KC Johnson

History 80000: Literature of American History, II

This course completes the first-year literature survey, incorporating books from Reconstruction through the 20th century. Wednesdays at 6.30pm.



  • Historiographical Paper, 18-20pp. (40%)
  • Participation (40%)
  • Supplementary Reading/ Study Questions (20%)

My Contact Information:

Supplementary Readings:


Feb. 10: Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, paperback edition (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2002)

Feb. 17: David Nasaw, The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst (Mariner Books, 2001); Andy

Supplementary readings:

  • Morton Keller, Affairs of State: Public Life in Late Nineteenth Century America (Harvard University Press, 1977); Laura
  • Sven Beckert, The Monied Metropolis: New York City and the Consolidation of the American Bourgeoisie, 1850-1896 (Cambridge University Press, 2001); Alisa
  • Rebecca Edwards, New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865–1905 (Oxford University Press, 2010); Kat

Feb. 24: Charles Postel, The Populist Vision (Oxford University Press, 2007); Miranda

Supplementary readings:

  • Robert C. McMath, Jr., American Populism: A Social History, 1877–1898 (Hill and Wang, 1996); Andy
  • Joe Creech, Righteous Indignation: Religion and the Populist Revolution (University of Illinois Press, 2006); Jeff
  • Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America (Oxford University Press, 1986); Lawrence

March 3: Daniel Rodgers, Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age (Harvard University Press, 2007); Lawrence

supplementary readings:

  • Melissa R. Klapper, Small Strangers: The Experiences of Immigrant Children in America, 1880-1925 (Ivan R. Dee, 2007); Katie
  • Michael McGerr, The Decline of Popular Politics: The American North, 1865-1928 (Oxford University Press, 1986); Yari
  • Robert Wiebe, The Search for Order, 1877-1920 (Hill and Wang, 1966); Roy
  • John Milton Cooper, Jr., The Warrior and the Priest: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt; Seth

March 10: Alan Brinkley, End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War (Vintage, 1996); Jeff

supplementary readings:

  • Lizabeth Cohen, Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939 (Cambridge University Press, 1991); Glenn
  • Colin Gordon, New Deals: Business, Labor, and Politics in America, 1920-1935 (Cambridge University Press, 1994); Cambridge
  • Jason Scott Smith, Building New Deal Liberalism: The Political Economy of Public Works, 1933-1956 (Cambridge University Press, 2005); Miranda

March 17: Michael Klarman, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The SupremeCourt and the Struggle for Racial Equality (Oxford University Press, 2004); Glenn

supplementary readings:

  • Ira Katznelson, When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold Story of Racial Inequality in 20th Century America (Harper’s, 2005); Andy
  • Kevin McMahon, Reconsidering Roosevelt on Race: How the Presidency Paved the Road to Brown (University of Chicago Press, 2003); Laura
  • Jonathan Rosenberg, How Far the Promised Land?: World Affairs and the American Civil Rights Movement from the First World War to Vietnam (Princeton University Press, 2005); Glenn

March 24: Thomas Sugrue, Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton University Press, 1998); Alisa

supplementary readings:

  • David Freund, Colored Property: State Policy and White Racial Politics in Suburban America (University of Chicago Press, 2007); Jeff
  • Robert Beauregard, When America Became Suburban (University of Minnesota Press, 2006); Kat
  • Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era (Basic Books, 1990); Alisa
  • Nelson Lichtenstein, The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit: Walter Reuther and the Fate of American Labor (Basic Books, 1995); Katie

March 31: Colin Gordon, Dead on Arrival: The Politics of Health Care in 20th Century America (Princeton University Press, 2004); Cambridge

supplementary readings:

  • Allen Matusow, The Unraveling of America: A History of Liberalism in the 1960s (Perennial, 1985); Lawrence
  • Owen Gutfreund, Twentieth-Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape (Oxford University Press, 2005); Cambridge
  • Susan Levine, School Lunch Politics: The Surprising History of America’s Favorite Welfare Program (Princeton University Press, 2008); Miranda

April 7: Fredrick Logevall, Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam (University of California Press, 1999); Kat

supplementary readings:

  • Tim Naftali, “One Hell of a Gamble“: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy,1958-1964 (WW Norton, 1997); Yari
  • Stephen Rabe, U.S. Intervention in British Guiana: A Cold War Story (University of North Carolina Press, 2005); Seth
  • Thomas Alan Schwartz, Lyndon Johnson and Europe: In the Shadow of Vietnam (Harvard University Press, 2003); Roy

April 14: Judith Stein, Running Steel, Running America: Race, Economic Policy, and the Decline of Liberalism (UNC Press, 1998); Laura

supplementary readings:

  • Jefferson Cowie, Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class (New Press, 2010); Miranda
  • Judith Stein, Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance in the Seventies (Yale University Press, 2010); Cambridge
  • Nelson Lichtenstein, State of the Union: A Century of American Labor (Princeton University Press, 2002); Yari

April 28: Donald Critchlow, The Conservative Ascendancy: How the GOP Right Made Political History (Harvard University Press, 2007); Yari

supplementary readings:

  • William A. Link, Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism (St. Martin’s Press, 2008); Lawrence
  • Joseph Crespino, In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution (Princeton University Press, 2007); Jeff
  • Matthew Lassiter, The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South (Princeton University Press, 2007); Andy

May 4: Patrick Hagopian, The Vietnam War in American Memory: Veterans, Memorials, and the Politics of Healing (University of Massachusetts Press, 2009); Roy

supplementary readings:

  • Sean Wilentz, The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008 (Harper, 2008); Seth
  • Kim Moody, From Welfare State to Real Estate: Regime Change in New York City, 1974 to the Present (New Press, 2007); Glenn
  • Linethal and Engelhardt, eds., History Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past (Holt, 1996); Roy

May 11: Nancy Cott, Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation (Harvard University Press, 2002); Katie

supplementary readings:

  • Karl Boyd Brooks, Before Earth Day: The Origins of American Environmental Law, 1945–1970 (University of Kansas Press, 2009); Kat
  • Louis Hyman, Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink (Princeton University Press, 2010); Katie
  • Saul Cornell, A Well-Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America (Oxford University Press, 2006); Alisa
  • William Eskridge, Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003 (New York: Viking, 2008); Laura

Week 14: Review

41 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Alisa Harrison said, on February 8, 2011 at 11.55pm

    Alisa Harrison
    Book Outline
    9 February, 2011

    Beckert, Sven. The Monied Metropolis: New York City and the Consolidation of the American Bourgeoisie, 1850-1896. Cambridge, UK; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

    • Drawn from Beckert’s dissertation, The Monied Metropolis seeks to explain the ways by which this elite—and diverse—group of New Yorkers acquired economic, social, and political power in order to solidify their social position and construct a new and powerful worldview.

    • A primary focus is to explain the construction of New York City’s economic and entrepreneurial bourgeoisie class, and to assess the ways in which these individuals maintained and implemented power; in fact, Beckert argues that illuminating the lifestyle of these social elites allows the historian to better understand “the dynamics of economic, social, and political change between 1850 and 1900 and with it the emergence of modern America” (3).
    • Beckert sees a distinct transition among elites from a universalistic worldview of a society without social divisions to one of a strict divide between the laboring masses and the bourgeoisie.
    • By the 1870s and 1880s, Beckert argues, “bourgeois New Yorkers articulated a consciousness of separate class identity” (5).

    • Beckert implements the Martins’ masquerade ball in 1897 as a vignette by which to demonstrate the trajectory of his book. Therefore, Beckert understands these economic elites as an unstable social class formulated largely upon social mobility, ostentatious displays, and conspicuous consumption.
    • A primary theme of The Monied Metropolis is the solidification of the bourgeois class; by 1897, Beckert writes, “The ostentatious display of riches, the depth of class conflict, the national reach of social networks, and the unification of New York’s upper class across economic sectors evident at the ball symbolize a significant departure from antebellum times.” (2).

    • New York City is selected as the focus of The Monied Metropolis because, as Beckert writes, “Nowhere else in the world did an economic elite emerge as powerful as that of New York City, effectively making the United States the most bourgeois of all nineteenth-century societies” (3).

    • Beckert approaches the book’s subject through an emphasis on culture along with conflict, allowing the reader to “see the creation of a bourgeoisie as the result of an active process of class formation, not the automatic or necessary outcome of a shared position in the social structure” (9).
    • Structurally, he relies upon a method of analysis termed “class-formation approach,” the understanding that conceptualizations of class occur exist upon distinct but interrelated levels.
    • Beckert writes, “These levels, broadly speaking, are the structure of the economy and the place of bourgeois New Yorkers within it, the social organization and culture of the economic elite, their dispositions, and lastly, their collective actions” (12).

    • Historiographically, the topic of the formation of a bourgeois class in the United States has received little attention.
    • While early social historians focused in depth upon the development of a laboring class, they did not pay more than passing attention to American elites.
    • Consensus and progressive school historians have noted the existence of a bourgeois class, but “failed, however, to go beyond economistic reductions of complex social, ideological, and political processes” (11).
    • Beckert, therefore, relies heavily upon works of bourgeoisie class development authored by French, British, and German historians.

    • The Monied Metropolis is divided into three predominantly chronological sections:
    • Part I, “Fortunes, Manners, Politics,” the time period before the Civil War
    • Part II, “Reluctant Revolutionaries,” the Civil War to 1873
    • Part III, “A Bourgeois World”, from 1873 to 1896.
    • Themes relating to class formation, business relationships, and power struggles carry throughout.

    • Part I centers upon the time period leading up to the Civil War, deals largely with the interplay between early bourgeois class solidification and, simultaneously, the varying factors that created instability for elites. Although Beckert focuses nearly wholesale upon New York City, this section deals simultaneously with the system of slave labor in the South and the ways in which the northern bourgeoisie sought to maintain the Union in the pre-war years.
    • Chapter 1 deals with the accumulation of capital for the elites, noting that their economic success emerged as a combination of both good fortune—New York’s prime location as a port city, for instance—and the hard work of the capitalists, who implemented social networks to grow economically.
    • Simultaneously, however, urban diversity chipped slowly away at elite stability.
    • Yet, Beckert argues that merchant specialization and the growth of a manufacturing elite allowed those of the bourgeoisie to respond to challenges “by creating new public institutions and new organizations that they hoped would protect their world and project their power over the city’s public spaces” (45).
    • Chapters 2 and 3 discuss the methods by which the bourgeoisie solidified their social and economic success.
    • The addition of a new social group—artisans turned manufacturers—and conflict between the merchants/bankers and industrialists threatened to fragment elites.
    • Despite this, a majority of upper-class individuals worked together to create cultural institutions as a means to endow themselves with control and stability, simultaneously seeking to instill morality and a measure of sensibility in the laboring classes.
    • Attempts to maintain political power in the era of “mass politics” led to a shift in new governmental strategies, including a heavy bourgeois influence through financial support and patronage with politicians in office.
    • The biggest problem, however, was sectional tension; Beckert posits that a strong correlation existed between economic status and Republican Party support. He writes that supports were “overwhelmingly manufacturers, lawyers, and western merchants who had little to lose from a conflict with the South” (93).

