pg. XIV). In the end Faust seeks to describe how Americans both during and after the war came to understand the costs of war through measuring the causalities that come from it. By Using personal accounts, photos, illustrations, and governmental documentation Faust tries to paint a picture on the effects of losing so many husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons in the most horrific ways that Americans have ever witness at the time. More importantly, she establishes the notion of killing was not simply justified but also required, even when such action demanded suspension of fundamental rules of war and humanity (pg. 47). Besides providing the methods to as to which both the Union and the Confederacy used in order to obtain victory and to ensure men would be killing, Faust focuses on the effects of the mass killing had on the home front both sides of the war. For example, upon hearing of the casualties of a battle, many families went to the battlefields in the hopes that they could find the remains of their family member so they could bring him/them back home (pg. 85). Faust describes just how death became fixated with everyday life. Some examples include families and soldiers alike, frantically waiting for reports from the battlefields in the hope of learning the fate of a family member or friend and attempting to cope upon learning the news and fate of a person some one cared for. While railroad companies made money hand over fist, by providing and offering transpiration for grieving families to have the remains of their lost loved ones shipped back home to be buried (pg. 91-2). Not only did the Civil War tore apart families it was also successful in creating religious doubt, leaving many questioning why would any god allow the war to happen? As a result, many Americans began to redefine their faiths in all loving and responsive deity, while some went as far as to rejecting their old beliefs (pg. 210).
    Faust’s main ejective is that she wants the reader to know that even with the Civil War being over and those who fell in the line of duty are now buried, there is still the need to continue remembering the dead for their sacrifices. In addition, she calls for the preservation of our humanity to the point where we do not come face to face with the same type of death and destruction brought about by the Civil War (pg. 371).

    Her greatest strength is the use of documentation and a variety of primary sources that help the reader come to an understanding on just how grim and horrific the Civil War was. Faust does her best to bring the war into focus on just how much effect it had on both sides of the conflict. From Confederate soldiers on the battlefield, who showed no remorse or mercy in killing black Union Troopers too President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address which explained the justification of the wars carnage (pg. 189). By presenting sources that are from the different social and racial classes of the period enables the reader to get a broader perspective on just, what the war meant and represented to them. To the newly freed slaves, it was a chance to fight for their humanity and for the further abolishment slavery (pg. 47-8). While other non-black soldiers on both sides saw the war, as a military adventure that called for heroism and glory for which they would be whiling to die for, however the war turned into a living hell that lasted for four years. Although her book is compelling, in the sense that she sheds light on just what affect death had on the American people both in the north and in the south during and after the war, she does tend to fall flat. I completely agree with Robert Huitrado when he mentioned how “Dr. Faust’s book, Republic of Suffering, is almost a perfect book. I mean, it won the Bancroft prize and was a Pulitzer finalist; not many writers can say that. If anything, I would say Republic is only lacking in a few areas: 1) the medical field, and 2) the Western theater of war. Let me take #2 first, Dr. Faust does mention the Western theater but only in passing.” Because she only seems to be focusing on the well-known battles that accrued on the Eastern-Theater of the war. Yes, she does mention William Tecumseh Sherman’s march but, it is only limited to his interactions with southern civilians. But the best way to get the complete bloody picture that the Civil War painted is to display and the many lives that were lost and disrupted is to inform the reader about the Western-Theater as well. She does however ...

  • Post #6: This Republic of Suffering20perez16

    Drew Faust’s This Republic of Suffering demonstrated that “death created the modern American union— not just by ensuring national survival, but by shaping enduring national structures and commitments” (xiv). The survivors’ mourning became a “shared suffering” in order to understand the meaning behind all the death caused by the Civil War (xv-xviii). While Faust addressed the numbers of civilians and soldiers killed, her book shifted the focus onto personal experiences related to death. She grappled with the aftermath of death, rather than simply stating that many battles and death had occurred. America had not really experienced anything like this until the 1860s. Faust examined the response of American society and culture to these new developments of total war.

    A soldier’s death was necessarily an isolated and impersonal event. Instead, Faust argued that the Civil War should be understood through the idea of the “work of death” (xiv-xviii, 54). She connected this idea to the social and cultural transformations as a reaction to mass death. Each section highlighted an aspect of the work of death. Soldiers had to prepare themselves for certain death as well as the issue of killing another human being. Their lives were already brutal enough, but they also involved the laborious practices of burying their fallen comrades. The book also explained how the works of mourning and naming caused northerners, southerners, and the government to rethink their beliefs regarding their great loss and bereavement.

    Faust’s argument for the work of death was especially exemplified through her use of letters, dissertations, diaries, newspapers, photographs and other sources. Like Robert, I also noticed Faust’s extensive use of sources. Although her interpretation was interwoven throughout, she also let the voices in the primary texts speak for themselves. This approach allowed me to perceive the personal and emotional struggles of the historical characters in their own words. It was also helpful to see contrasting examples, like with the information gathering methods of the Christian Commission and the Sanitary Commission (110-112).

    This Republic of Suffering was similar to Stephanie Camp’s book in that both examined how people groups dealt with harsh circumstances. In Camp, enslaved people responded to their bondage through acts of truancy and defiance, such as stealing or going to parties. Civil war Americans had to create ways to cope with death and its consequences. Civilians and family members sought to retrieve and memorialize their fallen soldiers. They adapted their traditions, such as the “Good Death,” and developed a system to help them mourn those buried far away. Camp and Faust started with the popular historical topics of slavery and the Civil War but added another dimension to them by adding agency and human emotion to their histories.

    Overall I thought the book was a fascinating read. Having studied the Civil War before, I appreciated this new take regarding death’s impact on the country’s values and practices. Faust wrestled with the dehumanizing consequences of death, yet still provided her readers with a personal humanized understanding of the suffering. This book gave me an opportunity to recognize the historical significance of death. Perhaps it is also meant to demonstrate to modern readers that death, in general, cannot be downplayed or ignored (176-177).

  • This Republic of SufferingRobert Huitrado

    The American Civil War has been covered by historians across the board, from military historians, to economic and political analysts, to fiction and non-fiction writers and many others. However, Dr. Faust found a niche that not many persons nor historians have focused on, that of Death, and how Death during the Civil War fundamentally changed the United States, North and South. Republic of Suffering is a superb example of how to write an historical narrative and not follow the same-o bland narrative of “this battle or that battle” or “this general did this and this general did that.” Instead, Republic stands as an island of uniqueness in a sea of normality. Dr. Faust organized her book into chapters that drew on a person’s sense of understanding, compassion and sadness, with such chapter titles as Dying, Killing, Burying, Naming, Realizing, Believing and Doubting, Accounting and Numbering, all of which seemed to flow in good sequential order. Dr. Faust pulls on emotions as she begins to unfold her story and Death becomes the primary factor in the lives of soldiers, civilians and families. Although Republic is an outstanding literary work, it is missing information on the medical field, i.e., doctors, nursing, hospitals, medical knowledge and medical advances. Dr. Faust only briefly mentions these topics in her work, but in my opinion they go hand-and-hand with Death.

    Dr. Faust’s book, Republic of Suffering, is almost a perfect book. I mean, it won the Bancroft prize and was a Pulitzer finalist; not many writers can say that. If anything, I would say Republic is only lacking in a few areas: 1) the medical field, and 2) the Western theater of war. Let me take #2 first, Dr. Faust does mention the Western theater but only in passing. She cites soldiers under Grant and other generals who fought in the West, and Death statistics from those campaigns, but those statistics are most of the time combined with the Eastern theater to give a complete picture. There is nothing wrong with combining statistics, but a chapter or a few paragraphs about Death in the West would have been appreciated. As for #1, there is an unofficial thought or perception among undergrads and those who are not history majors, I was one of these before I began my higher learning, that the medical knowledge of the era was antiquated, outdated, unsophisticated, and backwards. In one sense it was for modern germ theory had not yet been discovered; it was “officially” discovered and accepted in the 1890s. Yet, doctors at the time were treating the wounded and dying with the best medical knowledge available, be it under inhospitable conditions and without the proper supplies or help most of the time. Republic, despite its two faults, is a must buy for Civil War and/or military historians. Dr. Faust wrote such a fantastic book that any study on Death pertaining to the Civil War should cite her book. As I was reading Republic, I could not but be amazed at the number of sources, citations and quotes Dr. Faust incorporated into her book; every paragraph contained at least ten or more examples of these primary sources. She interwove these “sources” perfectly into her narrative. Her chapter notes in the back of the book contained page after page of prime examples to further her thesis and connect a twenty-first century reader to the lives of those who witnessed the carnage and Death of the American Civil War first hand. Dr. Faust did not waste her sources and use them as filler for a lackluster book; instead, she handpicked every source to further the chapter arch and paragraphs under discussion.

  • Annotated Bibliography-Suzanna Melendezsuzanna.melendez

    Suzanna Melendez


    Annotated Bibliography

    1. Negotiators of Change: Historical Perspective of Native American Women. New York: Routledge. (Book)

    * Negotiators of Change is a collection of essays that incorporates ten tribal groups including the   Cherokee, Iroquois and Navajo. In addition, this scholarship includes well less known tribes such as the Yakima, Ute, and Pima-Maricopa. This book will be a unique source because it argues that Native American women lost their power as European colonization expanded. Lastly, the social construction of women’s roles transforms motherhood and gender ideologies within the context.

    1. Sex, Love, Race: Crossing Boundaries in North American History.” New York: New York University Press. (Book)

    * The book Sex, Love, Race will provide me with a historical foundation about interracial marriages and multiracial children. The collection of essays are from younger and well-known scholars. These researchers seek to probe why and how the specter of sex and race crossed the boundaries and felt threatening towards Americans. The essays centered on Indians, Europeans and Africans to twentieth-century social scientists’ fascination with multiracial relationships. Other themes such regions, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations are incorporated in the essays. Overall, there is an overlap between racial, ethnic, and sexual identities in America.

    Aubert, Guillaume. 2004. “The Blood of France: Race and Purity of Blood in the French Atlantic World.” The William and Mary Quarterly Third Series 61.3: 439-78. (Article)

    *By the end of the 18th century, French aristocrats began to disapprove of French-Indian and French-African relationships. These correspondences represented a form of dishonor which threatened the pure blood of the French noble colonial population. Furthermore, the article goes into details about political and economic alliances between Frenchmen and Native tribes.

    Barbara Fields. 1990. “Ideology and Race in American History,” in Region, Race, and Reconstruction: Essays in Honor of C. Vann Woodward. Ed. Morgan J. Koussar and James McPherson (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982, 143-177); “Slavery, Race and Ideology in the United States of America,” New Left Review 181. 95-118. (Essay)

    * In Barbara Fields’ essay “Ideology and Race in American History” she pinpoints how historians have approached race and racism. This work analyzes how race is not a physical trait but a social construct opposing differences. It is important to include this in my historiography because French-Indian relationships were acceptable during the 1600s. Throughout the essay, Fields highlighted the example of race not developing when Europeans first encountered Africa. It was over time, that questions were raised about the morality of Africans being sold as chattel during the industrial Revolution.  In conclusion, I want to include Fields ideology about how race was socially constructed differently across space and time.

    Barr, Juliana. 2007. Peace Came in the Form of a Woman: Indians and Spaniards in the Texas Boarderlands. Chapel Hill: Published in association with the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University, by the University of North Carolina Press. (Book)

    * Compared to Negotiators of Change, Julian Barr’s Peace came in the Form of a Woman writes about how Indians were in a position of power whole Europeans were forced to accommodate. Between the years of 1690s and 1780s, Indian tribes such as the Caddos, Apaches, Payayas, Karankawas, Wichitas, and Comanches formed relationships with Spaniards in Texas. In my paper, I want to include Barr’s argument about Indians retaining control over their territories while controlling the Spaniards. Instead of focusing on race, Barr focuses on settlement and intermarriage, mission life, warfare, diplomacy, and captivity.

    Devens, Carol. 1992. “Countering Colonization: Native American Women and Great Lakes Missions, 1630-1990.” Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. (Book)

    * Carol Devens’ well documented Countering Colonization provides a revisionary history of Native American women. There is an emphasis in the book that Indian women were vital to their communities and shaped the encounter between Native American and white civilians. The book will provide my paper with a perspective of Indian women preserving their culture. Therefore, Devens acknowledge these women as historical significant actors. Although women’s voices have been silent their actions have been preserved in missionary letters and reports. While some Indian men accepted religious teachings, many women felt that their lives and beliefs were threatened. Overall, the book highlights the gender conflicts in Native American communities.

    Marshall, C. E. 1939. “The Birth of the Mestizo in New Spain,” in The Hispanic American Historical Review (Duke University Press); Vol. 19, No.2, 161-184. (Article)

    * The Birth of the Mestizo in New Spain details the origins of the interracial marriages between Indians and Spaniards. This article will be useful because in my historiography, I will include the interracial marriages between Spaniards and Indian women. The Spanish empire was unique because it was inhabited by race of many colors. Overall, the three centuries of Spanish rule had a population of over three million mix blood individuals as an outcome of mixed racial marriages.

    Nash, Gary B. 1995. “The Hidden History of Mestizo America.” The Journal of American History 82 (3): 941-964. (Article)

    * Gary Nash’s article The Hidden History of Mestizo America centers on the history of interracial marriage in the United States. One example provided by Nash was the marriage between John Role and Pocahontas who was the daughter of King Powhatan. The themes of mixed-race identity, progeny classifications, and prohibitions of  racial intermarriage are addressed in the article.

    Sleeper-Smith, Susan. 2001. Indian Women and French Men: Rethinking Cultural Encounter in the Western Great Lakes. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. (Book)

    * The book is centered in the region of the Great Lakes during the lucrative fur trade throughout the colonial period. I will be able to draw from the cultural as well as economic exchange between native and European peoples. This is an important and well-researched study because it focuses on Indian women who married French men. These is an overlooked topic which mainly focuses on the men’s perspective. But in Sleeper’s book the role played by Indian women were highlighted especially, since the mixed-blood kinship unified Indian and French societies. More importantly, Indian women served as brokers between the two worlds. Indian women and French men who married helped connect the Great Lakes which ...

  • Beirne: Annotated Bibliographybeirne

    The Economic Causes of the Civil War
    David A. Beirne


    1. Beckert, Sven and Seth Rockman, eds. Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development. Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016.

    *Featuring some of the most up-to-date interpretations of slavery’s importance to the economics of North and South, I look to employ the variety of research to see if the North’s interest in the slavery economy at the time of secession had anything to do with the war.


    2. Bensel, Richard Franklin. Yankee Leviathan: The Origins of Central State Authority in America, 1859-1877. Cambridge University Press, 1995.

    *This work analyzes the divergent developments of the relationships between the state and economies that existed in the North and South.


    3. Chavez, Ernesto. The U.S. War with Mexico: A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008.

    *I am going to use this handy book for over fifty primary sources related to the war that took place a decade prior to the Civil War to see if there’s any economic or expansionist themes I can use to make my case that the Civil War fits into the general mindset of the times.


    4. Collier, Paul. “On Economic Causes and Civil War.” Oxford Economic Papers 50 (1998), 563-573.

    *This is a paper about civil wars and their economic factors, generally, so I will see if any frameworks work for understanding the the U.S. Civil War, where one side thought they were leaving the Union and the other side thought they were rebelling.


    5. Egnal, Marc. Clash of Extremes: The Economic Causes of the Civil War. New York: Hill and Wang, 2009.

    *This book makes the case that economics caused the Civil War. While studies address how the North and South grew apart in the decades leading up to war, Egnal’s study examines how decades of economic connections between the North and South began to disintegrate, with the result being secession.


    6. Finkelman, Paul. Defending Slavery: Proslavery Thought in the Old South, A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.

    *Another book in the great Bedford/St.Martin’s series of collections of commentary and primary resources, this time pertaining to those in the North and South who defended slavery, including for economic reasons.


    7. Huston, James L. Calculating the Value of the Union: Slavery, Property Rights, and the Economic Origins of the Civil War. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2003.

    *Another foundational book for my study, this book looks at the economic origins of the civil war from the perspective of the law and financial implications of the institution of slavery.


    8. Johnson, Walter. River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2013.

    *This book really paints a vibrant picture of the economic powerhouse that was the Old South, in addition to the interconnectedness with Northern interests.


    9. Lawson, Melinda. Patriot Fires: Forgin a New American Nationalism in the Civil War North.

    *Nationalism and economic expansionism sometimes gave a mutual dependency, so Lawson’s book may indicate how the interests of the federal government business communities contributed to redefining American identity. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2002.


    10. Majewski, John. Modernizing a Slaver Economy: The Economic Vision of the Confederate Nation. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

    *Majewski is an author I found in Slavery’s Capitalism, and like that edited book and Johnson’s River of Dark Dreams, I will use it to paint a picture of what the South’s ideal vision of its economic future looked like to understand why secession made sense.


    11. Montgomery, David. Labor and the Radical Republicans, 1862-1872. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1967.

    *I am using this book to understand the vision that the Republican Party and labor organizations had prior to the Civil War, and how the war and its aftermath may have been supported and shaped with some of these goals in mind.


    12. Stampp, Kenneth M., ed. The Causes of the Civil War, 3rd revised edition. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1991.

    *This is a classic work that contains a number of primary sources pertaining to the myriad of causes of the Civil War, including economic ones.


    13. Thornton, Mark and Robert B. Ekelund, Jr. Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation: The Economics of the Civil War. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources Inc., 2004.

    *Thornton and Ekelund Jr.’s work discusses how Northern government and industry united to fight the Civil War, research I will examine to see what interests were at play during the war that may have also contributed to its lead-up.

  • Beyond Barriers: Grassroot Movement Reshaping Founding Political Perspectives (Post 5)queenlove35

    Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early American Republic presents a collection of cultural essays. The goal of each piece recognizes the shifting differences from old political history, from the top down, towards new social history, from the bottom up. While this was sorely attempted by Sim in A Union Forever, this collection provides the background context of its founding settings to explore foundation nation ideals through the cultural history historical lens. While not a main point in the introduction to the collection, reading them, I located a common theme throughout some of the ideas: Grassroot ideologies. While I would consider this a modern term in explaining how the marginalized communities to grant authority, and contributed to the community narrative. Beyond take this authority to illustrate how the community ‘outsiders’ were main players America’s framework, creating the first party system (chapter 4 with women strategically building male political alliances), and then a bifurcated party system (chapter 13 and the anti-renters providing the ideologies of the Republican platform). Walsticher, Newman, Pasely and Huston all point to some grassroots movement shaping the cultural identity if America’s framework. Throughout the collection of essays, I am often reminded of Camp’s work (notably in the Dress and Mobilization, Women in Party Conflict chapters) BeckertRockman’s book (Dress and Mobilization), Gould’s law of nations (Dress and Mobilization, Consent, Civil Society, and the Public Sphere ‘tactic consent’ chapters) in this collection of essays. While Gould focuses on law and how this formed our transatlantic foreign relations, I could not help but connect his argument in a ‘cultural’ sense when reading how our new American dress shaped how foreign countries viewed us as a new nation.

    Beyond classifys the cultural essays into the following sections:

    • Section I Democracy and Other Practices; Examines cultural politics/studies to understand how politics how partisan strategies shape founding American politics (Page 10).
    • Section II Gender, Race, and other Identities; Studying the politics of identity is a legacy of the early republic (page 13).
    • Section III Norms and Forms; Rethinking how political language within the Revolutionary era, constitution/law formations are important in shaping the nation (page 15).
    • Section IV Interests, Spaces, and Other Structures; Viewing the cultural-historical ‘other’ and how these groups contribute to events, institutions, thus shaping the nation’s identity (page 16). The writers agree the other groups are the less successful than other working frame workers.

    Drawing on the same ideas of David S. and andrewjarralkelly, I agree that the reader needs to understand what the essay author is trying to challenge. This makes some of the essay’s great, but not very assertive on what top-down perspective problem it is trying persuade the reader to rethink. The introduction of the book makes it very clear that these essays will challenge traditional ‘founding’ epistemologies (Pg 18). However, while all of the essays do not come out and argue what area they are challenging, I often found myself spending longer times in the footnotes of the articles, trying to grasp an understanding of why the essay was written. The variety of sources utilized in each essay provided a starting point and new key terms to source search for my annotated bibliography.

  • Beyond the Founders Response 6andrewjarralkelly

    Beyond the Founders provides a collection of essays that introduces a new way of looking at political history in the early American Republic. The essays reinvigorate political by injecting it with ideas of race, gender, space, region, nationality, and class, not just views of the political elite. These new political historians are not just interested in the elite leaders of the nation, they want to show how various groups used the political culture and ideology to show their aspirations. The little guy plays an important role in shaping early American politics. The book is divided into four sections. The first is devoted to popular politics nurturing nationalism and democratization in the United States. The second section, the authors suggest that the “politics of identity is as much a legacy of the early republic as it is a late twentieth-century phenomenon” (13). In the third, the authors speak about how the language of political debate turned into law. In the final section, the authors try to write a “more holistic sort of political history” (17). This new political history does not reject the founders as a subject, but it does insist that neither the invention of American politics nor the significance of the Early Republic can be grasped solely, or even mainly, from the top down or from the bottom up.

    I really enjoyed the dialogue that the introduction establishes between political history and the dominance of cultural and social histories. While most of the topics broadly taken up in this book are often the subjects of cultural and social history, the editors do not criticize the approaches cultural and social histories. Instead, they embrace the strengths of these histories and intertwine it with political history.

    It seems like I agree with David S. all the time but he brings up valid points before I get a chance to write my blog post. He had an issue with some of the essays lacking context to the ideas they challenge, his example was Saul Cornell’s “Beyond the Myth of Consensus” article. I hate it when historians, or anyone for that matter, does not establish what scholarship they challenge, especially when they claim to be doing so. This is not nitpicking as David says, it is necessary to include the previous scholarship in order for the reader to fully grasp the author’s argument. I mean that one of the most important things about academics, we have to create a dialogue with each other in order to further knowledge.


  • Beyond the Founders – Response #4 – Janellevannoyj

    In the edited book, Beyond the Founders, the contributing essayists work towards a new idea of bridging the gap between political and social history. The introduction provides a solid background for the past and current discussion within the field of political history. The book is brilliantly laid out in themes with the essays within each theme conversing with each other. The individual essays unique and thought provoking and I didn’t find any essay to be detracting from the book at all. I can honestly say that this is quite possibly my favorite reading of the class so far. The authors of the essays took a subject that has had extensive study and brought new insights into the subjects by adding in the social history aspect. This was particularly true of the first themed section. The essays in this theme used the oddity of a political event to bring into discussion how the populace, even those without a vote, were able to make their voices heard and their opinions count in the political discourse of the day. They looked at the community rituals around the election process and how the voice of the marginalized could sometimes make an impact on the race. The essays also looked at the different ways women and people of color could make their opinions count and known in the political sphere.
    Interestingly, throughout the book the gendered language that politicians and newspaper editors used to either glorify or denigrate a candidate or political party. This is especially true on the essay that I found most interesting, the Essay on Aaron Burr. I found that his essay provided some interesting insight into the gendered language used to fight against Burr’s popularity. This unrelenting attack of gender/sexuality bias helped to bring Burr down in the political world.
    I found the book intriguing in how it brought to mind Slavery’s Capitalism. With Slavery’s Capitalism, the essays took a subject not many historians would enjoy and made interesting and unique arguments that were sustained with excellent writing. As Victoria wrote in her post on Slavery’s Capitalism this book also forces the class as readers to “rethink.” Not just slavery, but the political party process and development as a whole. Beyond the Founders, does the exact same thing. Only instead of taking a subject many historians struggle with, the editors and authors took a subject that many historians know has been well researched, especially from the top down and began the process of providing new and interesting arguments within their essays. It also brought back interesting concepts from Closer to Freedom in how the discussion of clothing could bring a sense of status.
    I was surprised that I found Chapter 8 extremely interesting. Like the author, John L. Brooke states in his opening paragraph, I like many historians often shy away from theory. This essay really had me interested and I felt that the look into theories driven around the public sphere interesting and challenging. It was one of the essays that I wanted to finish before taking a break during my reading process. The discussion on persuasion and its varied meaning was fascinating.

  • Supplementary Reading – Beyond the Foundersmark_t_garcia

    Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early American Republic is a collection of essays examining the early American republic synthesizing a new political history methodology of understanding of the early republic. One aspect of the new political history is bringing culture and the influence it has on politics to the reader. The introduction describes a popular culture and cultural politics approach, “Cultural politics has the virtue of seeing the political aspects of other social phenomena, of seeing conflict as well as consensus in them, and most of all, of bringing other actors into the political field.”

    Fast forward to the twenty-first century; I would like to examine cultural politics and how cultural participation can influence a community into activism. In Daniel McClure’s 2012 article Brokering Culture: Elma Lewis, Cultural Politics, and Community Building in Postwar Boston, he investigates the impact of Elma Lewis who forms a “cultural base” upon which boosted calls for “community control” and activism. McClure argues, “Unlike black freedom work that emphasized agitation for jobs, equitable education, and political representations, Lewis focused on ‘cultural politics’. She created black cultural institutions that helped define and frame the significance of black cultural communities both within and beyond Boston.” Lewis’s goal was to use education and culture as a tool for African-American empowerment which McClure calls “community cultural development”. Community cultural development provides a space for cultural politics while building identity and a common collective between individuals. This participatory engagement is similar to the “deferential participant” in Andrew W. Robertson’s article Voting Rites and Voting Acts. Lewis’s community cultural development provides political engagement and influence just like the marginalized individuals who were able to use deferential politics. McClure’s article also focuses on Lewis’ later worker in the creation of the Elma Lewis Playhouse in the Park. It was built on the same premise of her previous work. She combined education and cultural tools, but the playhouse was not limited to the African-American community. The park chosen for her playhouse was in Franklin Park in the heart of Boston’s African-American community. Franklin Park’s location was known for prostitution and drug activity.  Lewis wanted to bring the local and outside communities together for quality cultural programs which she was able to successfully do. Plus, bringing attention to city government through her cultural politics she helped foster empowerment and reclaim community institutions. Lewis wrote an open letter in the Boston Globe newspaper about schools she established through community support, not city support, helped remove moral blight and bring outside communities to share in culture. Bringing communities together helped continue the success of the playhouse and Lewis was able to establish an all community volunteer Franklin Park coalition which raised money for the upkeep of the park. Lewis focus on culture politics helped redefine a community that empowered local and non-local individuals to revitalize and take ownership through community control.


    Jeffrey L. Pasley, Andrew W. Robertson, and David Waldstreicher, Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early Republic (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 9.

    Jeffrey L. Pasley, Andrew W. Robertson, and David Waldstreicher, Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early Republic (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 41.

    Jeffrey L. Pasley, Andrew W. Robertson, and David Waldstreicher, Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early Republic (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 58.

    Jeffrey L. Pasley, Andrew W. Robertson, and David Waldstreicher, Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early Republic (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 75.

    Daniel McClure, “Brokering Culture: Elma Lewis, Cultural Politics, and Community Building in Postwar Boston,” Black Women, Gender and Families 6, no. 2 (Fall 2012): 55.

    Daniel McClure, “Brokering Culture: Elma Lewis, Cultural Politics, and Community Building in Postwar Boston,” Black Women, Gender and Families 6, no. 2 (Fall 2012): 58.

  • Supplementary Reading for Beyond the FoundersTaylor Dipoto

    Wood, Kirsten E. “Join with Heart and Soul and Voice”: Music, Harmony, and Politics in the Early American Republic. American Historical Review 119, no. 4 (October 2014): 1083-1116.

                “Join with Heart and Soul and Voice” analyzes how the discourse of music, particularly as it appeared in political festivities, created what author Kirsten Wood terms a “harmonious republic” in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. She emphasizes the idea of harmony in terms of music as “a system in which internal variety meant delightful contrast,” which she then conflates with the idea of harmony as an essential component of the relatively new American Republic. Rather than examining the ways in which the idea of harmony theoretically influenced politics, she argues that music itself provided a unifying way for Americans to express political ideas, celebrate their victories, and impart the burgeoning seeds of American virtues.

    Wood claims that music’s unique ability to do such far-reaching work stemmed from two countering reasons. In one way, it reached the illiterate, by providing an easy and memorable way to internalize and emotionally connect to political ideas. She notes that the most popular and lasting songs “came easily to the tongue and voice and…summoned up the feelings many Americans believed important to their national union.”

    This argument is well supported throughout the article, and draws from an interesting combination of primary sources. Wood mainly examines newspaper prints of songs, as they directly relate to one of the main premises she works to prove. Several prints are reproduced on full pages within the article, both making for an interesting visual, and giving the reader the rare opportunity to directly engage with the same primary source as the author. However, she also looks at letters from luminaries of the era, including John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and John Quincy Adams, as well as tracts or speeches relating to music. Wood uses these sources in two interesting ways that bolster her argument.

    First, these letters and speeches give her article context, displaying the strong presence of music in daily life in the Early American Republic. This essentially proves the legitimacy of using music as a source, which is still relatively revolutionary in terms of academic history. Second, the letters in particular show an interesting aspect of music’s function. An interesting example is John Adams’ son-in-law William Smith, who claims the new American government could very well utilize music as a means of “captivating the mob.”

    Several of the articles in Beyond the Founders similarly address the idea of mass political involvement through political festivities and ordinary means. Jeffrey Pasley’s “The Cheese and the Words” and Andrew Robertson’s “Voting Rights and Voting Acts” are the most overt examples of this parallel. Pasley argues that the strength of popular political culture during the same period discussed by Wood stemmed from the fact that arose from daily life, meaning that Americans participated in politics by “devising their own mean of building support…with their own local resources.” He uses the humorous example of a group of Massachusetts women who sent President Jefferson a “mammoth” wheel of cheese to express their support as an example. This idea of ordinary actions as representations of political involvement is present in Wood’s word too, although she never explicitly states it as such. Her emphasis on music as popular and quite ordinary implies that those who engaged in music as a form of political activity, were doing exactly the same thing as Pasley’s cheesemakers: they focused their preexisting abilities or passions on political expression.

    Robertson also examines the political involvement of ordinary Americans, although in a much different way. His article in Beyond the Founders makes the ultimate argument that deferential political rituals served the purpose of establishing an identity and providing citizens with an image of “egalitarian inclusiveness.” This too, connects to Wood’s work on music in the Early American Republic. While Wood’s work focuses on political celebrations and festivals, rather than the more formal electioneering rituals detailed by Robertson, both authors seem to be making the broad point that ritual was quite important to mass involvement in politics (even if, as Robertson acknowledges, that involvement is largely imagined).

    Beyond the Founders as a whole focuses on portraying the Early American Republic in a different way from the norm, whether “from the top down, from the bottom up, and perhaps especially from the middle out in every direction.” The articles within the book demonstrate the ways in which public involvement, rather than the actions of a few important men, effected American government and history. Wood’s excellent and thought provoking article could quite easily fit into this volume just as well as the articles the editors originally chose.


    Kirsten E. Wood, “Join with Heart and Soul and Voice”: Music, Harmony, and Politics in the Early American Republic, American Historical Review 119, no. 4 (October 2014): 1087.

    Wood, 1107.

    Wood, 1102.

    Wood, 1098.

    Wood, 11111-1113.

    Jeffrey L. Pasley, “The Cheese and the Words” in Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early American Republic, ed. Jeffrey L. Pasley, Andrew W. Robertson, and David Waldstreicher (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 49.

    Andrew W. Robertson, “Voting Rights and Voting Acts” in Beyond the Founders, 75.

    Beyond the ...

  • Beyond the Foundersaly692

    Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early American Republic illustrates the historiography of the early Republic through its growth of democracy that is not limited to just a white man history. The editors provide fourteenth different historical essays to advocate other narratives that have been left or overlooked rather than focusing on powerful white men who shaped American Institutions. The editors offer a new portray of Political history by looking at other people within the realms of social and political history. The goal of this book was to offer a “top down, from the bottom up, and perhaps especially from the middle out in every direction” (18) approach to viewing political history in a new light. One of the central arguments mentioned by Dave and Morgan earlier is to demonstrate the interlinking’s of the American people regardless of their station or political tendencies; they were all deeply connected and actively participated together in the early Republic.

    Each chapter demonstrates the how social and cultural histories played out on the grassroots level within the early republic. It was not just political but interactive with social groups to allow for their own mark within the political history.

    Similarities that I found in this collection of essays was with Closer to Freedom, also mentioned by Morgan in her earlier post that can be seen in Waldstreicher Essay. In Chapter three, “Why Thomas Jefferson and African American Wore Their Politics on their Sleeve,” explores the politics of using items such as clothing and how it could have political purpose based on how Jefferson chose to dress up as. Waldstreicher states, “the extreme politicization o clothing in the antebellum debate over slavery and race, understood in light of the use of dress Revolutionary and early national politics, suggest that ‘cultural’ subjects like clothing, as much as or more than abstracted ‘language’ or ‘power’, can help us reconnect subjects like Thomas Jefferson and African Americans” (89). Similar to Closer to Freedom, both book and essay discuss the importance and significance that clothing can have in making a rebelling statement or political statement.

    One of the biggest things I took out of in reading this book was how the different authors, and three editors were trying to establish agency for groups that have not been heard from in political history. However, what I struggle with in reviewing the essays though, especially looking at “Women and Party Conflict in the Early Republic” is can social and cultural histories really fit in with political history? Or do the two need to remain separate. Obviously based on the style and format of this book, the editors have a different opinion from me. I did not see the connections in chapter four as much as I would like to. What I saw was how Zagarri was trying to incorporate women’s social capacities within the context of state and party problems. I personally had a difficult time in viewing this chapter as any but social history. Overall, Chapter 3 & 4 were some of my favorite writings as it provided two different narratives and strove to offer agency to a group, aka women, usually excluded from the political arena.

  • Discussion Post #5: Beyond the Foundersmorganstocks

    Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early American Republic

    Edited by Jeffrey L. Pasley, Andrew W. Robertson, and David Waldstreicher

    Through a broad collection of essays, Pasley, Robertson, and Waldstreicher in Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early American Republic attempt to analyze and interpret the formation of United States government and politics from a “top down, from the bottom up, and perhaps especially from the middle out in every direction” (18). The authors in this work all resolve to balance the focus between the larger than life Founding Fathers and other elites who influenced politics and the masses who shaped the country as the local, state, regional and national levels (2-3). Thus, the authors challenge the notion of separate political and social constructions of government, developing the concepts of “political culture” (6-8), as well as “cultural politics” (9-10). In the introduction, the objective of this text is made clear: the articles are “more and less cultural in orientation, in recognition of the fact that current debates reflect more the division between social history and ‘founders’ or high political history that any sustained or rigorous discussions about the relative importance of policy, institutions, ideas and cultural practices’ (11). The essays are successful in showing that elite and everyday politics co-existed and sometimes even collided and contradicted.