    • Part II deals with the years during the Civil War and its immediate aftermath. Beckert argues that the beginning of the Civil War proved to be an overwhelming defeat for upper-class New Yorkers, but, in the end, created enormous economic and industrial growth in the city upon which elites were able to successfully capitalize.
    • Chapter 4 notes that elite New Yorkers began to propagate a rhetoric of unity as a reaction against fears of a southern radicalization of the economy and theories that secession would undermine economic power in the United States. This new political discourse, Beckert posits, allowed New Yorkers in 1861 to “come together and mobilize collectively as never before” (113).
    • New York elites played a pivotal part in funding and equipping the war effort.
    • Simultaneously, Beckert sees an increasing radicalization of the bourgeoisie over time as, in 1863, a majority of them embraced ideas of emancipation (135); this effectively removed most elite divisions over the issue of slavery.
    • Beckert ends the chapter by arguing that the northern victory “can be considered one of the great triumphs of New York’s bourgeoisie, a triumph which gave them increased power and promised even more rapid economic development” (143).
    • Chapters 5 and 6 center upon the aftermath of the war.
    • Most elites found themselves in favor of a rapid end to federal involvement in the South and a rebuilding of economic ties
    • However, economic elites largely linked together problems of proletarianization with issues of slavery.
    • These ideologies shifted the focus of the bourgeoisie to acknowledge the ways in which workers’ collective action forced elites to adopt new attitudes, leading to an ideological crisis for manufacturers, merchants, bankers, and professionals.
    • Failing of paternalist strategies.
    • Insufficiency of free labor ideology.

    • Part III focuses upon successful class solidification following the 1873 economic collapse; Beckert notes that, following the depression, bourgeois New Yorkers “would abandon support for the reconstruction of the southern states, would become ever more ambivalent about democracy, and would formulate important elements of an identity as a class distinct from other social groups” (195).
    • Chapter 7 posits that elites moved closer together through an ideological reorientation in favor of “unfettered rights of property” and the “social or even racial superiority of the holders of wealth” (211).
    • Elites began to embrace private charity and to implement a program of government retrenchment.
    • Yet, the final chapters of The Monied Metropolis note that, despite consolidation of the “economic, social, and political power of the city’s upper class,” no stability exists in terms of social and political relations (236).
    • Loss of influence for merchants and local manufacturers due to the rise of a more nationally-oriented economy.
    • Bureaucratization and consolidation of business in the city allowed for the ascendancy of a new social group within the upper classes, that of the professional elites (253).
    • Challenges at the hands of members of the lower class who disapproved of elite conspicuous consumption and political power; yet, these attacks force elites to solidify closer together as a class in response.
    • Beckert writes that the “weakening of divisions between different factions of the upper class, along with the absence of competing elites, both of which were substantial departures from prior decades, enabled bourgeois New Yorkers to shape the state in ways conducive to their interests and inclinations” (301).
    • In fact, by the end of the nineteenth century, Beckert boldly argues, “the United States was the most bourgeois of all nineteenth-century societies” (334).

  2. Laura Ping said, on February 9, 2011 at 10.24am

    Morton Keller – Affairs of State: Public Life in Late Nineteenth Century America (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press, 1977)

    I. 2 Major Themes of Book:
    A. Structure of Politics, law and gov’t between the years 1865 and 1900.
    B. Looks at ways in which different generations understood their political culture/polity. Makes it possible to look at public life as it relates to rapidly changing social experiences.
    1. polity – system of governmental organization that reacts to the people and their political and civil rights.
    2. 3 Generations in Public Life of the U.S.
    A. Civil War and Reconstruction to 1876
    1. Era of ideology, belief in nat’l gov’t and goals. Struggle between nat’l gov’t and state gov’ts.
    B. Industrialization in the 1880’s
    1. Era of organization, focuses on politics
    C. Political and social crisis of 1890’s
    1. Concerned w/ depression, and social/economic effects of industrialization. Populism.
    3. Conclusion
    A. 1865-1900 characterized by conflicts between individualism vs. social order, localism vs. centralism, laissez-faire vs. the active state, and broad vs. restrictive views of American citizenship.

    Part I – The Postwar Polity, 1865-1880:

    I. The Civil War and Reconstruction

    ● Historical view point: The Civil War creates contradiction in postwar public life b/c there was no change to Nat’lsm or political pwr of North. Only slowed pace.
    ● for people of Civil War generation there were extreme changes. This contradiction between social change but no political change sets tone for postwar public life.
    ● War causes Union to believe in nat’lsm and unified nation.
    ● What about South and sectional tensions during Reconstruction?
    ● CSA gov’t and law remained based on Union gov’t and law w/ exception of slavery.

    ● The Civil War had expansive effect on the power of the state
    ● Before 1861 army was neglected part of the gov’t.
    ● War also created new possibilities for civilians.
    ● War reorganized credit and currency systems.
    ● After the war economy experienced
    ○ business failures
    ○ cessation of Southern trade
    ○ Western banks have their own currencies
    ● This created a need for taxation, nat’l bank system, and nationalized currency.

    ● Party politics also consolidated, centralized and polarized ideals.
    ● Politics of Reconstruction: Postwar polity was a relationship between war born ideas of strong central gov’t and civil rights for African Americans and traditional American belief in localism, limited gov’t and racial inequality.
    ● Democrats – called for state’s rights and centralized gov’t. Conservatives feared African American emancipation resulting in white supremacy
    ● Republicans – Lincoln’s wartime Republicans were a mix of War Democrats, Conservative and Moderate Republicans and Radical Republicans. All agreed on goals of preserving Union and ending slavery.
    ● Post War = more Radical Republicans.

    ● 3 types of political conflict between Congress and Johnson over Reconstruction
    ○ Ideological – clash between Radicals and Conservatives in postwar South over African American suffrage, social and economic reconstruction and Confederate disenfranchisement.
    ○ Political – break up of wartime coalitions. Change in party affiliations. 1866 Congressional election – Republican victory.
    ○ Institutional – struggle between legislative vs. executive branches. Congress vs. President on pwr.

    ● Impact of Civil War on American Polity – effected every level of gov’t
    ● Fed. gov’t had new powers and responsibilities
    ● States shared in quickened pace of public life.

    ● Postwar expansion of gov’t limited by counter-values:
    ○ localism
    ○ cultural diversity
    ○ belief in laissez faire

    ● Gov’t of 1870’s was dominated by localism and laissez faire economics.
    ● As cities grew new problems arose: Housing, welfare, urban development, harbor use.
    ● Demonstrates quickened pace of local gov’t
    ● Cities want to centralize gov’t. Loosen pwr. of local politicans.
    ● Also expansion of local cities increased debt. Debt from public improvements.
    ● Debt also from ideological need to bring efficiency, intelligence, and expertise to running city.

    ● Radical Republicans want to see greater role in foreign affairs
    ● does not happen b/c despite rhetoric about expansion and America as a world pwr, foreign policy is limited by
    ○ popular hostility to military adventurism
    ○ demands on capital
    ○ ideological objections to empire building
    ○ American traditions of individualism, localism, and xenophobia.
    ● City gov’t and foreign gov’t is good example of how polity is NOT moving forward = gov’t is dominated by localism and laissez-faire.

    Social Reform
    ● Civil War trauma also reinforced social reform. Ideology to create a better society, preserve society, reclaim a utopian past.
    ● Reforms:
    ○ health
    ○ poverty
    ○ temperance
    ○ women
    ○ race
    ○ crime
    ○ prison reform
    ○ education
    ○ religion

    ● postwar ideology supported social reform as unified egalitarian nation then countered with 19th C. values.
    ○ laissez faire
    ○ individualism
    ○ assumptions of racial and gender inferiority

    Postwar northern economy had 2 features:
    ● new readiness to call on gov’t to assist economic development.
    ● perception of economy as a nat’l fusion of harmonious compatible interests

    The South:
    ● Public life in the south closely matched the rest of society.
    ● Reconstruction was a policy shared between North and South
    ● But Southern laws initial reflected refusal to let war end i.e. Black Codes.
    ● South had more dramatic “war born” legacies of gov’t and civil rights.
    ● Dominant white cultures also reflected hostility to gov’t, racism, localism
    ● in larger view Reconstruction can seen as a sectional manifestation common to postwar policy`

    ● Triumph of organizational politics is final rejection of Civil War Legacy
    ● growth of public buildings
    ● corruption of politics i.e. language of political “bosses”
    ● movement away from idealized politics
    ● demonstrates postwar polity b/c politics of organization rather than ideology met demands of society that was committed to localism and hostile to large public policy,

    Part II – The Industrial Polity: 1880-1900

    ● Civil War issues such as relationship between state and nation and emancipation became less impt.
    ● Polity began to deal with economic and social effects of industrialism
    ● Congress and executive branch became less important in policy making that state legislatures, the courts and political parties.
    ● Polity struggled between old values of localism and suspicion of government and new values brought by industrialization i.e. specialization, increased organization, technical society.

    I. Industrialization

    ● Government stuck between old and new values. traditional vs. modern
    ● radical intellectuals attacked corrupt government and mass elctorate.
    ● genteel reformers proposed different models of gov’t to try to recapture an imagined glorious past.
    ● rise of “political science:” stressing of historical and social context of politics and government proposed by intellectuals.
    ● results in challenge to laissez-faire

    ● New views of gov’t had little effect on the role of the President
    ● But as century progressed role of president began to change and by 20th C. had become more powerful.

    ● Congress was also transitioning.
    ○ Early and Mid 19th C. Congress was deliberative and legislative
    ○ By 20th C. had become less of a forum for debate and more of an administrative body.
    ○ Reason: amount of congressional work expanded, chance that both houses would be the same party diminished, chance that politician would change parties diminished. Does this mean politics are a more stable body?
    ○ Allowed government procedure to become more stable.
    ● Congress was also in charge of committee work, but as work load increased committees became more decentralized.
    ● Increasing number of committees demonstrates ways that gov’t was becoming more complicated.
    ● Congress also demonstrates how U.S. was changing. Compare to Parliament : P was still based on debate, fewer committees, membership more stable. Most public laws in U.S. were pasdsed by state gov’t as opposed to how Parliament worked.
    ● Conclusion : Congress was still a reaction to localism – state gov’ts still have a lot of pwr.

    ● Fed. gov’t also stuck in the middle of change.
    ● Bureaucracy changed little in late 19th C.
    ● Question as to what the role of gov’t should be since prevailing concepts were localism and laissez faire.
    ● Fighting these old traditions plus bias against ruling elites.
    ● gov’t expected to distribute revenue quickly to partisan political groups.

    ● States activism was halted by depression of 1870’s.
    ● But traditional views of localism continued
    ● states forced to increase taxes to efficiently run gov’ts.

    ● Municipal gov’t becomes focused on reducing dependency on state.
    ● administration, taxation, and public services all became structured to meet needs of socioeconomic change.


    ● corrupt political machines, tension over ethnicity, religion, and class, hostility toward gov’t, and cities still having to answer to states limited success of gov’ts in meeting needs of industrialized society.

    ● Industrialization and growing economy increased society’s (polity) need for conflict resolution by courts.
    ● Responses of the legal system unreliable/unable to keep up with need.
    ● Law profession grows in response
    ● But same conflict between private rights and individuality challenges new need for nat’l development.

    ● Late 19th C. characterized by increased agriculture and industrialization ( corporations, distribution, domestic market for comsumer goods. Created ground work for 20th C.
    ● Agriculture went through the same phase a business – new marketing, increased productivity drove down costs and prices – but differed b/c small producers continued to participated in ag. economy, ag. was more dependent on overseas markets, and regional characteristics distinguished each type of agriculture.

    ● Industrial Polity was forced to respond to this rapid economic change. Land and labor became key factors in ag. and industrialization and this led to issues concerning tariffs and nat’l currency based on gold standard.
    ● Labor issues are brought to courts but since courts are overwhelmed they are forced to uphold state laws about labor.

    ● New industrialization attacks laissez faire economics as well.
    ● Polity was spit into two factions
    ○ One arguement was that existing interests should be protected from economic change.
    ○ the other argument suggested a new, national economy.
    ● Judges were committed to laissez faire but more complicated economy warranted exceptions further complicating system
    ● Gas, electric, street railway, telephone, and water companies were regulated.
    ● Professions such as doctors required licensing – complicates laissez faire and concept of free competitors.
    ● Foods such as margarine were regulated to protect dairy farmers, meat inspected.
    ● Brings up problems of old policy vs. new policy.

    ● Social changes take place as nationality, citizenship rights, segregation divorce rights and children’s rights, Indian all develop. Works to define status.
    ● Americans also tried to regulate social behavior ( also textbooks and attendance) in schools, violence ( whipping as punishment, capital punishment), social welfare ( poor or insane), privacy rights (danger of slander).

    ● voting rights expanded right after the Civil War and voting numbers increased. By the end of the 19th C. numbers had fallen as a result of minorities being pressured by elites and the rise of organizational politics.
    ● Politics marked by political machines and bosses who committed fraud and corruption.
    ● Third party politics challenged this. Didn’t actually hurt Democrats or Republicans in poles but demonstrates continuing evolution of party politics.
    ● 1890’s sees rise of Populism – impt. 3rd party challenge.

    ● 20th C. saw same social anxieties as 19th. but polity presented greater effort toward controlling corporations, political corruption, and working class conditions.
    ● But politics bean taking on very different tone. Life for African Americans became worse. Nat’l prohibition and immigration restrictions were supported and Wm. McKinley was assinated. American polity revolved around these restrictions.
    ● As century progressed, however, ways in which social anxieties were expressed changed.

  3. Andy Battle said, on February 13, 2011 at 7.20pm

    McMath, American Populism: A Social History, 1877-1898 (Hill and Wang, 1992)


    – end of Reconstruction; emergence of class conflict as major fault line (Railroad Strike)
    – would there be a Paris Commune in the US?

    what Populist movements around the US had in common
    – born in crisis; emerge in response to changes in American capitalism during the traumatic 1870s
    – draw upon existing mobilization techniques (churches and other voluntary organizations)
    – loosely defined ideology of antimonopolism, “producerism” and republicanism
    – political dilemma: how to remain nonpartisan and how to be heard when both major parties ignore you

    explanations for Populism – who joined, and why?
    – keep regional differentiation in mind
    – scholars have often read the motives for Populist agitation through the lens of their own time; eg. the first major histories of Populism were produced during the Depression
    – in the 1930s scholars focused on economic distress, which many thought could overcome both divisions between North and South and between white and black (eg. Woodward)
    – in the 1950s scholars looked at the “dark side” of Populism – the racism, status anxiety and volkish irrationalism that reminded them of fascism and McCarthyism (eg. Hofstadter)
    – scholars influenced by the experience of the civil rights movement looked at Populism through a “resource mobilization” lens, focusing on the organizations and institutions that nourished Populist sentiment, whereby individual farmers entered a snowballing process of increasing radicalization / political consciousness

    McMath’s interpretation incorporates each of these three perspectives, connecting it with what social historians have learned about the economic and social networks that blanketed rural America (16-17)

    CHAPTER 1 – Rural Life in the New West and New South

    keep in mind that the farmers we will see are not isolated yeoman of myth and legend; they are integrated into the growing capitalist economy – commerce, finance, transportation

    western land boom of the 1880s
    – dependent on institutions of modern capitalism (railroads, eastern finance capital, farm machinery)
    – settlements in relatively compact grid, and many settlers came in groups
    – “family farm” – both kinship network and producer of commodities (grain and livestock) for market
    – older cooperative traditions (“swap-work,” threshing rings, machine-sharing, etc) retained in many instances – “habits of mutuality” part of their cultural tradition

    the postbellum south – “a low-wage region in a high-wage country”
    – cotton, tobacco
    – introduction of capitalist labor relations (sharecropping, crop liens)
    – transition of blacks from slaves to labor-sellers with power to withhold that labor
    – war, railroads, merchants, fertilizer availability break upcountry isolation, draw many into commercial farming
    – growing incorporation of poor whites into sharecropping, market relations
    – livelihood subject to price fluctuations, boom-and-bust from afar
    – are the fortunes of blacks and poor whites converging under the strictures of capitalist organization?

    the south and west met on the Texas frontier; from there sprang one of the most important Populist organizations, the Farmers’ Alliance

    most farmers lived in communities; think of community as local space and as human network that spans individual locales
    – local communities (families, “visiting” custom, churches, fraternal organizations)
    – ties with wider world (transportation, communication, trade, credit)

    mixed feelings regarding these new linkages
    – railroad freight rates set and manipulated from afar
    – standardized commodity markets benefit speculators with capital
    – rural/urban conflict

    – western drought of 1889-90; decline in wheat and corn prices; speculative bubble burst
    – cotton and tobacco prices falling, concentration of ownership in tobacco manufacturing, rise in cost of cotton packaging, rising freight rates due to monopoly

    many people begin to feel they’ve been tricked

    CHAPTER 2 – Cultures of Protest, 1867-86

    argument: these farmers possessed “cultures of protest” – “patterns of thought and action growing out of their own history on the land” (50)

    “producerism” (related to radical or agrarian republicanism) – the idea that labor creates value and that laborer is entitled to fruits of his or her labor
    – this idea also encompasses equal opportunity to labor
    – cooperative labor practices affirm this vision
    – what threatens this vision? monopoly or special privileges
    – the culture of protest “begins with social relationships on the land” (53)

    rural vigilantism
    – against the enclosure movement – a redefinition of space, rights, and power – the fence issue was a class issue
    – support for railroad bandits (Jesse James & co.)

    the Grange
    – voluntary organization in the American tradition
    – social/educational
    – cooperative purchasing and marketing
    – nominal avoidance of political partisanship but in practice a different story
    – in the south, some Granges are controlled by Redeemers – the Grange’s message is not immune to “cooperation” on the basis of race and control from above

    see also the Union League and other black cooperative organizations

    influence of urban and eastern labor radicalism (Knights of Labor)
    – cooperatives, greenbackism

    what was radicalism?
    – an alternative to wage slavery, to the control of labor by capital, to usury
    – an assertion of local prerogative against the control of life by far-away monopolies
    – American radicalism did not develop into the kind of hard-edged proletarian class-consciousness that you see in Europe

    in general, the prospect of a farmer-labor coalition went unrealized

    CHAPTER 3 – The Farmers’ Alliance

    would urban and rural protest groups consolidate into a unified cooperative movement / labor party?

    Farmers’ Alliance (southern version, begins in Texas)
    – effort to organize supply purchasing and cotton sales on statewide basis
    – boycott jute trust (jute is the material that you wrap cotton bales in) that had jacked up prices
    – 1887-88 mobilization – recruiters fan out, attempt to unite farmers across the cotton belt, organize suballiances
    – political activism – demand loans from federal government to enable farmers to hold crop for best prices
    – genteel (planter) vs dirt (poor) farmers within the Alliance – the former, when they control local Alliances, mitigate against more radical activity and against connection with the labor movement
    – blacks explicitly excluded from membership; there was a parallel Colored National Farmers’ Alliance
    – at first, the Alliances received support from southern trade boosters, but once they began to make specific militant political demands, that support ended

    Farmers’ Alliance (northern version, run out of Chicago)
    – revitalized in response to collapse in agricultural and real estate booms and drought of late 1880s
    – cooperative economics, antimonopoly political agenda, with an added emphasis on third-party politics
    – bypass middlemen, advocate public ownership of railroads and grain elevators

    elements of a successful alliance
    – corps of traveling lecturer-organizers
    – subsidized newspapers and pamphlets
    – tight-knit structure of neighborhood, county and state alliances
    – expertise in cooperative purchasing and marketing

    could north and south coalesce into a national agrarian movement with a two-fold strategy of economic cooperation and political antimonopolism?? this was their aim going into 1889-90

    CHAPTER 4 – Farmers, Laborers, and Politics: Interest Groups and Insurgency, 1890

    the two Alliances failed to merge in 1890 (institutional, sectional, partisan issues), but they agreed on a program of land, finance, and transportation reform and to press the federal government to adopt it – a foray into national politics (109)
    – the implied argument here is that deprivation of farmers and workers is not a state of nature, but can and should be remedied by action on the part of the government

    roots of a shared language of protest
    – critique of industrial capitalism emerging from many sources at this time
    – Henry George, Edward Bellamy – imaginative schemes to reform society
    – why the drastic income inequality? (remind you of today?) – the fundamental principles of the republic are being undermined
    – role of women in reform movement (Boston, California)

    mountain populism – farmers, railroad workers, miners – like southern and western populism with a stronger dose of labor radicalism tossed in
    – mining conditions were so bad as to prompt quick and radical organization
    – view themselves as victims of a colonial economy run from London and New York

    far western populism – California and the Pacific Northwest
    – Calif fruit and vegetable production – the future of American agriculture is taking shape here
    – Central Valley land situation similar to great plains land boom – monopolization, enclosure, Southern Pacific Railroad (“The Octopus”)
    – joining of Alliance and Bellamy’s Nationalists
    – in Pacific Northwest anti-Chinese racism is a staple of populist sentiment; mob violence

    Alliance as intentional community; creation of alternative institutions
    – weekly meetings; secret rituals; initiation; instruction; exhortation; organizational business
    – suballiance as “seedbed of culture of protest” (123)
    – public manifestations of Alliance power: parades, burials, picnics, meetings
    – unique and active role of women

    move into politics – existing parties or third party??
    – different strategies tried in different locales
    – in the mountain and pacific west, third party candidates are run
    – in the south, they go through democratic party, holding its candidates to the “Alliance yardstick,” ultimately they are paid lip service while the pols don’t move on any real issues; Alliance is competing with democratic party and white solidarity for allegiance
    – in the midwest, Alliance breaks with the dominant Republican party and runs its own candidates – independent political movement; great success in Kansas 1890 with People’s Party

    constraints on nascent movement
    – western and southern strategies both produced gains, but did rank-and-file’s mobilization extend beyond anger into political consciousness and knowledge of the movement’s platform and what it would mean to have it enacted?
    – suspicion of political parties, of politics in general, deal-making, lack of “principle”

    national conference 1890 – form a third party? western and southern divide and put the issue off but agree on need for political education program

    CHAPTER 5 – Creating a Political Culture: The People’s Party, 1891-92

    germ of People’s Party at Cincinnati convention 1891- the name “Populist” is coined to refer to its adherents
    – the south is still absent, its Alliance members still employing the “yardstick” strategy – it is soon proven wanting; but it’s hard to convince stalwart Democrats of the logic of the third-party strategy

    Alliance as educational institution
    – political re-education; alternative to the Whiggish view presented by the “textbook trust” that celebrated industrial capitalism and dismissed farm and labor grievances
    – reform books, tracts, new printing technologies allow communities to have own newspapers
    – National Reform Press Association – an “internal communications agency” – distribute boilerplate to local papers as well as lesson plans on history and political economy to suballiances
    – trained traveling lecturers, religious-style camp meetings

    ensuing political “war of maneuver” between People’s Party and state and local Republican and Democratic organizations, different in each state

    1892 convention St. Louis; reformers of all stripes (farmers, labor, women, temperance) present
    – Donnelly’s preamble a succinct and stirring statement of Populist belief (161)
    – third party endorsed, nominating convention for national People’s Party set up
    – populists fan out to their respective states to try and organize

    national convention at Omaha July 1892; a climax of decades of agrarian and radical thinking, reworking the antebellum principles of producerism and republicanism; Jackson’s slogan “equal rights for all, special privileges for none” has a new meaning and new political implications in the age of industry – government is the people and its powers should be expanded to protect their welfare

    the platform:
    – Donnelly’s preamble
    – greenbackism, no banks, govt control of money system, income tax
    – public ownership of railroads, telephone and telegraph, end to land monopoly, secret ballot
    – labor protection, end use of private armies to break strikes (Homestead is occurring at this moment)
    – no plank on women suffrage

    unfortunately the presidential candidates they end up with are less than impressive (Polk, the presumptive nominee, had died of cancer)

    obstacles to national unity: cleavages over prohibition, female suffrage, race

    – the conventional story is that Democrats used racist attacks but also manipulated black votes to snuff out a courageous and biracial Populist coalition
    – but the prospects of this coalition were circumscribed from the beginning (173-4)

    should the People’s Party collaborate with one of the major parties?
    – on this issue the logic of populism as an ideology collides with its emerging character as a political movement
    – split between “fusionists” and “mid-roaders” (those who don’t want to align)

    1892 election
    – populists do terrible in south, pretty good in west, no showing in north (industrial workers go with Dems)
    – the Knights of Labor and the Farmers Alliances are declining – the momentum is now with the organized People’s Party and the character of the movement had changed

    has the People’s Party lost its base, origin, true principles during the process of conversion into a viable national political organization?