    The text provides a variety of topics showing the connection between elite politics of the Founding Fathers and how those without direct access carved out spaces for themselves to influence and assert their voice. In the first article written by Pasley, “The Cheese and Words,” a giant gift of Cheshire Cheese was sent to Thomas Jefferson from the Baptists of that town to try and win political favor (32). As made clear by this discussion on Mammoth Cheese, “popular politics in the early republic was necessarily creative, adaptive, and variable” (39). Pasley uses the gift of cheese to show how this was not some out-of-the-box suggestion but rather fits into the context of the political avenues available to those people at the time, showing this by analyzing songs and regional practices (39-41). In the third article, “Why Thomas Jefferson and African Americans Wore their Politics on Their Sleeves,” Waldstreicher explores the politics of clothing. He shows how Thomas Jefferson himself was aware of the effect his clothing had, and used it for political purposes in the way he chose to dress up or down (84). Yet, he also shows the political context of slave clothing and slave labor to make clothing, which was largely left out of discourse surrounding the self-sufficiency of the United States (87). I appreciated how yaremenkolena tied in the discussion of clothing to Closer to Freedom, which also showed the ways marginalized people gained power, although in a different context.

    Some of the articles presented in the text actually surprised me. In the fourth article, “Women and Party Conflict in the Early Republic,” Rosemarie Zagarri showed how women were able to informally participate in politics. I found it interesting that women actually were sought after for their opinion on candidate’s virtue and moral character (110). Women were able to establish themselves as a powerful constituency despite their lack of voting rights. As yaremenkolena stated, the book shows “a demonstration of the influence of politically less powerful citizens at the grassroots level to effect change” and I think is greatly illustrated in the chapter. In the ninth article, “Beyond the Myth of Consensus,” Saul Cornell demonstrates that the second amendment was not accepted as a natural inclusion or addition to the Constitution. The second amendment was added to protect from internal and external threats, some factions were concerned about a militia of citizens being used to establish a tyranny (255-256). Yet, something I never considered was the context of civic duty in which this amendment was created (258). Today, the idea that citizens would obviously defend their nation when called upon is separated from the duties of being a citizen, such as serving jury duty (258). All in all, the work shows the continuity of mass participation in politics rather than a rise of everyday people involving in politics evident in recent American history.

    After reading the text, I think that this format was actually a great delivery for these ideas. A compilation of essays from various authors shows the multiplicity of views from this period. In this work, the editors effectively and cohesively demonstrated their thesis through the very different works within. The portrayal of bottom-up sources to show their part in developing political culture and cultural politics would have been less striking had this been a single work. This gave flexibility to show a variety of examples, sources, and methods to essentially prove their case.

  • Blog Post Beyond the Founders – Dave Shanebeckdshanebeck

    Beyond the Founders attempts to speak into the historiography of the early Republic a story of the growth of democracy that is not limited in scope to the increase of white male suffrage. The editors of this massive collection of essays attempted to weave an argument that expounds the ideas of American political history beyond that of powerful white men who shaped the early institutions of American political structures and theory. Instead of a limited group controlling and shaping the whole, American politics was the story of a variety of players and factors vying for a voice and clamoring to be heard or affect change. Political parties were not just constructs of simplistic political theory, but rather a cultural reaction to a myriad of people and communities that leaders were forced to listen to. Agency and voice are given to cheese makers, women and mothers, racial groups and abolitionists, back-country farmers, educated men, masculine men, political writers, rowdy mobs, native Americans, and many other diverse participants in shaping the American political identity (public and private). One of the central arguments of these essays is that Americans, no matter their station or political leaning, reacted to an ever changing political scene and actively sought to participate and shape the direction politics flowed.

    While these essays are powerful in their argument for a varied approach to American political structures and theories, some lack a strong explanation of what views they are exactly attempting to challenge. A specific example rests in chapter nine as Saul Cornell attempted to challenge recent historical views of the second amendment. While he provided a very compelling case of the contextual areas the second amendment traveled, he continued to mention “modern scholarship” without explaining who or what that scholarship was. This might be a nitpicky, but in order to fully understand how his argument challenges “modern scholars,” I think it is important to explain their specific positions and names (which I did not see detailed) other than just in a footnote.

    The most compelling and interesting chapter was ironically the chapter devoted to political philosophic theory by John Brooke. At first glance, I dreaded reading it. However, Brooke’s descriptions of legitimacy, civil society, and consent I found incredibly fascinating and grounding of the entire collection. Once again Gould finds his way into our discussion as Americans navigated legitimacy within the the republic as without. Steven brought this out in his discussion of Gould as Americans fought to be legitimized on the world stage. In Beyond the Founders, Brooke puts American political theory squarely in the conversations of legitimacy and consent that dominated the Enlightenment era. Brooke calls it a “cross-fertilization of civil society and consent” and the “inherent contradictions” of the American political system. (219-220) It is precisely the breaks and parallels to European structures or philosophy that both make the American civil society unique in structure and legitimate.

  • Beyond the Foundersyaremenkolena

    The book Beyond the Founders emphasizes, “the gap between national, political history and social history” (p.2). These essays look beyond the political leaders to the larger landscape of the rest of the population as a whole. They are not looking only at the top level leaders to define the history of this era, they are looking at the range of the population in the shaping of American history as is also seen in the book, Slavery’s Capitalism. Despite the language of the Declaration of Independence and the words in the Constitution, defining the rights of people in general and citizens specifically, it is clear in this collection of essays that political equality and social recognition changed continuously as society changed over time.  The citizens’ public lives were continuously shaping the politics of this era. The politicians were formulating and writing one version of the history of this era, while the populace was influencing and writing another history, as these two groups were bound together politically, economically, and socially. Each essay is immediately followed by notes on sources used in the research that informed the author’s opinion, in bibliographic style.

    Slaves freed in the North were being allowed to practice capitalism, which gave them some political relevancy; however, they still were not socially seen as peers in white society. Blacks in the North, while free, were not equal. They were not able to vote although they practiced capitalism, which increased their economic freedom, but not their social or political freedom. The ideology that made this kind of racism acceptable can be seen in Chapter 3, which explains how even at the level of clothing worn, blacks were not permitted to encroach on the social norms of the white population by even so much as dressing like whites.  Abolitionist Quaker, John Woolman characterized this as “a technology for naturalizing racism and slavery,” even before the nation was form (p.92). This argument over the political and social status of blacks and slaves was taking place at the general level of society. There were those in the population who were trying to influence the top level politicians, and when they could not influence, they fought back in different ways, through political speech and actions such as changing the political landscape by helping women and blacks become more independent economically through textile and clothing production. Some white citizens of the North were already making slavery and racism part of the political debate by their action at the socioeconomic level. Woolman’s view influenced the political debate despite that fact that he probably did not represent the norm in society at that time, but his influence can be seen in the Frederick Douglass dolls, which depict Douglass before slavery with no shoes and wearing cast-off clothing of his master, and as a free man dressed in a tuxedo, like the best of white European society. Chapter 3 further illustrates the dichotomy within the society at that time which can even be seen in Jefferson’s expressed thoughts and his actions, politically and socially. Men and women had highly defined positions in the society: men governed the world and women governed the home, while and slaves and freed blacks had no place in that society (p.95). Blacks were free in the North to be industrious, and Jefferson, in fact, encouraged self-sufficiency of the citizens, but black ex-slaves being self-sufficient was a different story. Jefferson did not support even the industry of his own slave, and in fact, demeaned their efforts. Despite the ideal that all the men were created equal, Jefferson doesn’t accept equality for women or blacks socially or politically and society as a whole at that time agreed with his social position. Social life as it related to the desire to gain political acknowledgment, power, and influence can also be seen in Chapter 4 and 5.

    Every Chapter expresses how the social level spills over into the political realm, attempting to influence politics and gain power for individual groups. This book represents a demonstration of the influence of the politically less powerful citizens at the grassroots level to effect change that might not be written into the history at the top levels.

    Because blacks fought for the Union during the Civil War they wore the U.S. insignia that all soldiers wore. This led to Frederick Douglass’ argument that blacks had the right to the citizenship as they fought for the same purpose as white soldiers. Clothes were the visual image of the equality and had an impact on politics shows that history was not written just by the elites in the society. This is reflected as well in Closer to Freedom where the author portrays freedom for slaves through their clothing during the parties, unaware that to their enslavers that this represented their freedom. Fascinating how the notion of clothing defining social status still exist today and is an expression of political power in many circles.

  • Tonight’s Classaly692

    Are we going to the classroom or meeting somewhere else?




  • Beirne – Fugitive Landscapesbeirne

    I am admittedly not a fan of dense environmental or geographic descriptions, be it in nonfiction or any other. The less directly human quandaries are involved, the less likely I am to really be engaged with the material. Samuel Truett’s Fugtive Landscapes makes the argument that historical explorations of human affairs and the physical environment should become inseparable queries, particularly regarding inherently in-flux frontiers and borderlands. The European expansionist mindset, at times alongside equally opportunistic voices from Mexico City, saw the borderlands as essentially unclaimed space to be molded for national and business purposes. Ms. 20perez2016 recognized Truett’s argument that the U.S.-Mexico frontier acted as a “crossroads” for movement of peoples, resources and ideas between societies near and far. (Treat 60, 106). The ‘fugitive’ element of the book’s title addresses how, in spite of the best institutional intentions, the people and geography of the Arizona-Sonora border remained impossible to  pin down, entirely. Historical memory of these peoples and spaces, likewise, is equally transient and divergent in nature.

    The historiography that Truett builds upon stem chiefly from environmental, local, and economic studies. William Cronon, Truett’s advisor for the Ph.D. thesis from which this work derives, is an environmental historian and author of Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West, which has been noted by Publishers Weekly for its multitude of linkages between frontier and urban landscapes. (ix; 186 f. 5) This is what Truett also tries to accomplish, expressing how metropolis elites failed to “domesticate” (a word the author uses a lot, in addition to “spaces, “spatial,” “landscape,” etc.) these domains that simultaneously lived within and without their respective states. Also leaned on is historians Michiel Baud and Willem Van Schendel’s article “Toward a Comparative History of Borderlands,” for lessons on how borderlands both unite and divide states on either side. (186, f. 11)

    Truth’s Fugitive Landscapes is a workman-like that reads like the dissertation it began as. Every paragraph is a huge block on tightly-packed information, with a single obligatory footnote appearing like clockwork that sometimes contained many references in yet another block of text. The obvious amount of research that Truett conducted make this a wonderful resource and springboard for further projects, but the thesis becomes stretched and the structure questionable. While there were great primary sources of businessmen and missionaries, it is not enough to save the work from the overbearing detail of geographic minutia. The lack of clear chronology, the pounding-home of spatial references, and, ironically for a work focused on a particular occasion, the jumping around to different locations made for more than a little retreading to figure out what was going on.

    I also question just how novel this approach is compared to traditional histories outside of the border realm. It seems like even those Barnes and Noble local histories would contain a variety of nuggets on different cultures, markets, and otherwise. To my suspicions, however, I believe Truett would respond that the focus has traditionally been telling the story from the state perspective. Although Truett does not elaborate on modern events throughout Fugitive Landscapes, the reader gets a sense that the author is skeptical of viewing borders strictly as governments want us to. By viewing the terra firma on its own terms, we can view those who grace its “crossroads” as equally critical actors both in historical understanding and, implicitly, in contemporary border politics.

    Perhaps the best result of Truett’s approach and style is his ability to at once challenge conventional wisdom of history writing and popular understanding while coming across in a non-argumentative, methodical manner. Business leaders, Indian nations, missionaries, statesmen and explorers are given attention and agency, and while exploitation and violence are accounted for, Truett obviously does not bring an axe to grind. Focusing on the land and resources first, while not always enthralling to this reader, ultimately lends to a narrative that is both even-tempered and convincing.

  • Fugitive Landscapes – Response #3Diana Nguyen

    In Samuel Truett’s Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, Truett examined the history of the “copper borderlands” between southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century by focusing on the appropriation of space and landscapes. Truett contends that the history of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands was one of a “transnational collaboration extended deep into both nations” (p. 4) through cross-border investments as well as economic and industrial development. Despite my lack of knowledge and expertise in this particular area of American history, I did find myself compelled by Truett’s determination to prove what became of the “lost world” as it transformed into “one of the most industrialized and urban spaces in the U.S.-Mexican Borderlands” (p. 6) by the early twentieth century. Not only does Truett seek to show his readers how regions were essentially produced in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century but also how spaces were made and landscapes fundamentally transformed. By dividing his analysis into four parts, Truett manages to paint a broad picture spanning from America’s colonial attempts at domesticating its borders until the arrival of the railroad in the nineteenth century to narrowing his focus on the interactions between state and local inhabitants as well as the men who attempted empire building but failed spectacularly.

    Similar to David, I also agree that Truett never took sides, nor did he ever focus on one particular group over another; instead, he gave explanations for their motives, what drove them, and why they sought opportunities in the borderlands. Truett does well in this regard when he showcases the different array of “actors” who ultimately became involved between the borders as they cooperated, plotted, or fought against one another due to racial and ethnic differences and even class antagonism. From the Apache and Opata Indians to the Spanish and Mexican miners, white American settlers and Anglo entrepreneurs, all of these groups of people played a major part in marking out the different areas in the region as they struggled to achieve their ends and dreams in a “fugitive landscape.”

    As for where this book is placed within the broader historiography of borderlands history, I would have to agree with David, Suzanna, and Taylor that Pekka Hamalainen’s Comanche Empire especially comes to mind. While Hamalainen’s focus was narrow as he particularly focused on the Comanche Indians and their rise to power against the Euro-American colonists during the eighteenth and nineteenth century, Truett’s attempt at borderland history within the United States is much more expansive and broad as he focuses on the everyday lives of the people who lived and struggled between the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. In the end, I found Fugitive Landscapes to be an insightful and satisfying read as it gave me a much more broader picture and history of the American West and its borderlands with its different cast of characters compared to Hamalainen’s narrow focus on the Comanche Indians and Euro-American colonists in Comanche Empire.

  • Post #5: Fugitive Landscapes – Victoria20perez16

    In Fugitive Landscapes, Samuel Truett’s main argument intertwined the American and Mexican history of the Southwestern copper borderlands. Previous historiography has treated these countries as separate entities and usually in a regional sense. Truett explained that the borderlands influenced each other so much that they should be viewed together in history. Even as United States and Mexico worked to modernize and dominate this land, it remained a fugitive landscape with frontier characteristics (6-9, 180). Truett specifically mentioned that historians have marginalized the transnational significance of the Mexican Revolution in the early twentieth century while they tended to focus on World War One. Instead, Truett considered this Mexican period a “key turning point” because it led to the American idea that a border signified “differences” on each side and the Mexican idea of a border to be crossed (174-177).

    Truett used diaries, government and company reports, eyewitness narratives, maps, photographs, and other sources to reconstruct the complex transnational status of the borderlands. A diverse group of people adapted to and moved around in the Arizona-Sonora area. Yet, governments and elites attempted to control local frontiers. Beyond the local level, these borderlands were not so much a desert wasteland as they were a “crossroads” for commerce and migration across the United States and Mexico border (60, 106). By identifying the borderlands as a crossroads, it can be added to a group of other significant locations throughout the world where economic, political, and cultural interaction have occurred together.

    Truett did not give as much agency to the Indians as Hamalainen had done in Comanche Empire. Rather, the book focused on American imperial dreams, the Mexican state’s search for power, and the agency of Mexican laborers and other immigrants. Truett did highlight the theme of creating alliances, networks, and relationships to survive in the borderlands. Fugitive Landscapes could also be in conversation with the authors of Slavery’s Capitalism. Before this, history has not always acknowledged industrialization found in the American South or the Southwestern borderlands. While both places lacked identical Northern-looking factories, they did have developments that suggested industrial progress, such as technological advances or transportation improvements.

    I would agree with Dave that Truett did a good job arguing that the borderlands still had a “frontier identity” by the end of the book (dshanebeck). I liked how Truett focused on the ordinary inhabitants of the borderlands and their ability to survive a variety of natural, political, and economic obstacles. Overall, I think that Fugitive Landscapes contained useful history and background, especially considering Truett’s comment that the borderlands are often forgotten. However, the book ends without really saying what can be done with this remembered history. If people should know more about this history how can it be presented to an audience in a non-academic setting? I think the book can be developed further by explaining how the content can be applied today. Current discussions about borderland concerns, diversity, and cultural developments can be connected to historical trends detailed in Truett’s book. For instance, the mixing of American and Mexican cultures, such as in Truett’s mining towns, is still occurring in America today (ex. Mexican food). Perhaps borderlands historians can engage the public’s attention by starting with relevant and applicable connections between the past and the present.

  • Fugitive Landscapes ResponseTaylor Dipoto

    Like dshanebeck and suzanna.melendez, I was immediately struck by the similarities between Samuel Truett’s Fugitive Landscapes and Pekka Hämäläinen’s Comanche Empire. This was especially evident to me in the first section of Fugitive Landscapes. While this section was mostly comprised of background information, the ways in which it described migration patterns within the borderlands were very similar to the first chapters of Comanche Empire that detailed the rise and movement of the Comanches. Truett’s major aim in writing his book was to “understand how the best-laid plans…repeatedly ran aground in fugitive landscapes of subaltern power” (9), which seems nearly identical to Hämäläinen’s push to demonstrate Comanche agency.

    Related to this, I appreciate that despite the subtitle “the forgotten history of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands,” Truett paid a surprising amount of attention to Native Americans throughout the text. He brought up American and Mexican relations with Apaches in the Sonora area, giving them equal importance to the main focus of American-Mexican relations. At one point, he even wrote “as tense as border relations between Anglos and Mexicans were, more unsettling was the decay of the fragile Anglo-Apache peace.” (47)

    Another reason the first section of Truett’s book was particularly effective, was the amount of background information he provided. A common critique our class leveled against last week’s A Union Forever was the lack of attention paid to background information that would have contributed to a better understanding of the topics Sim discussed. Truett, in contrast, did a very effective job of this. The first two chapters recount initial colonial conquests of Mexico, taking place centuries before the main time frame (focused on in the remaining two sections of the book) of the 19th century. In doing this, Truett is able to do something important that gives added importance to his work. He is able to portray the U.S./Mexico borderlands as a “meeting place of two opposing narratives: the history of Spanish and Mexican decline and a prophecy of U.S. expansion.” (15) This makes the argument of the book more compelling than if Truett had chosen to jump into the narrative after the United States had already begun its push toward Manifest Destiny, because it helps to explain exactly why the borderlands became a place of “subaltern power” (9) in the first place. This gives strength to an argument he highlights in the conclusion: seemingly small or unimportant people and places can still impact history. (184)

    Overall, Fugitive Landscapes is an impressive work. Although Comanche Empire already exposed us to borderlands history, Truett’s work puts a spin on it that differentiates his work from Hämäläinen’s. While Hämäläinen’s goal in writing seemed to be limited to proving Comanche agency and power, using borderlands history as a tool, Truett makes the argument that the borderlands have been completely erased from historical memory, and aims to “reconstitute the historical tissue that connects the U.S. and Mexican past.” (9) Although this seems like an impossibly large task, I think Truett did a commendable job of supporting these ideas.

  • Fugitive LandscapesRobert Huitrado

    The book for this week, Fugitive Landscapes – the Forgotten History of the U.S. – Mexico Borderlands by Samuel Truett was a fascinating chronicle of lower Arizona and the Mexican province of Sonora. The author traced the history of this area from the earliest Jesuit missions of the 1500s, to the influx of miners, merchants and ranchers in the 1600s and 1700s, the advent of the railroads in the 1800s and the border separation of nations, cultures, and peoples during the 1900s. Isolation; lack of supplies and distance from established markets; epidemics of smallpox, typhoid, measles and yellow fever; constant attacks from Apache raiders and other native Mexican tribes; the fugitive nature of the laborers in the mines; and the on and off tensions and distrust during the 1800s in the borderlands all contributed to the roller coaster ride of boom and then desolate bust of the towns and mines in this area. The Mexican politics of the 1900s, revolution, nationalization of lands and mines in northern Mexico, and tighter border control completed the separation of cultures and nations. On the positive side, U.S. and European investors flocked to this region during the 1800s, investing millions of dollars to further enhance the mining centers of Cananea and Nacozari in Sonora, and appropriating land grants for ranches, only to see their investments crumble when the Mexican political tide turned in the early 1900s.

    I agree with higbeejonathan that most Americans have long forgotten the history of this area or have no interest in it. To drive through lower Arizona today, a person would never know that Tombstone was once a very thriving center of silver mining and trade, other than just the site of Wyatt Earp and the OK Corral, and that the towns of Bisbee and Douglas were even on the map. It appears now to be mostly desert with nothing of value except a few scattered farms. Who would even guess that millions of dollars-worth of minerals came from those desolate hills!  I also thoroughly agree with Alyssa Foster that the way Truett sectioned the book helped with the reading and understanding of the story. The author presented an overwhelming amount of information, as sourced from the long list of references in his bibliography, and thoroughly covered his topic by using specialized sections to cover specific topics.

    The author covered many points in his book, specifically the history of the area, and the development of the mines, but most importantly the human factor: the mine workers, the farmers and ranchers, the merchants, the Chinese servants, and the investors. When he referenced a quote by someone, he made sure to mention that person’s name and his or her title. His in-depth research of all sources produced a book describing the transient historiography of this area with great attention to detail and illustrations. The sources Truett was able to amass, consolidate, and use was nothing but astounding, among which were archival collections, papers, bibliographies, corporate archives, and library documents; periodicals; corporate annual reports; government documents; published articles, dissertations, and theses. To amass such an enormous amount of historical wealth and to be able to organize that and write a finished book using page after page of documents is an immense feat considering many of these documents were found in two different countries, and written in two different languages. To me, this book is scholarly important because it focuses on unknown border relations between the United States and Mexico, and puts front and center a history of the American Southwest and frontier that not many Americans know about. Arizona history to most Americans can be summed up in one town – Tombstone. This book not only mentions Tombstone but also Bisbee and the surrounding towns on, near, or across the Mexican border, and the interconnecting history this region played in the prosperity or bust of these towns based on their proximity to railroads, the money invested, the materials mined, the labor involved, and the politics.

  • Fugitive Landscapes Blog Post #3suzanna.melendez

    Suzanna Melendez

    Blog Post #3


    In Samuel Truett’s Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands it explores the indigenous, economic, labor, and corporate history throughout the southwest. Truett skillfully utilized the methodological approach of boarderland studies between the United States and Mexico in the 19th century. Some of the sources utilized in his narrative were government documents, corporate annual reports, manuscripts, dissertations and theses. As a historian, Truett offered a unique perspective about Mexico’s far northern frontier colliding with the U.S Western frontier. He argued that the U.S. and Mexico’s history collides and intermingles with one another which is a topic in history overlooked by scholars. Furthermore, he argued that Americans and Mexicans joined forces to promote modern economic development in order to transform the U.S.-Mexican borderlands. By investigating the forgotten history of the U.S.-Mexico boarderlands, Truett seeks to utilize history to reconnect both nations past.

    Truett and Pekka Hamalainen Comache Empire have provided me with a new perspective about the frontier. dshanebeck wrote in his blog that “Truett’s central argument is that the borderlands are not divided as neatly and cleanly as modern Americans or historians would like. Often, historians want a clean story that changes as people shift and identities solidify.” I would agree with dshanebeck’s analysis because the concept of a frontier has transformed in modern historical scholarship. Previous historians such as Fredrick Jackson Turner provided a binary line between civilization and savagery. On the contrary, Hamalaine argues that “… historians have reenvisioned the frontier as a socially charged space where Indians and invaders completed for resources and the land but also shared skills, foods, fashions, customs, languages and beliefs.” (Hamalainen 7) Aside from Truett highlighting economic interests from corporations and entrepreneurs, the text also explores how ordinary natives resisted these powerful and influential empires. Prior to reading Fugitive Landscapes, I knew very little about the U.S. and Mexico during the 1800s. Not only does his book provide a historical context for the reader but it also incorporates women and people of various ethnic backgrounds.

    One of the most interesting concepts of Truett’s book is the transformation of American identity. By the “…early twentieth century, Arizonans viewed their neighbors to the south as siblings in an interlocking family history of sorts, a history that began with shared struggles on the wild frontier and pointed toward a shared modern future.” (6) But by the 1910s as higbeejonathan pointed out in his blog the Mexican Revolution articulated differences between Anglos and natives. One of the most interesting facts in the book is the author’s emphasis in transnational histories. “Historians of Native America, Africa America, and Asian American have likewise integrated the borderlands into their own histories of race, ethnicity, and postcolonialism.” (7) In addition, scholars have incorporated technology and environmental history into their work. These lenses are a significant part of his scholarship because it addresses social and economic changes in the southwest. Overall, scholars have started to focus more on transnational narratives because it provides new lessons to Americans and Mexicans about the border-crossing age.

    In conclusion, Truett’s book is an important part of Mexican-American history. Whereas many historians focus on the conflicts between Mexicans and Americans, Truett provided readers with new insights about the boarderland between America and Mexico. The framework of the book incorporates both an elite and lower class perspective. Although there were efforts to control the transnational space by people in position of power their efforts were in vain. Lastly, as a scholar he really emphasized why his boarderland history research is important. Today as a society we focus too much on the differences between both nations. But in reality we share a common background. A forgotten history centered on dreams and perseverance to survive in the Southwest.

  • Samuel Truett’s, Fugitive Landscapeyaremenkolena

    The author’s thesis expresses how the small section of borderland between Arizona and Mexico reflects the world as a whole, in that it can be viewed as constantly in a transitional state of flux despite the constraints placed on it at various times in history by governments. It is his contention that settlers throughout the history of the world are never completely controlled, despite political, economic and even good intentions as motivation. People will do what they want to do regardless of borders, or as he expresses it, NAFTA and 9/11 represent greater forces at work than our borders (p.184). This theme can be seen in Sim’s book, A Union Forever, with the British trying to impose rule over the Irish, and Americans aiding the Irish despite The Neutrality Act of 1794 in the U.S. that prohibited them from doing this. More recently, we see this in the dissolving of the borders of Yugoslavia through war due to religious and cultural differences, and more in the more amicable dissolution of Czechoslovakia.

    While I agree with Morgan’s assessment of Truett’s overall view of the borderlands, that corporations and politics played a huge role in both the lax, at times, and contested at other times, border, it should be added, that it was the investment in innovation that was the source of the push for fixed borders so that the natural resources that fed the corporations and the governments would flow without contention or war between the U.S. and Mexico. The Apaches, who were neither part of the corporate enterprises, nor part of the European settlers’ cultures, were militarily decimated by the U.S. and Mexican governments, while the settlers and enterprises that benefited the U.S. and its push for electricification through the copper from the Phelps Dodge mines (68-9) were supported. Both U.S. and Mexican governments gave away huge tracts of the Apache’s land on their borders, ignoring treaties made with the Apaches (p.40). Mining for copper and raising cattle were tremendous resources for entrepreneurs and the governments on both sides of the border. While the state of flux at the border, and broken promises to the Apaches led to bloodshed for the settlers, the defined borders led to the virtual annihilation of the Apache people. Enterprise, innovation, and economics, therefore, can be seen as the primary elements that shattered all other motivations including moral codes.

    Samuel Truett’s, Fugitive Landscape, is an historiographic contribution to the field of the transitional history of the south-western border of the U.S and Mexico.  Using archived material from the U.S. and Mexico’s Arizona-Sonoran borderlands from late 18-19th centuries, accounts for the book’s in-depth and detailed humanitarian look at the complex connections, events and actors concerned. This multiethnic, transnational history reveals the fugitive landscape of these borderlands. The history of these borderlands was originally conceived by Truett for his PhD dissertation at Yale. He was convinced to expand on his dissertation by William Cronon, a colleague, who “open eyes to humanists’ potential of environmental history” (ix).

    Truett’s narrative style and use of connotative language to portray events and settings tends to romanticize his vision of the west, setting a mood not typically found in formal historiographic writing. The writing is descriptive and passionate, involving readers in the energy and mood, (as Truett perceived it), of the time. Truett successfully engages the reader in the historical events of the past, and then incorporates his research to connect the past and the present, making the book an excellent historical work as well as an enjoyable one. He describes the actors at a dinner at the Democrat Club in New York, for instance, as “duck out of the cold” and “stripping off their coats and scarves…to dream of distant sun-baked lands blessed by nature” (p.1). It is possible that such sentiments were expressed by the actors involved, but as Truett directly quotes a toast made by a member at the dinner. Adding the romanticized language, rather than relying on the words of those present, seems to express less a desire to produce a strictly accurate and formal historiographic work, and more a choice to produce an in-depth book designed to inspire interest in the subject of these borderlands and their history among a wider population.

  • Supplementary Reading Post – Truettsbremer

    In her 2014 article, “Historical Archaeologies of the American West,” Kelly J. Dixon establishes a well-written and thoroughly researched historiography detailing various means of archaeology and how they pertain to the American west. She argues that the rich research underscores the American west’s dynamic cultural heritage, and that this research can fit into a four-part conceptual framework consisting of themes. These four themes are colonialism and postcolonialism, landscape transformation, migration and diaspora, and industrial capitalism (Dixon, 177). Dixon then proceeds to divide her article into four parts, with each part focusing on one of her themes along with relevant works that support her assertion. Dixon acknowledges the breadth of the topic she is tackling, but nonetheless is successful in providing key information regarding the scholarship concerning historical archaeologies throughout American west history. She states that scholarship can be divided into works by “old” Western historians, with Frederick Jackson Turner being the apogee of these historians, and “new” Western historians, which are made up of historians working after the cultural revolutions of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Dixon shows how much of early Western history was overtly influenced by myths, dime novels, and propaganda. She then brings to light the major works that combatted these views and brought a more scientific study to the history of the American west (Dixon, 178).

    The first part of Dixon’s article deals with archaeologies that relate to colonialism and postcolonialism. The entirety of the article takes a bottom-up approach, with Dixon focusing heavily on indigenous populations and the effect that Western encroachment had on them. For instance, Dixon looks at the founding of the Spanish colony of New Mexico in 1598 as a prime example of her colonial and postcolonial theme. She states that after eighty years of living under Spanish control, the Pueblo people of the area launched a series of attacks on Spanish civil and religious institutions, an event now called the Pueblo Revolt. The Spanish responded with more troops, indigenous allies, and more colonists, but the Spanish recognized Pueblo land rights and allowed Pueblo religious rites (Dixon, 185). Dixon then continues to state that archaeological evidence, Pueblo oral traditions, and written records support the claim that the Pueblo were never actually conquered, and were successfully able to resist Spanish encroachment. In using the Pueblo Revolt as an example of her “colonialism and postcolonialism theme,” Dixon is able to place a number of traditional historical archaeologies within her larger conceptual framework. The archeologies of battlefields, forts, missions, mortuary behavior, and memory fit neatly into both the revolt and in terms of attempted Spanish colonialism.

    Dixon’s two sections, “Landscape Transformation” and “Industrial Capitalism” have the most in common with Samuel Truett’s book Fugitive Landscapes. Dixon defines landscape transformation as “ecological and biological transformation that accompanied colonization” (Dixon, 188). She states that although indigenous people suffered in many ways as a result of a shared experience between native peoples and colonizing powers, some American Indian groups experienced an ethnogenesis. This was due in large part to the adoption of European livestock, such as cattle and horses. Europeans, however, largely struggled due in large part to their ignorance in managing and living in new terrains in the west (Dixon, 190). This sentiment is echoed in Truett’s book when he states that Spanish authorities found Mexico in ruins due to their ancestors’ inability to cope with living in such an area (Truett, 28). Truett also discusses the changing of landscapes, particularly in his discussion of the changing of the frontier into an industrialized frontier. This is illustrated in Phelps Dodge’s implementation of the railroad, which physically changed the landscape of the Arizona borderlands, but also resulted in the changing of the cultures of those involved in the area, as well as creating an anchor for a new vast industrial landscape (Truett, 83).  These aspects of Truett’s book fit perfectly within Dixon’s “landscape transformation” theme of historical archaeologies, and Truett could very well be implemented as an example in Dixon’s historiography.

    Dixon’s final portion of her article details the implementation of industrialization and capitalism in the American west. Dixon begins this portion by discussing the fur trade in the 18th century as an early form of industrialized capitalism in the west, and finishes the portion with a discussion of mining ventures as being the culmination of capitalism in the region. Although Truett focuses intently on mining ventures in the southwest United States and northern Mexico, Dixon opts to focus on mining ventures in Alaska and the Colorado region. However, there is a great deal of similarity in their two pieces. Dixon states that the mining ventures were carried out by capitalist “colonizers” throughout the western United States following the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Fort in California in 1848 (Dixon, 201). This in turn led to an influx of migrants to work the mines from all over the United States, ultimately resulting in the widespread displacement of native groups. Other groups, however, such as the northern Paiute Indians of Nevada created urban cosmopolitan ethnic groups when faced with displacement (Dixon, 202). This idea is central to Truett’s book. Truett details the modernization of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands through the interaction between the groups living and operating in those lands. Although the two scholars are discussing two separate areas of the American west, and have ultimately different goals for their works, they hit upon the similar themes that modernization in the American west came about as a means of industrialization, that it often resulted in displaced natives, and this often resulted in the blending of culture groups as a means of self-preservation.

    A final reason for picking this article as my supplementary reading was because it is a fine piece of argumentative historiography. Considering this class requires us to submit an historiography of our own, Dixon’s piece can serve as a fine model or example. Of particular note, Dixon concludes the work with a statement on how the scholarship of the ...

  • Fugitive Landscapeshigbeejonathan

    When we think  of the American Southwest during the turn of the century, we think of cowboys and Indians, desperados, cattle rustlers, and crusty old prospectors yelling “there be gold in deem hills.” We also conjure images of the harsh and unforgiving covered with saguaro cactuses and sun belch bones of the unlucky travelers who never made it to their destinations whether they are man or beast which are accompanied by abandoned buildings marking long forgotten spots of commerce and vice. However, beyond the desolate landscapes were gunfights, gambling, and profiteering accrued lays a hidden history that many never know as both the sands of the desert and time have covered. Fortunately, one scholar by the name of Dr.Samuel Truett a historian of U.S.-Mexico and continental North American borderlands, with associated interests in environmental history, histories of empires and indigenous peoples, and comparative histories of frontiers and borderlands in global context at the University of New Mexico Seeks to provide a window into the complex history of life and death in borderlands between the U.S. and Mexico.