    CHAPTER 6 – The Crisis of Populism, 1893-98

    depression beginning 1893; many blamed Cleveland and the Democrats and the Populists’ message resonates with those affected

    the silver issue – remonetarize?
    – increase money supply, reduce deflation and therefore the real indebtedness of farmers, miners, but just the free silver issue isn’t enough for radical antimonopolists as it does not entail structural reform
    – Cleveland argues for and gets repeal of Sherman Silver Act of 1890 which allowed the government to purchase silver again – a defeat for populists
    – many now see free silver as a red herring propagated by opportunists that distracted and split the populist movement

    industrial army movement – unemployed march on washington
    – Populist congressmen are mobilized and focus to directly combat the depression that actually resemble New Deal programs somewhat – public works, a social security-like pension system
    – the idea that the federal government has a role to play in shielding people from the impact of industrial capitalism – they had this idea earlier than most and pushed it

    Pullman labor struggle in Illinois (Debs) presents new opportunity for Populist-labor coalition (188-92)
    – Clarence Darrow argued this case before the supreme court
    – Henry Lloyd – a central figure for broad coalition of reformers – a new, non-Marxian socialism
    – they failed to have a serious effect on state politics in the election; republicans are the big winners, as they were across the plains states as well
    – demonstrates ultimate implausibility of farmer-labor alliance

    Populist government was not a great success in Colorado, Dakotas, Kansas (sloppiness, infighting)
    – in Kansas, populism was “dead” – it died so fast – ?

    in the south, democrats angry at Cleveland flocked to the populists
    – Populists lose fraudulent elections in GA
    – fusion in NC – they did not, as many believe, intend to establish racial equality – it was a cynical-ish arrangement

    in general, Populists seek to dampen democratic attacks by moderating on race, abandoning commitment to equal rights; they win more votes, but the identity and vitality of the party are in question

    difficulty of affecting national politics
    – institutionalization of two-party system through new rules in congress
    – a choice: fuse and accept lowest common denominator (focus on free silver) or remain permanent ineffectual minority?

    the struggle between mid-roaders and wishful-thinking fusionists remained
    – hedge on 1896 nominating convention; the Democrats nominated Bryan and stole the Populists thunder on free silver
    – at the convention a battle between those who want to fuse and nominate Bryan and those who resist dilution of the platform – they brawled on the floor of the convention
    – the fusion process is traumatic for the party

    the party slowly disintegrates, its adherents either drifting back to major parties or dropping out of politics altogether

    legacy of Populism?
    – critics see its leaders as craven and its trajectory careening towards George Wallace and David Duke – the name Populist is today associated with the right wing – is conservative populism a descendant of the 19C variety? (probably not)
    – some supporters wish for better organization and that the free silver red herring had not derailed the movement
    – others see current between Populism and 20C liberalism – Progressivism and the New Deal – Populism as “seedbed of liberal reform” – but in many ways the Populists were more radical than corporate New Dealers would ever be

    could it have been different?
    – problematically, the movement’s organizational base was limited to regions that could not carry a presidential election
    – the fall of the Alliance and the Knights of Labor robbed the party of its base (why did they decline so precipitously? this is not exactly explained)
    – its status as insurgency (the “Pentecost of Politics”) was compromised by its entry into partisan politics, especially at a time when the two-party system was being aggressively consolidated

    a conclusion:
    Does conservative Populism represent the sum of the movement’s legacy? The evidence suggests that it does not. Most studies of the last quarter century have depicted American Populism as a movement that advanced a serious critique of monopolism and offered alternative visions of democratic capitalism. Populism represented “the humane preference” in American politics (Gene Clanton), a search for the “just polity” (Norman Pollack), or America’s “democratic promise” (Lawrence Goodwyn).

    Neither proto-fascists nor proto-New Dealers, the Populists fashioned a powerful movement out of the cultures of nineteenth-century reform and out of their own shared experiences. In the end they failed to bend the forces of technology and capitalism toward humane ends, and many of them shared with other Americans of their time a myopic view of equal rights, one still distorted by racism and sexism. But for all their failures and limitations, the Populists fashioned a space within which Americans could begin to imagine alternative futures shaped by the promise of equal rights. Theirs is a legacy waiting to be fulfilled.

  4. Roy Rogers said, on February 16, 2011 at 5.02pm

    Roy Rogers
    US History Lit Survey – Part II
    Dr. Johnson

    Summary of Robert H. Wiebe’s “The Search for Order, 1877-1920”

    The Basics
    + This book is a classic political and social history – magisterial, highly readable, and prone to sweeping pronouncements /generalizations. The book contains no notes.
    + Fundamentally, the book is story of the breakdown of nineteenth century “island communities” and their replacement with a modern, organized society. Urban replaces agrarian and the central organizing experience of American life.
    +The hero of the story is the emerging middle (or professional) class and their expression in politics, the progressive movement.
    +This is the sort of history Charles Postel is writing against in “The Populist Vision”.
    The “Dissented Society”
    +Through the final decades of nineteenth century American society was made of “island communities” – relatively homogenous communities which replicated themselves over generations. Even when people moved they did not create ‘new’ communities but simple reproduced their previous home in a new place. i.e. New Englanders who moved from Massachusetts to Ohio replicated their New England community in Ohio.
    +These “island communities” included urban spaces as well. Urban spaces were segregated between classes and ethnic groups – rich stayed among the rich, the poor among the poor, the Italians among the Italians, etc. etc. – with very little social interaction.
    + “Small town life” was the default setting for your typical American.
    + No class consciousness was developed among any social/economic strata. Old rich were divided against new rich; working class was divided along ethnic/occupational/racial lines.
    +The last decades of nineteenth century saw the complete breakdown of this society. Massive and rapid urbanization, immigration, and technological innovation irrecoverably shattered traditional America. A community could be an island no more.
    + The center of American development moved from expansion of railways from coast to coast to satisfying the consumptive needs of the expanding urban centers.
    + The pace of change outpaced Americans – of every class – ability to cope with change. This led people – from the robber barons to agrarian leaders – to seek to address short term problems. Leaders and thinkers did not take a long term view and was unable to find solutions to long term issues or root causes of problems affecting their communities.
    + Efforts at reform (temperance, immigration reform, even suffrage) in the late nineteenth century were reactionary attempts to restore a vision of American that was dead and gone.
    + The Populist movement was the ‘best’ and culmination of all of the late nineteenth century reform.
    + Tensions between reform and competing visions of economic life reached a peak in the first years of the 1890s. Politics was polarized and traditional forms of compromise/wheeling & dealing were breaking down.
    + The 1896 Presidential election (McKinley v. Bryan) was the unconsciously agreed upon final battle of between the forces contending to restore American society to its roots. McKinley’s victory broke the tension hanging over American politics and marked a victory for the business elite. Forces of reform scattered. This created the ideological/political space to fresh solutions to the problems facing newly modern America.
    + “Classical economics” was coming increasingly under practical and ideological challenge from thinkers and activists. However, these challengers continued to express their discontent in the language of and through the frame of classical economic thinking. Even the most radical thinkers (“romantic Marxists” and Social Gospelers) were unable to completely break from old ways of thinking.
    +All of this set the stage for the rise of the new middle class and the progressives.
    The New Middle Class & Progressivism
    + The new middle class which emerged between 1895 and 1905 was the first class to develop anything like class consciousness in modern America.
    + The new middle class emerged out of social and economic revolution within the professions (lawyers, doctors, teachers, social workers, et al.).
    + During the first half of the nineteenth century the professions had undergone“democratization” where educational bars were lowered or virtually eliminated – allowing almost anyone to enter a profession. Thus the quantity of professionals grew exponentially but with that increase there was a significant decline in quality of service and professional prestige. The late nineteenth century saw a rapid rising of the educational bar of entry to the professions. This increased the professional prestige and economic value of the professions. The most obvious example is the medical profession.
    +The fundamental outlook of this new class was bureaucratic. The new middle/professional class “made ‘science practically synonymous with the ‘scientific method’.” The importance of following procedure was paramount.
    + Previously social and economic problems were thought of as single issues (i.e. the ‘Labor problem’ or the ‘Negro problem’). What was now stressed was the interlocking nature of social problems and conflicts.
    +The ideological focus was no longer on the individual but on the collective.
    +The ideological and economic interests of this new professional class found its political expression in the progressive movement.
    +Progressives fundamentally altered traditional American ways of thinking about how government should work: “The good men were no longer moral exemplars, but leaders of broad power; minimum waste implied a smoothly functioning bureaucracy, not a handful of honest men on low salaries; a rational electorate presupposed the eventual inclusion of all citizens, instead of its restriction to one class; civil service promised increasing government service throughout the nation rather than its further withdrawal; direct democracy no longer replaced the government in Washington , but strengthened it; and the harmonious society, now usually composed of interacting groups instead of isolated individuals ,depending upon the government’s presence, not its absence.”
    +Progressivism had a potentially democratic impulse (the masses setting the agenda through elections and tools of direct democracy with that agenda implemented by an educated bureaucracy) and authoritarian side (an educated bureaucracy imposed its win on the masses in the name of a scientific devised common good).
    The Progressive Era
    + Progressivism had two common political expressions: “business progressivism” & “state progressivism”.
    +Business progressivism tied itself to sympathetic business interest that funded private reform efforts (often in health care). This form of progressivism often had dynamic reformers who could marshal contributors and bring the attention of the press. However, reform was always contingent on keeping the donors happy.
    +State progressivism attempted to leverage the power of the state in the service of progressive reform. Progressive bureaucrats manned new government agencies producing statistics and reports. The most powerful tool of state progressivism was the independent commission which could set policy on its own. Was often limited by local – city and state – concerns and often worked against national policymakers.
    +This period saw large scale Congressional reform. Congressmen began to become specialized in particular policy issues and they brought progressive bureaucrats into government to provide needed expertise. This allowed some bureaucrats to have large power over specific arenas. However, large scale progressive reformers, critics, and philosophers were kept out of government. Fundamentally, policy making remained in control of the politicians.
    +Progressivism didn’t fully enter the national stage until the (Teddy) Roosevelt administration. Roosevelt wasn’t a “true” progressive, but he championed specific reform efforts to further his own power and prestige. Roosevelt was “an imperious master as well as an invaluable ally.” As long as a reform benefited him politically, Roosevelt was willing to back it. Most importantly, under the Roosevelt administration, the executive branch first began to seize the initiative in government from the legislative branch.
    +Taft ran on Roosevelt’s successes (an important precedent). Taft proved too cautious for many progressives, for he believed in conserving existing reforms and pursuing new change gradually. Viewed in the context of his predecessor in office, Taft was a failure.
    +The Wilson administration was the first fully progressive administration but during Wilson’s two terms reform measures were often compromises and the issues taken up were things left undone by the Taft administration. The little “new” reforms were put on the table. The first large scale and somewhat systematic progressive reforms were taken up during the Wilson administration – the Federal Reserve, progressive taxation, the first child labor law, etc. Most importantly, initiative in government was now completely the realm of the executive branch. There was no returning to Congress as the dominate branch.
    +Progressivism made an imperialistic and aggressive foreign policy possible. Before the coming of progressivism the apparatus of American foreign policy was weak – the army, navy, and Foreign Service were undermanned and incompetent. Beginning with Roosevelt but especially with the Wilson administration and the First World War a true foreign policy bureaucracy took shape allowing American to fully take up its great power status.
    +At no point during the “Progressive Era” did progressives completely in control of any government – especially the national government. Progressive reform was always
    To 1920
    +By 1920 progressivism was spent as a political force. Despite the failure of many progressive reforms, the success of some had left a strong “feeling of fulfillment” among many reformers.
    +Many progressive reforms reacted in honor as new groups – such as labor unions – began a
    +The First World showed how transformed American had become by progressivism, despite the movement’s limitations. American society was more organized, bureaucratic, and ‘scientific’ than ever before.
    +The leaders how emerged after 1920 – especially Hebert Hoover – would be the children of this new social, economic, and social context.
    What’s Missing From This Story
    +Women and the suffrage movement
    +Native Americans
    +A full accounting of the labor history of this period
    +Religion – Catholic, Protestant, and beyond