    In his book Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, Truett argues that most Americans have forgotten transitional histories not only because they have trusted maps of the nation, but also because they have succumbed to the siren song of the state. Much like their precursors they still see the borderlands as the land that time for forgot, palaces where bandits and outlaws have given way to new barbarians such as immigrant desperados and drug traffickers (pg. 15). As such, he suggests finding new ways of moving U.S. and Mexican history onto a larger American stage and giving dreamers today a sense of the contingency and messiness of transitional relations with the ultimate goal of enabling the reader to understand the best laid plans of states, entrepreneurs, and corporations repeatedly ran aground in fugitive landscapes of subaltern power (pgs. 6, 9). By using personal accounts, photos, physical and vernacular maps, and the addition of local advertisement and periodicals, Truett establishes the notion that within this landscape of greed, gunfights, and bandits networks of corporate and state powers supported equally powerful shadow pathways oriented around the local lives of Mexican smelter workers, Yaqui miners, Chinese farmers, U.S. colonist, and others. These human webs kept the borderlands in motion, even if states and corporations bent their collective will lashing the harsh and fugitive terrain to the managerial foundations of modern America (pg. 103). As such, I completely agree with Alyssa’s comment when she stated that Truett expertly provides a through historiographical outline of the borderlands into an intersection of economic development. As result the reader, gets a complex view of life in the borderlands in which for a time the actual border between the U.S. and Mexico was at one point unfenced and nature trumped artificial distinctions in which animals crossed borders and natural customs prevailed over artificial laws of the state (pg. 85). However, the upheaval caused by the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920) resulted in Americans to articulate the differences between Mexicans and Americans in which they imagined themselves as persisting frontier heroes held the against the barbaric Mexicans (pg. 176).

    The strengthens of Truett’s book can be compare to Dian Nuygen’s comments in her post on Pekka Hämäläinen’s Comanche Empire in which he has the ability captured the fundamental nature of the Comanche Empire from its notable beginnings as a small tribe of hunter-gatherers to its portrayal as a potential threat to Europeans, Americans, and other Native societies alike made for a compelling read. So too does Truett tell a compelling story about the Apache and Yaquis tribes who dictated the terms of their relationship to the colonial world whose history is not known to many outside those who study Native American cultures. In addition, Truett’s shares some similarities to Dr. Stephanie M.H. Camp’s Closer to Freedom Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South, in which she argued that by doing simply things like being truant for work, going to parties, and making their own alcohol they proved they are their own masters. Truett’s argues that their mobility and resistance led pathways that resembled roads taken by Mexicans and Opatas but were harder for outsiders to pin down and used technology of development to resist capital and state power in another, which is often forgotten or never told in history books (pgs. 118-19). However, the most interesting thing about Truett’s book is the introduction and development of technology into the borderlands, which sought to transform the inhospitable environment to the valuable sites of industry, commerce, and household dwellings. However, by having these connections to the outside made possible to railroads, telegraphs, and telephones mining camps became towns and cities but in process of finding better way to harvest valuable minerals and metals they resulted in turmoil and mines running dry. This forced people whether they are Mexican, Americans, Chinese, or native tribes to leave for better pastures leaving behind communities that were forgotten by time.

  • Fugitive Landscapes – Alyssa Fosteraly692

    Samuel Truett artfully illustrates the Arizona-Sonora borderlands that intertwine multiple centuries worth of narratives of southwest American history. In his book, Fugitive Landscapes demonstrates the use of social, political and economic history in order to put the borderlands of the southwest into wider historical setting. Here Truett’s is able to portray the diversity of people that populated the area, migration and moved across the borderlands over the course of three centuries. Unlike David Sim, who did not provide the fullest background context in his book, Truett expertly provides a through historiographical outline of the borderlands into an intersection of economic development. Truett states that the “ultimate goal of this book is to understand how the best-laid plans od states, entrepreneurs, and corporations repeatedly ran aground in fugitive landscapes of subaltern power” (pg. 9). He further states that Historians moving forward in the field need to start reviewing the border first while including both sides of the area for a complete scrutiny. Truett also advocates the importance in examining the people within the borderlands and their drive to live within this complex area.

    In agreement with Dave Shanebeck’s post the first half of Fugitive Landscapes was difficult to get through. It was a little stale in its information making it a struggle to get through the beginning. I will be fair and say that I have always had a difficult time in showing interest in the borderlands and Mexican-American histories of the southwest. However, Truett does a nice job in sectioning off his book in order to assist with the flow of information he is trying to provide the readers. Part one of the book illustrates how Mexicans and Americans tried to domesticate Sonora-Arizona lands prior to the rail system years later. This chapter highlights the social relationships that have endured into the present era. Part two of the book shows how Truett explores “how entrepreneurs, corporations, state elites, and ordinary people reorganized the borderlands at the turn of the century” (pg. 9). Part three exhibits the social conflict and revolutionary struggles that made it difficult and impossible to domestic the borderlands.

    One section of the book that I found the most interesting was part two of the book where Truett reviews the economic factors that are portrayed in the borderlands. Here Truett reviews the economic history of the southwest borderlands to show how business opportunities pushed the reshaping of the area on an economic and political level. Similar to Slavery’s Capitalism edited by Beckert & Rockman, their book dives into the slavery’s significance in the emergence of American capitalism in the decades between the Revolution and the Civil War. Beckert & Rockman also use factors of innovation of entrepreneurship, finance, accounting, management, and political economy to demonstrate the role of slavery in the marketplace. Taking these similar factors that played a role in the nineteenth century, Truett uses them to depict the industrial frontier of the borderlands to show how entrepreneurship and commerce played a role Arizona-Sonora borderlands. In part two, Truett introduces William E. Dodge Jr. who established the Phelps Dodge mining company. This established a transnational cornerstone for copper within Arizona-Sonora borderlands. However the area remained a “fugitive landscape” due to the difficulty and resentment of the native people as well as the resentment of the labor within the borderlands. Truett offered that the “more power corporate and state elites tried to exert over the region… the more it slipped from their grasp” (pg. 130). Samuel Truett pulls a lot of research from the archival sources, periodicals, corporate annual reports, and government documents. In the final pages of his book Truett illustrates how transnational histories at times encompass law, which played an impactful role in the review of the borderlands. It demonstrates how space can be seen as lawless and lawful at the same time.

  • Fugitive Landscapes – Dave Shanebeckdshanebeck

    Samuel Truett beautifully weaves a borderland narrative across multiple centuries of southwest American history. By using a mosaic of social, political, and economic history, Truett attempted to place the borderlands of the southwest into a broader historical context that took into account the diversity of people that populated, migrated, and shifted through the area throughout the three centuries. Truett’s central argument is that the borderlands are not divided as neatly and cleanly as modern Americans or historians would like. Often, historians want a clean story that changes as people shift and identities solidify. However, Truett offers nothing of the sort in Fugitive Landscapes. The borderlands of the southwest were defined by not just “cross-border networks of corporate power” but something in which “ordinary people emerged from the shadows of state and corporate control to reshape the borderlands on their own terms.” (9) Truett argues that it was not the corporations, governments, or institutions that controlled borderland identity, but rather everyday people who were attempting to live in a truly frontier society that never closed but persisted. Their dreams of the future and hopes for a new life never died, but were constantly challenged, reshaped, and forged again.

    Even though the first half of Truett’s work is somewhat dull and stale, Truett set the stage for the power of his work in chapters five through seven. It is not that the first part or even the first few chapters were not necessary as Truett was clearly setting the stage for how the frontier mentality of the colonial and nineteenth century borderlands established a connection to borderlands of the twentieth century. This is only a slight critique due to the fact that I personally found chapter 4, “The Mexican Cornucopia,” rather slow. It holds a significant part in explaining the corporate power plays that shifted towards Mexico’s northern border.

    While Diana, queenlove35 and I struggled with Pekka Hamalainen descriptions of the southwest borderlands in Comanche Empire, I did not have that same feeling throughout Samuel Truett’s borderland history. Much of this is due to the fact that Truett was only attempting to argue that the agency of borderland history lies with the everyday people who transported themselves in and through the various centuries and locations of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. He did not attempt to provide a more significant agency to one group or another; instead, Truett focused upon the cornucopia or people and agents–Apache, Mexican miners, white settlers, or even major corporations–that made up a truly diverse and constantly shifting area. While we were left questioning the definition of empire and power of the Comanche people in Comanche Empire, I felt satisfied by Truett’s concluding chapters and epilogue that nicely painted a picture of the region that felt as wild and undefinable today as it was two hundred years ago. No matter how hard outside forces attempted to exert power or authority over the borderland area, it kept its frontier identity and continued to be a place of dreams–albeit rarely fully realized–and people who continue to persist.

  • Discussion Post #4: Fugitive Landscapesmorganstocks

    Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S. Mexico Borderlands by Samuel Truett

    In Fugitive Landscapes, Truett explored the natural spaces that both the United States and Mexico occupied and how they operated in an often contentious but also a symbiotic environment. In this work, Truett shows how the “electrification,” coming from the Industrial Revolution, led to the need for copper found in Sonora, helping to construct the border as a “new frontier” needing to be developed (4). Truett complicated this study by framing the history of this border as “forgotten,” arguing that people now take the defined border between the United States and Mexico for granted (5). This is supported by the nation-centered histories. Truett contends that both United States and Mexican history, as separate entities, only turned towards each other when Mexicans crossed the border and when the United States played a role in Mexican events, respectively (5). From past to present, Americans and Mexicans underwent a clear shift in attitudes towards each other, and this connection appears to be lost (6). Through his work, Truett illustrated how studying the borders can show how these powers were interwoven at one point and the current relationship between these two nations was not inevitable (8).

    Truett was successful at demonstrating the various ways Mexicans and Americans connected in Sonora. They were able to do this by maintaining a fugitive landscape, or one that was mobile and flexible, continuing to exist by “eluding the scrutiny of empire and resisting incorporation” (18). The identity of people in the borderlands was in constant flux and thus people living in this space had to play by the a different set of rules. For example, the Jesuits, who were not given all their provisions by the Church, had to interact with the indigenous population whom they were trying to convert in order to survive (21-23). He gives much evidence for why these spaces were “fugative,” such as discussing the intermarriages between Americans and Mexicans resulting from American migration to Sonora (37). From Truett’s evidence, it is clear that the resources and commercial power resulting from copper was the driving force for this relationship and in helping to form these identities (68). It forced people, both Mexicans and Americans, to value the “dollar more, dominion less” (56). This led to a formation of a system that had to rely on custom and kinship ties, as was common in the area, instead of nation-driven policies which only further contributed to the fluidity of the space (86). Yet, he also demonstrates how white privilege still permeated this territory. He shows the disparity of the housing conditions and state of Mexican v. American encampments but also how even the price of beef afforded only Americans the best cuts due to their higher wages (112, 137). Throughout the book, he showed how Mexicans and Americans both interacted and transacted in this fluid space.  

    One of the most interesting components to Truett’s analysis was his ability to show how the borders was not just a space where Mexicans and Americans interacted for economic purposes. Although his focus was the relationships between people working in this area, he effectively highlighted how this was a contested space for others. Women were shown to be present in the borderlands but instead of feeling opportunity, they felt restriction due to the crime and gangs present (106). Truett also discusses how the Chinese and Mormons were both forced into these transnational spaces after they were excluded from the United States (125-126). In an interesting vignette, he portrays Emil (Emilio) Kosterlitzky as a man who can transcend both nations and be of value to both Americans and Mexicans (139-140). From this he offers complexity to the question: what does it mean to be a person living in a fugitive landscape and how does one identify in these spaces? He highlights how this can be complicated by your ethnicity, country of origin, religion and gender, as well as nationality.

  • Final Paper Proposalmark_t_garcia

    For my final paper proposal titled, “The Memory of Lynching: Analyzing the Culture Narratives of Lynching in the United States in the Late Nineteenth Century,” I will investigate the cultural narratives expressed through white participates and African American antilynching activists. Specifically, how each narrative differed from each other and justified their position for or against lynching. Through my initial research on the historiography of this topic I plan to use the book of historian Edwin T. Arnold author of “What Virtue There Is in Fire: Cultural Memory and the Lynching of Sam Hose” which investigates the lynching of Sam Hose on April 23, 1899, in Newman Georgia. What brought attention to this particular lynching was the brutal torture of Hose by mutilating him, tying him to a tree, burning him alive, and carrying off parts of his remains as souvenirs. One primary source I will be using is white southern newspapers the help answer my historical question, how the language propagated justification of lynching that nourished violence from the white community to become judge and executioner of alleged black criminality. A potential archive I would like to access is the Tuskegee University Archives Repository. This archive has an extensive collection of southern newspapers which focuses on  lynching in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Here is a link of a sample of their newspaper collection. To gain a culture perspective of the antilynching activist I will use the online collection from “African American Perspectives, Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection” in partnership with the Library of Congress American Memory project. This collection includes pamphlets, journals, songs, and sermons of antilynching activists.

    I would also like to investigate how lynching became a grand spectacle for the white southern community. Collector James Allen’s online exhibit, “Without Sanctuary: Photographs and Postcards of Lynching in America” is a collection of photographs and postcards of lynchings taken as souvenirs. The online exhibit accompanies Allen’s book with the same name, “Without Sanctuary”. I would like to reveal the reason why white southerners needed to have lynching photograph and postcards. An additional source I would like to use is historian Amy Louise Wood book “Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940” which uncovers spectators who created a community bond by witnessing lynchings together. To help add context to my paper I will refer to Michael J Pfeifer author of “The Roots of Rough Justice: Origins of American Lynching” as he explores the chronology of collective violence from early nineteenth century, Antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction. Lastly in my paper, I would like to bring to light new arguments that can be added to this historiography.

  • Final Paper Topic – Stone/Campbell Movementvannoyj

    My final paper titled: “A Movement for Wholeness in a Fragmented World: The Stone/Campbell movement and its Social religious views” will look at the development of the American restoration movement, more specifically the Stone/Campbell movement and its evolution to a socially progressive religious body. During the Early nineteenth century the Second Great Awakening swept through the United States Frontier. Inspired by this movement, two men, independently of each other, created a new form of Protestantism. Known as the restoration movement or the Stone/Campbell movement, this new form of Protestantism is considered the earliest indigenous United States protestant religion. Begun by Barton Stone and the Campbell family, Thomas and his son Alexander, the Stone/Campbell movement began as two separate religions with similar belief systems. They eventually merged in the mid-nineteenth century to become one religious protestant faith called the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) This amalgam of two religion led to various rifts and changes throughout its history. There is little exploration of this development. One way to look into the historiography is to broaden the view. Looking at the influences of the Second Great Awakening and the Enlightenment, as Thomas Campbell was a student of John Locke’s, on this “thinking man’s” movement will open the researcher to more options.
    There are questions that need to be asked within this subject. The first question is how did the religious movement go from a restoration religion to a religion that positions itself as a social justice religion.  This can hopefully be determined by regional histories of the development of the churches within the United States.  The second question that must be asked is what role did women play within the early development of the Stone/Campbell movement. A recent book on one of the early female leaders will help to answer this question. While secondary documentation will be a little bit of a challenge within the research of the Stone/Campbell movement specifically. The primary documentation is out there. This protestant religion is extremely proud of their beginnings and has created an historical society that has primary documentation from many different areas and churches. Another source is the writings of Barton Stone, Alexander Campbell and another early leader “Racoon” John Smith.  With the leads that I am finding, the hope is that this historiography will help to generate more interest in a movement that has developed and changed overtime in the attempt to fit an ever developing society.

  • Colonial Construction of “Other”: Cultural Displacement in 19th Century America (HISTqueenlove35

    My paper titled Colonial Construction of “Other”: Cultural Displacement in 19th Century America, explores the historiography scholarship of marginalized culture boundaries within urban spatial settings. The 19th century developed collective agents desiring to preserve the founding American spirit. These collective agents, largely women-ran organizations, sought new opportunities outside of the domestic sphere. Excavating new white-collar working class needs, women created Anglo-American cultural value centered in renovating real and personal property. Renovating rooming homes into single apartment upstarts, provides professional opportunities in real estate speculation, but, in turn, displaced impoverished industrial families, often first generation immigrants and established African-American communities.

    I would like to review if upward mobility provided to women, through preservation, justify renovating established minority spatial environments. Specifically, why renovating established ethnic working class neighborhoods provided upward mobility to working-class women? How does spatially examining colonial construction of ‘other’ through romanticized views of the past exemplify perception of racial identity? Does the creation of the middle class create and jar cultural boundaries, as white-collar working class furthers economic opportunities? Does the Anglo-American group’s desire to create new spatial boundaries, based on regional and racial identity, embody myth building collective memories? How does the foundation of preconceived ‘other’ identities shape communal civic relationship between Anglo-American groups and diverse ethnic communities? Examining Chinese ethnic communities in San Francisco,  African American Communities, like Cabbage Row and the Jewish community of Brownsville will provide spatial boundaries for this research. Does the cultural displacement of ethnic neighborhoods effect the minority communities upward mobility in obtaining the American Dream?

    Currently reviewing 19th century redeveloped communities has lead me to uncover a few 19th century communities. I would like to further investigate potential primary sources by locating secondary sources on the Renovation Movement. Researching secondary sources like Roberta Brandes Grantz, Robert Young, and Ann Laura Stoler will assist in the forward projection of securing primary sources. Creating of a key-term list has proven essential in uncovering new insights on seeding gentrification in the 19th century. Terms like ‘white painting’ and disphoric identity along with colonial mentality are assisting in locating secondary and primary scholarly work. Looking at the idea of ‘Chinatown’ in Los Angeles, San Francisco, displacing true cultural, historical narratives in the 19th century will also aid in this research. My goal is uncover how gentrification is more than just the spatial removal of living environment and resources. Further, identifying how seeding gentrification in early 19th century grounds the idea elitist ethnic control of how define cultural importance and extracting acceptable ethic culture at an arm-length reach.

  • Beirne – Final Paper Topicbeirne

    What were the economic causes of the Civil War?

    Without a doubt, slavery and states’ rights, perhaps inseparable notions in nineteenth-century America, were the major impetuses to the country’s most bloody and personal war. With the election of Abraham Lincoln, the South seceded, removing 11 US states; leaving 23 states (along with 5 supporting border states) making up the opposing Union. While the war proved the South to be the smaller and weaker power, the Southern states, and thus the Confederacy, represented no slouch in their importance to US economic interests. This paper attempts to piece together the underlying economic causes of the Civil War, specifically within the context of a stronger nation (size, economically, morally, you-name-it) annexing a weaker nation that does not wish it.

    A book directly related to the economic topic is Marc Egnal’s Clash of Extremes: The Economic Origins of the Civil War. Also, James L. Huston’s Calculating the Value of the Union: Slavery, Property Rights, and the Economic Origins of the Civil War should provide a head-on perspective regarding the central issue this paper will address, and of course continue to offer additional historiographic trajectories. Finally, Mark Thornton and Robert B. Ekelund Jr.’s, Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflaciton: The Economics of the Civil War will be employed to understand how the Civil War was, itself, funded, perhaps revealing the interests that funded or supported the Union’s war efforts. These books will also tell of the economics of the South’s decision to secede in the first place, a critical discussion in understanding why retaining the rebel states would be of significant financial interest.

    It is work like Walter Johnson’s River of Dark Dreams, Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman’s Slavery’s Capitalism, and the contribution of Modernizing a Slave Economy‘s John Majewski (also featured in Slavery’s Capitalism) that will lead my discussion regarding just how much of an economic powerhouse the South was at the time of secession. These selections provide evidence not only that the South was more than able to stand on its own, agriculturally and, Majewski argues, industrially, but that the North was a significant benefactor of the South’s unbelievable growth, largely through the mass continuation of slavery. As subsequent history would show, this power would not be enough to fend off being forcibly reintegrated back into the Union.

    Realpolitik economic realities flow through near every major historical decision, and this paper will attempt to address some of these overlooked realities. The North had expanding industry and population, and the benefits of a century of international recognition, as per Gould. The loss of the Southern states would have a major economic impact on the Union’s position in this community, reaping not only major financial losses (not to mention ‘losing face’), but forcing the Union to compete abroad economically with the Confederacy. I would imagine that the loss of the South’s tax base would not have been a welcome development to the US federal government as well. Were Northern industrialists firmly behind the War’s causes, and how much was this community’s conversations over economics, as opposed to abolitionism or secession’s infringement on the Constitution, say?

    Finally, I think it would be worthwhile to incorporate some historiography, or at least an understanding of Western expansion and annexation in the nineteenth-century, as it was a golden age of takeovers of sovereign (or claimed sovereign) territory. There were all sorts of moral reasons employed for these takeovers; concerns over the barbarities of conquered peoples and concerns for societies’ lack of ability to govern themselves. Slavery was the moral and political reason for the takeover of Southern territories, so much so that economic issues (not to mention the truly central states’ rights issue) are somewhat intellectually taboo. Slavery was a hot topic from the founding of the nation’s Constitution, and was one of, if not the most, intensely debated issues decade after decade leading up to the Civil War. Yet, I feel that a focus on the finances involved in the antebellum US, the damaging effects of secession, and the promise of reunion will proffer a unique insight into the motivating forces that cost 700,000 lives yet that is recognized to have liberated so many more. Building on the historiography of economics and the Civil War, with a dash of works on capitalism and expansion, I hope to offer some interesting and, most likely, entirely unexpected conclusions.

  • Final Paper – Topic ProposalDiana Nguyen

    In my paper, “In the Name of Mercy: The Legacy the American Red Cross on Gender and War,” I would like to examine how historians have conceptualized and viewed the significance of the American Red Cross and its impact on gender and war since its establishment in 1881 and first major humanitarian relief effort during the Johnstown Flood of 1889 to its transformation as a major national humanitarian organization in the First World War. Not only did the American Red Cross experienced phenomenal growth during the Great War but it also implemented various nursing programs including the development of first aid, water safety, and organized public health campaigns in order to alleviate the pain and suffering of soldiers and civilians during the war. The idea that the American Red Cross were “champions of charity” but also “enthusiastic promoters of militarism and sacrifice in times of war” intrigued me when I came across John Hutchinson’s Champions Of Charity: War And The Rise Of The Red Cross. I would like to explore what other historians have written about this subject matter in the field and how they have come to view the American Red Cross over time.

    From its humble beginnings as one of the many small organizations that took part in international Red Cross movement, the Johnstown Flood of 1889 played a pivotal role in the history of the American Red Cross and even helped establish the organization as the major disaster relief agency in the United States. Despite its initial goal of providing relief for peacetime disasters, the American Red Cross would eventually provide wartime services as well as international relief efforts in the years that followed. Mostly in part due to the voice and efforts of Clara Barton, the founder and “champion” of the organization, Barton played an important role in both the history and legacy of the American Red Cross when it came to protecting the war-injured and providing disaster relief efforts both at home and abroad. Her experiences in Europe, especially after becoming influenced by Henry Dunant, would come to lay the foundation and framework for the American Red Cross to provide national and international relief efforts during World War I.

    In order to trace how historians have approached this topic, I would need to address a couple of questions:

    1. How have historians viewed the growth and development of the American Red Cross since its early establishment in 1881 to its dramatic transformation as a massive and influential institution by the end of the First World War?
    2. Despite its success and significance as a major humanitarian relief organization throughout the Great War, was the American Red Cross (in some ways) an instigator of war through its recruitment process and propaganda?
    3. How did gender and the roles of women play a fundamental role in the American Red Cross in terms of reconstructing gender identities on the battlefields and during wartime in the First World War?
    4. How have women fashioned new identities for themselves due to increasing employment opportunities that emerged during wartime? What happened to them when they were forced to return to the traditional standards of femininity after the war and during the postwar era?

    As for potential primary sources, I will be looking at first-hand accounts of the experiences of the female medical personnel who served abroad during the First World War. These may include, diaries, letters, biographies and personal memoirs, photographs, as well as membership data on the number of American women who volunteered in the war and possibly a summary of the Red Cross’ financial operations during the war.

  • Final Paper Proposalsuzanna.melendez

    In my paper “An unlikely tie: Rethinking Indian women’s contributions in an interracial marriage in the Western Great Lakes”, my particular research interest wants to focus on Indian women and the role they played when they married French traders. I want to analyze how scholars have interpreted marriages between Frenchmen and Native American women. Throughout my paper I specifically want to pin point how historians have portrayed Indian women in their research. My historiography will particularly be centered during the lucrative fur trade during the early nineteenth century in the Great Lakes region. Majority of the scholarship will focus on why Frenchmen married Indian women. In addition there will be an emphasis about the two different ethnic groups creating political, social, and economic alliances. In order for the Frenchmen to build strong alliances with native tribes they had to become a part of the Native American’s family. Thus interracial marriages to Indian women were important and common. French men wanted to improve their status in the fur trade and gain access to the Native American’s hunting and trapping groups.

                  By focusing on interracial marriages between French men and Native American women I seek to answer the following questions. How have scholars interpreted Indian women since the 1980s? Do certain scholars focus more on women’s gender roles or political and economic contributions to their communities? Has religion been a center focus on majority of the texts or is it a new lens that historians are focusing on? Have narratives centered Native American women as key players who constructed elaborate mixed-blood kinship networks that paralleled those of native society? Lastly, I want to address the author’s methodological approach towards their texts. Do scholars utilize the methodological approach of separate or conjoined spheres? Separate spheres is an ideology that defines and separates women and men.  Furthermore, the topic is written about men and women separately to focus on them as solely agents. On the contrary, conjoined spheres are about how men and women interacted and cohabited with each other in a social context.

    The overall objective of my paper is to focus on Native American women and their role in expanding the transatlantic economy while securing the survival of their own native culture. I will try and accumulate a wide range of primary and secondary sources. Some of the sources I plan to explore are manuscripts, original documents from treaties, photographs, travel journals, historic maps, and any books dating from the earliest contact with European setters. Eventually, these sources will highlight how Indian women created a middle ground while being associated between two disparate cultures.


  • Final Paper ProposalTaylor Dipoto

    I plan to use my paper, tentatively titled “A Nation Alone: The Origins of American Isolationism,” to historiographically trace the development of American isolationism. Discussion of isolationism in popular history regularly focuses on the years leading up to both World War I and World War II as official times of “isolation” and “nonintervention.” I myself have become interested in the topic as I prepare for a comprehensive exam on the First World War, because it played such a major role in the trajectory of American involvement. Literature relating to isolationism in this regard often presents the bare facts, including little analysis. However, isolationist ideas hardly came from out of the blue as these works would suggest. Like all political ideas, cultural norms and social shifts likely informed them. In short, isolationism needs to be placed within its historical context, to determine exactly how and why it developed.

    I plan to use this paper to look for that broader context, by examining the ways in which historians have viewed isolationism as a political and social force. By focusing on this context rather than simply looking at positive or negative perceptions of isolationism, I hope to discover whether the historic portrayal of isolationism has changed at all since its inception. My major research questions at this moment are: Is there a discernible shift in historians’ conceptions of the major forces shaping isolationism? and, does this shift parallel or diverge from advances in historical theory and methodology? I hope to develop more as my research continues.

    While I have not done enough secondary source reading to provide specific sources that would be valuable to the further academic analysis of American isolationism, I do have general ideas. Because broader context (social, political, etc.) is a focus of my research, I believe newspaper and media sources, as well as personal letters or journals would be a valuable and unique set of sources. Politically driven ideas tend to be analyzed through government or legal documents, but tracing the popularity of isolationism and isolationist ideas in the writings of ordinary Americans could provide a wholly new perspective on the subject. CSUF has a fairly extensive collection of archived microfilm news articles, which would make a great starting point. Relevant personal writings may be more difficult to come by, at least in regards to the limited time frame (19th Century) of this paper. However, if I were to expand my research to cover the beginning of the 20th century and the lead-up to American involvement in WWI, I could easily mine letters at Chapman University’s Center for American War Letters for expressions of isolationist ideas and rhetoric.

  • Final Paper TopicRobert Huitrado

    Civil War Medicine: Life Saver or Death Sentence.

    The American Civil War was horrific on many levels: from the battlefield to the medical station, and thousands of men lay dead or wounded. It was in this place, the medical station, that my report will ascertain whether the medical treatments, the doctors, and the knowledge of the era caused more harm than good. The Civil War took place in a Golden Age of weapon creation and innovation. From Europe to the United States, weapon makers created some of the deadliest weapons of the age. The French- invented Minie Ball, in conjunction with the newly invented American Springfield Model 1861 Minie-type rifled musket, produced between 1861-1872; the American Henry Repeating Rifle, 1860-1866; the American Spencer repeating rifle/carbine, 1860-1869; and the American Gatling gun, 1862-1911, were all created during this era, and although all of them except for the Springfield saw only sporadic use during the war, they left a trail of death or wounded whenever used. The reason why these weapons were so devastating on the battlefield was because the military tactics at the time were still following traditions from the Napoleonic Wars earlier in the century, yet the weapons had become deadlier due to being rifled which increased bullet accuracy and range.

    The war years, 1861 to 1865, not only saw new inventions in weaponry, but also saw new advances in the medical field as a whole. Medically, advances were made in the “

    • How could doctors and nurses on both sides treat their patients competently while dealing with changing climates, various sanitary conditions and possibly lack of medical supplies?
    • How did the weapons of the age affect the types of injuries soldiers received?
    • Were doctors and nurses trained the same, no matter what side they were on?
    • How did medical treatment improve from the beginning of the war to the end of the war?

    I am hoping to find sources that help to answer the questions above and other questions that may come up while investigations and writing my paper. In addition, I currently have three articles written by two doctors and one MD discussing my area of focus. I also have seven books in mind that should help me in answering my thesis: Were the medical treatments, medical stations, doctors and nurses, and medical knowledge of the era causing more harm than good?

    Reilly, Robert F, MD. “Medical and surgical care during the American Civil War, 1860-1865.” Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings 29, no. 2 (2016): 138-142.

    Mathiasen, Helle, PhD. “Bugs and Battles during the American Civil War.” The American Journal of Medicine 125, no. 1 (2012): 111.

  • Final Paper Proposalyaremenkolena

    After the Civil War, black men were given the right to vote, but their past treatment as soulless creatures by the white society left a mark that it still visible in the black community to this day.  Women, although they were not given the right to vote in the U.S. until more than half a century later were not affected like the ex-slave of the black community were because they saw themselves as a valuable part of their society, and they weren’t ostracized and looked down on as less then human. Women felt they have a purpose and a degree of respect in society as soulmates of the white men. Blacks weren’t seen as having no individual purpose, their purpose at that time, being only what white society “gave” them.

    The North and South were divided on the surface by religious morality differences. At some point in time, however, the justification for slavery which had had a low level of interest, vanished. A religious movement grew up and took hold in the North but not in the South despite the fact that the people in both the North and South came from essentially the same moral place.  Question becomes how did this acceptable behavior one day become unacceptable and next? When and why does the shift occur and was there much more behind the moral justification for slavery than religious beliefs; for example, economics. Was that strictly religious beliefs that changed or did geography and innovation play a part. The slavery in the South was predominantly of the black population, but in the North, at the time of the industrial revolution, there was a similar type of slavery of women and children in factories. The white people in the North were “free” and considered human beings with souls, while in the Southern black population, the slaves were considered ¾ of the person, which was justification for conserving them as soulless and with a tendency toward being evil.  Ostracizing people from the community leaves them with no hope, and no reason to care.

    Morality may have been used to justify the economic conflict that led to the Civil War, but the underlying causes and the justifications for continuing slavery of both the black population and white women and children was bound more tightly to economics than to morality.


  • Final Paper Proposalandrewjarralkelly

    In my paper “Park and the Public: The National Parks and Their Purpose,” I want to examine how historians have thought about the National Parks system and what purpose they think it serves. A common misconception among the public is that the National Parks are for outdoors-men and nature lovers. However, many of the natural parks are cultural sites focusing on history, anthropology, and archaeology. For many visitors these parks serve as an educational experience. The National Parks are not only viewed as educational, but they often straddle some of the intersections of recreation, historical preservation, antiquarianism, and tourism. This paper with trace historical scholarship from the National Parks system’s conception to the present day to find out what was their primary service. I will focus on historians’ methodology and sources. What sources scholars use heavily indicates what they are trying to argue. Also, I need to focus on the context in which they were written. Someone writing on the National Parks now will have a completely different view than someone writing about it in the 1950s. During that decade many questioned the usefulness of the National Parks and often saw them as a drain on the national economy because they did not make money during World War II.

    In order to track this historiography, I will need ask a few questions in order to get at what each author is saying. First, how was the inception of the National Parks system viewed? Was it good, bad, or something in between? Second, how has scholarship viewed the purpose of the parks? This relates back to my opening paragraph. Lastly, do the National Parks create a regional or national identity? This question might be difficult to answer. If current scholarship cannot provide one, then this can be how the field can grow.

    Primary sources can be tricky with this topic. The obvious direction is to examine records in either federal or local government archives. These sources might be able to tell us the initial use of the land allocated for the National Parks. Conversely, findings sources that might attribute to purpose and local or national identity might be harder to find. Sources that might do this are park surveys, if they exist, or journals and memoirs of figures such as John Muir. Materials such as these might involve closer examination because of existing biases. Further research will be conducted on this.


  • Final Paper Proposal20perez16

    My paper will be on “Orange: From A Community To A City.” The purpose of this paper is to explain how and why ordinary people were influential in forming communities and establishing cities in Southern California. Specifically, I will examine the community of Orange, CA within the context of Orange County development in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I will discuss how historians have historiographically regarded important factors that led to urban development. I am mainly concerned with how historians have included the people in communities as a possible factor. Southern California gradually transitioned from a rural region of ranches into a more urban setting at this time. For instance, the successes of agriculture and the railroad contributed to such development, but I want to take that research further by examining the history of Orange through the lens of its community. While the citrus industry was key to Orange County’s growth, it would not have made such an impact without the daily contribution of workers who picked and packaged the citrus. Also, the railroad may have contributed to the region’s economic growth, but it also brought people to California from other states and countries who founded cities like Orange.

    There are several significant questions guiding my research. Why have historians tended to focus more on institutions such as the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Southern California Fruit Exchange instead of the communities, which also contributed to the area’s growth? How did immigration play a role in the establishment of cities, such as Orange? Was the change from rural to urban growth a direct result of increased migration to the area? Why were people drawn to Orange County and the community of Orange in particular? How and why did people establish the city of Orange? How much were community members involved in that process or was it controlled by certain leaders? How was the Orange community similar to or distinct from other Orange County communities? How can historians create a more diverse and inclusive understanding of Orange County’s early community life?

    I have identified many potential primary sources for this paper. My primary sources include oral histories, newspapers, city records, county records, and photographs related to both Orange County and Orange. Three potential archives for these sources are Orange County collections in the Center for Oral and Public History (CSUF), CSUF Special Collections, and the Orange Public Library and History Center. With these sources, my aim is to have a bottom-up approach to Orange County’s early development. While the citrus industry and the railroad were major factors, I will also research the personal aspects of Orange’s growth. I hope to learn more about the people who lived in early Orange such as orchard workers, business owners, or families. Since there are oral histories available, I want to incorporate these stories into the history of the city’s development. My primary sources overall will enable me to piece together how early Orange County communities created the cities we know today.

  • Final Paper Proposalsbremer

                          In my paper, “Conquerors of California,” I will be looking at the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846 and the men who had the most influence on the unfolding of the revolt itself and on the events that followed in its wake. These men are President James Knox Polk and Colonel John Charles Fremont who led the small band of Americans in the revolt at Sonoma. I intend to utilize a top-down approach in analyzing this event, focusing on both Polk and Fremont’s motives and methods. I intend to discover how historians’ perceptions of these two men has changed over time. I also want to track the historiographical treatment of the revolt itself, seeing how historians have come to interpret the event through the passage of time.

                         In focusing on this event, I seek to answer a few key questions. The Bear Flag Revolt is often marginalized and discussed in the wider context of the Mexican-American. It is often briefly discussed as the casus belli of the full-blown war between the two nations. However, the actual personalities, actions, and motives by those involved in the revolt are not so clear-cut. In looking into the various primary and secondary sources available, a convoluted and at times confusing picture comes into focus. The question that can then be asked is who actually conquered California? Was it really a small ragtag band of adventurous Americans acting alone? Or did the United States have a direct involvement in instigating the rebellion as a means of touching off the wider war with Mexico? This would serve as a means of fulfilling Polk’s great ambition to double the geographic size of the United States. Another question is what role did Archibald Gillespie, a young Marine officer, play in the revolt? Was he a major player or a puppet of the Polk administration? Another question that I would like to answer is what was the Mexican response and reactions to the revolt? Finally, we can ask what the Bear Flag Revolt can tell us about wider American desires to move westward, and how far the United States was willing to go in order to fulfill those desires.

                          Although oftentimes discussed as part of the Mexican-American War, a bevy of primary sources specifically regarding the Bear Flag Revolt are at the disposal of historians. The diary of President Polk is one such source, while multi-volume works of Fremont’s journals and diaries exist as well. Another intriguing source, though one that will require caution and care in using it, is a biography of William B. Ide, a leader of the Bear Flag Revolt and the only president of California, written by his brother Simeon Ide. The journal of one Marius Duvall, who was a young navy surgeon serving in California and interacted with the Bear Flaggers could also provide some perspective on the revolt. A further primary source is the multi-volume collection of the correspondences of Thomas Oliver Larkin, the first and only U.S. consul to Alta California. These letters are between Larkin and nearly every important figure involved in the revolt, including some addressed to Mexican leaders. In the end, I hope to shed a new light on an important event in my native state of California’s history.

  • Paper Proposal – Dave Shanebeckdshanebeck

    In my paper “Industrial Slavery: The efficiency of the slave system,” I want to look at the structure of slavery as an efficient, industrial system. Often, slavery is thought of or taught as a backwards, agricultural, feudal society that does not relate to the great industrial might of “advanced economies.” The very nature of the slave system and slave owners is portrayed as almost bumbling through land acquisition, slave trading,  and simplistic systems of punishment in order to produce profit. Often slave owners are seen as sacrificing technological advancement or machine efficiency because they have grown lazy by a dependence upon slaves. My paper will focus in on how historians have shifted this narrative to the argument that slave owners and traders methodically created systems that were not only advanced, but mirrored the industrial centers of the world in the efficiency of production and maximization of product. This was not lucky or born out of massive land holdings, but rather the deliberate structuring of a slave society that focused upon efficiency of labor and production in order to maximize profit in concert with their industrialized neighbors (in the north or around the world).

    In order to trace how historians have approached this issue, I will need to focus on a few key questions. First, in what ways have historians tracked the slave trade itself as a “factory” of efficient production of labor? How did slave traders create efficient methods or systems in order to obtain and control slaves in transit to sale? Second, did plantation owners create methods of control in order to exact maximum efficiency from a labor force that had no incentive to work hard? In what ways was punishment used as a means of efficient production? And finally, how did the slave system use technological advancements or structures in order to get mass amounts of product to market?

    There are many primary sources that could be addressed for this study. First is always the eyewitness slave accounts that detail the treatment and methods of slavery (Northup, Equiano, Douglas, etc.). These sources are valuable for a slave perspective and also provide interesting issues of validity as many have been questioned for their authenticity as abolitionist tracts. There are also documented records and census data of cotton production and exports from southern ports. Slave trade databases can also be a good place to achieve numbers and figures that explain the vast amount of people that crossed the Atlantic. This could be valuable when assessing the efficiency of the trade in human labor. I am interested to look into slave owner documentation as a way to trace how much they thought about efficiency of the slave system. I would specifically want to see if there is language that points to methodical methods that may be industrial in nature.

  • Research Paper Topicmorganstocks

    In my paper, “She Works Hard(er) for the Money: Investigating Intersectionality within the Female American Workforce, 1814-1848,” I aim to explore methodological and theoretical shifts in the historical analysis of women’s work during the Industrial Revolution. Specifically, my paper will focus on their employment in mills during the first half of the nineteenth century, starting with the Lowell mills, leading up to the 1848 meeting at Seneca Falls and the mid-nineteenth century suffrage movement. My paper will discuss how historians approached working women who started to emerge into public and male dominated spaces by leaving their families and the home to work in the textile mills. Some historians I am currently researching are Thomas Dublin, author of Women at Work: The Transformation of Work and Community in Lowell, Massachusetts, 1826-1860 (1993) and Julie Husband who wrote “The White Slave of the North”: Lowell Mill Women and the Reproduction of “Free” Labor” (1999).

    First, I will need to pose several questions which will guide my research. In my analysis of the historical frameworks, I want to focus on historians that employ a bottom-up approach and make use of female voices. I will need to know what methodologies or theoretical frameworks historians used to interpret these female sources. In other words, how have historians’ perception of women’s work changed over time and why? In addition, I want to explore how historians have treated other dimensions that intersect with women and make their place in the public sphere even more contentious. Are historians looking beyond other categories that define women such as class, race, sexuality, marital status and age, all which add additional layers of domination? Have historians changed their approach to discussing women since intersectionality has been conceptualized? Which categories are emphasized and which are ignored by scholarship? Finally, does the historical analysis frame the Industrial Revolution as empowering women or does this movement into the public arena continue to make them inferior with issues such as unequal wages, poor working conditions, or trying to balance the dual role of mother and worker.

    This last question will propel me into my own critical interpretation of female mill workers. In terms of my own analysis of texts, I will need analyze a mix of personal sources, including diaries and letters, as well as impersonal work logs or managerial accounts. Upon starting my research, I found an interesting set of newspapers written by female mill workers of Lowell and Lawrence. This set of documents would be ideal, as they contain the perspectives of these female workers. These collections, maintained by Harvard University, can provide insight on the the various ways that women were marginalized in the workplace. Yet, they also can reveal the means in which they established a voice and became empowered. In sum, I aspire to show the possibility of new conversations and interpretations by dissecting the many layers of female textile workers in the United States.

  • Final Paper Porposalhigbeejonathan

    Conquest, Patrice, and an Unpopular War: A historical review of the U.S.-Mexican War

    For being the second war Congress ever officially declared war, we tend forget the significance the U.S.-Mexican War (1846-1848) had on the history of the United States. Lost between the Texas Revoultion (1835-1836) and the Civil War (1861-1864) the U.S.-Mexican War saw the rapid succession of territorial expansion second only to the Louisiana Purchase, rise of the prominent tacticians and generals who will forge legendary careers with the outbreak of the Civil War, and once President James K. Polk called for war it created a controversy among Congressional members who viewed it as an opportunity to expand slavery westward.

    By using primary sources like President James Polk’s dairy written between 1845 and 1849 in which shows his motivations on expanding westward whether it be war with Mexico or Britain. For example, Polk wanted to adjust a permanent boundary between the United States and Mexico and then purchase Upper California and New Mexico for a pecuniary consideration. Not to mention that upon signing a treaty to end the war Polk recognized that he could obtain a boundary from the Rio Grande west to the Pacific by paying a few millions after taking California permanently. With information like this one can seek to answer the question as to why did the U.S. seek to expand its reach from cost to cost? While other sources like the message, Polk sent to Congress on May 11, 1846, which asserted that a state of war existed between the U.S. and Mexico and that the Mexican Government invaded American territory and shed the blood of its citizens. As such, Polk called for a large body of volunteers to serve for not less than six to twelve months unless discharged and recommended that a liberal provision to be made for sustaining the entire military force and furnishing it with munitions of war. Which can be used as a means to answer the question was it necessary to declare war on Mexico.

    However, even with Polk asking for war with Mexico some of the congressional members question his motivations behind it. Members of the Wing Party including John Quincy Adams, who refused to support it do to the fact he believed the war was endorsing slavery, John Giddings, who cast the only the only ballot against the resolution of thanks to General Zachary Taylor, and Abraham Lincoln, who demand to know exactly where American blood was shed. In 1847, the party denounced the conduct of the war in an article in the The American Review: a Whig Journal stating that from its inception the war was an act of aggression prompted by the coveting of our neighbor’s possession and gratification of the same lawless cupidity in reference to “the whole of Oregon or none.” By using this primary source, one can seek to answer the question of whether or not the war was fought based on a legitimate reason deemed vital for the security and defense of the nation or perhaps did Polk have other motives behind sending troops across the border.

    In the end, these primary sources combined with scholarly secondary works such as Merry Robert W. A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent will attempt to trace the field of study around the U.S.-Mexican War and argue the need to focus on President Polk’s and the decisions he made before, during, and after the war to expand the public understanding the significance of the U.S.-Mexican War.

  • A Union Forever ResponseTaylor Dipoto

    David Sim’s A Union Forever takes a unique approach to history: choosing to detail a failure rather than a success. He writes that examining both the methods and repercussions of Irish and Irish-American nationalist attempts to foster a relationship with the United States that would ideally help gain Irish sovereignty is valuable because this “ details the process by which British and American statesmen built stronger transatlantic ties through the marginalization of revolutionary Irish nationalism.” (2) This outline of Sim’s major points is refreshingly straightforward, leaving his reader little room to misinterpret his ideas. It is a major strength of the book.

    The rest of Sim’s introduction however, shows weak points. His historiography, while cleverly divided into three subsections that organize the material quite well, presents a great deal of information that goes uncited. Page 4-5 of the introduction has two full paragraphs of concrete statements about American thoughts on Ireland, without a single work cited. This might be nit-picking, but I tend to question the validity and extensiveness of an historian’s research when this occurs.

    Despite that minor problem, I did enjoy the body of the book. Like sbremer, I found chapter four particularly interesting, and probably for the same reason – he relates this chapter in his blog post to the idea of Ireland’s ultimate failure to make anything happen. As noted above, this idea of examining a failure is not the norm in history because history tends to remember the victors. Despite this, Sim does a good job of noting what the Irish nationalists were successfully able to do, even if their strides forward ultimately hurt their cause. He notes at the end of the chapter that in calling attention to British arrests of American citizens, nationalists were able to “gain great leverage with U.S. public opinion” and were instrumental in the U.S.’s improvement in terms of protecting American citizens abroad, even though this did inadvertently cause peaceful negotiations between the Americans and British.

    I agree with 20perez16 that this chapter also had the strongest use of primary sources. Sim notes in the introduction that the “elevated status” of certain notable figures (his in this book are Daniel O’Connell and Charles Steward Parnell) can come at the cost of glossing over the agency and activity of the average Irish and Irish-American nationalists. (10) This makes it sound like the ensuing chapters will come from a bottom-up perspective, but only chapter four seems to successfully do this by mixing political sources with the letters and accounts of incarcerated Irish-Americans such as William Nagle and John Warren. (112-13) This is not necessarily a failing on Sim’s part, as the book is quite definitely a political history for the most part. However, it did make chapter four the strongest section in the book in my opinion.

  • 2nd Blog Post “The United States in the World: A Union Forever”suzanna.melendez

    Suzanna Melendez

    2nd Blog Post


    David Sim’s in depth narrative The United States in the World: A Union Forever: The Irish Question and U.S. Foreign Relations in the Victorian Age offered a new perspective of Irish-American involvement in Ireland’s nationalist movement. His scholarship not only addressed the Irish’s yearn for independence but also the relationship between both counties. “Though we have a number of exceptional studies of Irish America, we have few that seriously historicize Irish nationalism and its complex connections with the American Union over the long nineteenth century.”(3) The framework of his book brilliantly incorporated a transnational methodology which emphasized on diplomatic history. As a historian, Sim concluded that politicians’ utilized the Irish question to push America’s diplomatic and political agenda. By investigating U.S. foreign relations with Ireland Sim highlighted one of many Anglo-American tensions throughout the world.

    Sim and Elija Gould’s book Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire have provided me with two new perspectives about the America’s global position during the early nineteenth century. Previous early colonial history courses highlighted America’s transatlantic relations with other nations. One key component not mentioned in those classes was the U.S.’s efforts to be recognized as an independent and reliable country. The idea of national recognition by world powers was not only emphasized in Sim’s text but also in Gould’s political narrative. Mark_t_garcia wrote in his blog that Gould argued “in order for both to gain the respect of their sovereignty they used the treaties and alliances to obtain it.” Aside from the U.S trying gain global notoriety, I also learned about Irish-American relations. Prior to reading Sim’s book I knew little to nothing about Irish history let alone U.S. foreign relations with Ireland. Not only was his narrative easy to understand with some exceptions concerning political figures and key events, but the accumulation of academic sources was very impressive. Some of the documents cited were newspapers, manuscripts, official government documents, letters, etc.

    From the perspective of U.S. diplomacy, the new republic did not want a conflict with Great Britain. Sim wrote that “historians are increasingly attentive to the continued deep cultural, material and political entanglement of the United States with British imperialism after 1783 and to the impact that this had on the new nation’s foreign policy.” (5) But by the mid-1840s it was evident that a great famine had swept throughout Ireland killing millions of people. One of the most interesting facts in the book was that the Irish famine sparked philanthropic activity throughout the U.S. public. “Throughout the Union, citizens formed relief committees to collect and forward money, food, and clothes to Ireland. Whigs in particular were active in promoting Irish charity as a means of improving Anglo-American relations.” (39-40) Compared to U.S. citizens who felt compelled to act in a philanthropic manner, politicians tried to enforce America as a nation of reliance both politically and economically.

    In conclusion, Sim’s book provides readers with knowledge about Irish American history. Whereas many historians have overlooked the U.S. foreign relation with the Irish and their contribution to Anglo-American diplomacy, Sim’s book provided readers with a detailed political context that intertwined both countries. Ireland’s nationalistic efforts to gain independence relied heavily on the growing power of the American republic. The framework of the book was a bottom up approach while the context specifically focused on elite statesmen and the political intensions between both nations. Although the structure could have been organized vice versa. Furthermore, it could have focused a bit more on the social aspect of the Irish immigrants who migrated to America. In reality, they were the majority affected by the new policies implemented to ease the famine abroad and liberate them from Britain.


  • Sim – A Union Forever Postsbremer

                      In his book A Union Forever, David Sim seeks to interject Irish nationalism into the larger issue of United States foreign policy in the nineteenth century. He argues that a young group of urban nationalists associated themselves with the United States, looking to America for a “model of nonsectarian self-governance that might be translated for Irish conditions” (P. 4). Sims continues this idea to argue that both Irish-American nationalists and American statesmen both sought to manipulate one another to further their own diplomatic goals. Sim states that Irish-American nationalists “sought to manipulate the foreign policy of the United States for their own ends” (P. 10). This all revolved around the issue of Anglo-American relations and Sim seeks to illustrate how this relationship destabilized relations between The United States and Great Britain. A key example of this can be found in Sim’s discussion regarding U.S. neutrality towards the Fenian raids into Canada under the Johnson administration. By tolerating Fenian “activities,” the United States was able to get Great Britain to mitigate the accusations brought forth for her actions over the Alabama fiasco and the construction of confederate ships in British ports. The Fenians, on the other hand, were able to link the threat of U.S. diplomatic and even possible military power to Irish ends (P. 94). I found this a striking example of how at this particular point in history, just post-American Civil War, these Irish-American nationalists and American statesmen, whether fully conscious of it or not, were playing off of one another’s needs and desires to fulfill what each side sought to achieve.

                 As David and Andrew have pointed out, Sim’s book has direct ties to Gould’s the Powers of the Earth. The Law of Nations is still having an impact on transnational and transatlantic foreign relations. However, it is the Irish who are seeking the recognition that the United States once sought. In looking at 20perez16’s summary of Gould, one could easily substitute “Ireland” or “the Irish” for the “United States” or “Americans.” In looking at this aspect of Sim’s argument, I found it to also mean that the United States at this time had firmly established itself at the forefront of transatlantic politics. The U.S. is able to match Britain at nearly every turn, and even has the struggling, hopeful Irish using the example of the United States as inspiration and a model to aspire to. This supports Gould’s assertion that the United States had not gained true independence until roughly the 1820’s. 

    I also found Chapter Four of Sim’s book the most compelling. This chapter focuses on the controversy generated around the validity of naturalized U.S. citizenship. I found it quite interesting that some of the most contentious moments between the United States and Britain occurred because of this issue. When Irish Americans were arrested upon returning to Ireland from America, they were viewed as threats, being “imbued with Yankee notions, thoroughly reckless, and possessed of considerable military experience” (P. 101). However, many of these men had American citizenship as well, and some, such as John Warren, wrote public letters from jail charging the United States as being unable to protect its citizens abroad while the British simultaneously ignored his American citizenship. This chapter was excellent at detailing how these Irish nationalists were able to almost engineer a very real rift between the United States and Britain from inside prison, and had it not been for the actions of militant Irish nationalists outside the prison walls they may have succeeded. This also leads to another point of interest I found with Sim’s work. He lets us know as early as page two that everything he is going to discuss in his book ultimately failed. He states, “No sovereign Irish nation emerged as a consequence of their efforts. In fact, Irish American agency had the paradoxical effect of breeding closer Anglo-American relations over the long term” (P. 2). This sentence resulted in me reading Sim’s book not just as a history of how Irish nationalists impacted American foreign policy, but also how this resulted in the cooling of tensions between the United States and Britain and a move to the amelioration of these relations.



  • Post #4: A Union Forever20perez16

    David Sim’s A Union Forever argued that there are strong connections between and “Irish question” and the transnational development of America’s foreign policy with Britain. Irish and Irish-American nationalists attempted to gain independence from Britain, by way of American politics, in the midst of uncertain diplomatic relations in the Victorian era (Sim 2-3).

    Sim used a variety of sources from letters and historical newspaper articles to presidential papers. It was especially helpful to read eyewitness perspectives of the Irish-American arrests in chapter 4. Sim stated that the prisoner’s actions “indicate that Irish nationalists were not passive subjects of high diplomatic negotiation. Rather, they were agents active in shaping — or at least attempting to shape — the political response to their own arrests and incarceration” (Sim 118). Having said that, I think his argument could have been improved throughout the rest of the book if he had used similar sources that told more of the Irish voice. Because this book consisted of political history, there seemed to be more primary documents from the political leaders in control than the ordinary Irish or Irish-Americans involved. In the end, the Irish tried to gain concessions and independence, but did not have enough power or say to do so until 1921.

    I also thought there was not enough connection between Ireland’s actions and the revolutionary and nationalist movements of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Sim only briefly mentioned that there were other European revolutions in 1848 and around that time (Sim 71). Although this book focused specifically on Ireland’s status as a potential nation, Sim did not clearly place the Irish movement in its immediate European context. Even later on, Ireland’s hopes for independence were not a unique concern, as President Wilson quickly came to understand after World War One (Sim 183-184). With this background, it would be easier to determine if Irish-Americans were the only immigrants or among others agitating for their home country’s rights.

    Like Janelle  mentioned, one thing I found interesting was Sim’s interpretation of American sympathy for Ireland’s struggles, especially in chapter 2 (vannoyj). There was a great deal of politics involved in assisting those suffering from famine. I would add that Sim not only explained the political significance of American aid, but also the economic impact of providing assistance to a potential market. It was also viewed as “an opportunity to project American philanthropy and, implicitly, American power in the British archipelago” (Sim 68). Even though American intervention for the Irish eventually waned going into the twentieth century, Americans had already assisted Ireland during famine and political tension, at times with a goal for economic gain.

    A Union Forever demonstrated once again that America was not an isolated entity in the nineteenth century. The United States was still closely tied to Great Britain but it still wanted recognition as a separate nation, which supports Gould’s argument. Sim added to this by demonstrating how America had to both preserve their citizens’ rights and maintain peaceful diplomatic relations with Britain.

  • A Union Forever (Response #3)vannoyj

    David Sims looks to the international triangle of the United States, Ireland and Britain in his book A Union Forever: The Irish Question and U.S. Foreign Relations in the Victorian Age. The book details the Irish struggle for independence and the relationship between not only foreign governments but migrants as well. A Union Forever is a continuation of the international conversation that began in Eli Gould’s work Among the Powers of the Earth. In Sims’ work, the United States is still struggling to become recognized as an international power, more in regards to international politics at this time than as an international economic power. As Andrew Kelly stated in his blog post on Gould America is in a sense still trying to pacify our neighborhood. This time the pacification came as a result of mass immigration after the great Irish Famine. America had a number of new citizens in which to cater to within the political realm and this influenced political stances and party politics. What I found completely fascinating within the book was the way both parties tended to agree on what needed to be done, especially during the time of the repeal movement, but not why they should be supporting the movement. Curiously, Britain lacked a major presence in the book. Though in history their policies and views towards the Irish struggle would have had a large impact on the United States political players, but in the book Britain is only a bit player and often in the background with no real agency in the events that occurred.
    Chapter two with its emphasis on charity was also very compelling. The logistics behind the scenes for American political players was a new question I had never considered. The question of private charity does show a long standing United States behavioral manner of sending charity when large disasters occur. The question of the government of the United States being able to step in and offer aid as a constitutional issue threw me. Growing up in a time when international aid is often utilized as part of a goodwill foreign policy gesture, one doesn’t consider the often behind the scenes questions that arise out of such a policy.
    Reading this book was a study in frustration for me. I am not quite familiar with this topic and I believe the book was written for someone who had a basic sense of the events discussed. I often found myself back checking events and people as they were introduced to the story with little to no background. Just as often, events were side mentioned that I wish had been explored deeper. One such event occurred in the first couple of chapters with the story of O’Connell. ...

  • Supplementary Article to A Union Forevermorganstocks

    The International Irish Revolution

    According to Alvin Jackson, a research professor at the University of Edinburgh, “political violence in Ireland, particularly militant resistance to the Union, it no neglected theme” and yet, in his own analysis of the field he proposes that novel arguments regarding the Irish revolution in the nineteenth century are emerging (Jackson 95).  Moreover, these works were not manifesting in an isolated manner but as a collective turn towards something new. Jackson’s 2011 article, “Widening the Fight for Ireland’s Freedom: Revolutionary Nationalism in Its Global Contexts,” argued that a clear trend in this scholarship is materializing departing from a traditional discourse on the topic. Beginning in 2009, Irish historians approached the topic of revolution from a fresh perspective. Jackson analyzed four major texts to reveal the change in approach. Jackson’s article demonstrated how each author adds to the debate concerning Irish militancy. Overall, they painted a much more radical picture of the Irish rebels, such as the Irish Republican Brotherhood or the “Fenian” movement.

    However, Jackson also argued that there existed another theme running through these interpretations with more modern roots. Jackson declared that these books were composed with certain “seismic political events” in the backdrop. The major global events, such as the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in New York and 7/7 in London, the Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreements in Northern Ireland, and the one-hundred and fifty year anniversary of the IRB, shape the way historians advanced their chosen field (95).  For example, authors, such as Jonathan Gantt, drew parallels between the militancy of the Irish and twenty-first century terrorism.

    Jackson utilized the major works as sources themselves, analyzing how each contributed to the global understanding of Irish revolutionary efforts, but also how they reflect the current political climate. He contended that recent events in the world led to “a set of relatively new thematic, geographical, and historical concepts” used to address nineteenth century Irish rebellion (97). While written in 2013 and therefore outside the scope of Jackson’s analysis, David Sim’s book, A Union Forever: The Irish Question and U.S. Foreign Relations in the Victorian Age, brings in the larger Atlantic world and utilizes a transnational approach as a foundation for discussing the Irish nationalism in the United States, proving Jackson’s thesis to be quite valid.  

    The first text considered by Jackson is called Irish Terrorism in the Atlantic Community, 1865-1922, written by Jonathan Gantt. This work explored the way previous scholars downplayed the Fenian violence and that the “terrorist features”of the IRB have not been elucidated enough (97). His scholarship aimed to contextualize the violence undertaken by the Irish in a transatlantic setting. In his text, he reviewed American journalists’ response to Fenian violence, analyzing the vocabulary that discussed the force in terms of terrorism. He claimed that it was American officials, stationed abroad, that framed Irish action as acts of terror, even if they were against “an oppressive undemocratic social system” perpetuated by England (99). Jackson presented this text not as one universally accepted, but as a position that other historians challenged. His argument presented problems as it downplays prior scholarship and tries to situate Irish response in too modern of a setting. However, his text highlighted the need for a broader context of rebellion, as it did not occur in isolation.

    In a similar strain, Christine Kinealy, in her book Repeal and Revolution: 1848 in Ireland, showed the international context of the transition from Old to Young Ireland and placing this rebellion in a pattern that surfaced across Europe (103). Kinealy’s text demonstrated “the significance of the British, French and transatlantic connections with Irish nationalism in 1848” (103). While she ignores some earlier biographical accounts and failed to concreting outline how 1848 is an exceptional year, she effectively shows the international relationship between Ireland and continental Europe such as a critical visit of the Irish Confederates to Alphonse de Lamartine in Paris and showed evidence of American support of Irish independence in 1848 (103).

    Internationalism also appeared in The Black Hand of Republicanism: Fenianism in Modern Ireland edited by Fearghal McGarry and James McConnel. This text, based on the anniversary of the IRB, analyzed the legacy of Fenianism between 1858 and 1922 (105). Even the title, as Jackson pointed out, drew parallels to the secret Serbian society highlighting the transnational ties of this association (105). One of the essays, written by Martin O Cathain, also discussed Irish terrorism but as problematic, as it would “enshrine rather than challenge the mythologizing of Irish history” (106).  In spite of some discord, Jackson shows that these historians are all participants in furthering this global discourse by creating a conversation. The compilation, as Jackson surmised, shows that while the IRB played a critical role in the Irish revolution, they were quite small in comparison to a larger Fenian international culture (108). Finally, Jackson examined Michael Davitt: New Perspectives, edited by Fintan Lane and Andrew Newby. This text focused on Michael Davitt, who was a Fenian but renounced this movement due to the overt force exterted, although he never fully abandoned using violence methods in order to accomplish independence (108). Yet, since he was part of the Irish diaspora, his commentary on Irish nationalism was essentially internationalist, as it was based in “an English rather than an Irish pool of thought” (108).

    Jackson commented that all four texts focus upon tradition themes of Fenianism and separatist insurgency.  Yet, they works are motivated, at least in part, by national anniversaries and major world events that transformed attitudes towards militant actions and revolutionary history (111).  Furthermore, there existed something else to tie in these seemingly “disparate works” together (111). These texts were all “international in their ambition” and contribute to our understanding of this era in Irish history (111). He stated that Gantt used ...

  • David Sims A Union Forevermark_t_garcia

    David Sims uncovers that Irish studies have not explored a connection between Irish nationalism and the United States as he writes, “Though we have a number of exceptional studies of Irish America, we have a few that seriously historicize Irish nationalism and its complex connections with the American Union over the long nineteenth century.” (p. 2). This book attempts to fill this gap is the historiography. A Union Forever The Irish Question and U.S. Foreign Relations in the Victorian Age marks how the United States dealt with foreign policy through a transnational approach. Sims methodology continues to build off Gould’s argument of the United States desire to gain respect in the global community. Responding to the Irish question, U.S. Whig and Republican statesmen took an opportunity to act against global dependency and promote American ideals. Sims states, “Both were committed of freeing the United States form what they saw as it commercial dependency of Great Britain, and to this end, both promoted the “American System”, an interlocking cluster of economic policies including development of internal communications, a protective tariff for domestic industries, and the cultivation of market for domestically produced goods.” (p. 9) American statesmen were able promote the “American System” with the response to the Irish famine. Great Britain was not able to fully respond to the famine and depended on American agricultural to help feed Ireland thus promoting American produced goods in the global market. Consecutively this helped generate sympathy to Irish Americans which would help power their aspirations for Irish independence.

    The United States was able to exercise a transnational approach to foreign policy through Irish American expatriates in Ireland. Expatriates in Ireland were subject to British law and their U.S. naturalization was disregarded. Sim explains about British rule, “… they asserted a doctrine of perpetual allegiance, stating that those born under the jurisdiction of British Crown remained it subjects. British law assigned no value to the adoption of U.S. citizenship.” (p. 98) The British “perpetual allegiance” reshaped the “legal construction of citizenship” of naturalized Irish Americans. Indirectly this provided support to Irish Americans and positioned the United States to respond to Great Britain on naturalization. The United Stated responded with the 1868 Expatriation Act which brought Great Britain and the United States to a settlement on the issue of naturalized citizens. This strengthened U.S. foreign policy, as an example to the global community, gained respect among nations through a transnational approach. Conversely, after reaching the agreement with Great Britain support of Irish Americans for Irish independence began to dwindle. Overall, the settlement between the two nations supports Sims argument that America obtained transnationalism and added to the historiography of Irish nationalism connection to the United States.

    One issue I have is Sims could have provided a better background with the Irish question by connecting it to the “Age of Revolution” just as andrewjarralkelly stated in his response and added to the “Age of Revolution” narrative. Sims used an assortment of sources including manuscripts, newspapers, journals, and government files in the United States and Great Britain to name a few. I have not studied much on Irish American history but overall I liked this book and it helped fill in my own personal gaps with Irish Americans history.

  • Response 5 A Union Foreverandrewjarralkelly

    Ireland’s struggle with England has been long documented (trust me I’m Irish). However, few historians have examined America’s sympathy for Ireland as a matter of state-to-state politics. In A Union Forever: The Irish Question and U.S. Foreign Relations in the Victorian Age, David Sim seeks to address this gap in the historiography by looking at the effects Irish-Americans had on United States foreign policy during the 19th century. Sim argues that widespread sympathy for Irish freedom and the presence of Irish-Americans shaped the decisions of American policymakers, often with unintended results. These Irish nationalists often tried to create complications between British and American governments, hoping that war would result in Irish independence. Nationalist agitation ultimately brought the two governments closer as they wanted to avoid conflict. Sim does a magnificent job at addressing the diplomatic issues while also raising questions about the relationship public opinion and formal politics.

    A particular issue I have with this book is that Sim points out that American interest in Ireland dated back to the American Revolution. An interest that stemmed from shared experiences as “provinces subject to the dictates of the London metropole” (page 3). However, he starts of his analysis with O’Connell and the 1840’s. I feel that he should have dedicated more time, possibly a chapter, to explaining this concept. This would place the Irish question in the middle of a transnational “Age of Revolution.” One can wonder to what extent should the Irish question be considered part of a wider movement for republican government that began in 1776.

    A diplomatic history of a subject can often be viewed as a story of elites. Non-state actors often get cast aside in these histories. However, Sim nicely emphasizes the role of non-state actors – Irish Nationalists – and how they were able to influenced diplomacy, even though some of the consequences were unintended by the Nationalists.

    I really like the connections people are making to Gould and the idea the Ireland is seeking the same recognition after gaining independence from the British and the belief that their American brothers can help them achieve that (David). The book only helps continue Gould’s argument. America struggled with the Irish Question because they did not want to upset the British.

    I just want to say I really enjoyed this book. The Irish are often removed from foreign politics, especially before they gained independence in 1921. It seems like a running theme in this class that we take certain nations or states and put them in their proper global/regional perspective (Early America, the Comanches, and the Irish).


  • Blog Post #3 – A Union Forever, David Shanebeckdshanebeck

    David Sim’s desire is to speak into American foreign policy and politics the ideals of Irish nationalism. Essentially, Irish Americans have gotten plenty of historical focus by American scholars in social and political arenas within America. Scholars cover the Irish impact upon cities, political machines, urban living, and the railroad extensively. Sim wants to discuss the less understood argument of Irish nationalism and its effect upon American foreign policy decisions and structures. Throughout the nineteenth century the Irish struggles and frustrations at home against British control spread with the diaspora of Irish immigrants coming to America. Sim argues that these feeling of nationalism were always strong to the Irish and as they established their communities in America, these feelings of pride and hope for a free Ireland continued. Many Irish hoped that America would provided the necessary political power and leverage to force the British into recognition of an Irish nation. Sim argues that through their outspoken rhetoric in America and even physical action of the Fenians or other expatriates traveling to Ireland under questionable motives, the Americans were forced to deal with problems of citizenship and protections granted overseas. In the end, the Irish failed in their bid for change, but Sim argues that it was their powerful push and the presence of American citizens in jails overseas that forced the United States to take strong foreign policy stances.

    This work connects well with Gould’s arguments about early American desires for recognition as a nation. Queenlove35 summarized Gould well when she stated that Americans wanted to be respected and allowed a “place at the globalizing nations grown-ups table.” Ireland is seeking the same recognition after receiving independence from the British dominion and believe that it is the liberty and republican loving Americans who can help them get there. There are overtones that even as the Americans struggle with the “Irish question” and issues of expatriates in prison that they are still not being fully respected by the former parent country. American diplomats navigate difficult legal understandings between protections of foreign citizens as the British attempt to silence continued Irish protest. Much of the failure of the Irish nationalistic overtures might be the ever shifting relationship between Britain and her former colonial child. As Americans and British grow closer at turn of the century and into World War I, the Irish nationalistic pressure subsides from American foreign policy.