  5. Lawrence Cappello said, on February 16, 2011 at 5.37pm

    Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America (Oxford University Press, 1986)

    Sets the Stage
    • Secondary agenda (term not meant here as a pejorative) is stated from the onset: it is “a book about why Americans have far less democracy than they like to think.” Protest is a tricky thing. The greatest obstacle to understanding protest is grounded in modern American culture. The reigning American presumption about the American experience is grounded in the idea of continual progress. The system works. Hence, most view the numerous scattering of protests in our history as mere expressions stemming from temporary malfunctions of an economic order that usually hums along nicely. In short, people protest when times are hard. When they stop being hard, people stop protesting.
    • So, protest under these conditions of “cultural narrowness” is then not only permissible in the eyes of those who rule, but also, from time to time, desirable because it fortifies the popular understanding that the society is functioning “democratically.” Such “cultural complacency” prevents a clear understanding of the meaning of Populism and the undertaking of any true democratic protest in modern America. Yet in studying the Populists, what Goodwyn considers the last true democratic protest, we can trace how this happened.
    • Traditional assumptions concerning the nature of American class tensions also preclude a thorough understanding of Populism. We tend to see things as a struggle between the haves and the have-nots – agriculturally through a categorization of “gentry,” “farmers,” and “tenants.” A true examination of Populism shows the condition of being “landed” or “landless” does not, a priori, predetermine ones potential for “progressive” political action. In fact, the chief Populist theoreticians – “landowners” all – stood in economic terms with the “landless” rural and urban people of America. Thus, Populism itself cannot be discernible to anyone, capitalist or Marxist, who is easily consoled by the presumed analytical clarity of categories or class.
    • It is no small thing to launch a truly democratic movement. Concerning the Populists, the sequential process of movement building involves four stages: (1) the creation of an autonomous institution where new interpretations can materialize that run counter to those of prevailing authority – the “movement forming.” (2) the creation of a tactical means to attract masses of people the “movement recruiting.” (3) the achievement of a heretofore culturally unsanctioned level of widespread social analysis – “the movement educating.” (4) the creation of an institutional means whereby new ideas can be expressed in an autonomous political way – “the movement politicized.”
    Part I
    • Following the war, reorientation of the American political landscape is shaped primarily by business and sectionalism. Most people “vote how they shot.” A workable hegemony within the commercial ranks pervades the Northern Republicans’ “Grand Old Party” and the Southern Democratic Party (no longer the “party of plain people”) catering to needs of “New South” entrepreneurs. North or South, Dem or Rep, business and financial enterprise achieves effective control of a restructured American party system.
    • The “financial question” becomes a central issue. How will money be created? On what basis will it be circulated? Bankers and merchant capital supports a gold/silver standard. Greenbackers support “fiat” money (currency unbacked by metal) which would expand with the monetary system to keep up with population growth and commercial expansion.
    • In this struggle over the “financial question” we see the emergence of two third party contenders in the Greenback Party and the Union Labor Party in the 1870s and 80 (both soft-money platforms) but each fails due to the persistence of sectionalist tendencies throughout the North and South.
    • Banker support prevails for the “hard-money” approach. Result is a contraction in currency that spirals into a “cruel and exploitative burden” on farmers who see the value of their crops and capital decrease steadily each year.
    • Crop-lien system becomes a plague on the American farmer. Credit is king; price of supplies and goods are markedly inflated. Merchants gradually acquire both capital and title on a large scale due to credit gauging and a complete lack of centralized regulation. Many farmers head West to escape such trappings, but the system follows them.
    • “Farmers Alliances” begin to grow throughout the 1870s and 80s in response to the perils of the Crop-lien system. Men like S.O. Daws become “traveling lecturers” and drum up support for a “trade store system” – in effect a cooperative system – in which Alliance members would contract to one agent and thus bargain better terms and prices for goods bought and sold through methods such as “bulking” (pre-advertised cotton sales on a massive scale).
    • The cooperative movement stirs a new kind of self-confidence among Alliance farmers. In a deeper political sense they are “experimenting in a new kind of mass autonomy.”
    • In 1884-5 the movement begins developing its own rhythm of internal “education” and its own broadening of political/class consciousness under the leadership of men like Charles Macune and William Lamb. This “movement culture” develops its own mechanism of recruitment (the ever expanding credit cooperative), its own theoretical analysis (the greenback interpretation of the American version of finance capitalism), its own solution (through a sub-treasury land and loan system), its own symbols of politics (the Omaha Platform), and eventually its own political institution (the People’s Party). All in all, Goodwyn argues “ self respect” as the main driving force.
    • Alliance “lecturers” spread like wildfire in the late 1880s. It is the most massive organizing drive by any citizen institution of 19th century America. Texas and Kansas provide the most support.
    • This demonstrated capacity for successful widespread organizing did not simply evolve around economic conditions. Insurgent movements are not the product of “hard times;” they are the product of insurgent cultures. Effective insurgent cultures offer people hope.
    • Macune realizes that though progress is being made, only a large scale tactics would have any hope of denting the crop-lien system. Texas-Exchange is established in 1887-8 to provide a state-wide “trade-store” that would offer Alliance members much better rates on supplies and goods. The idea seems sound, but is flattened by the lack of available credit extended by Northern lenders. Charging headlong, the Alliance proposes a sub-treasury system in which currency could be distributed at a massive level to be circulated at market stores and backed by up to 80% of the current crop prices.
    • Sub-treasury system and the ideas articulated in the Omaha Platform are significant in that they are attempts to construct, within the framework of American capitalism, some variety of cooperative common wealth – a system of currency, rooted in greenbackism, designed to benefit everyone in the producing classes.
    Part II
    • Sub-treasury system fully advocated in 1889 through Macune’s organ the National Economist. Its implications would completely uproot the existing system of agricultural credit in the South.
    • Ironically, Macune was against the development of a third party, but it would be the sub-treasury idea that would propel the Alliance into establishing the Populist Party. How could an idea so hostile to Dem and Rep party interests become law without such agitation? As the state-wide exchange was exposed as impossible (evidenced through the lack of credit offered the Texas exchange), the sub-treasury system was a must for Alliance farmers.
    • By 1890, the movement had yet to completely politicize itself. Sectionalism and the tendency towards major party affiliation remains strong. Nevertheless, that year the Alliance begins to identity within the parties those to be considered “Alliance Candidates.” They meet with some success.
    • 1892, at the St. Louis Alliance convention, Lamb and L.L. Polk cite political realities concerning the sub-treasury system and the Omaha Platform to warrant the creation of a third party.
    • As a party of the “plain people” or the “producing people,” Populism has problems gaining support of urban industrial labor. Goodwyn argues, comparing Populism to the Labor Movement, that as of 1892 the latter had not developed a working class structure that combined economic and political consciousness in a way essential to the maintenance of an insurgent posture in the presence of the continuing cultural influences of the corporate state.
    • Weakness of the Populists are immediately apparent in that they lacked a social theory of sufficient breadth to appeal to all those who had not yet received an education in the Alliance cooperative. America’s cities lacked the “essence of populism” itself.
    • The appearance of a new party of reform was continuously battered by deep-seated sectionalism, racial tensions from white supremacists who hated black inclusiveness, and the eventual defection of Macune.
    • Press coverage also hurts the movement. Economic issues raised by Populists were not pushed; instead ridiculed. Such proposals were perceived as radical to the uninformed.
    • Populists thus tested the intellectual flexibility of Gilded Age America. They propagated a belief that government had fallen disastrously behind the sweeping changes of industrial society, leaving the mass of the people as helpless victims of outmoded rules.
    • But the forces of traditionalism and the “sound dollar” possessed all of the commanding heights in the culture – the nation’s press, the universities, the banks, and the churches. Collectively they had power.
    Part III
    • From 1892-1896 the Populist strongholds were Georgia, Texas, and Kansas. Everywhere else we find the manifestation of a perversion of Populism, mostly found in some relation to the “Free-Silver Party” (a widespread political issue concerning the usage of silver to back currency which stood in direct contrast to greenback ideology and the heart of Populism).
    • A shadow movement emerges, and in the process the party is split between two core factions. This shadow form in 1896 arrayed the politics of a people’s movement against conventional electoral politics. More specifically, it arrayed the democratic politics of the movement culture against the hierarchical politics of the received culture.
    • Two ideologies emerge…
    • The first spring from third party candidates with immediate short term objectives. Argue basically that sectionalism at present was too strong in the West and made fusion with the Democrats a necessity if victory and the reform cause were to have a firm basis on which to challenge the Republicans in 1896. The silver issue was a “vote getter,” and could put Populist candidates in a position to change things once in power.
    • Countering, the veteran Populists stood firm on the fact that “free silver” would destroy the basic tenants of Populism. The two party system was defunct, and thus a third party – a “peoples party” – must hold the line and gain the middle road voters. Also, the strongest objection to Democrat-Populist fusion was a pronounced need to rescue America from the permanent corruption that was rooted not only in the monetary system but also in the power of large-scale capital to shape the substance of American politics.
    • These divisions carry over to the 1895 national convention, in which after a series of dramatic events and political tactics, William Jennings Bryan received the Populist nomination for President along with that of the Democratic Party. Having folded into the realm of mainstream politics, the Populists were boxed out, politically irrelevant, and shortly thereafter disintegrated.
    Legacy and Irony
    • The third party movement of the Populists became, within mainstream politics, the last substantial effort at structural alteration of hierarchical economic forms in modern America.
    • What emerge soon after are unchallenged political boundaries with regards to democratic participation. In short, all future “reform” movements consign themselves to operating within the existing (hegemonic) two party system. This fosters our current culture of complacency mentioned earlier.
    • Evidence of such a development can be found in the panic of 1907, which corroborated an essential feature of Macune’s sub-treasury system, a crisis that materialized out of the inability of a contracted currency to provide adequate capital markets. When banks broke down, the demand for a more flexible currency was issued by none other than the banking community itself. The eventual shift was oriented not to the needs of agriculture, but to the needs of banks operating within the aforementioned political contours. “Greenbackism” was never mentioned, and the record shows that the political rhetoric of Populism had, by 1907, been removed from the American political dialogue.
    • The Progressive movement further evidences the complacency that springs up following the defeat of Populism. Goodwyn argues all “reform” initiatives acted exclusively within these new contours. As such, American “reform” movements will always pale in comparison to Populism in that they operate within hegemonic parameters, often unknowingly, absent true democratic tendencies.