  • Final Paper Description: The Relationship of Legal Rule and Slavery during the Nineteenth Century (Alyssa)aly692

    The Relationship of Legal Rule and Slavery during the Nineteenth Century seeks to understand the use of legal institutions within the antebellum slave market and the market economy. The purpose of this paper is to focus on historiographical synthesis, the methods uses, theories engaged, and theoretical interventions proposed by the sources used throughout the paper. The remainder of the paper will be focused on the conversation of what kinds of sources could push the field forward and primary sources that will assist in further research of the topic. Historical questions that could assist with the development of the research include, but are not limited too: how was law used to promote growth of slavery within the emancipation of the American Marketplace, what was the role of legal institutions in the antebellum south in regards to contract and property, and lastly, what is the relationship between legal institutions and slavery? All of these questions will promote the growth of research on slavery and capitalism.

    In order to assist the development of this paper a discussion of possible sources needs to be discussed. The use of contracts as legal documents in the marketplace or on plantations can help understand how slavery and legal rule were closely intertwined. By assessing the contracts, it will provide new outlook on how certain transactions were justified within legal rule. How did the law justify the contracts and transactions of the slaves as commodities in the south? Another source that could offer assistance is the use of courtroom logs and lawyer files to see how the courts dealt with slavery. Lawyers can provide a different set of eyes in looking at the relationship of slavery in the marketplace. This also ties in with any dairies or biographies lawyers/ courtroom officials in their dealings with slave owners, slave traders, and slaves in disputes of contracts and property. In addition to the courtroom logs, manifests from steamships throughout the south can assist in portraying the involvement of business transactions and insurances to take slaves up and down the south. Business papers can prove to be another good source to use to get a different perspective of business transactions and the dealings of businessmen in the American marketplace. The hope by using business papers, legal documents, contracts, manifests, and courtroom logs is to demonstrate the negative effect liberal capitalist institutions could have on the integrity of slavery in the process of legal rule.

  • A Union Foreveryaremenkolena

    David Sim points out the peculiar and difficult relations that existed among the Americans, Irish nationalists and the British. It briefly discusses the US transatlantic trade and American interest in untapped natural resources in Ireland at the time when Irish citizens were coming to the United states due to the Irish famine in 1948. The problem for the Irish was that the Americans were interested in stability not involvement in another war, and especially not another war with the British with whom it was building diplomatic, economic, and business relations.

    American citizens were against British rule in Ireland because they thought it went against the British constitution. This was ironic considering that the U.S condoned slavery within the republic, while the British were abolitionists also caused tension (p.5). However, there was also the religious difference of the Irish Catholics not supporting the annexation of Texas that may have been connected to the lackluster support for Irish independence by the United States politicians, compounded by O’Connell’s desire for a Catholicism to be recognized by the British, while Irish nationalists wanted a non-sectarian style government similar to that of the U.S. Irish Separatists were also being banished to the United States by British, which made it easy for Americans to relate to the Irish plight and sympathize with them based on English past treatment of American colonists. The Americans saw in the Irish the common desire for freedom, and a common enemy, the British. This was all taking place at the time when British American statesmen were building strong ties with Britain.

    In the opening of the book the author does not mentioned that this was all taking place approximately 15 years before the Civil War and 25 years after the war. At that time in history the United States was enmeshed in its own internal battle between the northern and southern state, which were in conflict over the question of slavery. This conflict eventually erupted in to the Civil War. Ireland eventually became an independent state in the1920s after WW1, the Great War, with no help outside help from the United States.  

    Sources for the book – archive manuscripts collections, consular records, governments files, official diplomatic documents, public records, national archives in the United States, and the national library of Ireland, foreign office archives in London, newspaper archives, personal writings.

    Sim uses a synthesis transnational methodology, “bottom-up approach to Irish American nationalism with attention to the worlds, intentions, and actions of elite statement,” (p.3) with attention to the complexities of American statecraft, diplomatic history, and non-state actors.


  • Beirne – Closer to Freedombeirne

    Stephanie M. H. Camp’s Closer to Freedom is a history of American slavery that uniquely focuses on the impact of the enslaved body’s location within ‘spaces,’ and the critical role of environments on individual sovereignty. This concept builds upon postcolonial philosopher Edward Said’s recognition of “rival geography,” wherein an oppressed group fights for space, both temporal and spatial, in opposition to the invading, materially superior power. (Camp 7) Slave women were not only subject to most of the same physical and psychological tortures as their male counterparts, but took on additional responsibilities and abuse stemming from their status as women.

    Mr. highbeejonathan’s comment regarding slaves in the process of becoming “their own masters” struck me as poignant. Camp spends much of the book detailing how bondwomen kept personal identities though remaining masters of their own bodies. By designing their own styles of clothing to counteract the rags of servitude they were forced to wear, women used what Camp refers to as the “politics of the body” to subvert the system, not to mention entertain themselves. (Camp 60) In Camp’s telling, women’s bodies were not merely the subjects of whips and sexual violence, but were an important space in which they expressed their inner power. (Camp 68, 70)

    Knowledge played a key role in slave resistance, and Camp points out that women were placed in a structural disadvantage in this regard. While bondmen were sometimes given the required written permission by their masters to travel, typically for work of some sort, women were rarely trusted with such liberties. (Camp 72) Not only did this result in lack of geographic know-how necessary for escape and insider trade secrets, but rendered the price of being caught without a pass at such trivial events as slave parties all the more risky. (Ibid) Both these tickets and the previously mentioned use of clothing are examples of Camp’s reliance on material history, or the history of ‘things’, presently in vogue among historians. Travel passes, in particular, could make the difference between life and death for a slave, providing meaning far more than scribbled-on scrap of paper. (Camp 15)

    The idea of ‘movement’ is mentioned often in Closer to Freedom, as mobility is a basic freedom that universally defines what it means to be a human being. By being reduced to property, slaves were subject to the patriarchal strictures inherent to Southern plantations. Camp’s work makes the powerful case that their actions nonconformity are not merely useful in providing compelling historical context of the period, but were significantly disruptive tactics that vexed societal overseers within their own time.

    In employing the work of political scientists, (James Scott in his discussion on the balance between “opposition” and “consent” among controlled populations), geographers (David Harvey’s identification of the importance of the “temporal and the spatial” in the lives of historical actors), and historians such as Stephanie McCurry and Mark M. Smith (bringing the reader the importance of the era’s focus on “boundaries of landownership” and “improvement,” respectively), Camp provides a technicolor academic perspective to a very particular subject too often written in a, excuse the pun, black-and-white manner. The ‘movement’ begun by the feet of slaves in traversing the boundaries of the plantation through escapes or by dancing the night away, served to pave the way for more overt political and social black movements to come.


    Camp, Stephanie M. H. Closer to Freedom: Enslaved Women & Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

  • The Resistance of Slave Women in the SouthRobert Huitrado

    The reading for this week, Closer to Freedom, Enslaved Women & Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South by Stephanie M. H. Camp, was very interesting and enlightening. Outside of books and articles I have read about slavery, my slavery knowledge comes from television shows such as North & South, The Blue & the Gray, and Roots. Many of the topics and discussion points those books, articles and shows presented mirrored what Camp wrote about in her book. However, there were portions and topics that Ms. Camp discussed that I truly had no knowledge of. One of the bigger topics that was new to me was the amended 1694 statute on fences. This South Carolinian statute was amended in 1827 to “enclose and protect the crops of property holders, including crops grown for market by larger farmers.” (pg.5) Although this specific amendment focused around fences, land and crops, it was understood by most Southerners, especially slave holders, that the “property” also included slaves.  Slave holders understood that if they could curtail slave movements, institute time regulations, and control the lives of their slaves, they would have complete control over them. So in essence, the slave holders actually twisted this law to suit their own needs and purposes. The containment of slaves had begun, and soon spread to other states. “the 1827 law initiated a “slow and steady” erosion of common rights…”, especially when pertaining to slaves. (pg. 5) The Fence Law not only established the boundaries around plantations, smaller farms, and neighboring residences, but it also had the damaging effect of “slowly erod common access to land, waterways, and roads.” (pg. 5) This public closure of roads in some cases led to large plantations adopting or creating official leave of absence passes or certificates for slaves. This, in addition to other effects of The Fence Law, severely limited the movement of slaves.

    These plantation adoptions increased the slave owner’s control to such a degree that all aspects of a slave’s life were at the whim of their owner(s). Women’s lives, in particular, were extremely difficult for they not only had to work in the fields, or in the owner’s house during the day, but they also had to “cook supper…to clean the cabin; to produce household goods, such as soap and candles; and to wash and mend their own and their family’s clothing. They also had to make that clothing, as well as any bed linens, bonnets…and produce textiles for general plantation use.” (pg. 33) For some women these continual double shifts were too much to take, so to escape this unrelenting drudgery, some women became short-term runaways, wherein they left the planation without notice and authorization for up to weeks at a time, but returned and were punished. Another way, although less frequented by slave women, was to actually run away and become a fugitive and try to find a way North. Family duty, honor, and respectability within and on the plantation kept many slave women from pursuing this option.

    Morgan and Taylor make an interesting point: Ms. Camp’s book re-imagines slave life from the women’s perspective, a viewpoint that makes for an interesting point of view. I have read a lot on slavery through my school years and the background of Ms. Camp’s book I have read before, but her use of personal narratives after emancipation brought the plight of slave men and women into a new light. Such narratives allowed her book to feel more grounded and personal than other slave oriented books. As such, she presented female slaves at times as the foundation of the home and family; yet, at other times they were abused the same or worse than their male counterparts. They were rarely allowed to leave the plantation because it was felt they had no official reason to go except under special circumstances, i.e., visiting their husband on a neighboring plantation. As stated above, plantation female slaves worked under horrendous conditions and endured abuse from not only their male and female owners, but also the overseers, the drivers, and at times their own male counterparts.

    These laws, limitations and abuses bound the slaves to the land, and this bondage was carried forward after the Civil War and emancipation in the form of Southern sharecropping and the Jim Crow laws of segregation. (pg.140) Only recently have these laws and practices of visible and invisible bondage been abolished.

  • Closer To Freedom – Response #2Diana Nguyen

    In Closer to Freedom: Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South, Stephanie Camp’s central argument revolves around the notion of movement within confined spaces as well as the “rival geography” that existed between the enslaved and their owners during the antebellum era. Although Camp claims that her book revolves around the struggles of bondswomen and their everyday resistance in the Old South, Closer to Freedom covers both the actions and roles of enslaved men and women when it comes to resisting white authority in the Old South. While slaveholders in the Old South exercised control over their bound laborers through the use of restraints from “passes, tickets, curfews, and roll calls never became an acceptable part of plantation life in planters’ minds. Rather it was the source of a fundamental conflict of interest between owner and owned” (pg. 36).

    I agree with both Andrew and Taylor that Camp tends to shy away from using the word “slave” in her book. By using the words “enslaved” or “bondpeople,” she undeniably gives the people she writes about more agency as it not only “implies the active historical process involved in subjugating those who where enslaved… connotes a status rather than a state of being” (pg. 143). On the other hand, I also appreciated Camp’s attention to geography and movement especially when it came to exploring the ways in which enslaved people resisted and conducted their life under “white rule” through areas of open space. I personally thought Camp’s thesis created an in-depth picture of the ways in which enslaved people carved out lives for themselves using “rival geography,” which provided slaves a “space for private and public creative expression, rest and recreation, alternative communication, and importantly, resistance to planters’ domination of slaves’ every move” (pg. 7).  In the end, not only was Closer To Freedom an ambitious work that gives further substance and depth to the experience of slavery from the perspective of both enslaved men and especially women, it also discloses several features of slavery and Southern society that are normally not made explicit. Instead of merely touching the surface of the ways in which slaves coped with their existence in the South, Camp humanizes the enslaved in the process and fundamentally connects their efforts to the dramatic events following the American Civil War.

  • Stephanie M.H. Camp is My Spirit Animal (Post #4)queenlove35

    Key Terms: 

    Quotidian plantation relations (p.3), Boundaries of Power (p.5), Geographies of Containment (p.6), Rival Geography, Third Bodies (p.10), Principles of Restraint, (p.13), Slave Patrols (p.25), Absentees, (p.35),  Enslaved Healers (p.46), Collective Action (p.49)

    Key Quotes: 

    “Space mattered; places, boundaries, and movement were central to how slavery was organized and to how it was resisted,” (p.6).

    “No moment in the life of the world is ever static, but if words such as “revolution” and “transformation” mean anything, they imply that change is faster and more profound in certain times than in others.” (p.9).

    “Revolutionary moments may make spectacular breaks with the past, but they also are formed by them, spilling over from the old constraints and making the most of the new opportunities to do visibly what formally had been cloaked,” (p.10).

    “Duty, affection, and conceptions of black womanhood tightened and complicated women’s attachments to the South,” (p.37).

    “Many people in enslaved communities recognized absenteeism… as social protest in which many bonds people participated collectively for political and personal reasons,” (p.51).



    higbeejonathan identifies Camp’s key slave resistance argument, I can agree him that Camp’s reinvents the idea of how resistance is illustrated by pointing to the obvious historical events of Nat’s Rebellion and the Underground Railroad (brillant). Camp appeals to interdisciplinary fields with statistics, legal and economic facts to create historical foundations and credibility. Refreshing the way to introduce data-driven fields into the cultural, environmental history fields. Utilizing slave hymns, diaries, journals, newspapers and statistical data she furthers her argument by effortless combining these elements to explain harder to digest epistemologies transitions of patriarchy to paternalism in the plantation south.

    She has clearly done her homework of her fellow field scholars by emphasizing how technologies for punishment and work along with left-handed resistance, from Baptist, becomes useful asserting planter geographic containments for bonds people. Explaining how planters often methodologically planned their estates, like careful gardeners tending to God’s land, while utilizing paternalistic values of working the grounds with the bare hands of others (page 5). Reminding me of Doug Sackman’s Orange Empire. He asserts that citrus tycoons of the West dominated their lands by honoring the founding fathers who toiled soil to grow better opportunities. When opportunities required managed hands, they acted in a paternalistic manner to feel they were directly contributing directly to the land in a master/worker relationship (Often as God would mold his children). Her digestible version of Gould’s legal laws on geographic containments illustrates that legal history can be incorporated (in not such a dry way, sorry Gould).

    Further, I view early developments of commerce and capitalism ideologies from the Beckert/Rockman book, drawing from ideas that presented in the ‘age of improvement’ argument (p.20). Industrialism influences plantation ideology juxtaposed Beckert/Rockman’s argument and slavery is the nucleus to all economy traded markets within this time frame. This argument is very thought-provoking as an idea of inverted influence as we often see how the cotton industry changed and propelled capitalism in 19th century America. The cherry on top of Camp’s argument is she points to “familiar framework, the young colony showed its Caribbean roots,” (p15), by commodifying people, but doing ‘one-up’ by adding temporal and spatial contours and boundaries for bondspeople’s lives and selling it as paternalism when the slave trade exploded from “700,000 in 1790 to almost 1.2 million just twenty years later,” (p.18). I also find it incredible work to illustrate how women were often truants as it was utilized as their getaway due to their mental, emotional and physical desires to support their fellow bondsmen. Further, I find it very smart to overcome this challenge of absenteeism, paternalist planter’s utilized bondsmen to control and assert dominate power of fleeing bondswomen in this gender-driven society and ideology of ‘black womanhood’ in its infancy stages(37).

    This idea leaves me to my one question connecting Camp’s Argument of spatial and geographic influences to Gould’s argument of ‘borrowing’ from British international affairs to create our American government. If both Camp and Gould argue that our global neighbors were great influences on our American government and our capitalistic economy, would a larger geographic space between the Caribbean and Southern states affect planter slavery epistemologies? We can all agree that British outlawed slavery before the United States did, but was this influenced partially by their geographic gap between the slave commodity of the Caribbean?

    It is truly awe-inspiring a little book could have such powerful influence and forever effect the feminist historical studies. Drew Faust, the author of This Republic of Suffering, was just as inspired and it is truly tragic that someone this brilliant was taken from our field too soon.



  • Blog Post #1 Closer to Freedomsuzanna.melendez

    Suzanna Melendez

    1st Blog Post



    Stephanie M. H. Camp’s recent slave narrative Closer to Freedom: Enslaved Women & Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South is centered on female resistance to bondage in the antebellum South. Camp argues that compared to male slave resistance, women faced greater obstacles in their quest to be free. Many different studies of slavery have deepened our understanding of bondmen/women’s experiences and resistance. In spite of our knowledge, the lack of sources is a major hurdle that presents difficulties to scholars researching bondwomen. As a feminist historian, Camp said “Through spare, documentation come to us consistently from both the upper and lower South in slaveholders’ diaries, journals, and correspondence; in state legislative records; in nineteenth- century autobiographies by ex-slaves; and in twentieth century interviews of the formerly enslaved.” (8) Investigating everyday forms of resistance changed the scholarship of gender history. Despite bondwomen being physically bounded to the slavery regime, it did not demolish their aspiration to be free.

    Although the title of the book is Closer to Freedom the facts state bondwomen were far from free. Women were confined to their master’s plantation “the boundaries of power created by fences consolidated white patriarchal authority over both large plantations and self-working yeoman households….” (5) In addition, Camp goes into great detail talking about passes and tickets which restricted slave movement. Ironically, the piece of paper which allowed male slaves to leave their place of work was practically out of reach for bondwomen. Further details suggested that “a final factor preventing women from running away in the same numbers as men was their lack of knowledge of geography beyond the plantation.” (38) Even though women were unfamiliar with their surroundings that did not prevent them from running away. But most of the women who ran away turned themselves in after a few weeks. Harsh weather elements, lack of food, and clothing prompted runaways to return to their slave holders. “Colonial and antebellum slaveholders believed that strict control of the black body, in particular its movement in space and time, was key to the enslavement of black people.” (67) The idea of geography was not only an important element in Camp’s book but also in Pekka Hämäläinen’s The Comanche Empire. Robert Huitrado pin pointed in his blog post that the indigenous empire displayed no clear-cut borders. While France, Spain, Mexico and Euro-America were busy settling borders the Comanche’s utilized their knowledge of the land, violence, and soft power to build an empire centered on economic and political power. Therefore, geography not kept certain people in containment but it also equipped those in a position of power.

    Other elements which contributed to freedom being figuratively was the type of violence inflicted onto bondwomen’s bodies if they resisted their everyday duties or ran away. “When women broke the rules and moved out of bounds, they risked and received punishments that were more than physically painful and heartbreaking; some were sexually degrading.”(33) Camp does discuss some bondwomen’s resistance to the slave system in the South. The strongest evidence that she included in her narrative were the parties and women’s expressing their personalities in their style. In some instances women prepared their dresses for the nights festivities and drank alcohol with the men. Attending the parties put many women in danger especially, since they did not have a pass. Some diary entries which recorded punishments detailed that “… women were slightly more consistently punished- by flogging, shackles, ball and chain, or jailed-than men.” (57) Limitations at the time might have prevented bondwomen from being physically liberated but it did not stop them from expressing themselves or attending social gatherings.

    Overall, Camp’s narrative was very well written and provides the reader with new insights of black women’s constant struggles of bondage in the South. The text highlighted the contrast between bondsmen/women’s experiences. Despite their gender, bondwomen endured exhausting physical labor, excruciating physical violence, and sexual assault. Although the book does provide some examples of women’s resistance in the plantation south, they did not physically resist every day. Mentally, bondwomen yearned for freedom but they did not run away or fight back every day. The idea of being hunted down by dogs or getting whipped until their back bled discouraged many runaways. Instead they rebelled through music, clothing and ultimately, built alliances within the Union Army in order to be free.

  • Discussion Post #3: Closer to Freedommorganstocks

    Closer to Freedom: Enslaved Women & Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South

    by Stephanie M.H. Camp

    Stephanie Camp’s text, Closer to Freedom: Enslaved Women & Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South explores many themes regarding the ways in which bondwomen resisted both their slave owners and the institution of slavery itself. In the introduction, she outlines two major arguments that underlie her project. The first it trying to dispel to binaries created within in the history of slave resistance that tend to ignore,which tended to focus on public forms such as running away and rebellion and pass over the agency of women displaying power in their own ways (3-4). For enslaved women, they could exert some autonomy over the body and home, privately taking away absolute power from their masters (4). She also aims to show the differences between individuals and the collective whole, and everyday resistance versus mass movements (9). Additionally, Camp explores the physical spaces or the “geography of containment” that bounded slaves to the land but also the ways in which they created “rival geography,” a much more subtle type of resisting the total control of the plantation owners or overseers (7). Yet, the introduction is most compelling when she contextualizes her findings as being limited to her narrow focus, which it of the body and the home (9). She acknowledges that her sources are less than perfect and that she does not even attempt to cover all types of female slave resistance (7).

    As Taylor stated, I also found this to be different perspective from what I have learned (although my knowledge of this era is also quite limited). However, from reading other histories focused on gender, Camp successfully explores the differences in the expression of resistance between men and women. She discussed how women were perceived to be less of a threat, so they were not allowed to leave the plantation (31). I thought this example was particularly interesting, as it was a female slaveholder that granted permission to only her male bondsmen (31-32). Although males were strictly overseed, women’s physical bodies were more heavily contained to the boundaries of the plantation. Camp also highlights the extra burden placed on women in the home. They were not only policed by the plantation owners and supervisors, but also by their gender roles and were required to provide even after their long and backbreaking hours on the field (32). Camp, referring to this as the “second shift,” demonstrates how women constantly being demanded of by their obligation to the plantation and the home.

    Another form of resistance Camp emphasized was partaking in leisure activities. As mentioned above, women were limited in their ability to separate from the plantation even temporarily. Thus, in order to participate, they would have to sneak away (75). The parties themselves were illicit, making the women’s presence even more dangerous and daring (75). At these parties, they would use their bodies, such as dancing, to express their freedom, even if it was short-term (75). In particular, I found the evidence about female violence very interesting. She recounts an example about Jane and Lucy getting into a fight, and how these spaces allowed for women to express their frustrations that they could not on the planation (77-78). Camps’ analysis of more subversive and subtle forms of resistance works to restore power and humanity to people who were thought of as commodities in a way that does not make me pity them (although their conditions were deplorable and nothing I have ever or wish to experience) but identify with them.

  • supplementary article review20perez16

    Amani T. Marshall discussed aspects of slave resistance in his 2014 article called “They Are Supposed To Be Lurking About the City”: Enslaved Women Runaways In Antebellum Charleston.” His article focused on bondwomen living in Charleston, South Carolina. This is much more specific than Stephanie M. H. Camp’s Closer To Freedom: Enslaved Women And Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South. Both discuss resistance associated with women, but Marshall emphasized skilled women living in the city, instead of on a plantation. Marshall’s main argument was that bondwomen “found freedom in southern cities, where they could assert control over their bodies and labor while maintaining kinship ties” (Marshall 188).

    Marshall began his article with several examples of enslaved women running away from their masters. These women had opportunities to support themselves because they were skilled as seamstresses or cooks, for example. Their owners printed newspaper advertisements for their runaways, but these ads did not deter the women from continuing to run away and using their newly discovered autonomy to their benefit (Marshall 188-191). Women in an urban setting had more access to freedom and mobility due to their skilled work experience.

    Marshall’s next section discussed the process of slaveholders hiring out their slaves to learn skills and make them a profit. For instance, freed women of color who were entrepreneurs taught enslaved women their skills. The bondswomen were also “empowered to reject their slave status” by the competitive environment that limited job opportunities for the enslaved (Marshall 193). Not only did those apprentices learn a trade, but they also gained confidence and a desire to be free (Marshall 195). He also explained that bondswomen’s “ability to hire their time, choose their employer, and live out encouraged enslaved women to evaluate their employment situations based on wages, labor assignments, and working conditions” (Marshall 201). Enslaved female apprentices in Charleston gained skills and knowledge that they could use to live free with their families when they ran away.

    Marshall’s final section and conclusion emphasized the bondswomen’s growing power and their ability to avoid losing their freedom. He explained that Charleston eventually required this group of women to wear badges to limit their employment options (Marshall 204-206). However, the women understood that their labor had value and that they did not have to remain in bondage. Marshall ended by stating “they recognized that freedom was more than simply a legal concept, but rather a lived experience that could be realized in the city through their own resourcefulness and hard work” (Marshall 212). Their perception of freedom clearly undermined their owner’s attempts to keep them enslaved dependent workers.

    By contrast, Camp’s Closer to Freedom presented a compelling narrative about the bondspersons’ resistance on Southern plantations. Women and men rebelled against a system that tried to control every aspect of their lives, including spatial and temporal boundaries (Camp 4). She argued that truancy, or temporary flight, allowed women and men to gain knowledge that proved useful for more permanent escape during the Civil War (Camp 36, 123). Camp also explained that the enslaved took control of their bodies in the way they dressed or escaped to social events at night (Camp 68). While the book was published in 2004, it laid a good groundwork for understanding the plantation dynamics through the eyes of those in bondage.

    Due to Marshall’s emphasis on the urban antebellum setting, his sources were often associated with Charleston. He used newspaper ads, census records, and artifacts to support his argument. Marshall utilized information from oral history but not to the same extent as Camp. In addition to oral histories, Camp used plantation and government records, journals, letters and abolitionist material to demonstrate a variety of examples of men and women’s resistance from several plantations on the South. On the other hand, Marshall, presented an urban perspective of antebellum bondwomen’s resistance. The city environment provided more opportunities for women to not only find skilled positions but also a chance to resist their owners and the limitations of slavery. In the end, primary evidence demonstrated that enslaved people were capable of rebelling successfully in both settings.

    While Marshall and Camp clearly explained the complex world of slave resistance, their arguments could still be improved. Camp had the tendency to be repetitive in her use of examples, perhaps to emphasize her main points. Marshal on the other hand, provided several different examples of free and enslaved skilled women. His narratives pointed back to his argument that bondswoman took matters into their own hands and took advantage of their situations to achieve some, if not all, of their freedom. One critique of Marshall would be that he focused his attention on Charleston, which is a place that had a higher black population than white until 1860 (Marshall 192). Knowing this fact, was Charleston the exception or the norm when it provided refuge for runaways? Was it easier for people to stay hidden in large cities in general or was it mainly because the white population lost some authority as a minority?

    Each of the historians chose a bottom-up approach to slavery that gave agency to bondwomen and bondmen living in the South. In contrast to the economic history of slavery in Beckert and Rockman last week, Marshall and Camp viewed slavery from social, cultural and gender perspectives. The bondspeople did not blindly accept their low status of manual laborers; rather, they found ways to separate their enslaved lives from their personal lives. Even though Marshall did not directly reference Stephanie Camp’s work, her ideas may have still influenced Marshall’s writing. Marshall did refer to other related scholarship, such as writings by Cynthia Kennedy (Braided Relations) and Midori Takagi (Rearing Wolves). This could simply be because these authors’ analysis were also based on an urban environment, not a plantation.

    Placing Marshall’s article along side this week’s reading demonstrated that slave resistance occurred throughout the South. Enslaved people in the cities and on plantations opposed their chattel slavery through various acts of resistance. Their actions were not always about escaping to the North, but instead they sought ...

  • Supplementary Reading – Barbara Bush “African Caribbean Slave Mothers and Children”dshanebeck

    Bush, Barbara. “African Caribbean Slave Mothers and Children: Traumas of Dislocation and Enslavement Across the Atlantic World.” Caribbean Quarterly (March-June, 2010), Vol. 56, No. ½, 69-94.

    Stephanie Camp’s Closer to Freedom details what she claims is the missing historical focus upon gender as a key element of slave resistance in the antebellum south. Camp places slave women into unique positions of both “agents and subjects, persons and property, and people who resisted and who accommodated.” (Camp, 1) Camp’s argument centers around the ideas of geographic space and the slave’s body. According to Camp, everyday rebellious actions drove slave resistance to southern institutions and elements of control. Slaves did not just run away, but had secret night parties, made and wore specially made clothing, harbored fugitives, and supported or displayed abolitionist propaganda. Slaves used whatever geographic or spatial space available to resist their position–even if that meant only running away for a short period of time to just come back later.

    While Camp deals primarily with the slave women of southern society, Barbara Bush discussed a broader Atlantic world perspective on slavery’s gender issues. Specifically, Bush focused on the story of slavery’s mothers and their ability or desire to forge new cultural identities. Bush traced her argument about the importance of birth within African cultural “fulfilment of female adulthood and fertility.” (Bush, 72) By going back to the African continent Bush allows for slave resistence to take on an element of cultural retention. Bush argued that even though the slaves were transported across the Atlantic, there was not a complete accommodation into new structures or societies. Slaves, according to Bush, continued their “African-derived conceptions of motherhood” and resisted attempts to change their core identities. (Bush, 70) Bush contends that even though the slave trade disrupted African life, slaves used similar cultural structures to protect and preserve the lives of children born on slave ships and on plantations. Bush uses a specific focus on African culture to defend the ideas that motherhood was one of the central core elements of African culture and strength. Because of the strength that mothers held in African communities, this translated to the plantations as women took an even more central role to slave life and survival. Elder slave women were charged on the plantation to take care of infants and younger children. Even Camp supported this claim that on the plantation women were less likely to be truant because of the fact that they were tied to family roles. Bush gave slave women significant agency by placing the argument together with the idea that slaves transplanted African cultural norms of childrearing in a village setting. Slavery disrupted African society and transplanted African women into the new society of the slave plantations. These women did not just accommodate or allow cultural norms to disappear. Instead, they developed systems and structures that allowed for mothering and parenthood that Bush argued “crossed the Middle Passage with the enslaved captives.” (Bush, 75-77) Bush even argued that enslaved women would enter into “concubinage relationships with European men” so that they either would be treated more favorably or perhaps have a better opportunity to win their freedom. (Bush, 83) In both cases the role of the mother became a central part of slave resistance to women’s positions on the slave plantation.

    Bush claimed that there was also evidence that enslaved women in Barbados actually transplanted their child carrying techniques (they used their hips instead of arms) onto the islands as white women were known to carry their children in the same ways as the slaves. Bush commented that the survival of the older customs is “remarkable, given the pressures on women and the forces constantly undermining family life.” (Bush, 83-84) Because of the lack of father figures for many slave families on plantations, mothers were forced to take on roles that provided the necessary “psychic and material support for one another.” (Bush 84) This would actually constitute an adaptation as Bush claimed there was no precedent for female dominated societies in Africa–or at least not societies that centered around networks of “quasi-’kin’” as Bush claimed. (Bush, 84) Women in the Caribbean plantations worked together in networks of elder and younger women in order to adapt to the lack of men or father figures that may have been present in Africa. Bush claimed that these adaptations to the slave system created unique, yet still non-European, communities that lasted long after slavery ended.

    Slave resistance was more than just running away, having secret parties, making clothing or harboring fugitives. Slaves responded to their position by creating new lives and starting families. Slave women resisted by supporting one another from the moment they arrived on slave ships to the plantations throughout the Caribbean and Antebellum South. Slave women used their positions within a maternal structure to resist the damaging elements of slavery upon the community. Regardless of sale or transfer of male members of the family, mothers and “grandmother” figures came together in the Caribbean south and women played a central role in the resistance to slavery’s challenges.

  • Closer to Freedom ResponseTaylor Dipoto

    Stephanie Camp’s work in Closer to Freedom is important and unique, because in a field of slave narratives largely aimed solely at eliciting sympathy and horror (Camp notes the prevalence of this leading up to the civil war, citing Theodore Weld and Angelina Grimke’s American Slavery As It Is, but I would argue it remains prevalent today). Unlike authors and historians who wish to either atone for wrongs or induce guilt, Camp appears to have a simple goal: to restore agency to a people who for so long have been robbed of it in the historical narrative.

    Andrew points out in his response that Camp shies away from using the word “slave,” preferring the terms enslaved people or bondsmen/women because those terms grant more agency than the static idea of a slave. This is a very deliberate choice Camp makes, and she clearly explains in a footnote to the introduction that the term slave “risks flattening the complex history of slavery and essentializing the personhood of bondspeople” (143). In this way Camp perceives an important point that lends credibility to her entire goal – it would be quite difficult to demonstrate the agency of a marginalized population while using the language of their oppressors; a word that connotes complete lack of freedom.

    Camp’s decision to focus on women is also unique, and serves as an effort to fill in some of the gaps in the historiography of American slavery. I will freely admit that I am no expert in this field, but the books I have read (and even the movies I have seen) tend to largely, if not completely, focus on the experience of enslaved men. Camp’s work led me to realize that this imbalance likely stemmed from the fact that men were much more frequently able to successfully and permanently escape. Women, hampered by more familial and social responsibility than men, made do with smaller bursts of resistance through absenteeism and secret gatherings (37). She even notes at several points that even this seemingly small form of resistance proved quite dangerous for women in particular, because they were rarely granted passes to move outside the plantation boundaries (72).

    A particularly interesting section of the book, especially in regards to women, is the discussion of slaveholding women and their treatment of enslaved people. Camp asserts that slaveholding women were more violent and impulsive than male slaveholders and overseers, due to the strange idea that “true manly mastery exhibited control, not passion; honor was not satisfied by the meting out of vindictive beatings to social inferiors” (132). This idea does make sense, but I think it is interesting to point out that this idea of mastery through levelheaded control is almost completely discredited in any popular media portrayal of slaveholders, in favor of “masters” who seem irrational and governed by strong emotions. If this was indeed the disposition of most male slaveholders, why is there such a disconnect between history and popular culture?

  • Paper Topic Ideassuzanna.melendez

    Paper Topic Ideas

    My premier interest during the “long” nineteenth century in American history encompasses gender history.

    1. Marriages between French Traders and Indian Women

    I would like to research the interracial marriages between Native Americans and French men in North America, primarily how it impacted women’s economic and social status.

    1. Women’s roles in the American Revolution

    What roles did women undertake in order to support the patriots during the Revolutionary War?

    1. Feminism in the Nineteenth Century

    Lastly, I would like to research the early women’s rights movements and their fight for equal rights. What were some of their obstacles? Ex. Other women, societal norms of gender, their husbands etc.

  • Closer to Freedomhigbeejonathan

    When we think out about slavery the first thing that comes to mind is the brutality of life on the plantations. The image of the many bounded slaves tolling away in the fields at the  hand of their curl masters who seek to gain profit from their misery plays out in our minds. However, what escapes our thought is the resistance that slaves preformed against their master. Yes, we tend to look at the bloody conflicts of Nate Turners Rebellion or John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry however, what we tend to forget the everyday yet simplistic resistance that slaves performed in protest against their masters. One such proponent of unveiling the secret resistance of slaves is Dr. Stephanie M.H. Camp who’s book Closer to Freedom Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South.

    Camp seeks to argue that enslaved people had many forms of resistance which were struggles for life without reference to their owners as well as response to their owner’s efforts to deny them from having access to their families or time alone (pg. 7).  Although she does not attempt to catalog all forms of slave resistance, she dedicates her work to highlighting the lives and the resistance of enslaved women for which she argues their experiences were significant distinct from those of bondmen (pg. 9) by strengthen the notion that in many instances female gender seems to have served as a license for planter’s full expression of violent rage, exposing women to cruel punishment more consistently than men (pg. 57). Using personal testimonies, “penny papers”, songs, and illustrations Camp creates a narrative in which she tries to establish the notion that even in the harshest conditions any human can endure there will be resistance even if it means turning the plain, uncolored tow, denim, hemp, burlap, and cotton cloth they had woven into fancy, decorative cloth to make their bodies spaces of personal expression and pleasure since the dress reflects something about the perceptions people have of their place in the world, then it would appear that many bondwomen did not concur with the south’s view of them as joyless drudges (pgs. 82-3).

    Although the idea of producing scholarly work on slaves resisting their life forced upon them in the south is not new because most students are familiar the famous formers slaves who escaped from their masters like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, Camp provides something that most history books don’t mention. As a student who has taken a variety of American history classes once did, we talked about the slave resistance outside of the Underground Railroad, Nate Turners Rebellion, the Plessey v. Ferguson case, or to a lesser extent the Haitian Rebellion. Not once did we ever talk about the notion that if slaves wanted access to the northern antislavery world it was up them to make it happen and if so the slave communities maintained communication networks called a grapevine telegraph (pg. 108). Much like Pekka Hamalainen’s Comanche Empire which strengthen the notion of giving agency to a native tribe to control their surroundings, Camp strengthens the notion that by doing simply things like being truant for work, going to parties, and making their own alcohol they proved they are their own masters.

  • Response 4 Closer to Freedomandrewjarralkelly

    Stephanie Camp’s Closer to Freedom examines how enslaved women in the Americas showed resistance through places, boundaries, and movement. Using a variety of sources such as plantation papers, oral histories, and other documents, Camp lays out how planters tried to confine slaves – “geography of containment” (13) – against how enslaved women’s movement despite the restraints created by the planters – “rival geography” (6). Coined by Edward Said, rival geography provides alternative ways of knowing and using space – in this case, the plantation and southern space – that conflicted with a controlled set of ideals and demands – set by the planters.

    One aspect of Camp’s book I find interesting is her tendency to avoid the word “slave.” This is central to the book’s argument. “Slave” implies a static state of being, while “bondsperson” draws attention to legal status and “enslaved person” suggests that a historical process is acting upon the slave. By simply changing the descriptor, Camp gives her subjects more agency (at least compared to other slavery scholarship I have read). This can be said for terminology like “masters,” “enlsavers,” and “slaveholders.” The terms “masters” and “slaveholders” imply violence and privilege point of view. I absolutely love how Camp takes and gives agency to her actors.

    I agree with Aly692 that Camp does a good job at describing different acts of resistance between bondswomen and bondsmen. It is interesting to see the explanations between their acts of resistance. While men were able to flee, women had to display a different form of resistance because they remained close to their family ties. Women often escaped then returned to the plantation to take care of children. Men were able to flee because of their more advanced knowledge of the local geography, men worked mostly outside while the women worked in and around the home.

    The idea of the body as being the force of agency and freedom in the book is central to Camp’s argument. Most think that an enslaved person has no freedom when confined to the plantation. However, to quote Justice John Marshall Harlan “personal liberty . . . consists in the power of locomotion, of changing situation, or removing one’s person to whatsoever places one’s own inclination may direct” (141). Camp uses the quote beautifully to close her argument: that the ability to move is an ability to display agency and freedom, regardless of the space one is confined to. Most simplify slavery resistance in running away, but this book is a demonstration of how enslaved people were able to resist within containment.

  • Closer to Freedom Blog Responsealy692

    Closer  to Freedom: Enslaved Women & Everyday and Everyday Resistance in the Planation South, authored by Stephanie M.H. Camp offers new scholarship in the examination of space, social relations, gender, and resistance within in the South. Camp looks at everyday life on the planation to study of the movement of bodies, objects, and information to offer new light on slave resistance in new areas and reveals a different resistance not well known. She portrays the complexity of enslaved women daily life on the planation and in how their bodies & acts of resistance altered the political dynamics on the planation.  By using planter papers, oral histories, and other sources is able to record planters  attempts to confine slaves and control their whereabouts on plantations and the South.  Camp uses the term “rival geography” to explain the resistance to colonial occupation. In her introduction Camp states, “where planter’s mapping of their farms was defined by fixed places for planation residents, the rival geography was characterized by motion: the movement of bodies, objects, and information within and around planation space” (pg. 7). Her main theme within the book is to look at the dichotomies and the history of American slavery. Place did not just revolve around the planation, but also the slave cabins, swamps, the body and lands surrounding the plantations; essentially Camp is looking at the private verse public space and how the body was seen as space. Camp argues “the body, then, can provide and has provided a ‘basic political resource’ in struggles between dominant and subordinate classed. What I found most compelling within the Camps research is the different acts of resistance bondswomen would do or how bondswomen offered different acts of resistance of bondsmen. Bondsmen had a better opportunity to run away or flee enslavement rather than women. Women may run to the swamps or hide to show resistance and control over their bodies, but they always ended up returning to the planation. Their work did not just end, when the day ended in the fields, but continued in household & family work later in the evening. Their bodies were more enchained to the plantations then the bodies of bondsmen.  Camp continues the book in analyzing how rival geographies played within the Civil War and Jim Crow Era. To Camp, the Civil War created a rift within the spatial arrangements of slavery. Space originally that separated whites from blacks was beginning to dissipating  and essentially groups that were kept separate no longer has their own spaces. She also continues to say how space defined within the South through the Civil War also plays an imperative role in the Jim Crow area. Here again space has a role to play and Camp states, “segregation seems as much tradition in a new form as a modern break from it” (pg. 140).

  • Potential Paper TopicsTaylor Dipoto
    1. The Battle of New Orleans (War of 1812) and its consequences.
    2. Development of the American women’s suffrage movement in the 19th century.
    3.  American isolationism and non-intervention foreign policy.
  • Paper Topics Ideayaremenkolena

    1. The role of innovations between 1800 and 1865, such as the Gattling’s gattling gun, and Eli Whitney’s interchangeable gun parts, and his cotton gin, and their impact on the American Civil War.

    2. The direct effect of the civil war on the life of botanist and chemist, George Washington Carver, – life before and after American Civil War.

    3. How the underlying moral constituency of the first immigrants to northern and southern colonies set South and North up inevitably for a civil war.




  • Beirne – Final Paper Topicsbeirne

    Final Paper Topics:

    1. What was the definition of ‘conservatism’ within Antebellum America?
      1. If the category existed, were conservatives necessarily states’ rights advocates?
    2. Was there a significant economic appeal to abolitionism?
      1. Understanding that the business of the United States was/is business, was the Civil War a good business decision?
    3. To what extent was the Democratic Party linked with Jim Crow?
      1. Did these laws constitute an entrenching governing strategy, or were they simply culturally unavoidable?
  • Final Paper Proposalsmark_t_garcia
    1. Negro baseball player’s contribution to the origins of baseball in the nineteenth century.
    1. The impact of slave music in American culture.
    1. The emergence of lynching after the Civil War.
  • Final Paper Topics20perez16

    1. Free Methodism: the development of a new religious denomination started in New York as it was related to social issues of the time- such as poverty and abolition – 1860s

    2. Lewis and Clark expedition: examining the early expansion of America westward, maybe looking more into the Indian perspective of the expedition or the team’s preparation for the trip 1800-1810

    3. Southern California: influences on the early development of the area, such as ranches, cities, immigration, agriculture; maybe specifically looking at Orange, 1870s or 1880s

  • Paper Topic Ideasmorganstocks
    1. I would like to explore the history of public education, perhaps in the west around the mid-nineteenth century, and how themes of race, gender, and/or class intersect with its development.
    2. I think Irish immigration and settlement would be interesting to examine, especially with a focus on Catholicism and how the perception of Irish immigrants has changed over time.
    3. Finally, I also believe that an analysis on women’s work on the frontiers during the first half of the nineteenth century, particularly focusing on the ways women carved out spaces of power in male-dominated industries.
  • Final Paper Topicssbremer
    1. The Bear Flag Revolt of 1846. Using this event as a means to look into the influx of American settlers to the west?
    2. An assessment of the presidency of James Knox Polk. Perhaps focusing on the lands he added to the United States?
    3. I would really like to do something revolving around John C. Fremont. I find the man just fascinating. This could possibly tie into Topic 1.
    4. The Philippine War: The birth of American imperialism?
  • Paper Topicsdshanebeck
    1. How do historians view the expansion of slavery in connection to the American Empire narrative? Essentially, this topic would look at the slave trade and subsequent growth of the cotton industry as a major catalyst to the recognition of the United States as a legitimate player on the world stage.
    2. The Anti-Native American Empire. This topic would deal with how the early growth of the republic and then subsequent explosion of southern cotton necessitated a refocusing of Native American policy in the eyes of the American government. Was it a shift in policy or something ingrained in the American psyche?
    3. Most likely my topic: Slavery as a complex, efficient Southern industrial system. This topic expounds on our reading from Beckert and Rockman to dive into how historians have portrayed the efficiency of the slave trade and system.
  • Final Paper TopicsDiana Nguyen
    1. Americans abroad in Europe following the devastation of the American Civil War
      What does it mean to be an “American” in Europe? How were Americans able to adapt and adhere to the strict rules, values, and challenges of European society?
    2. The roles of women, family, and gender in the colonial South after the American Civil War
      Given the tremendous shortage of men after the war, how were Southern women able to cope with the struggles of courtship and marriage? Did America’s westward expansion also play a contributing to the lack of potential men in the South?
    3. Gender and War – American Red Cross During the First World War
  • Final Paper Topicshigbeejonathan
    1. The U.S.-Mexico War: The start of manifest destiny.
    2. Forcing the Door Open: Commodore Perry’s plans to colonize Japan
    3. Philippine–American War: America’s truly forgotten war.
    4. The Barbary Wars: legitimizing America’s presence on the worlds stage.
  • Supplementary Reading: Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Developmentsuzanna.melendez

    Suzanna Melendez

    Supplementary Reading

    History 571

    Dr. Shrout


    Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Development

    Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman’s framework of Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development constitutes a variety of disciplines such as finance, accounting, management and technology as a means to comprehend America’s economic development as slavery capitalism. (Beckert & Rockman 1)  During the years of late eighteenth and early twentieth century the legal regime of slave labor in the U.S. generated economic growth and transformed Western societies. Most important of all, what differentiates the editor’s scholarship were the system of methods embedded in the nation’s economy. Enslavers and businessmen’s wanted to maintain a financial system that relied heavily on slave labor. The editors provided examples such as management and accounting strategies which transformed slave plantations into feudal estates. As a result, the connection between business and slavery generated a vigorous and violent system that transformed human beings into commodities and collateral. Therefore, technology, supposedly “free” financial markets, and networks of interest encompassed slavery to have no boundaries between the North and South, let alone the world

    Scholars have long emphasized that slave-grown cotton was the most valuable cash crop because it generated America’s financial regime. The fact remains, nevertheless, that the most valuable crop in America was slave-grown cotton. The collection of essays clearly showed a correlation between progressive business methods and technology. Indeed, the application of scientific knowledge forced slaves to work harder and longer hours. The cotton gin and the steam boat contributed to the commoditization and capitalization of slave grown cotton. Understanding the connection between slavery, technology, and business was the particular emphasis in Walter Johnson’s, River of Dark Dreams. The title of Johnson’s book brilliantly paradoxes slave and business owner’s symbol of the Mississippi River as a romantic and beneficial method of transport for cotton. In reality, the Cotton Kingdom was a dangerous and an exploitative system. In chapter 3, Johnson goes into great detail about the economic benefits of steamboat transportation. “Steam power had emancipate the Mississippi Valley from its reliance on animal energy, allowing a concomitant increase in the radio of cargo to dead weight, and enabling an exponential increase in the volume and velocity of upriver trade.” (Johnson 78) In an effort to profit from the Mississippi Valley, Johnson explained that steamboats were loaded with maximum amount of cotton. In spite of the dangers, Americans relied heavily on steamboats to transport both cotton and slaves.

    The dependence of slave labor created a scientific management system which allowed record keeping to be organized and detailed. In Caitlin Rosenthal’s essay Slavery’s Scientific Management: Masters and Managers her research emphasized the importance of tracking information. Masters and mangers then “… put their data to work, analyzing it to increase the productivity of their operations.” (Beckert & Rockman 69) Sophisticated accounting and bookkeeping techniques were critical in order to keep track of slaves, expenses, and production output. Affleck’s Plantation Record and Account Book was an important resource that allowed practically anyone to improve on their accounting practices. (Beckert & Rockman 64) Johnson also provided the reader with the mechanics and importance of Affleck’s book. It was considered one of the bestselling books in the Mississippi Valley. In addition “Affleck’s provided a list of the things to which a commercially minded cotton planter should attend, and provided neatly lined printed pages across which they could be tracked: pounds of cotton by the slave, by the acre, and by the bale; prices gained for the same, less the cost of shipping and marketing; total yield, total expenditure, total profit (or loss).” (Johnson 246) Therefore, the institution of slave labor was a business innovation eager to facilitate the sharing of resources. By sharing and comparing data the premier focus was to maintain slavery in America and spread it throughout the world. In Pekka Hämäläinen’s book The Comanche Empire the Camaches are illustrated as a great economic empire. They organized and strategized “… multiple opportunities for commerce, gift exchange, pillaging, slave raiding, ransoming, adoption, tribute extracting, and alliance making.” (Hämäläinen 3)  Both slave owners and the Comanche organized to build a commercial network which controlled border and international markets.

    Both Slavery’s Capitalism and River of Dark Dreams does an amazing job incorporating the global and imperialistic ambitions of the slave holding south. Stephen Chamber’s “No Country but their counting-housesThe U.S.-Cuba-Baltic Circuit, 1809-1812 went into great detail talking about slavery in Cuba and its impact on American capitalism. In fact, “early American capitalism depended on reliable reexport markets for Cuban sugar and coffee.” (Beckert & Rockman 197) The U.S.-Cuban networks primary contributed to the North American slave trade. Even after the slave trade had been outlawed, merchants disregarded the ban. The backbone of American capitalism was dependent on Cuban slavery. “As long as there were slaveholders in the South, of course, imperializing Cuba remained an active possibility, active enough that Abraham Lincoln rejected a last-minute proposal to avoid secession and Civil War….” (Johnson 365) Nevertheless, Johnson’s narrative reflects Elijah Gould’s Among the Power of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire. The U.S. colonies along with the pro-slave advocates in the Mississippi Valley utilized treaties, alliances, and power to gain global recognition. The international rule of laws reflected a civilized society that was worthy of respect. Pro-slavery advocates legislated with such efforts to gain control of Cuba. They feared that if anti-slavery Britain gained control of Cuba the valley-lifestyle and economic success would diminish. Recognizing pro-slavery economic motives and Southern society pinpoints critical suggestion by pro-slavery politicians to reopen the African slave trade in the late 1850s. Johnson highlights that by reopening the slave trade, slaveless whites could own slave and dilute tensions. It was a critical theory to research because the slave holding South was part of the capitalist transatlantic world economy. In comparison to the last essay entitled Why Did Northerners Oppose the Expansion of Slavery the main focus centered on the Republican Party’s opposition to the expansion of slavery. Economic factors rather ...

  • Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Developmentmark_t_garcia

    Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman bring a collection of essays that weave together the economic impact of slavery capitalism in early America. In recent years’ historians have taken a rigorous look at the relationship of slavery in New England and Mid-Atlantic regions. The scholarship has taken a “new” history of capitalism methodology. This methodology, “…brings business history, labor history, and political economy together under a single umbrella to challenge the perception of capitalism as an inevitable or natural system of organizing markets. (p. 9) The essays focus on economic dimensions of slavery which include “entrepreneurial innovation, ‘rational’ calculation, and sophisticated coordination mechanisms that made human bondage a big business.” (p.10) Beckert and Rockman begin with essays with the relationship of slavery in the plantations. The first essay by Edward Baptist introduces the term “pushing men” of which how the enslaved viewed their white slave owner. I was intrigued by the introduction of this term as I have not heard of it before. The slave owners used the “pushing men” idea to find better ways and techniques to control labor to maximize time and produce more cotton to bring to market. The innovative ways, which included violence, helped pave the way America was able to dominate the cotton industry globally. The second set of essays focused on slavery and finance. The essays brought a new level to the discussion of slavery finance by adding enslaved human beings as a commodity. Bonnie Martin uncovers how many slaves were purchased through mortgages. “Mortgages proved especially useful for gaining the anticipated value of an enslaved child before his or her value appreciated with the onset of physical maturity.” (p. 17) Martin used a vast amount of data to support her argument. She collected data over “10,000 Virginia, South Carolina, and Louisiana loans in which slaves served as collateral.” (p. 109) Including enslaved human as a commodity and determining their mortgage value added to a more thorough understanding of slavery capitalism. Beckert and Rockman included essays on how slavery capitalism impacted national institutions and natural boundaries. The essay by John Majewski argues why the North opposed the expansion of slavery. He reveals how education and innovation are reasons why the North opposed slavery expansion. Northerners argued the core strength of economy is education. Pushing for a strong education system will create innovation which is a cornerstone of capitalism. The Northerners felt that if there was an expansion of slavery this would threaten a strong education system. The elite Southern slave and landowners did not want a strong education system but preferred to keep it for themselves to control politics and the economy of the South. The collection of essays brings the “new” history methodology and how slaves were viewed not as just humans but a valuable commodity to slavery’s capitalism.

  • Post #3: Slavery’s Capitalism20perez16

    The main argument throughout the essays in Slavery’s Capitalism (Beckert and Rockman) was that slavery played a central role in the United States’ economy during the nineteenth century. The traditional economic view of slavery has usually been restricted to the South. Slavery’s Capitalism countered that interpretation demonstrating how the whole American economy relied on slavery for its success. This book, while focused on the economic history of slavery, also explained how slavery influenced the North and the South, the society, the culture, and the politics of early America.

    The book as a whole included discussions on the main U.S. regions as well as the international scene. However, it would be helpful to see more juxtaposition of those regions within each chapter. For example, Daniel B. Rood discussed the trade connection between the U.S. and Brazil. I think he could have added more on Brazil’s side of the trade relationship or even about Brazil’s specific economic status. This would have allowed the reader to see the dynamic systems of both countries. Another instance might be in Craig Steven Wilder’s chapter on American Catholicism and slavery. This section demonstrated only one religious perception of slavery and it might have been better if it was viewed in the context of other Protestant higher education institutions also associated with slavery.

    The chapters highlighted different case studies regarding slavery’s impact on American capitalism. Case studies are useful for proving specific arguments and analyzing a collection of similar data. Yet, it is also important to realize that case studies cannot necessarily be used for creating generalizations about the country’s overall economic development. That being said, I liked how Bonnie Martin compiled records from three counties each from a different Southern State instead of just one particular case. I also appreciated Daina Ramey Berry’s word choice when she wrote “some cases” or “sometimes,” which meant that her evidence pointed to certain instances rather than a general pattern (151, 158).

    Another critique I have of Slavery’s Capitalism is that it quickly deals with the development of slavery in the Civil War and the Emancipation periods. It would be interesting to see what evidence there is, if any, to explain the changes that took place then.

    I agree with Sbremer’s statement that “we are forced to rethink slavery and investigate not just its political ramifications, but the ramifications it had on the development of an incredibly important global economic system.” The book gave us the opportunity to reexamine slavery’s role in establishing America’s global status, adding another dimension to Gould’s analysis last week. I would also add though that Slavery’s Capitalism emphasizes American slavery’s Atlantic developments, but mostly ignores what happened in the Pacific and California during that time. Leonard L. Richards’ The California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War is one book that explained Southern political leaders attempts to bring slavery to California.

    I noticed that there is no conclusion in Slavery’s Capitalism. Perhaps this is because these stories were meant to be open-ended. The chapters contained recent research, so the lack of a conclusion suggests that it is only the beginning of a new discussion that still needs further analysis. What the book did well was challenge the reader’s traditional perceptions of slavery and encourage the reader to then continue the investigation.

  • Regaining Agency from the Sidelines of History and Capitalism: Exploring All Aspects of Slavery?queenlove35

    Key Quote: “If a new consensus is emerging, one that instead treats slavery as the interstate high system of the American past, its origins can be traced to several distinctive conversations in the scholarship, as well as to a swell of public interest and social activism.” (6)

    Key Terms: “Slaveholding Republic”(1)

    In the new perspective in American’s slaveholding past, Slavery’s Capitalism, Sven Beckert, and Seth Rockman pull together an essay collective based on a  2011 conference entitled as the book (sponsored by Brown and Harvard Universities). They explore how the slavery labor regime, to innovative technologies like the whip, places the United States with a globalizing economy based on slavery. Each essay explores different aspects of slavery, like how the whip increases cotton productivity and how the gin was innovative it not solve the labor that goes into growing and seeding cotton.  Other essays cover, planter bookkeeping, valuations of human capacity, to local credit lending keeping the economy going.  The ultimate goal is to allow this collection to envision not just slavery an economy but widening this framework with new scholarship that creates an authentic capitalist market economy.

    The essays all have similar formats to keep the book’s message cohesive, starting out with a primary account of a particular role of the slave/slaveholding narrative (Charles Ball, Eli J. Capell, Helena and her two daughters, Mathew Carey to English settlers).  The collection of essays embodies slavery as a national economy dependency for the United States. I appreciate the time spent on reflecting not just on the slaveholding planters, but the economy and forward effects it had on industrialization. In Gould’s book last week, we agreed that American essentially copied British Imperialist powers and utilized treaties that provide us global recognition through this “pushing” for recognition. Dshanebeck points out this idea of both Gould and Becket/Rockman book that American at this stage is trying to prove something globally, at any cost. This push that Beckert and Rockman essay book asserts are we quickly turn our emerging society into a global dominating force through various aspects of slaveholding. Moreover, they come right now and admit that new scholarship points to the North’s industrialization success that utilized all of the raw cotton to produce textiles, therefore benefiting directly from slave hands as well.

    Now here are my only criticisms of the book. First, Beckert claims his is cutting edge scholarship, however, fails ever to mention his article he produced in the December 2004 American Historical Review titled Emanicpation/Empire: Reconstructing the Worldwide Web of Cotton Production in the Age of the American Civil War.  In this article, he asserts the southern cotton industry climbed to global capitalist heights, making it cheaper to sell, export and ship over the Atlantic and were still beating the costs to create textiles with British cotton. He already spins this as a capitalist market in this article. My other disappointment with this read, is they mention many scholars that have spoken about cotton economics. However, he fails to mention Walter Johnson’s Soul by Soul. This book Walter utilizes Narratives by former slaves, docket records of disputed slave sales, notarized acts of sale, letter written by slaveholder and newspaper editorials to reinforce southern paternalism and create a cotton economy. Johnson argues the chattel principle that is the “abstract value that underwrote the southern economy could only be made material in himan shpae-frails, senitent and resistant. And thus the contraditiocn was daily played out in a contest over meaning (Johnson, 29). Also, Johnson utilizes the same Charles Ball and gives him agency to his slave-life. In the first chapter of the Beckert book, they paint Charles Ball as a man that quickly figures out that southern slavery is how quickly you can pick and how much you can pass through your hands in fear of the whip technology. Johnson exemplifies Ball illustrated the Acts of Sale (Chapter 6 Johnson) on the idea of extensive accommodation of human labor. As two buyers examine Ball, he overhears that a purchaser has specific needs for a slave to be phuscally stonr and to be good in the field. he utilizes these coversations from the slave pen to share his slae to a potiential buyer that would best suite his ideal master. Ansering to potenial slae holders in the affirmative assithim him to extection holder information while particpating int he patriarch replationships between hold and the slave withing the slave pen.

  • Beirne: Musings on Slavery’s Capitalismbeirne

    Slavery’s Capitalism, a hot-off-the-presses tome edited by Harvard’s Sven Beckert and Brown’s Seth Rockman, is a compilation of historical essays dedicated to the nineteenth-century emergence of America as an economic power; one that, the authors argue, was built largely upon a market where millions of human beings were simply highly-valued property. Important to us in 2016, these histories are presented as representative of “the current political and cultural moment in the United States, the time appears right to construct a new narrative of American economic development.” (B&R 12) A new historical “prism of slavery” is in progress, the editors hold, one that accounts for slavery’s role in the formation and functions of international markets and standard business practices. (Ibid) This viewpoint holds current political poignancy, as viewing modern capitalism as fruit from the ‘poisonous tree’ of slavery and has not only contributed to tired calls for reparations, but also a significant challenge to the system of capitalism, generally, in the popular major party candidacy of Senator Sanders.

    A chapter of particular interest to me, an aspiring student of political parties and ideologies, was Andrew Shankman’s “Capitalism, Slavery, and the New Epoch: Mathew Carey’s 1819.” Shankman reveals that Carey, a political economist and Federalist, envisioned the foundation of slaves and capitalism as essential to his grandiose vision of America’s future within the ‘American System’ platform of the Whig Party. (B&R 243, 244) Shankman reveals that even though there were reforming tendencies in the Whig party, the economic theories underlying its politics cannot be detached from slavery. (B&R 244) This can perhaps be understood as a microcosm of the North at large, where even though while many in the region attempted to temporally disconnect themselves from the “peculiar institution,” one’s quality of life–be it in investments or in the clothes on their backs–was somehow connected to human bondage. The pro-slavery Carey, a Philadelphian, lamented that some Federalists attempted to portray southerners “as demons incarnate, and destitute of all the good qualities that dignify and adorn human nature”; a real ‘basket of deplorables,’ if you will. (B&R 244) Carey was frustrated to find out that his pro-slavery stance was nevertheless not enough to convince southerners to expand federal power as the American System saw pertinent, with the underlying cause for concern being that with great central power came opportunities to undermine slavery. (254-55)

    I appreciated Mr. andrewjarrakelly’s citation of Kenneth Pomeranz’s The Great Divergence in his discussion of the historical question regarding the reasons the United States economy took off in the nineteenth-century in relation to the rest of the world. It has always been a question of mine whether the antebellum South was holding the United States back economically, with evidence being the country’s even greater economic expansion after the Civil War. Pre-war, cotton was by far the nation’s premier export, and it was entirely grown in the South; yet, there have been intellectual attempts at labeling the antebellum Southern economy as altogether backward, especially in comparison with the more modern capitalist experiments of the North (B&R 119) Slavery, a fairly substantial elephant in the room, has prevented widespread recognition of seeming ‘modernization’ that came along with institutionalized human-trafficking and labor bondage. As Walter Johnson also recognizes in River of Dark Dreams, Beckert and Rockman point out that with investment in slaves came the desire to maximize efficiency, with transference and worth becoming “routinized and predictable.” (B&R 12) Reading Slavery’s Capitalism makes clear that capitalism in America, and indeed the world, was owned by the issue of slavery.

  • Beckert/Rockman Postsbremer

                    In this collection of articles, editors Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman put forth the argument that in contrast to more popular assertions, slavery came to hold a role of central importance in the development of not just American capitalism in the nineteenth century, but in the development of global capitalism. They argue that capitalism expanded from within the world market that it had created, and then came to play a central, decisive, role first in the Caribbean and Latin America, and then in North America where it had close ties to the Industrial Revolution and, as Robert points out, the Great Divergence (P. 3).

                     As dshanebeck, points out, a number of methodologies are used by the various authors of this book, giving a broad and multidimensional approach to the topic at the hand. The division of the book into four parts, with three or four articles being grouped around a further subdivision of the “slavery as a constitutive element of capitalism” (P. 5) argument allows for a number of scholars to provide succinct, specialized accounts of aspects of slavery that support Beckert and Rockman’s argument. For instance, the book includes chapters ranging from a discussion revolving around the creation of a mechanized piece of machinery, the McCormick reaper,  in Rood’s chapter, to a detailed look into more than 10,000 loans from three southern states (P. 108) in Martin’s chapter in order to show slavery as being a system of finance. There are also biographical works, in Boodry and Shankman’s chapters, and as morgonstocks points out, in Majewski’s chapter an article focusing on education as a means of illustrating the impact slavery had on America’s developing economy. All of this had the effect, at least on a personal level, of making the book feel “fresh.” It never gets bogged down in dwelling on a certain subject, and the idea of encountering a new topic, scholar, and methodology created the desire to continue on and see how the next article would support the overarching thesis of the book itself.

                    One chapter that I found particularly interesting was Stephen Chambers’ piece “No Country but their counting-houses.” Right off the bat, the first sentence grabbed my attention. He states, “Cuban slavery impacted early American capitalism through Russia” (P. 195). Upon first glance, at least it certainly did to me, this sentence seems to be incredibly confusing. How any of these things were related to one another, let alone help build American capitalism, was beyond me. However, Chambers proceeds to unravel this mystery, illustrating how American capitalism was dependent on reliable reexport markets for Cuban sugar and coffee (P. 197). However, following the Napoleonic Wars, trade restrictions effectively barred American ships from continental Europe, so they looked to the Baltic for these reexport markets (P. 199). I found the entire story of John Quincy Adams’ trip to St. Petersburg, coupled with the accounts of the various other diplomats, agents, and merchants incredibly interesting and compelling. I also found that it greatly supported the globalized capitalism argument that is put forth.

                     In conclusion, I feel that this book continues with the trend of the other readings we have done so far of forcing the reader to think about an aspect of nineteenth century America, and to analyze it and see it in a new light. In Hämäläinen, it was the idea of empire and Native American agency. In Gould, it was the idea of what true independence was and where it came from. And now, in Beckert and Rockman’s book, we are forced to rethink slavery and investigate not just its political ramifications, but the ramifications it had on the development of an incredibly important global economic system.

  • final paper ideasvannoyj

    Here are my rough ideas for a final paper

    1. Growth of indigenous protestant religions – Stone/ Campbell movement?

    2. A look at the migrations of the 19th century – African American, Native American, European

    3. Looking at the roles of women in the pioneer west – changing roles – influence in the suffragette movement?

  • Market implications in Southern Slave Plantation systemsvannoyj

    The collection of essays in the book Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of Economic Development edited by Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman provides a unique and captivating at the economics behind the Southern plantation slave trade system. The authors take on traditionally held views on the economics of slavery and provide new insight into an often complex system of trade and markets. The introduction provided real insight into the historiography of the subject and helped me, as a reader, understand the arguments within this historical research are that I was unfamiliar with. One absence in the historiography of the introduction was the lack of mention of Walter Johnson. Such a recent writing on the economics of the cotton south and the inclusion of the Mississippi river within the economic discussion falls into the historiography provided rather well. His Atlantic view of the world cotton market system meshes well with the philosophy of the writers in this book. I found it well organized as a book. The essays seemed to converse with each other, especially within the topical chapters that the editors organized them into. Like Michelle was able to make unique connections to the impact of recent foreign affairs and policies in Eli Gould’s book, so too did I learn to make unique connections to the complexity and intricate patterns of market valuation in regards to slavery in the south. The implications of slavery leading to market improvements in regards to delivery of goods and the market growth within the growth of the slave labor increase really stood out.
    One way the connections were made was the discussion of hands in the first two essays. Each author looked at different impacts that the word “hand” had within the southern slave owning plantation economic system. In the first essay, author Edward Baptist focused on not just the economic effects of being a “hand” for slaves in the plantation system, he also discussed the psychological impact it could have. The loss of self within a slave’s system of identification. His argument of right hand and left hand in the power and resistance relationship was gripping. In the second essay, author Caitlin Rosenthal looked at the commodification of slavery and focused on the economics behind the system of “hands” that plantation owners used to discuss slaves as solely units of labor.
    Another discussion that I found interesting also occurred in the essay by Baptist. The author posited that with the influx of cotton plantations came a new way of “pushing” slave labor. This was not an idea I had considered before. It has always been assumed in my mind that slave labor either varied from plantation owner to plantation owner both in degree of punishment and amount of work required. It never occurred to me that there was an implemented system of how overseers pushed their slave labor to work harder and harder and that this implementation was a clear shift in how they had overseen slave labor in the past.

    The articles in this book are both fascinating and frustrating. As a non-numbers person what I really liked was the explanation of the economics that helped me understand the in depth system of marketing and strategy that went with the slave labor market

  • Response 3 Slavery’s Capitalismandrewjarralkelly

    For generations, historians have struggled with the idea called the “Great Divergence”: meaning, how and why did northwestern Europe and later the United States burst forth in an explosion of industrial growth while much of the world lagged behind (Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy, 2000). Pomeranz pointed to two key dissimilarities: access to coal, and access to vast resources on the American continent cultivated largely through coerced and slave labor. Moreover, since the end of the Civil War, historians have been too eager to make slavery a “southern problem,” This conveniently exculpates the north from its role in the development of slavery. Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman bring these ideas to the forefront. They question the notion that northern industry and the development of slavery in the south were rival developments. Rather they show that American history looks very different once we invite the possibility that these two transformations are deeply embedded within one another. Beckert and Rockman invite seventeen scholars to explore this connection.


    The chapter that interested me the most was “’What have we to do with slavery?’ New Englanders and the Slave Economics of the West Indies.” Eric Kimball explores not the relationship between the north and the south, but the earlier relationship between the north and the West Indies market. At the beginning of the chapter, Kimball cites a quote from Fredrick Douglass, “The people of the North had been accustomed to ask, in tone of cruel indifference, ‘What have we to do with slavery?’” (page 181) This got me to think of an idea the of “American exceptionalism” (The School of the Americas: Military Training and Political Violence in the Americas, Lesley Gill, 2004). Gill talks about how Americans see themselves as incapable of wrong doing. In her example, she explains how Americans turned a blind eye to their brand of imperialism in the mid-twentieth century. Here is a short quote to explain what Gill is talking about, “. . . imperialism has always been inconsequential to U.S. history; that, unlike the great powers of Europe, the historical experience of the United States has been characterized by ‘discovery’ not ‘imperium,’ ‘global power’ not ‘imperialism,’ ‘unipolarity’ not ‘hegemony’ is to perpetuate false notions of ‘American exceptionalism’”(Gill, page 4). This links to how northerners saw slavery, they never thought they had anything to do with that institution.