  6. Miranda said, on February 16, 2011 at 5.47pm

    Study Questions and Outline

    The Populist Vision by Charles Postal
    -Populists were ‘reading and writing party’ (4)
    -technology and modernity sweeping trough America generally, and Populist movement too (4)
    -In contrast to historians who have argued against linking democracy and progress, postulating that Populism was “the last outpost of the old America,” standing defiantly in the face of modernity and progress, Poster argues that Populists were modern (modernity defined as involvement with the world market, mass media) (9)

    Ch. One: Push and Energy: Boosterism and Rural Reform
    -Populists influenced by Dunning and Turner’s ideas that civilization had been “forged in the frontier experience” (26)

    -origins of Populism: 1870s, Cross Timbers district (TX) during ‘fence cutting war’ in which corporate ranchers clashed with farmers, although Farmers’ Alliances actually courted development, hoping it would modernize agricultural society

    -The Farmer’s Alliance (FA)“endorsed aggressive claims on tribal land” with few exceptions (29)

    -symbiosis between farmers and railroads: new schools, county offices, business homes along with RRs

    -Farmer’s Alliance was “ideologically amorphous” in formative years (32)

    -By 1886, Texas Alliance was splintered. Charles W. Macune reenergized it as a strictly business organization, sidestepping ideological conflicts

    -Alliance grew into national force under Macune

    -“dedicated cadre” of men and women w/intellectual or management skills in higher positions (37)

    -Unlike Knights of Labor, Farmers’ Alliance had whites-only clause

    -Colored Alliance was formed as blacks-only but did not have same organizational opportunities

    -Farm reformers hoped to “realize a ‘higher civilization’ in rural America” and had high hopes for technology’s transformative effects reaching rural America

    Questions: How does Postel explain the farm reformers’ hopes for transforming rural America in terms of practical plans? Were the reformers looking forward to a technological utopian future or pining over a nostalgic past characterized by rural, ‘simpler’ lives?

    What were Macune’s strategies for building the Alliance into a national force? How did the farm reformers link their own notions of progress with railroad building?

    Ch. Two: Knowledge and Power: Machinery of Modern Education
    -‘second information revolution’-transformative effects of telegraph and RR on lives of farmers necessitated change in approach to farming to keep up

    -tension between university officials and farmers who wanted schools to emphasize science-based education and train professional farmers

    -Farm reformers believed that ‘knowledge was power’: education would close gap between urban and rural, empower farmers, and that it was necessary for farmers to have “latest in business and technical know-how” (49)

    – Leonidas L. Polk- leader in Farmers’ Alliance alongside Macune- also proponent of scientific farming and education

    – Farmers’ Alliance and other farm groups’ organized lecture circuits and symposia, and pushed for public education. Also sponsored social science clubs, literary societies, and libraries

    -Colored Farmers’ Alliance also focused on education and improving segregated schools. Although ‘self-help’ was also stressed when white retaliation prevented public education.

    Questions: How did the Farm Reformers’ emphasis on education distinguish them from other social movements? How does Postel explain how knowledge would translate into power on a practical level? Was there a line drawn between education for the sake of personal enlightenment or vocational training during this time?

    Ch. Three: A Better Woman: Independence of Thought and Action
    -hundreds of thousands of women joined the Farmers’ Alliance and Populist revolt
    -In contrast to other institutions, Farmers’ Alliance offered women extensive rights within the organization and did not charge women dues

    -FA women engaged in suffrage debate, but Poster argues they were even more concerned about economics of women’s status- progress defined in terms of type of work one did (i.e., not having to do fieldwork) and obtaining training and skills which would give one access to wider range of career choices–clerking, teaching, telecommunications, manufacturing in countryside factories (91)

    -FA also countered “detached loneliness of farm life” (77)

    -sense of community through publications, lectures, and offered hope for easier future of scientifically managed farms.

    -‘separate spheres’ doctrine different in rural context- men and women worked in close proximity- but appealed to some in FA as future possibility while others debated it

    -FA stressed improving houses and family lives- some FA women called for augmenting women’s moral influence over families and connected better homes with women’s equality within home

    -Rural reformers also pro-prohibition, helped pioneer state welfare systems (“scientific charity”), modern police force (93)

    -suffrage question remained but many reformers thought taking a stand on it would be a “suicidal policy” and that “suffrage and politics were secondary to the economics of women’s liberation” (95)

    -evolutionary progress and ideas of racial improvement influenced reformers’ ideas about role of women in breeding nation of more evolved humans and linked women’s progress with nation at large

    Questions: How does Postel explain how the Farmers’ Alliance offered a sense of community to women who felt isolated on their farms? How did the focus on women’s economics relate to ideas of evolutionary progress and how were these ideas presented to rural women by the Farmers’ Alliance?

    Ch. Four: A Farmer’s Trust: Cooperative Economies of Scale

    -Macune’s system of large-scale cooperation differed from local and community-based cooperative stores and workshops

    -cooperative campaigns had narrower support base in reform movement than educational campaigns

    -CA farmers experimented with cooperative approaches to irrigation, mechanization, purchasing supplies and marketing- sought to control entire market through joint-stock system

    -CA Fruit Growers’ Exchange (1893) as example of organization which provided farmers with centralized, bureaucratic, professional services (statistical and technical info, regulated system of packing, grading, and marketing)

    -joint-bank notes adopted by Texas Exchange for indebted farmers (pooled collateral for individual members)…but “only intensified the cash shortages crippling the Exchange (123)

    -other problems with Exchange: funds went to local rather than cooperative headquarters, some feared they wouldn’t get money back if they gave it to Exchange, Exchange denied full benefits to nonshareholders

    -segregated Colored Farmers’ Alliance lacked resources for successful cooperatives

    -boycotts also organized- e.g., FA boycotted jute trust in 1889 and successfully drove down cost of jute (used for bagging goods)

    -Ultimately, monopolies developed among dairy and fruit farmers, but staple crop farmers (grain and cotton belt) were not as successful

    Questions: Why weren’t the staple crop farmers as successful in building monopolies as were dairy and fruit farmers? How does Postel’s narrative challenge ideas about late-nineteenth century rural farmers standing opposed to large-scale cooperatives?

    Ch. Five: Business Politics: State Models and Political Frameworks

    – in the late-1800s, on the national level, Dem and Republican parties converged on issues and “real political action took place at the state and local level” (138)

    -FA conviction that solution to their problems lay at national level

    -FA supported nonpartisanship, yet still political approach- scientific approach to gov., similar to business organizations

    -wanted gov. involvement in low-cost, efficient transportation, telecommunications, credit reduction and expanded money supply (some reformers favored a greenback solution)

    -postal service was model for Populist vision of government that modern and bureaucratic and merit-based

    -favored government rather than corporate ownership of railroads

    -subtreasury system- proposed by Charles Macune- unprecedented centralized gov. involvement in rural economy- certain crops as security for low-interest loans

    – Democratic resistance to subtreasury

    -1891- “the Farmers’ Alliance, in pursuit of its anti-party politics or business interests, had given rise to a new national political movement” (156)…the People’s party was born

    -‘Cyclone’ Davis and other reformers pointed to original intent of Founders (although felt that it was the state legislatures that needed to be reigned in)

    -Populists also wanted to do away with mass political parties and replace partisanship with deliberative, informed political participation

    -By fall of 1891, there were conflicts over subtreasury and ‘Alliance principles’ and whether to endorse the new People’s party

    Questions: How did the Populists differ from the leaders of the Farmers’ Alliance in their understanding of non-partisanship? What was the appeal of Macune’s proposal for a subtreasury system for rural farmers? Does Postel explain what Populists imagined political participation would look like if state legislatures were reigned in (for example, town hall meetings) and how this would relate to local politics?

    Ch. Six: Race Progress: Shaping a New Racial Order

    – “two Populisms”-‘separate but equal’ doctrine embraced by Populists- played active role in shaping racial order

    – white reformers claimed evolutionary science and biology supported views on inherent superiority of whites and supported Jim Crow laws

    – distrust between black and white Alliances

    – Colored Alliance blamed for cotton strike in 1891 and organizers of the strike were lynched

    -Colored Alliance endorsed the formation of the People’s party

    – Some immigrant farmers joined FA despite barriers- but FA vehemently racist against Chinese immigrants

    – John B. Rayner- drawn to Populist party because of relative opportunities it offered blacks for advancement within its ranks and hoped third party could overthrow Democratic rule

    – Rayner focused on electing Populist judges and sheriffs at county level (Texas) and allowing blacks to serve on juries

    – mixed views among People’s Party and FA on suffrage restriction for blacks

    -Populists challenged Democratic rule in the South and this affected race relations- revived political competition- allied with Republican party which had African American constituency

    Questions: How did the Populists revive party competition between the Democratic and Republican parties? Was there a commonly held viewpoint on black suffrage among white Populists? Can the Populists’ ideas about scientific management be related to their ideas about racial ‘progress’?

    Ch. Seven: Confederation: Urban, Labor, and Nonconformist Reform

    – People’s party- crossed rural-urban divide- ‘commonwealth of reform’

    – Labor Populism was especially strong among miners and RR employees

    – Middle-class and ‘urban nonconformists’ also joined the Populist movement

    – By spring and summer of 1894, labor movement faced unemployment, blacklists, and court injunctions- looked to farmers’ cooperative business models and their success in influencing state reforms

    – Miners, like farmers, tried “large-scale, centralized organization” (210) and industrial rationalization, i.e., ‘market unionism’

    – railroad workers also experimented with “large-scale, uniform methods of industrial organization” (214)

    – Great Southwest RR Strike and anti-labor hysteria ensued

    – Knights of Labor lost power as a trade union

    -American Railway Union boycotted Pullman passenger cars and ARU’s leader, Eugene Debs, arrested

    – antimonopoly legislation threatened farmers’ organizations

    – nonconformists helped ‘build bridges’ between farm and labor Populists

    -Single-Tax movement- would tax unimproved land- also had state-level proponents

    – not all Single Taxers were Populists and Populists in rural states downplayed the Single Tax

    -Colored Alliance also supported Single Tax with hope that it would reduce the tax barrier and the white land monopoly

    – Edward Bellamy’s Nationalism- stressed “uniform centralization, technologically driven organization, and statist control” (233)

    – convergence btw rural reform and nationalism- both nonpolitical and stressed collectivist economics

    – Laurence Gronlund’s social theories and inspired the building of various cooperative colonies

    Questions: How did miners and railroad employees’ efforts at organization relate to rural farmers? How did Nationalism and Populism converge in their emphasis on collectivism and non-partisanship? What does Postel offer as an explanation as to why farm and labor Populists joined forces instead of opposing one another?