    I am in agreement with Morgan in that this “text successfully looks at the many different ways slavery bolstered the United States market economy and pushed America into being an industrialized nation.” However, I would take this text as a beginning text for those who are interested in the subject. Both Beckert and Rockman have written much on the connection between slavery and capitalism. This text offers a wide variety of views but remains less in depth than other texts in the field.

  • Final Paper Proposal Ideasaly692
    1. Liberal capitalist institutions and the effect it could have on the intergirty of slavery as modality of legal rule.
    2. History of capitalism within the Antebellum Market place
    3. the use of legal institutions within the Antebellum slave market and market economy of the nineteenth century
  • Supplementary Reading: Capitalism and Unfree Laboraly692

    Walter Johnson offers new research on the history of capitalism. He insinuates that slavery played an essential part of early American economic expansion. In the article, “Toward A New Legal History of Capitalism and Unfree Labor: Law, Slavery, and Emancipation in the American Marketplace”, written by Matthew A. Axtell, illustrates the legal institutions of property and contract through the different works of Walter Johnston. Axtell begins the article with a review of literature that leads to the formation of Walter Johnson’s first book, Soul by Soul. Johnston’s main concentration is, “people-as-property continued to be one thing that characterized slavery at its most basic level, the thing that needed to be more closely studied and critiqued.” In his second book, River of Dark Dreams, Johnston decides to pursue a wider view that offers new research on the concept of “slave racial capitalism”. In the concluding pages of the article, Axtell advocates the pursuit of understanding legal institutions of property and contract that will assist in broadening our research in the history of capitalism.

    Soul by Soul emphases the slave market and human transactions that took place rather than previous historiographies that choose to outline planation life. Previous historians, like Eugene Genovese, highlighted “antebellum laws regulating slaves and slaveholders on Southern plantations.”

    River of Dark Dreams, concentrates on Antebellum Slave Market, but expands its attention to the interlinings of capitalism, slavery, imperialism, and white domination. Dreams strives to illustrate the history of capitalism, “while Soul entered into a decades-long discussion about the scope of African American resistance and self-determination in the face of white oppression.” The book is composed of fourteen chapters that look at how the history of capitalism played in the Antebellum Market Place.

    The major contribution to Johnston’s second book is the introduction of “slave racial capitalism”. Johnston is able to pull together two major explanations of capitalism discussed by previous scholars, such as Elkins and Engerman, by finding connections with cultural understanding, demonstrated by Gutman and Genovese. Axtell offers this statement from the New York Times: “After decades of ‘history from below,’ a new generation of scholars is increasingly turning to what, strangely, risked becoming the most marginalized group of all: the bosses, bankers and brokers who run the economy.” By assessing stories from the perspectives of the bosses, bankers, and brokers, it offers a new interruption of looking at the Antebellum Market through a business and legal lens that as not been done before. Axtell further continues this line of discussion, by offering that the North and the South were not as different as one might assume. But rather, on the business level both regions were trying to grow with the rise of the capitalistic market emerging in early modern America. Therefore, “Northern factories and Southern plantations were not opposing systems, but deeply entwined.” However, what Axtell brings to the attention of the readers is, though Johnston may steer away from this topic, if the North and South were so intertwined on an economic level, why did the Civil War occur?

    Though law is not directly looked at in Dreams, Axtell argues that it can be found indirectly through Johnston’s work. “Slave racial capitalism” is best seen as a political theory that can assist in understanding antebellum Southern political economy. The portrait that Johnston illustrates is “capitalist law and order that is one-way technology of racial domination, is so disturbing that law-minded readers may seek a way out.”

    As new work is presented within the realms of the history of capitalism, the more crosswords there could be in trying to understand this emerging concept. Walter Johnston was able to provide Dreams, a new aspect of “capitalism as law giving and lawless at ...

  • Ideas of Final paperRobert Huitrado
    1. Commodore Matthew Perry’s forced entry into Japan: Americas first overseas expansion/expedition? Part of Manifest Destiny? or was Perry’s expedition official beginning of Manifest Destiny?
    2. Was Andrew Jackson’s expansion/expedition/excursion into Florida, the catalyst for Western expansion and what will become Manifest Destiny?
    3. Andrew Jackson and Manifest Destiny: United States in Florida, the beginning of Manifest Destiny?
    4. Manifest Destiny: East, West, and Beyond: Japan, Cuba, the Philippines, and what they meant to the American people?
    5. How Civil War battlefield  and hospital carnage effect the moral and minds of the men who fought and lived during this period?
  • The financial backbone of American Democracy… Slavery.Robert Huitrado

    In Slavery’s Capitalism, the editors, Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman investigated the economic development of America during the 19th century by tying the “expansive and brutal system of human bondage” (book cover) to the rise of the Industrial Revolution, not only in America, but also in England. “cotton made by enslaved African Americans not only accounted for the majority of U.S. exports, but also helped to generate a transformation unprecedented in human history.” (pg. 12) The Industrial Revolution is majorly credited to the city of Manchester, where England’s cotton textile industry was centered, although the textile center in Lowell, Massachusetts also experienced increased production in cloth. By 1825 American planters dominated the world market in cotton, by growing and exporting this new tangible “gold.” Cloth, by way of cotton, became more available and fashionable.

    How did all of this happen? The invention of the cotton gin in 1793 helped pull the seeds from cotton faster than hand labor could do it, but to cash in on this improvement, more fields needed to be cleared to grow more cotton. That required more slaves and slave owners. The “system of labor extraction” (pg. 33) was a new growing and labor- intensive method used by plantations in which a fast worker picked at top speed and set the pace for the rest of the workers in a cotton row. Stragglers or slow workers were whipped, or sometimes killed. “Enslaved migrants in new cotton fields quickly discovered that they had to adapt to what pushing men demanded, or face ruthless violence.” (Pg. 34) As the picking quotas for the slaves rose, so did the amount of cotton picked, which raised the amount of cotton exported to the textile mills of England.

    As Indian land(s) and territories were taken, over one million black slaves were forced into these new Southern territories. This “labor extraction” system, soon “produced 80 percent of the cotton sold in Britain, the world’s central market.” (pg. 35) This system also made slave owners in the South very wealthy, and very powerful. From approximately 1800 to 1860, due to the labor extraction system, the amount of cotton produced in the United States increased from 20 million pounds to over two billion pounds, and the number of slaves in the United States increased from 50,000 to two million. (pg. 40) These increases matched the increased productivity in the spinning and weaving mills in Manchester, which experienced an approximate 400 percent increase and a 600 increase respectively from 1819 to 1860. (pg. 42) Once the Civil War was over, however, the system of labor extraction ended, and the cotton picking in the South declined and never fully recovered. (pg. 43)

    The economic growth of America during this period resulted from the increase of slavery, the exorbitant amount of cotton picked on the plantations in the South, and the technological advancements made in the textile and weaving mills in England. However, the increased flow of material to England also resulted in many agricultural changes in America. The invention of the cotton gin started the escalation. New cotton seeds were introduced which increased the yield of cotton, and the labor extraction method assured increased goals in cotton picking. All of these changes brought new innovations in finance, plantation management and husbandry, accounting, and mechanical technology, bringing the Industrial Revolution to America.

    As dshanebeck stated, after the War of 1812, the United States found itself in a position to be “recognized as an equal nation on the world stage.” Yet, as Gould stated last week, it was not until President James Monroe, the 5th President, that European acceptance officially began. As last week’s discussion also covered, Andrew Jackson’s excursion into Florida marked the beginning of the United States’ “official” expansion into newly acquired territories. It was these inroads and Jackson’s treatment of British agents caught on American lands that officially forced the European nations to see that the United States was not to be trifled with, and that we could protect and expand, despite foreign interference. As more land was settled and farmed in the Southwest, and the demand for cotton rose, American legitimately began to rise also, especially in the eyes of our former mother nation, England. Cotton rose to be America’s number one export by the 1820s, most of the two billion pounds moving to English textile mills, and the resulting cloth all over Europe. America found its means of legitimacy; unfortunately, it came at a high price – that of two million enslaved Africans.

  • Discussion Post #2: Slavery’s Capitalism Edited By Sven Beckert and Seth Rockmanmorganstocks

    Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development

    Edited by Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman

    In this collection of essays, Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman re-framed the development of American capitalism as being predominantly founded on slavery, not just in the United States but in the world (1). In the introduction, the editors argue that there has been much scholarship done concerning the political ramifications of slavery, but little about the economic traditions that were rooted in enslavement (1). In contrast, many historians have sought to explain the evolution of the market economy elsewhere, believing that slavery was actually an inefficient method of labor and that capitalism could have developed without slavery (3, 32). Yet, these chapters show that slavery was not only a factor in the development of the American market economy, but the absolute foundation, without which, the United States would not have had enough capital to expand. Moreover, this book challenges that slavery was regional, limited to the South, and demonstrates that slavery was a national issue, that has led to present day ramifications even resulting in talks of reparations (6-9).

    One interesting facet to this book was the focus on science and technology in regards to slavery. One would think slavery and the process of enslavement to be quite antiquated and backwards, but in fact, the plantation owners were progressive in their methods. Plantations appeared to have much more in common with big business and modern corporations, keeping records and statistics, such as depreciation, insurance, and credit (17, 27, 63). Much like dshanebeck, I also found that Edward Baptist’s article, “Toward a Political Economy of Slave Labor,” highlighted the various calculations that went into producing cotton, such as setting quotas in order to force the slaves to work harder in order to avoid punishments (35). He also emphasizes the direct connection between the fields and the textile industries highlighting a more mechanized and organized view of slavery (32). In Caitlin Rosenthal’s chapter, “Slavery’s Scientific Management,” she gives a very systematic view of this process, and shows how slavery was not the antithesis of modernity but rather a propellant for it (62). In a fairly perverse meaning, she describes how slave owners would calculate the decreasing value of their slaves into figuring out their “human capital” (79-80).

    Finally, I also found John Majewski’s piece compelling, probably due to my place in the public education system. Again, like other authors, he emphasized the technological sophistication of the south and how slavery was beneficial for all parts of the United States, as dshanebeck already stated (278). However, he contrasts the flourishing public education system in the north and the weaker system in the south, which provided concern for the spread of intellectual ideas (279). In actuality, there was nothing stopping slavery from spreading to places like Ohio that had similar climates to the Limestone South (282). If slavery would have spread, it would have undone the progress of education by allowing the slave holders to choose the pace for public education (298). I found Majewski’s article particularly interesting for his use of sources and evidence types. He used soil comparisons to show the similarities of Southern soil to other parts of the United States but also used records of school funds and school reports. Moreover, I have heard many different reasons for northern aversion to the institution of slavery but the desire to keep public education out of the hands of southerners is definitely a new one.

    Overall, I think this text successfully looks at the many different ways slavery bolstered the United States market economy and pushed America into being an industrialized nation. This scholarship adds another dimension to a subject that has already has had much review.


  • (M. Cadwell) HIST 571T Final Project Ideasqueenlove35

    Below are the three project development ideas for this class. These projects will assist in my MA project: Creative Gentrification in Santa Ana.

    Plan I: Seeding Gentrification through the 19th century Renovation Movement

    Spatial Fields: Discussing how the labor class changes from blue to white collar workers in the late 19th century to early 20th century. This working class change introduces a changing need of housing and women within the workforce.

    Temporal: 1880 Manhattan erects a high-rise purposefully built for new middle-class workers. 1800s Frank A Bourne transforms Beacon Hill’s rooming homes into apartments for white collar workers. Later you have the same thing happen on Manhattan’s Westside, Chicago’s Gold Coast and Rittenhouse Square. The spatial landscape changed from small dilapidated housing to upper-income apartments, thus, inviting new groups of people into the area through Renovation. Creation of Artists’ Districts to create a counter-culture to the elite boosterism within these communities. (This argument based on Mike Davis City of Quartz).

    Goal: Illustrate how the Renovation Movement provided upward mobility for a white-collar working class while potentially displacing other ethnic working class living environment. (Another idea that comes to mind is Cabbage Row and the Porgy/Bess musical).

    Plan II: Preservation through Cultural Displacement: Jarring Cultural Boundaries in 19th Century America

    Spatial Fields: Discussing the 19th-century preservation groups, primarily ran by Women, to cultivate their idea of cultural value while illustrating their domestic domain in a business world.

    Temporal: Patricia West Domesticating History speaks about women becoming the guardians of the American Spirit. The  Agency in Domestic Reform and how women architects are taking on the Anglo-Saxon approach of a home made for each private family, not rooming homes restored the American spirit. Discuss how this changes collective memory of an era and environmental history of other cultures.

    Goal: Define how preserving the American Spirit through Anglo perceived ‘other’ culture by imperialist nostalgia and romanticism.

    Plan III: Cultural Displacement through 19th century Westward Dominion  

    Spatial Fields: Discussing how the labor class changes from blue to white collar workers in the late 19th century to early 20th century. This introduces a changing need of housing and women into the labor force.

    Temporal: Looking at the idea of ‘Chinatowns’ in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Idea of Olvera Street in Los Angeles displaces true cultural, historical narratives in the 19th century. Other groups like the Chumash indigenous tribes displaced by Pacific trade (Igler’s Great Ocean) could also be discussed. Maybe can talk about culture mold-breakers like Biddy Mason in Los Anegles is still portrayed as a mid-wife delivering many babies in modern public space?

    Goal: American’s desire to create new spatial boundaries based on regional and racial identity displaces culture while embodying myth building collective memories. How does Anglo-Americans tending to perceived identities effect the shaping of communal civic relationships between them and other cultural groups?




  • Blog Post #3 – Slavery’s Capitalismdshanebeck

    Beckert and Rockman have provided a fantastic collection of essays with the intent and argument to situate the historical discussion of slavery in the economic institutions of capitalism in America. In order to accomplish this feat, both editors bring together a variety of essays and methodologies that incorporate everything from technological innovations like the McCormick Reaper to the finances of ledger building upon the plantation, connections between maritime traders and merchants from New England, and the early century push by Whig politicians for a true “American System”. Beckert and Rockman present a powerful case to situate the discussion of slavery not just as a social bondage institution that was limited to a southern planter aristocracy; it was in fact a powerful institution that encompassed northerners, southerners, and outside powers in an ever increasing push for expansion and profit. The sheer power of the slave’s investment capital not only determined the perspective of a southern planter, but the eyes of northern and southern bankers and creditors. I especially appreciated chapter one’s methodological discussion by Edward Baptist on how to deal with source material about slavery that can potentially come with heavy bias of the enslaved (who may have been influenced by abolitionists). Pages 48-49 give a detailed account of how historians can work around these fears and actually provide power back into sources that some may have questioned as abolitionist propaganda. At the same time, those pages provide a powerful defense of the quota argument for increases in the cotton output during the early 19th century.

    Last week Robert discussed Gould’s argument for Americans pushing, in the years following both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, to be recognized as an equal nation on the world stage. At multiple points Beckert and Rockman have provided historical work that continues the narrative of America’s dependence on the mercantile world. Perhaps there is an argument to be made that the South’s expansion into the southwest and subsequent cotton explosion in the years following the War of 1812 provided the material necessary for Britain and other nations to finally start to take the United States seriously. While the essays that Beckert and Rockman do not definitively deal with this subject, it is clear that England, Spain, France, and even Russia had a lot to gain by the American’s increased trading patterns throughout the Atlantic and Caribbean that centered around slavery.

  • The trials and tribulations of early America.Robert Huitrado

    Eliga H. Gould’s book, Among the Powers of the Earth, covers a multitude of topics regarding the “wider struggle to found” (pg. 2) the United States of America: how the law of nations affected the wording of our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and other legal documents; the situation of white and black slavery and how this was legally and/or illegally handled in Europe, Africa and the Americas; the events leading up to our war of independence; the problems facing the new nation after independence was won; and finally, how the United States gained maritime trading rights and developed commercially and industrially after 1783. As such, the new nation itself faced two difficult issues: “One involved the Union’s quest to be accepted as a free and independent nation in Europe; the other, the right of its citizens to pacify and control what, from a European standpoint, was still a colonial periphery.” (pg, 2) One step to becoming accepted as a free and independent nation in the eyes of Europe, and a member of the European circle, was to win its revolution against its sovereign nation, England; be granted “nation status” by the nations of Europe and excepted as one; be granted the customary privileges of war, and allowed trading concessions by the European nations.

    Initially the colonists in America were regarded as rebels by Britain and thus were not accorded the customary privileges of war for their prisoners. Such disregard for customary practices of prisoners can be seen in the words of Benjamin Franklin when speaking to England’s emissary to the French court, Paul Wentworth in 1778, as he lectured Wentworth on the “Barbarities inflicted on his Country.…the burning of Towns, the neglect or ill-treatment of Prisoners…  medical attention,” unless Continental soldiers were granted the privileges of war. (pg. 115-116) General Howe, General Gage’s replacement, mindful of Washington’s threat, “eventually instructed his forces to treat Continental officers as ordinary prisoners of war.” (pg, 116) However, and in spite of General Howes instructions, Continental prisoners still endured substantial mistreatment at the hands of the British, with many of them dying from malnutrition and lack of medical attention aboard derelict prison ships.

    Prisoner mistreatment was only one of many problems facing the colonies as they fought for independence. Among the Powers of the Earth brilliantly covers every aspect of this process and America’s post-war status as a fledgling republic. The European nations may have acknowledged the United States as a nation, but that did not mean it was allowed to properly become one. “neither Britain nor Europe’s other powers accepted them as treaty-worthy equals.” (pg, 119) At every turn, the nations of Europe blocked or hampered the new republic’s position. Even the war-allies, France and Spain, saw the United States as a nobody and only used the war to take revenge against a common enemy…England. Trading with Europe and the West Indies was denied because the British refused to give the “security” that it extended to “the navigation of others.” (pg. 119) This meant that American foreign trade was at the discretion of the British Crown, even though Americans were no longer British subjects. All of these affronts were considered “a direct assault on the Republic’s sovereignty.” (pg, 121) These travesties and insults to the sovereignty of the United States would come to a head during the Napoleonic Wars when American ships would be stopped, boarded, and its crews forced into service on British vessels, in total defiance of the rules of maritime trade and treaties signed between England and the United States.

    Similar to Taylor Dipoto and 20perez16’s posts, the Native American element was relatively absent from Gould’s book. They were mentioned when discussing the Seven Year’s War/French and Indian War, post-Revolutionary War, raiding and taking captives, and situations when the United States found British agents supplying the natives with arms and ammunition to attack American settlers, as in Florida and Canada. Outside of these circumstances, the Native American voice is absent especially when it came to politics and treaties. This is surprising considering Native Americans were a mainstay of the region since the earliest surviving British settlement at Jamestown in 1607. Again as Taylor said, those who opposed Andrew Jackson’s methods when it came to Native Americans, i.e., the Cherokee Trail of Tears, were also the first ones to say that the land gained from their removal was prime and would benefit the greater American Republic.

    Any misgivings I may have of how this book treated the Native Americans, Gould made up for it in his highly detailed and researched finished product. Every chapter is jammed packed with information and examples of the tenuous relationship, the early American Republic had with the older, established Imperial nations of Europe. We are taught in school that once we became independent, everything was relatively peaceful between us and Europe, minus continual hostilities with England and the Native Americans. Apparently, that was not the case!

  • Impelling Ephemera: Remapping Lenses of American Dominion (Gould Response 2)queenlove35

    Key Quote: “The revolution enables the Unions’ citizens to behind making their history, but the history that they made was often the history that others were willing to let them make” (p.2).

    Key Terms: “Model Treaty,” (1), “Struggle for Dominion over others,” (4), “Peace = Key features of European empires,” (5), “Liberationist events through globalization of power,” (7), “entangled nation,” (10)

    In Among the Powers of the Earth, Gould centralizes his argument American Revolution is founded on the diplomacy and political views of European Nations. Specifically, that America required a formed nation modeled off of European powers to become recognized and accepted on the globalized geopolitical scale. Further, Gould divides the forming United States into regional neighborhoods. Gould cartographically shows, the Northern Region, the Gulf Region, and its maritime borders required the law of nations to become dominate and effectively show dominion’s interactions with neighbors. Gould points to America creating an ‘entangled nation’ which describes the mirrored European diplomacy while striving to become a treaty-worthy nation working with others in the trade.

    Gould covers enough time to effectively make his point, by spanning his argument over a seventy-year period. Additionally, it allows Gould to connect our wars (French and Indian War) with European conflicts (Seven Years War), thus furthering his ‘American models European empire and power’ to solidify our place at the globalizing nations grown-ups table. America using both the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God to separate us from the European powers of the earth and create individual liberty provides us an advantage in furthering dominion/sovereignty.  The geographic distance provided distinct opportunity to create a unique space, apart from Europe. I made new connections with the current estate to recent foreign policy affairs. This book assists the reader in discovering that American continues be to challenged with international legalities and how we keep the peace, yet defend out sovereignty we built when the Declaration of Independence replaced the Articles of Confederation.

    While I believe that economic and social advancement and development lenses are equally important within this time frame, the legal angle provides the architecture to which the other lenses connect. Gould creates a strong case for re-evaluation on the collective memory of America’s founding. He argues that field scholars often pay too much attention to the American North (p.8). Missing vital neighborhood’s where our Nation’s new sovereignty and liberties, field scholars cannot reclaim and reassert the collective memory of our direct neighborly interactions (the Gulf is pertinent to illustrate this point as we were protecting the Spanish attempting to further their northern boundaries). Pekka Hämäläinen gives the Comanche tribe agency; I feel that Gould is seeking to give back America’s agency by redefining how we examine the American Revolution. This is done not only by reviewing the legalities of a new nation but its interactions mirroring its ‘bigger brother’ the European powers, allowing our pursuit of liberty and freedoms  through developing sovereignty.

  • Among the Powers of the Earth and Native AmericansTaylor Dipoto

    A revision of American history, which places the American revolution in the context of a world governed and informed by the “law of nations” undoubtedly forms the backbone of Eliga H. Gould’s Among the Powers of the Earth. As this idea has been so clearly defined by several other blog posts already (I particularly like the definition posted by 20perez16, which notes that while peace was the ultimate goal, it had the inherent ability to create conflict), I would like to focus on an aspect of the book that I think teaches us about the motivations of the Founding Fathers to become “treaty-worthy” in a concrete way: the treatment of Native Americans.

    20perez16’s post notes that while Gould paid nowhere near the amount of attention to Indians as Comanche Empire did, he “acknowledged that the Indians had some say in their political relations with the Spanish and British.” While I do see Indians as an important part of this text, I would argue that Gould does not give them credit for much agency at all. While Britain made the effort to treat them as friends (if only to their faces), Gould’s examples demonstrate that the British were merely using the Indians as a tool to undermine first American rebels during the revolution, and later as an attempt to prevent American ascendancy to power. In discussing the First Seminole War, Gould notes that the Ghent peace talks included a British bid to guarantee “the rights of a few thousand… nearly one third of the territorial dominion of the United States.” (199) I interpret this as the complete weaponization of the Native Americans. While the British (and Spanish as well) may indeed have given Indians what looked like a say when it came to their relations with the two European powers, the Europeans clearly attempted to manipulate Indian opinions and loyalty to their benefit. The British in particular, treated Indians with respect at times, only to abandon them in treaties when they had finished serving their wartime purposes.

    I would also argue that the context of Gould’s “law of nations” framework of early American history does a good job of explaining the American drive to beat Native Americans into submission in the 19th century. Americans believed the pacification of Native Americans was necessary to complete and maintain their claim to treaty-worthiness among the European powers. Gould notes that while critics may have disapproved of Andrew Jackson’s methods of Indian removal, they universally seemed to share an understanding that Native Americans were inferior. He cites the specific example of Chief Justice John Marshall, who acknowledged the Indians “lacked the standing both of European nations and of colonial people in other parts of the world.” (206) If Americans were unable to achieve complete dominion across their own territory, how could they ever expect respect from European nations? By claiming supreme power for themselves in this territory as a sovereign nation and demonstrating power against internal threats, America could take a step closer to their goal of becoming completely treaty-worthy.

  • Response 2 Among the Powers of the Earthandrewjarralkelly

    One way to become a successful revisionist is to take a topic and flip it on its head. In Among the Power of the Earth, Eliga Gould manages to do this with his study of foreign relations of the emerging American republic from the Seven Years’ War to the Monroe Doctrine. Most histories on this era concentrate on how the American colonists separated the ties that bound them to the British Empire and Europe to build an independent nation. However, Gould argues that the colonists were vigilant in their efforts in building a new nation. Independence only had meaning if Britain and the other European powers were willing to accept the claims that Americans made for their freedom.

    The underlying basis for Gould’s book is the idea of ethno-genesis (the word is not in the book but he brings it up in discussing the book, cited in an interview with the University of New Hampshire). Ethno-genesis is the ability to make our own history without the input of other groups and people. In America, there is an idea that America shaped its own history. He views this idea as kind of silly to say the least. The American colonists always kept in mind that they needed to be viewed properly in the eyes of other nations. In response to David’s post where he talks about people (and I am assuming the American people) having political agency. I agree with this. However, the strength of the agency grows only in what the European powers will allow it. In other words, the European powers affected how much agency the American colonists could display.

    An idea I like that Gould brings up is the idea that America wanted independence in order to pacify their own neighborhood. And I believe that America had the ability to do this properly, unlike the European powers. Aside from the logistical issues for the European powers fighting wars on different continents, they also had theoretical issues. Meaning that Europeans had a way of warfare that did not apply to anyone else but Europeans. This drastically influenced their inability to control their reality on other continents. As I said last week, the European powers had difficulty in adapting their discourse to their reality, especially when it came to their colonial holdings.

    Andrew Jackson has received a lot of negative attention in recent years. He is being removed from the twenty dollar bill and in the eyes of the general American public he is viewed as a racist and a maniac (he hated the Indians because the killed his whole family). Gould’s book puts Jackson in his proper place as a nation builder. Gould gives examples of how Jackson took steps in building respect to the European powers.

  • Eliga H. Gould – Among the Powers of the Earthmark_t_garcia

    Eliga H. Gould Among the Powers of the Earth writes how the United States, after the American Revolution, worked towards becoming a “treaty-worthy” nation among their global neighbors. The American Revolution narrative is often taught centrally through the eyes of the founders of the United States by showing how they formed the country and created the United States Constitution. However, Gould argues that the United States needed to work with its global partners in order to make their own history. He writes, “For the former colonies to take their place among the powers of the earth, they needed European treaties that would turn the rights that Congress had unilaterally proclaimed into rights that other nations world respect.” (p. 2) This new insight using treaties with European nations is similar to Pekka Hamalainen argument on how the Comanche’s used alliances with their neighbors. In order for both to gain the respect of their sovereignty they used the treaties and alliances to obtain it. As other classmates stated, I did take note of the idea of the Law of Nations. During this time period other “enlightened” nations judged other nations through international law, “For many people, Europe’s respect for the international rule of laws was an important part of what is meant to live in modern, enlightened age.” (p. 17)

    Throughout the book Gould demonstrates how the United States needed to mirror European laws in order to gain acceptance. When obtaining American independence Gould states, “In proclaiming their nascent statehood, Americans accepted that their new governments would need to conform to the norms of Europe’s colonial powers, especially the norms enshrined in the public law of European treaties and diplomatic customs.” (p. 113). One example, Gould writes that in order to have a strong nation to work with European nations the American colonies need to represent “one people” in the Declaration of Independence over a “looser association” of people from different states. (p. 11) Gould continues this argument when the delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention of 1787. “…the need for better relations with nations in Europe supplied one of the main reason for drafting a new charter to replace the Articles of Confederation.” (p. 130) A stronger national government would have more control over states in provoking conflicts between European territorial neighbors. Gould was able to strengthen his arguments of utilizing many primary resources. Using letters, journals, legal documents, and international treaties from both American and European sources provided a balance and understanding of arguments from both perspectives. This was a refreshing perspective to read, that a young United States needed international cooperation to shape the country. Gould summarized by stating, “It would be more accurate to say that the revolution enable Americans to make the history that other people were prepared to let them make.” (p. 13)

  • Gould – Among the Powers of the Earth Postsbremer

    Eliga Gould’s book places the nascent American republic into a global scale, arguing that true American independence could only be achieved when the major European countries accepted the United States as an equal. As Gould states, the United States’ desire to “be accepted as a treaty-worthy nation in Europe played a role in the making of the American republic at least as important as the liberal and republican ideologies that have framed scholarship on the American Revolution since the Second World War” (P. 11). In order to this, the early framers of American foreign policy had to work within the restraints of preexisting frameworks established by earlier European treaties. As 20perez16 points out, of great importance to this process is the idea of an internationally recognized law, the “law of nations,” that applied to all major, established nations. This law of nations was composed of the various systems of treaties and customs that Europeans, and now Americans, used to wage war and make peace with others (P. 5). The law of nations applied only to the “civilized” powers, however. This is illustrated in Gould’s discussion of Indians, stating that various contemporary white authors expressed fear and dislike for Indians because they disregarded European treaties, because of their independence from the governments that they supposedly served, and for their deficiency in the “moral sentiments upon which the customary law of nations depended” (P. 33). According to Gould, because various Indian groups did not adhere to the long-established rule of nations, they were therefore placed outside of its confines. This is again the case in Gould’s discussion of pirates, smugglers, and slaves. Gould’s book is very much a description of how the early American Republic came to control these various peoples.

    Echoing David’s sentiments regarding Gould’s book, in the previous two classes I found the arguments of Hodes and Hamalainen difficult to accept. Gould, however, did not present me with this issue. As many others have commented on, his heavy use of primary sources, including letters and the words of the various treaties that he discusses, presents a powerful and effective argument that until now has largely not been told. Gould’s strong emphasis on legal history brings up new ways to think about the developing American Republic, and emerging empire. In particular, the idea of what it means to be “treaty-worthy.” Gould does an excellent job of showing what it took for the United States to gain legitimacy and become “treaty-worthy” over the course of the years from the Seven Years War to the enacting of the Monroe Doctrine. Gould’s argument challenges the long-held notion that following the American Revolution, the United States controlled their own path and forged their own destiny. However, like Morgan points out, this was far from the case, due to Gould’s insistence that European powers dictated what the United States did and said. I found that Gould’s book backs up the claim that the War of 1812 was very much the second war for independence considering that Gould believes America didn’t gain true independence until Monroe enacted his famous doctrine, signifying that the era of “European colonialism in the Western Hemisphere was over and that the Republic’s citizens could enjoy the fruits of peace” (P. 212). In his introduction Gould states that it is his hope that his book will convey a new a deeper understanding of what the American Revolution meant. In my opinion, I think he did just that.

  • Gould – Building a European Power in Americadshanebeck

    Eliga Gould presented a powerful argument for the establishment of not just the American nation’s independence, but essentially the structuring of a fledgling European Empire. Gould’s argument begins from the moment the British government attempted to “make Americans more accountable to the Crown’s treaties in Europe.” (pp. 6) He continued through the young republic’s defense of slavery as America–unable to defend the morality of the slave trade–are able to establish a foundation of property ownership that was understood as “legal” in both European and American courts. Gould finishes with a thorough accounting of the issues of nationhood surrounding the War of 1812 and subsequent treaties with Britain, Spain, and France. Throughout the entire work, Gould seamlessly weaves his central argument that in order to be seen as a legitimate nation, the United States had to work within the frameworks of European treaties and gain acceptance from European nations as to the Union’s legitimacy. It was the European frameworks and legal standings of treaty working that allowed the United States to become an independent nation and, eventually, their own empire.

    While last week Diana and I struggled to completely accept Hamalainen’s argument for a Comanche empire in the Southwest, Gould does not leave me with the same feelings of a stretched argument. There are potential holes as to how far European treaties truly could stretch or bind Americans (especially when considering the distance between European and American land masses). Overall, I felt as if Gould provided a very strong argument for a people having powerful political agency in establishing their own corner of the world order. Whereas Diana and I struggled with the idea that the Comanche drove or were actors in their rise to prominence, I did not feel as if Gould had the same struggles. He especially worked well with the idea that the Union grew in strength throughout the time period following the revolution and highlighted by the War of 1812. Perhaps the strongest argument came with the actions of Andrew Jackson in Florida in his execution of two British officers. Jackson may have taken a risk, but it was a calculated power play by a fledgling nation that was determined to be recognized as any other European power and it worked. (180-183) It might perhaps be unfair to Hamalainen as he was dealing with an “empire” that quickly rose and fell while Gould had the benefit of hundreds of years of American “imperial” growth (quotes only because we still are struggling with the definition of “empire”). Clearly the Americans have been able to sustain, grow, and become one of the more dominant world forces (not just localized to one area). Gould gives us a great foundation for discussion of European understandings of treaties and political legitimacy in the growing of that power.

  • Discussion Post #1: Among the Powers of the Earth by Eliga H. Gouldmorganstocks

    Among the Powers of the Earth by Eliga H. Gould

          In his book, Eliga Gould presented the American Revolution and the beginning of the United States through a world view, a depiction that strays from the traditional narrative portraying the United States to be a fully sovereign and independent nation from its founding. As Victoria already asserted, this text shows the “global context” surrounding the creation of the United States, which reveals a more complex construction of how the United States came to be. Instead of looking at the U.S. from the states outward like most American history books that I have read, he analyzed its development as a nation from its interactions with more established powers, particularly the ones that it had to break from in order to become a nation. While still maintaining an American-focused subject, he utilized many international and global sources, particularly emphasizing treaties and letters showing the interactions between countries that emphasized the laws of nations. This book highlighted the dependency of the emerging country on England and European countries to legitimize it and give it power and standing within the world. Rather than the United States’ gaining acceptance as an equal for transforming from colony to nation, this country had to conform to laws and customs between nations to gradually be seen as worthy of being interacted with.  