    Ch. Eight: Shrine of Science: Innovation in Populist Faith

    -Populism referred to as a ‘religio-political movement’- combined political and economic and moral principles- but nontraditional- not about saving souls

    -influenced by Darwin’s evolution theories and ‘scientific age’

    -Scopes’ Monkey Trial of 1925 as “historical vantage point for examining the Populist world of faith of the 1880s and 1890s”- Darrow and Jennings confrontation (246)

    – Populists often adopted a sort of liberal theology that responded to worldly concerns of farmers and talked about ‘true religion’ as “a response to the religion of avarice” (251)

    – Thomas Dixon – celebrity minister – studied Darwinian biology- launched his own urban reform party in 1892 to bring Christian socialism to NYC

    -Thomas Nugent- espoused ideas of Christian socialism

    -gap btw Populist movement and organized religion

    -spiritualists -scientific outlook over Christianity- made ‘good Populists’

    Questions: What does Postel’s discussion of the Scopes’ Monkey Trial in 1925 add to our understanding of Populists’ religious views? How did rural Populists’ ideas about ‘true religion’ differ from more traditional iterations of Christianity? Why has Populism been characterized as a ‘religio-political’ movement?

  7. Jeff said, on February 18, 2011 at 1.12am

    Joe Creech, Righteous Indignation: Religion and the Populist Revolution, University of Illinois Press: Urbana and Chicago, 2006.
    • Author focused on North Carolina because it had one of the largest Populist movements and it has great archival resources.
    • Evangelicals who had broken away from large Christian denominations, finding them oppressive and overly centralized, wound up playing major roles in Populism in North Carolina, which focused on similar themes (oppressiveness, too much centralization) relating to state and national politics/governments.
    • Populist rhetoric during the 1890s reflected evangelical ideals.
    • Author doesn’t really claim that populist positions were chosen based solely on populists’ Christianity, just that the populist experience, ideals and populist rhetoric often reflected and were similar to evangelical experiences and ideals.
    • The book is much more a history of 1890s populism in North Carolina than a definitive statement about religion and populism nationally.
    • Populists felt they were part of a larger, sacred narrative, in which political reform was only one part of a religious, economic and social program being carried out by God and God’s servants.
    • Their reform agenda rested on a “cluster” of evangelical patterns of thought that were foundational to what most Southerners thought it meant to be Christian, southern and American. What mobilized the movement was the alleged forsaking of these ideals by corporations, Democrats and Republicans, and major Christian denominations.
    • In North Carolina, the movement featured white Democrats and black Republicans hoping to restore Jeffersonian democracy and Lincoln Republicanism, respectively.
    • Democrats viewed North Carolina Populists as threats to party loyalty and to white supremacy.
    • Historians have said Populists and evangelists of the period had similar organizational structures and rhetoric.
    • Populists in Edgecomb and Nash counties, North Carolina, urged voters to “look to Jesus” in a well-circulated flier.
    • The Christian groups that split from large denominations, and which were at the forefront of populist sentiment in North Carolina, were known as Restorationist denominations, for their stated efforts to restore the original church. Such Restorationist denominations included the Disciples of Christ and the Methodist Protestant Church, which had split from the Baptists and Methodist Episcopal Church, respectively.
    • These Restorationist groups believed that political corruption and the centralization of denominations signaled a crisis in American Democracy in the 1890s that could lead to tyranny or “Romanism.”
    • Populism opposed not industrialization itself, but what Populists charged were unfair economic practices. It emphasized cooperative stores and marketing ventures.
    • In the Southwest and West, farmer populists were with Greenback and Union Labor parties. In the South, they were with the Democratic Party, for the most part.
    • Populists became a national party in 1892. The Democratic Party’s nomination of William Jennings Bryan for president in 1896 complicated things for national Populists, who nominated him as well, albeit with a different vice presidential nominee.
    • Populism would wane in popularity as the economy improved after 1896 and Democrats in North Carolina in 1898 aggressively used the maintenance of white supremacy as a political issue.
    • 1908 was the last year of the Populist (People’s) party’s existence. Its presidential nominee that year, Thomas Watson, received only about 28,000 votes.
    • While populists were progressive and countercultural, supporting governmental regulation of the economy, labor, and the black vote, they also denounced socialism, labor strikes, city life and various aspects of modernity. These contradictions make more sense when considered through the evangelical ethos, taken broadly.
    • The Restorationists were different from liberal-minded progressives or paranoid reactionaries. They wanted to restore ideals of Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln, looking to the past to affect the future.
    • Populists believed in political solutions to economic problems. They believed it was corruption and the loss of democratic principles that had caused economic turmoil, not the other way around.
    • Urban/rural schisms played a large role in determining which evangelicals would become Populists. (It was a rural movement.)
    • Eastern North Carolina had many black supporters of populism who had been disempowered by violence and other tactics used to deny them suffrage. They became disenchanted with the GOP.
    • Evangelicals stressed rebirth, often in a “low-church” manner, and an egalitarianism based on the assumption that all people stood equally sinful before God. They believed in ‘freedom of conscience.’
    • By the Populist era, this general ethos of evangelism was pervasive across the South, similar to Puritanism in Massachusetts and Mormonism in Utah.
    • After 1900, as populism waned, Populists went in different directions. Many became apolitical, or premillenialists, or embraced the separation of church and state.
    • Author believes in an assessment of Populism as a religious movement that fused political and economic goals with goals of salvation and the establishment of a millennium.
    • Overall, nineteenth-century evangelicals envisioned themselves as counter cultural (they wanted to convert the world to new ways of thinking about Christian life) but they lived in the heart of southern society.
    • Importantly, Populism sacralized the U.S. experiment in freedom. It was beholden to historical narratives emphasizing individual autonomy and anti-elitism.
    • Here’s a great example of a church showing a populist type of sentiment in its religious life: Hebrew Christian Church, in Lenoir County, was a Disciples of Christ congregation that had lay leadership and no paid pastors. It opposed the denominational leadership of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, rejecting its ‘assessment’ plan that would have required local churches to send predetermined amounts of money to the denomination as a requirement of church membership in the denomination. The church favored sending money to the denomination as its people wanted to donate, rather than as a predetermined amount.
    • Denominational centralization was viewed as a “New Departure” from the New Testament’s apostolic pattern for church governance.
    • Large Protestant denominations, on the other hand, saw local control of churches as a threat to order and progress. The largest among them, Methodists and Baptists, made up 75 percent of church membership in North Carolina (white and black).
    • These large denominations could be simultaneously anti-elitist and elitist. Baptists, for example, were known as provincial due to members’ discipline, closed church communities, separation from society, plain-speech sermons, and refusal to drink. Yet members were up-and-comers in society. Methodist clerics, in cities, became as sophisticated as Episcopalians and Presbyterians, and had large elite contingents. Presbyterians and Episcopalians, though fewer, were overrepresented among the elite – politicians, manufacturers and college presidents.
    • Among the groups splitting from denominations in antebellum American were Primitive Baptists (1827) and Disciples of Christ (1841), who split from Baptists; Republican Methodists (1792) and Methodist Protestant Church (1828), who split from the Methodist Episcopal Church.
    • These breakaway groups believed their group alone had kept alive the true message and ecclesial structure of the early Church.
    • One group, the Freewill Baptists, tried to bring back Biblical-era practices like foot-washing and anointing with oil. Holiness groups (which split from Methodists) ‘spoke in ‘tongues.’
    • Another group, the Republican Methodists, burned their minutes each year to ensure no ‘tradition of men’ would replace Biblical instructions.
    • The Primitive Baptists rejected all authority outside local congregations. No music or paid clergy; no prohibition (believe in conscience, you could drink if you want)
    • Alexander Campbell’s Disciples of Christ were tolerant, Arminian and professed an “unashamed city-on-a-hill patriotism,” the author wrote. They, too, opposed the ‘tyranny of denominational centralization.’
    • O’Kelly’s Republican Methodists opposed Francis Asbury’s “monarchy” and centralized authority.
    • In 1890, such Restorationist groups made up a strong minority presence among North Carolina’s Christians — 658 churches and 49,756 white members. (p 14).
    • These groups viewed denominations as ‘extra-biblical,’ given that denominations weren’t mentioned in the Bible. At the same time, denominational leaderships were helping organize church growth and expansion and overseeing discipline.
    • By 1830, white evangelicals (except Quakers and O’Kelly’s Methodists) favored slavery.
    • Large denominations interacted well with Southern society.
    • Scottish-based “commonsense thinking” – stressing that all people can understand and conform to God’s principle — was a big part of the evangelical mindset in the nineteenth-century South. It stressed the ability of everyone to think and act morally, and to understand God’s ways through reason or inductive study of the Bible. It therefore stressed a freedom of conscience that was important to Populism.
    • American evangelicals believed their insistence on liberty was central to American democracy.
    • Among Restorationists was an anti-elitism against ‘First Churches’ with rich pastors and wealthy congregants. Mocked dandy intellectual preachers.
    • Actually, within southern-style evangelism were seeds of both activist and conservative ideas related to populism and anti-populism, respectively. Evangelicalism could allow a support for conformity to rules, even oppressive ones relating to race and gender. And while evangelism could support belief in helping the poor, it also could support belief in not helping them — from belief in supporting the ‘powers that be’; that ‘we shall always have the poor among us’; and that money earned in the name of capitalism would trickle down to help church efforts.
    • Some conservative evangelical tendencies helped mobilize opposition to Populists.
    • Populism played on contemporary notions of masculinity. True manhood involved courage to stick to one’s convictions and show independence. A true man would not be victim of coercion by political bosses, nor of ecclesial coercion.
    • In the 1880s and 1980s, there were more public calls for evangelicals to be more active in politics. The Asheville Baptist printed in 1889 that “if a man’s religion is not worth carrying to the ballot box on Election Day, it is not worthy of anything.”