         In previous American history classes, I have heard the American Revolution referred to as a “conservative” revolution, as the power simply shifted from one privileged class to the next.  Unlike other and more transformative revolutions, like the French, Haitian or Russian Revolutions, this nation did not stray too far from its origins. Yet, I believe that Gould takes his analysis a step further when he portrays America as conflicted right after the separation, desperate to be a power and accepted as an equal, but also needing to appease European nations who held the power to approve. In this book, Gould stated that America’s independence could not be achieved “unilaterally”  due to its initial branding as a rebellion (114). They relied on the world to define them as an actual and legitimate nation. Gould stated that, “Today, no matter where within the United States they happen to live, Americans mark July 4, 1776, as the moment their history as an independent nation began. What we sometimes forget- though people at the time knew it- it that United States could not become the nation that Americans imagined without the consent of other nations and people” (2). This book challenged the notion that America was exceptional from the absolute beginning and instead show it as a weaker and needy country.

         Gould continues this depiction of the American Revolution as conservative by discussing the continuity of policies between the English and American possession. One way the U.S. accomplished this was by trying to make themselves into a “treaty-worthy” nation or one that would be peaceful with other countries in order to be accepted (12).  In order to do this, they had to sustain peaceful borders and at which point, Europe could see them as possessing “internal tranquility” and finally view them as alike (140). Like Victoria, I also found the theme or feature of being a treaty worthy country quite prevalent. In one instance, England used treaties to create moral codes between nations (22). In another, they used it to justify slavery, as it was taken a treaty between the West and Africa (67, 71). Moreover, Gould also referred to the early union as a treaty between states, demonstrating that this concept permeated from Europe to the America (133). While I had never heard of this point of view before, it makes sense in a broader scope of European history that contains numerous treaties and formalized agreements between nations. It would, then, make sense that the United States would follow in the same footsteps and continue to define itself like its predecessor. Although Gould’s argument that their existed continuity between Europe and the United States did not surprise me, I found his use of international documents and his “outside in” perspective to be a fresh take on the revolution and founding of the United States.

  • Post #2: Among the Powers of the Earth20perez16

    Eliga H. Gould’s Among the Powers of the Earth proposed a new broader understanding of the American Revolution. The book placed a young United States into a global context, where it needed the approval of other European nations to be considered a true country. Instead of viewing the Revolution as an isolated colonial rebellion, Gould argued that this event pushed Americans to seek international power. The country needed “to be accepted as a free and independent nation in Europe” and also sought “the right of its citizens to pacify and control what, from a European standpoint, was still a colonial periphery” (2). America had to gradually become a unified country capable of making European treaties and maintaining peaceful diplomatic relations before other countries considered it a nation.
    One interesting theme I found in the book was the idea of international law or the “law of nations.” This was a set of diplomatic rules followed by the colonial empires both in times of war and peace (5). The “law of nations” was significant because it spanned across different countries and colonies, regardless of a nation’s distinct laws. For instance, Britain attempted to modify these rules when it tried to eliminate the slave trade in America and the rest of the colonial world during the early nineteenth century (173-174). The “law of nations” allowed countries to adhere to certain rules peacefully, but it also had the potential to create conflict when it interfered with the sovereignty of individual nations.
    Gould not only presented the significance of the American Revolution on a global scale, he also dealt with the international history of slavery. By way of contrast, Slavery and Public History (edited by James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton) focused on the American aspects of slavery and recent controversies when historians presented such difficult history in public historical settings. While the Hortons’ book provided a national understanding of slavery, Gould examined slavery’s historical role from an international perspective. In addition, the book did not focus on the Indian tribes as much as in Hamalainen’s Comanche Empire. However, Gould acknowledged that the Indians had some say in their political relations with the Spanish and British.
    Gould utilized several sources including pamphlets, letters, government documents, newspaper statements, and other political writings/books from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His many examples of correspondence and political statements were helpful for understanding the opposing views between the Americans and the Europeans. Gould’s consistent usage of primary sources throughout the book emphasized the complex nature of the United States’ growing status as a treaty-worthy nation.
    Although Americans wanted to establish a separate Republic, they also had to adapt their foreign policy to match the changing political climate of the early nineteenth century. In general, Gould’s book retold early American history as a narrative based on the country’s search for peaceful international relations.

  • The Early Republic: A Look Into the Comanche Empire and French Louisianabeirne

    David A. Beirne

    HIST 571T

    Dr. Shrout

    31 August 2016

    The Early Republic: A Look Into the Comanche Empire and French Louisiana

    Two histories pertaining to developments in early eighteenth-century North America are Sophie White’s article “Massacre, Mardi Gras, and Torture in Early New Orleans” and Pekka Hämäläinen’s book The Comanche Empire. White, highlighting French Louisiana between 1729 and 1731, and Hämäläinen, addressing the surrounding decades that marked the height of the Comanche Empire (notably not ‘tribe,’ ‘peoples,’ etc.), successfully offer alternative analytical approaches that reveal a region anything but dominated by the whims of encroaching colonial interests. In these narratives, there is no guarantee that the British colonies that would form the United States were destined to march across the continent, nor were the land’s competing powers solely European. The Comanche and Natchez prove that there was nothing inherently manifest about Manifest Destiny.

    The title of White’s 2013 article, “Massacre, Mardi Gras, and Torture in Early New Orleans,” represents the three demarcations of Marc-Antoine Caillot’s account of his time as a clerk for the Company of the Indies in French Louisiana from 1729 to 1731. (White 497) Caillot began by recounting the 1729 Natchez Indian massacre of French colonists that claimed 237 lives, continued by providing “he earliest known account of a Mardi Gras masquerade in New Orleans,” before cutting immediately to the torture of a Natchez woman by a communal gathering of the Tunica tribe and French settlers. (White 497)  Though one may not expect the telling of The Big Easy’s first Fat Monday dress-up to commence and end with scenarios of massacre and torture, White effectively illustrates how integrally linked incidents of “hedonism, feasting, and cross-gender disguises” were in the origins of an American tradition enjoyed nearly three-hundred years hence. (White 497)
    Rather than an arena where European colonial powers steamrolled backwards indigenous populations, both White and Hämäläinen present Native American populations as competitive and not infrequently victorious players in power relations in the early eighteenth-century North American southwest. In matters of trade, territorial politics and cultural influence, tribes like the Comanches and the Natchez exercised significant agency in their contact with French, Spanish and intertribal interests across a borderlands incessantly in flux. While some of these engagements were fruitful for both sides, this region, in Hämäläinen’s words, “was a violent and traumatic place where Natives and newcomers saw one another more as strangers and adversaries than as co-creators of a common world.” (Hämäläinen 8)

    Both authors focus on objects and the material world in the lives of colonists and Indians, manifesting a growing trend among cultural historians in employing contemporary understandings of the meanings and usages of ‘things’ to illustrate broader period leitmotifs. Hämäläinen displays, for instance, how different interpretations of the material world contributed to a differing concepts of power between the Comanches and Europeans. “The idea of land as a form of private revenue-producing property was absent in Comanche culture, and livestock and slaves in a sense took the place of landed private property.” (Hämäläinen 5) White continues with another analysis of ‘things,’ declaring that “lothing is never simply the blandly functional or frivolously fashionable covering of the body,” but rather is active in “creating, affirming, and upholding identity on a daily basis.” (White 499) What one dons is especially significant during times of change or ambiguity, and life was nothing if not uncertain in the Comanche Empire and French Louisiana. A constant French anxiety in the New World regarded their ability to maintain their “precarious Frenchness” in spite of the threat of “creolization,” or the gradual adopting of native culture. (White 499, 500)

    The only thing worse than becoming native was being destroyed by them. The beginning of Caillot’s narrative surrounding the first Mardi Gras is his telling of the 1729 Natchez massacre. Those who were not killed and tortured were kidnapped, stripped (whereby the Natchez stole “their sartorial signs of Frenchness”) and returned for ransom back to New Orleans near-to-‘buck naked.’ (White 497) If the wearing of clothing could garner power, then the removal of clothing, particularly in being compelled, represented the removal of such. The prisoners of the Natchez massacre, upon their return to New Orleans, were gratefully transformed once again, this time to their former identities upon the receiving new French clothes (for a fee, of course). (White 498) In the Natchez stealing and appropriating of French clothing, the tribe confounded increasingly fragile boundaries of identity among the French settlers.
    With French becoming captives, not to mention some African slaves being set free by the Natchez, a metamorphoses in clothing could signify a return to normalcy for a world gone mad. “When participants reverted to normative roles, as they inevitably did, the effect was to reaffirm, restore, and strengthen the status quo.” (White 500) Caillot’s next tale, another account that “alternated the passivity of being stripped with the agency of getting re-dressed (or dressed up),” was the first recorded New Orleans Fat Tuesday masquerade. (White 498) Caillot claims that the happening was his idea, and preceding its telling with his account of the Natchez massacre spoke to his understanding of the situation of his fellow countrymen. (White 497, 500) In the masquerade, class, gender, religious and racial roles were reversed (“ome, like Caillot, masked as women (one as an amazon)”), which White attributes to the attempt at showing the transient nature of clothes and identity as well as the calming effect that a return to “habits ordinaires,” or ordinary clothing, can have. (White 512, 538) “Frenchness itself was a construct, and one that colonists such as Caillot. . . may have experienced more acutely once transplanted to the colonies, where they were confronted with the otherness of Indians.” (White 537)

    Caillot’s story concludes with the day after Easter in 1730, where the Tunica tribe, along with some French colonists, tortured a Natchez woman hanging within a square frame of wooden beams, torching successive parts of her body while feasting on others. (White 497, 498) Referencing “the diplomatic significance of gifts of human bodies” to a number of Native American tribes, White details how ...

  • Comancheria, history’s invisible empire.Robert Huitrado

    This was a very interesting article/book; I never knew there was so much history on the Comanche tribe. I for one never really knew much about them prior to reading this book. Growing up in the Los Angeles County school system, Native American history was limited, and limited to sporadic Indian-American events in time. These moments included Pocahontas and her tribe, the Iroquois and Huron during the French and Indian Wars, President Jackson and the Cherokee Trail of Tears, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse at the Little Big Horn, Geronimo and his guerrilla fighters against the US cavalry, and finally Wounded Knee. This totally sums up my pre-college native American exposure, minus what I learned from movies, documentaries, TV shows and books. With that said, I found this book to be extremely informative and illuminating considering my Southwest knowledge, pre-college, consisted of: the story of the Alamo, some knowledge on Mexican/Spanish settlements in the region, Pueblo Indians, Tombstone, the Mexican-American War, and Geronimo. So, yes, my Southwest history was also lacking for sure.

    Despite my above lack of knowledge on the Comanche and the Southwest, I was amazed that such a prominent and politically powerful native tribe could have such an effect on the surrounding Anglo settlements and Indian societies. As was said on pages 3-4, “the Comanche empire was not a rigid structure held together by a single central authority, nor was it an entity that could be displayed on a map as a solid block with clear-cut borders.” As such, the Euro-American empires/republics claimed vast expanses of land, with much of it north of Mexico City, and east of Louisiana, already claimed and populated by native tribes. As an example, if we look at a map of New Spain from the 1600-1800s, Spain claims all of the Southwest, including parts of Nevada, California, Utah, and Colorado depending on the map, yet there was no Spanish citizenry in a majority of these vast regions. In addition, I gathered from Hamalainen’s book that when the Comanche’s first met the Euro-Americans, nothing but bad blood resulted from it. On page 2, he mentioned that the Comanche’s, “manipulated and exploited the colonial outposts in New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and northern Mexico…extracted resources and labor from their Euro-American and Indian neighbors through thievery and tribute. the Comanche empire was powered by violence…” These acts were not taken kindly by their neighbors; as such, violence continued into the late 1800s.

    Similar to what Diana and David wrote, I struggled to find proof and evidence to Hamalainen’s claims that the Comanche’s were a legitimate threat to Euro-American advances and settlement in the Southwest. He gives an example on page 2, that, “Without fully recognizing it, the Spaniards, French, Mexicans, and Anglo-Americans were all restrained and overshadowed in the continent’s center by an indigenous empire.” In addition, he claims, the Comanche were able “to reduce Euro-American colonial regimes to building blocks of their own dominant position.” (pg, 3) On one hand, he does does give evidence that the local natives and encroaching Euro-Americans were too busy building their own outpost/settlements and fighting each other to mount a cohesive resistance against their invasion of the Southwest. (pg, 19) Yet it must be understood that the Euro-Americans and local Indians had their own agendas, and fighting a new native enemy was probably not one of them. Spain, France and England were always jostling for land, resources, positon, and had little time for some insignificant native tribe on the far flung frontier; they had world economics at their forefront. The Americans had to deal with economic downturns, fighting England twice, expanding into Louisiana, and fighting a civil war. So, looking at the evidence the author pieced together, I understand his reasoning and point, but the region the Comanches invaded was militarily weak and undermanned, Euro-American wise. The settlements in New Mexico especially experienced the ferocity of their attacks. It was not until the Americans in the mid-to-late 1800s made a cohesive effort to annex the Southwest did the Comanche’s go against a powerful military force.

    Comanche Empire was a well-written book, especially the three chapters we were to read. Hamalainen painstakingly pieced together the history of one of the Southwest’s most militarily, financially, and economically powerful Indian tribes. The chapters Conquest and New Order were split into Comanche history and Euro-American history, which gave us a deep insight into the Comanche tribe saga. Pekka Hamalainen refers to the Comanche’s as an “Empire,” yet, his later descriptions make them look and sound like a Confederacy like the Iroquois, because the “empire” was made up of individual bands of Comanche’s. So, in essence, Comancheria should be referred to as The Comancheria Confederacy, not the Comanche Empire. Despite this title issue, Comanche Empire, meticulously covers and recounts the vast trade networks the Comanche established. As seen on page 72, the Comanches, “built an exceptionally comprehensive import structure… they received manufactured goods … from five colonial markets…from British Canada, Illinois (Spanish Upper Louisiana,) Spanish Lower Louisiana, British West Florida, and Spanish New Mexico.” The Comanche trade network was based on their extensive horse husbandry and buffalo hide trade with these other areas. This book was a strong testament to the strength of the Comanche tribe, not only militarily, but also economically.  They were a power house of a people who have been overlooked in the history of the American Southwest, and should be recognized and given the respect they deserve.

  • Comanche Empire – Response #1Diana Nguyen

    Having known next to nothing about the Comanche Indians and their rise to power against the Euro-American colonists during the eighteenth and nineteenth century, I was intrigued by the possibility of a group of Native Americans who would come to expand their “empire,” dictate, and prosper in the American Southwest while European colonists resisted and struggled to survive against these formidable hunter-gatherers (pg. 1). Throughout the book, Hämäläinen constantly reinforced the idea of the Southwest as a “violent and traumatic place where Natives and newcomers saw one another more as strangers and adversaries than as co-creators of a common world” (pg. 8). I found the intercultural relationship between the Comanche and Euro-Americans to be particularly interesting; for example, although the Comanches cooperated and compromised with them, their relationship remained grounded in conflict and exploitation. In addition to misunderstandings between one another, “Euro-Americans appeared greedy, arrogant, bigoted, and grotesquely boorish to Comanche sensibilities” (pg. 8).

    Similar to David’s response, I also grew skeptical about Pekka Hämäläinen’s claim that the Comanche Empire reached unparalleled heights of political and economic influence in the nineteenth century and was able to significantly threaten and challenge the Euro-American conquest of North America. Despite adopting tactics that were innately European into their strategies and using them against their enemies, the Comanche never attempted to build a European-style imperial system. Instead, they simply coexisted, controlled, and exploited others through the use of numerous bands and divisions (pg. 4). Although the use of European technology such as horses, guns, and iron tools played an important role in the Comanches’ strategic advantages and ability to stay in power, I struggled to understand what exactly made the Comanche Empire stand out from other Native groups in the region who also fought against Euro-American expansion and were similarly introduced to the same tools at the time.

    While The Comanche Empire reads as a very well written and detailed scholarly work that not only traces the Comanche from its origins among the Shoshones but also to their arrival and rise to power in the Southwest, I found that Hämäläinen never adequately defines the meaning of “empire” in his book, failed to sustain his central argument that the Comanches were an empire in the first place, and nor does he ever go into detail on the vital role the Comanche played in shaping the future of the American Southwest. Instead, they simply came across as one of the many Native American groups in the Southwest who took advantage of the rivalry between Spain and France and exploited it.

    Nevertheless, Hämäläinen’s ability captured the fundamental nature of the Comanche Empire from its notable beginnings as a small tribe of hunter-gatherers to its portrayal as a potential threat to Europeans, Americans, and other Native societies alike made for a compelling read. The fact that the Comanches were quick to learn from their allies and adjusted to change made them formidable opponents to both Euro-Americans and other indigenous groups in the nineteenth century.

  • Navigating Comanche Narration with Modern Storytelling: Influencing Collective Memory in the Southwestqueenlove35

    Key Quote:  “Comanche bands and division formed an internally fluid but externally coherent collation that accomplished through a creative blending of violence, diplomacy, extortion, trade, and kinship politics what more rigidly structured expires have achieved through direct political control: they imposed their will upon neighboring polities, harness the economic potential of other societies for their own use, and persuade their rivals to adopt and accept their customs and norms (p4).

    Key Terms: Comanche Imperialism, Comanche Barrier, Comanche Ascendancy, Comancheria, “Cameo” theory of history, Frontier Exchange Economies, David Weber, Ross Frank, Andres Resendez, Ned Blackhawk, Gary Clayton Anderson, James Brooks, Upstreaming, Sidestreaming, Bruce Trigger, Aggressive Power Politics


    The Comanche Empire by Pekka Hamalainen provides new southwestern scholarship, which focuses on the Comanche Indian tribe as a calculated political force that managed southwestern territory. Hamalainen asserts that the Comancheria were an aggressive, violent group utilizing political and power flexibility to assert imperial dominance. This scholarship offers numerous comparisons and some differences to Spanish colonization. Arguing his scholarship centers within previous Southwestern Indian Agency, Hamalainen urges readers to “look at Native policies toward colonial powers as more than defensive strategies of resistance and containment,” (p7). This non-linear perspective provides scholarship to illustrate a Non-Anglo perspective.  Classifying the southwest as a ‘zone for cultural interpenetration’ and a socially charged space provides new historians to recast the southwest as an dynamic power, both politically and economically. The author utilizes works of Weber, Frank, Resendez, Blackhawk, Brooks, but relies heavily on Fredrick Hoxie’s method of an ‘cookbook ethnohistory’(p14), which plays up aspects of Comanche Behavior.

    This reading contradicts itself in places, but provides a suggestive perspective to the political prowess of the Comanche Empire. Hamalainen utilizes primary sources from Spanish, French, Mexican and Anglo-American documents to create a stereoscopic vision of the Comancheria. He utilizes these sources to get a feel of the Comanche objectives during their encounters with their ‘co-creators of the common world’ (p8). However, he mentions that their intentions as imperialist are calculated, key players forcing newbie colonizers to compete for southwest resources. If the Comanche Indians were truly the calculative, aggressive and manipulative with their co-creators, then how are all of these encounters with Spanish, French, Mexican and Anglo-Americans similar enough to gauge and suggest their motives? Hamalainen suggests that the Comanche Indians and Euro-Americans understood each other too well and did not like what each other had in mind (in terms of southwestern expansion). If it is really worth mentioning or suggesting that they were ‘too much alike’ then why go to the extensive efforts to make both the Comanche and co-creators voice different? It is to illustrate that the Comanche Indians as imperialist in the colonial world. My only issue really is not the fault of the author but rather the evidence utilized. Hamalainen states that the evidence is ‘invariably infected with gaps, accidental misreadings and intentional misconstructions’ (p13). When reading the modern tones and suggestive wording through both chapters, you can visually see Hamalaienen struggle with the fragmentary pieces of Comanche encounters and life. This is most apparent when he mentions modern-worded perspectives (p 50, 73) and gender bifurcation like the masculine dishonor of losing one’s wife or children in battle. While this is an excellent and fresh perceptive on southwestern history, I believe Hamalaienen stains to alter the collective memory of tribal Native American groups utilized modern tones and wider known histories of Spanish colonization efforts. Hodes and Hamalaienen both deploy storytelling techniques, which were needed in both cases of evidence, to illustrate an effective, capturing and plausible new narrative.

  • Post #1: Comanche Empire20perez16

    Pekka Hamalainen’s Comanche Empire gave an alternative perspective of the colonial Southwest. The Comanche can be viewed as an empire even though their nomadic lifestyle may not have matched other imperial attempts occurring in the eighteenth century (2-4). This book made it clear that the Comanche people were capable of diplomatic relations and economic expansion that made them a good candidate to be a colonial power among other European nations. The Comanche people knew how to take advantage by expanding and benefiting from the other powers living around them. Hamalainen’s argument is valid because the Comanche people outlasted the colonial attempts of Spain and France in North America.
    After reading the Comanche Empire, I gained a better understanding of the complex character of the Comanche people. Instead of describing the Southwest strictly through the lens of the European colonial powers, Hamalainen attempted to create a more dynamic picture of the Comanche way of life. These people may have been great horsemen and raiders, yet Hamalainen went even further to understand their cultural, political, and economic reasons for their actions. For example, the Comanche moved further into Spain’s Texas territory so they could have a good supply of grass for their horses (57). This and other examples helped me identify the human agency of the Comanche that is often disregarded in past history. The Comanche empire worked so well because it adapted to its changing environment and established a dominant presence in the early Southwest.
    I also found that Hamalainen not only described a complex Comanche group, but he also clearly explained the Spanish perspective of the Southwest. Both the Comanche and the Spanish tend to be understood through stereotypes. What I read in these excerpts is that these two interacted with each other trying to find ways to live peaceably together. For the Comanche, trade and gifts were important aspects of their economic and cultural practices. The Spanish Governor Cachupin recognized the need to compromise by giving the Comanche gifts and returning captives in return for peaceful trading in Taos (53-55). While the Spanish did not colonize the Southwest to their best advantage, Cachupin demonstrated one instance where cooperation with the Comanche could lead to peaceful relations.
    I agree with Alyssa and her discussion of cameo appearances in history. Native Americans have been set aside in written history and they only have an occasional presence in the story of American History. Hamalainen also explained that historians “have to turn the telescope around and create models that allows us to look at Native policies toward colonial powers as more than defensive strategies of resistance and containment” (7). Past historiography has placed the Native Americans on the outskirts of Southwest history. Hamalainen challenged that interpretation by presenting the Comanche as an empire that was a strong power in the west even before the United States reached them.
    Hamalainen’s Comanche Empire provided a different approach than is normal for previous Southwest or American histories. It allowed me to see that the United States was not the only dominant power in North America. There were other colonial efforts in existence by Europeans and non-Europeans even before the United States became a country.

  • Comanche Empire response #1vannoyj

    In The Comanche Empire, Pekka Hämäläine provides a new perspective on imperialism in the Southwest and Plains of the United States. The Comanche Nation’s ability to adjust to changes, both politically and culturally, allowed them to not just survive, but thrive and eventually become a power to be reckoned with. The Comanche used strength and fear to essentially limit the ability of the Spanish government in their quest for territorial expansion. It is this power and ability to have the Spanish government change their tactics in dealing with the Comanche nation that lends credibility to Hämäläine’s claim of the Comanche being an Imperial power.
    The ethnohistorical approach taken by Hämäläine in the research of this subject is fascinating. I was wary of his use of Atlantic history techniques but further reading showed that this technique is indeed valid. The way Hämäläine worked his documents gave him an ability to show the agency of the Comanche nation in their dealings with the Spanish, French and other Native American Nations. Hämäläine’s use of Spanish documents and letters written by settlers and missionaries helps in proving much of his claim. The Comanche were a forceful power that provoked anxiety among government officials.
    I found myself intrigued by how Hämäläine went about proving his claims. Using the documentation from outside the Comanche Nation to prove his points strikes home. In researching pre-colonial and colonial period history, I am often striving to find just an ounce of documentation that may help provide information into my subject. By stepping out of the box in his research, Hämäläine gains the ability to step out of the box in his research style.
    The breadth of area covered stood out to me. The mobility of the Comanche in striving to widen their territory really shocked me. The breadth of their empire and the ability to have other nations and territories maneuver around their area really embraces Hämäläine’s claim to a Comanche Imperial West.
    The focus of the Spanish government also lends credibility to Hämäläine’s claim. That the government and missionaries took the time to mention their dealings with the Comanche time and again shows how powerful the Comanche Nation had become. What really struck me in the reading was the care taken by the New Mexico governor Tomás Vélez Cachupín. The care he took in explaining protocol to his successor speaks volumes in regards to the respect that the Comanche commanded.
    I believe this new focus in history is exciting and makes me remember history classes in junior high and high school. The lack of Native Americans mentioned in my history books or the teacher’s lectures brings home how much this new research avenue is necessary.

  • Discussion Questions for the Comanche Empire20perez16

    1. There are usually many stereotypes attributed to the Comanche and Native Americans in general. What was your original perception of Southwest history and the Comanche before you read this book?

    2. How did this reading either enhance or change your understanding of the Comanche people?

    3. What did you think of Hamalainen’s approach to the history of the southwest? Is it useful to start from the Native American perspective and look outward to the European colonists? Why or why not?

    4. Would you describe the Comanche people as an empire after reading Hamlainen? Why or why not? What were some imperial qualities of the Comanche?

  • Post #1 – Comanche Empiredshanebeck

    Pekka Hamalainen made a strong case for a changed perspective of the American Southwest during Spanish and French colonization. Especially having read Brooks’ Captives and Cousins, I found myself very skeptical of the argument that the Comanche were the driving force of imperial control in such a vast, diverse, and changing landscape such as the Southwest. The idea that the Comanche empire did not just stall Spanish and French expansion but built their own empire “that subdued, exploited, marginalized, co-opted” and otherwise dominated a region with the kind of power that Hamalainen argued definitely peaked my interest (pg. 3). After finishing the introduction I was not entirely sure that I was willing to support the claim that the Comanche Empire could possibly stand out above the variety of native groups vying for influence among the clash of European encroachment. It was a strong thesis to start from and would require substantial evidence in order to prove.
    As a whole, Hamalainen delivered a powerful narrative of a Comanche people that were adaptive to the environments in which they were surrounded or entered. I have to say that the argument for military might was not in question as Hamalainen clearly laid out the power the Comanche were able to gain over the use of horses and European weaponry. However, what caught my eye was the discussion about economic power that surrounded the trade and commerce networks that the Comanche set up or exploited throughout their empire. It was a very compelling case that Hamalainen made about how the Comanche were able to leverage their domination of horses on their lands to use it as a piece of capital. Comanche tribes did not have manufacturing but they were able to use the horse as a powerful chip in entering dominating positions of trade throughout the Southwest (pg. 72-73).
    I felt as if there were some gaps or at least omissions from the argument that could have either supported Hamalainen or perhaps decreased the strength of his thesis. In multiple cases of Comanche expansion or growth–1750s-60s and then again in the 1770s-80s–there were major factors leading to pressure upon other groups on the fringes of the empire. There could be a case made that the Comanche were able to either leverage the turmoil due to their geographically centralized location and powerful networks of diplomacy and trade; or it could be argued that they were just quicker to adapt. Were Comanches able to use the destruction of the French empire and Spanish empires respectively because of their superior political, economic, and military jockeying? Or were Comanche just able to adapt and good at taking advantage of other’s misfortune? While Hamalainen comments on these issues, he does not spend a significant amount of time discussing the effects of both the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War and connecting it to Comanche growth or decline.

  • Comanche Empire Responsealy692

    The Comanche Empire by Pekka Hämäläine offered new insight in looking at colonialism within the Americas. Similar to other tales of colonialism, Hämäläine focuses on the tale of expansion, resistance, conquest, and failure, but with a different twist. Rather then associating these factors with European expansion they can also be associated with Indian expansion. Like most empires, “it was first and foremost an economic construction” (Hämäläine 2). This was an interesting point for me as it provided a new interruption of colonialism that I was unaware. It adds to the bigger picture in that we as historians are not just watching a European domination in the colonies, but there were other types of colonialism taking place as well.

    Another interesting point Hämäläine illustrates in the reading is “ the ‘cameo’ theory of history’: indigenous people make dramatic entrances, stay briefly on the stage, and then fade out as the main saga of European expansion resumes, barely affected by the interruption” (Hämäläine 6). I find this aspect so interesting and true when I look back at my understanding of American History. Rather than being to harsh maybe with public school education, other than the large battles fought between the colonies and the Indians, or the forced migration of Indians from their native lands, rarely to do I remember any depth in studying the Indians in America. Similar to what Hämäläine illustrates is that most textbooks write Indians in briefly, scattered amongst the text pages when relevant or supports the broader picture, and soon after they disappear and the European events dominate the majority of information portrayed in the textbook.

    Rather than following the status quo, Hämäläine focuses on offering new insights by being the devils advocate in the common assumptions regarding indigenous people, colonialism, and expansion that changed the forefront of American history. Historians are relooking at the history of the frontier, Hämäläine being one of them, in order to restudy the history of Indian-Euro colonial relations during this time. On the grander level of things, Hämäläine highlights Comanche’s as an Empire by showing the same factors that pushed the colonies. These factors can be defined as goods, ideas, “and the people across ecological, ethnic, and political boundaries, creating transnational networks of violence and exchange that defied the more rigid spatial arrangements Euro-American powers” (Hämäläine 8).

    Overall in my examination of the book, I found it be refreshing and offered a new perspective of assessing the history of the Southwest. Different from other scholars, Hämäläine offers the idea equestrianism and economy in order to make the case that Comanche’s were also empire builders during the same time of European states. Based on my review of Hämäläine work in association with other scholarly analysis’s of his work, he is biggest argument happens to also be his biggest misgiving in arguing his thesis. Hämäläine is the first in his field to argue how the Comanche’s can we seen as a dominate empire in the southwest. Empire is linked to colonialism and expansion based on Hämäläine interruption, while removing institutional meanings from the word, when in most cases empire is associated in ruling large amount of territory, more than one country and should rule over a significant amount of people. When assessing the Comanche’s on the basic ideas of empire, Hämäläine argument falls short and is not sufficient enough to call the Comanche’s an Empire.

    What do you think after reading  the different sections?

  • Comanche Empire ResponseTaylor Dipoto

    The “body” chapters (2 and 3) of Comanche Empire that we were assigned were undoubtedly interesting, and did quite a good job of expanding upon author Hämäläinen’s general argument that Comanches were able to establish a Southwestern “empire” by exploiting Spanish and French colonies for their own gain. At times I feel like these chapters do veer into a bit of redundancy; it seems that the conclusion to every section, whether about the Comanche-Apache Wars, Western Comanches’ rise to power in New Mexico, or Eastern Comanches’ similar rise in Texas, was some variation on the idea that Comanches succeeded due to their economic prowess and Spain’s tendency to underestimate them.

    What I absolutely love about this book however, is the introduction. Hämäläinen’s argument and the overall trajectory of his work is laid out so clearly that it is impossible to miss any of the major points he makes (I assume that because the major arguments of first two chapters were part of his introductory remarks, the rest of the book flows this way as well). He also presents a very comprehensive and widespread historiography that does not just situate Comanche Empire within the confines of 19th Century America, but within a much wider field that I feel underscores the importance of his work. His discussions of important current historians in his specific field, as well as more famous (although often considered “outdated”) historians and ideas such as Frederick Jackson Turner and the Frontier Thesis. This wide-ranging examination of not only the important works in the field, but how they specifically inform and diverge from Hämäläinen’s own work, makes the importance and place of his book very clear. Drawing upon relatively recent scholarship that sees Native Americans as powerful historical actors with agency, and combining it with cultural history as well as an amalgamation of other ideas, he equates Comanche dominance in the Southwest with the classic idea of an empire.

    In his historiography, Hämäläinen acknowledges that he engages in “the broader debates about colonialism, frontiers, and borderlands in the Americas” (6), but I would argue that he sells himself short – it reaches further than just the Americas. By considering the Comanches an empire, I think he opens his work up for comparison with world and European history as well. Andrew mentioned in his response a comparison of sorts: the Comanches were able to modify their worldview in order to advance, while it was impossible for Spanish colonial leaders to change theirs due to their deep-seated conviction that not only the Comanches, but Indians in general, were somehow inferior despite their losses at Comanche hands. This is basically the extent of Hämäläinen’s comparisons. I think this idea of comparisons could be taken further by future historians: by examining the Comanches alongside more traditionally studied empires, they could possibly come to new conclusions regarding the characteristics of empires as a whole.

  • Response 1 Comanche Empireandrewjarralkelly

    The reading of Comanche Empire by Pekka Hämäläinen brought up several interesting factors. First, is the idea of what an “empire” is. Empire usually does not describe spaces controlled by Native people. However, Hämäläinen describes the Comanches with imperial characteristics, such as economics, politics, and cultural dimensions. He continues the use of empire to show spatial organization. Hämäläinen helps us to rethink the spatial organization that shaped and were produced by the interactions between the Comanches, the Spanish, Americans, French, Mexicans, and other Native peoples on the Great Plains. Hämäläinen challenges the assumptions about how Native polities and imperial powers though about territorial claims and how they employed more nuanced spatial strategies to assert their cultural influence, authority, and control resources and trade in the Southwest during the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

    The readings for one of my comprehensive exams led me to the next intriguing factor about the book. That concept is the relationship between discourse and reality and how those two influence each other (John A. Lynn, Battle: A History of Combat and Culture). Battle does focus on war, but the theoretical approach is derived from cultural history. Hämäläinen starts Comanche Empire of with how other tribes displaced and essentially forced the Comanches out of their traditional homelands. While hardships such as these would demoralize a people, the Comanches did not allow their discourse to shape their reality, instead they allowed there reality to mold their discourse. When the Comanches came into their new lands, the reality they encountered forced them into different habits. The constant confrontation with the Spanish forced them to adopt new ways of war. The book uses the example of how their incorporated guns from the French. However, another aspect that led the dominance of the Comanches in the Southwest was the inability by the Spanish to adopt to their reality. Perhaps this had something to do with how the Spanish perceived themselves in the Americas. Hundreds of years before they destroyed the great empires of the Aztec and the Inca with small expeditionary forces. Or that their mindset was so Eurocentric that they did not believe that the Comanches could be any sort of a threat. When something failed against the Comanches, they continued that same action that failed.

    Comanche Empire challenges the preconceived notion of European and Euro-America dominance in the American Southwest in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The book reads wonderfully and shows that it is much more than a tribal history. Hämäläinen boldly shows that the Comanches created a “Comanche” empire that challenged imperial powers at the time and dominated the southern plains for decades.