    • Agricultural newspapers printed articles by the Rev. Thomas Dixon (future writer of the infamous, ‘The Clansmen’) blending southern individualism and evangelical piety with a passion for reform and patriotic milleniallism.
    • The Farmers’ Alliance had 100,000 members in North Carolina and influenced Democratic hands on railroad regulations, agricultural education, rural public schools, and laws for farmers and debtors. Its issues involved the growing rural/urban divide, the increased national marginalization of agriculture in politics, culture and the economy, and the debate over money/economy.
    • North Carolina was the most commercially isolated state in the South, and the South as a whole was isolated from the national banking system — during and for long after the Civil War. In 1895, there was one bank for every 16,600 Americans, but only one for every 58,130 Southerners (not counting Texans). This led to a negative feeling among rural Southerners about the national banking system.
    • Because of the lack of banks or available credit, farmers had to rely on crop liens, which could be devastating. Not only could it bind a farmer to his creditor for years, it also hindered crop diversification in the South, because creditors wanted farmers to plant cotton, considered a safe crop.
    • Farmers worried about the increasing strength of railroads because they (farmers) would be reliant on shipping costs.
    • Meanwhile, political power during the 1880s was moving in North Carolina from east to the Piedmont region.
    • With rural churches less able to afford giving money to denominations, urban churches gained power in those denominations, mirroring the political shift in power.
    • Churchmen helped establish the Farmers’ Alliance in North Carolina, often at meetings held in churches.
    • Women had roles in the Alliance, and their presence led to a social aspect of meetings/gatherings that led to increased attendance and interest.
    • Lawyers and black people were banned from Alliance membership. Part-time (white) farmers were allowed.
    • The Alliance disciplined members for public drunkenness, missing meetings, or buying manure (guano) from non-Alliance manufacturers.
    • When a Colored Alliance formed, it had a tenuous relationship with the white Alliance, based on patterns of paternalism and white supremacy that mixed with the belief that black “elevation” was good for the South.
    • That relationship soured in 1891 when black cotton pickers went on strike against white alliance farmers. The strike fizzled, as whites roundly opposed it.
    • The Farmers’ Alliance generally opposed increases in state appropriations unless they were for rural school or for charities.
    • It favored the coining of silver to increase the money supply (the book has a great five-page primer on money issues which I will scan and e-mail all of you.)
    • While the Alliance had some successes, they were few in the grand scheme of things. More political involvement was deemed necessary. Between 1886 and 1892, farmers’ newspapers changed in nature, with fewer articles on farming techniques and more articles on currency, specie and government.
    • It would denounce partisan politics, favoring “principle over party.”
    • Alliance members regularly said their groups represented Christian teachings – that is, a Southern social Christianity and evangelical notions of freedom or patriotic milleniallism.
    • Democrats and Republicans opposed the Alliance, whose rhetoric linked its love of independence to God’s providential design for America. They viewed the political events before them as part of an epic struggle between liberty and tyranny.
    • Alliance criticism of the two parties intensified in 1891. There were more threats of third-party action.
    • Several events infuriated farmers/Alliance members. One was when the Democratic Party required all people at local nominating conventions in 1892 to swear an oath to support the national Democratic ticket that year. Democratic Alliance members began to bolt the party.
    • Until 1892, Alliance acted through the Democratic party. The Alliance had become very powerful in the state by 1891.
    • Rhetoric of the Farmers’ Alliance often drew on religion. It argued that corporate control of the pricing structure fouled up God’s natural governance of the economic system. It said the monopolist lobby silenced the voice of God in favoring the wealthy of the farming and producing classes. It said parties had lost the democratic and Christian principles on which they were founded. And it said “the church” had become increasingly oligarchical, prioritizing denominational strength over the proclamation of God’s principles.
    • Populists lampooned Democrats’ fears of Negro rule. Democrats and Republicans would lampoon Populists for assuming rural problems had apocalyptic consequences.
    • While white populist farmers were protesting against Democrats, black populists protested against the GOP. Western Democrats were upset by the county control imposed by Democratic leaders that was meant to control black people in eastern North Carolina.
    • Alliance sought a 6 percent interest cap and state railroad commission to set shipping fees. It also sought crop lien laws, which never went anywhere
    • Alliance promoted a “yardstick” to assess candidates. Uproar followed the Alliance’s rejection of Zebulon Vance, up for re-election as U.S. senator, in the summer of 1890 when he rejected the “sub-treasury” plan favored by the Alliance, which would have the government fund warehouses for farmers to store their excess crops (for when prices were better) and also let them borrow against those crops. The Vance issue increased tensions between Democrats and the Alliance.
    • In November 1890, Democrats and the Alliance would decide to come together.
    • In 1891, the legislature passed a railroad commission, more money for public schools and colleges, and antitrust legislation against fertilizer trust. Alliance members opposed several initiatives that would have helped black people. Neither the 6 percent interest nor a crop lien law passed.
    • Ultimately, the Alliance felt Democrats couldn’t pass enough of their reforms. The 1892 request for the oath at nominating conventions was the breaking point.
    • In May 1892, in Cincinnati, Ohio, the National People’s Party had its inaugural meeting. The national platform had a sense of crisis about it. In North Carolina, the difference between populists and Democrats was this: Populists feared a crisis in democracy, while Democrats feared the end of white supremacy.
    • Grover Cleveland won the Democratic nomination in 1892.
    • White populists were ambivalent about black support. Populist leaders ignored their previous black support and lost it in 1896. (Most black populists returned to the GOP).
    • In 1892, the Populist presidential candidate was James Weaver, who had been a Union general (which hurt him in the south). In North Carolina, the Populist gubernatorial candidate W.P. Exum supposedly hurt his chances using profanity on the campaign trail. That year, Populists elected three state senators and 11 assemblymen, mostly with rural support.
    • Populism was most popular among evangelicals living “tenuously” in the South, author says.
    • Author contrasts 1890s populists to Religious Right of 1980s/1990s, saying the former wanted not just to use but to preserve and sustain the American democratic system.
    • It was generally believed back then that Southerners did not mix politics and religion. Yet the Alliance in 1892 used religious dialogue. Democrats would criticize Populists for mixing church and state.
    • 1894 election was good for Populists in North Carolina, who teamed with Republicans. The GOP, in this presidential off-year, put aside their national stances. Winners of Assembly elections were 48 Populists, 32 Republicans, and 41 Democrats; in Senate, 22 Populists, 16 Republicans, and 12 Democrats.
    • More tensions in 1895 – Alliance President Cyrus Thompson upset Democratic evangelicals by saying “the church” (denominations) had sided with slavery against liberty. He said the church favored the “powers that be.” This was viewed by Democrats as overly critical of southern culture.
    • Demands of St. Louis Platform of 1896, by national Populist party, called for national ownership of railroads, coinage of silver, end of national banking system.
    • In 1896, Reform wing of Democratic party assumed national control, nominating William Jennings Bryan, who had a lot of support among Populists, for president. The Populists would nominate him too, though with Thomas Watson as his vice presidential candidate. (The Democrats nominated Arthur Sewall for vice president.) Bryan won North Carolina.
    • In 1896, Populists captured 9 percent of the vote in North Carolina, down from 17 percent in 1892. Blacks in 1896 left Populists for GOP. (McKinley’s victory over Bryan led to three decades of Republican national dominance.)
    • In 1898, Democrats and Populists tried to work together, over silver. But problems arose. Soon, Democrats engaged in a violent white supremacist campaign of intimidation and murder. They used their own version of commonsense thinking to claim that God’s sense of proper relations involved white supremacy.
    • Denominational leaders of Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians were big detractors of Populists in 1898.
    • Democrats won in North Carolina in 1898: In the Assembly there would be 94 Democrats, 23 Republicans and 3 Populists; in state Senate, 40 Democrats, 7 Republicans and 3 Populists. Democrats quickly did away with the railroad commission.
    • In the future, Populists would go many ways. Many white Populists became premillennialists and Pentecostals. Bryan became a Christian fundamentalist who would represent Tennessee in the Scopes monkey trial. After 1890s, evangelicals left politics for a long time.

  8. Yarisbel Rodriguez said, on February 23, 2011 at 11.32pm

    Yarisbel Rodriguez
    Hist 8000 – Literature of American History II
    Submitted Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
    Outline of McGerr’s Decline of Popular Politics

    Americans’ current disinterest in politics can be attributed to changes in political style that occurred in the North from 1865 to 1928. The post-Civil War generation enjoyed a vibrant political culture, in which citizens attended rallies and ceremonies bearing costumes that expressed partisan sentiments; such were the trappings of “spectacular electioneering” that culminated in the mid to late nineteenth century. However, the 1860s and 1870s also brought about changes in political style from liberal elites, and the resulting press critiques against partisanship and advent of “educational electioneering” denied many Northerners the traditional culture in which they exercised political action. Consequently, many working-class Northerners disengaged from politics, as reflected in low voter turnout trends that have been evident from the early twentieth century to this day (vii-11).

    I. Chapters 1 and 2: Popular Politics and Partisanship
    A. Popular Politics
    1. McGerr emphasizes that one of the reasons for the decline of popular politics involves Southern elites in the 1890s. Since “the prospect of an inter-racial coalition of the poor, marching under the banner of the People’s Party, frightened conservative white leaders,” Southern elites used “intimidation, fraud, and restrictive election laws” to prevent political action among blacks and poor whites (6).

    2. McGerr acknowledges that “the transformation of political parties played in important role in the drop in voting across the North” (7). McGerr correlates falling turnout with the succession of “party systems” – “distinct eras of relatively stable competition between major political parties, each drawing on a roughly unchanging constituency” (7). For example, voting peaked during the third party system, “a period from the mid-1850s to the early ‘nineties in which Republicans and Democrats battled almost evenly in national elections” (7). In contrast, turnout began to wane during the 1890s, “just after the creation of the fourth system, dominated by the Republicans” (7).

    3. “Changes in the function of parties may have affected turnout” (8). After the fourth party system, neither Democrats nor Republicans relied on ethnically and religiously divisive discourse to attract votes, even though this tradition had been consolidated time and time again throughout the nineteenth century (8). Voting became even less important and incentivized with the birth of special interest groups late in the century (8).

    4. Although trends concerning class and turnout are relatively well-explained for the South, similar questions abound unanswered about the North. In this context, McGerr notes that “[i]t is unclear… that the waning of ethno-religious politics, hardly absolute, can explain why some groups – women, the poor, the young – have voted less readily than others in the twentieth century” (8). McGerr also notes that it also isn’t “immediately apparent why the emergence of pressure groups and government regulation should have kept many of the poor – ironically enough, the people least involved with interest-group politics – from casting ballots” (8).

    5. McGerr emphasizes the importance of studying political style, namely “the different fashions in which people perceive, discuss, and act in politics” (9). McGerr boldly contends that “[s]tyle does not exist apart from the concerns of power and policy that historians consider the substance of the past,” and that “changes in political style flowed from the needs and experiences of different classes in the North after the Civil War” (10). With the diminishing allure of partisanship came reform in journalistic and campaign styles (10).

    6. The parameters of McGerr’s analysis: his study “treats [political] participation as a matter of voting because turnout serves as a rough but acceptable gauge of political interest and because elections represent the sole form of political influence available to many Americans” (11). This gauge is important for understanding the 1865-1928 period, during which “Americans tried to influence government through new devices – above all, the non-partisan pressure group” (11).

    B. Partisanship
    1. Popular politics “was entwined in a subjective, demonstrative kind of partisanship” that “made political participation easier than before or since” the mid-to-late nineteenth century because it was “[s]upported by the party press and spectacular election campaigns” (9). McGerr argues that partisanship was inextricable from the concept of the party, “an essentially simple creed, but one woven deeply and intricately into the pattern of Northern society” (13). In this vein, McGerr asserts that “[p]artisanship entailed more than attachment to a particular political organization,” and that “[f]or mid-nineteenth-century Northerners, party became a natural lens through which to view the world” (13).

    2. The post-Civil War world afforded the press the opportunity to influence and convey “a world dominated by politics and partisanship” (14). “Newspapers and parties had developed in tandem in the nineteenth century” (14), and although “the era of near total party domination of the press” ended in the early 1860s, the press “remained overwhelmingly partisan” (14). McGerr astutely notes that “[t]he press and the parties worked together well because they needed each other,” as “[p]apers provided the communication necessary for a politics that depended on the participation of the people” (15). Through the press, partisanship was consolidated as a vital part of men’s identity (17). Part of this identity involved an absolutism that the press encouraged; black-and-white descriptions of politics made partisan politics exciting for droves of people (21).

    3. Spectacular electioneering – such as participation in rallies and torchlight parades – was evident in the North throughout the nineteenth century (22-23). McGerr notes that elites organized these events with the hope of consolidating their rule because “spectacle, by displaying the generosity of the rich to the poor, could establish the upper class’s right to rule” (32). However, “[t]he mid-nineteenth century was the heyday of ‘political strikers’” who effectively took advantage of leaders’ desire for popular support by coercing candidates to buy things for them in exchange for voter turnout that never materialized (33).

    4. Although public displays of intense partisanship reigned supreme during the late nineteenth century, neither the campaign literature nor the actual candidates were as visible as might be expected (35). The same applies for candidates’ national organizations for presidential elections (35). Republican values influenced Northerners to perceive candidates’ public visibility as vulgar – spectacular electioneering was all about local communities expressing partisan sentiments (35-36). In the end, however, “[t]he record votes of the ‘eighties and ‘nineties were deceptive,” because “[e]ven as turnout reached its zenith across the North, the foundations of popular politics had already begun to give way” (41).

    II. Chapters 3 and 4: Partisanship Redefined and Educational Politics
    A. Partisanship Redefined
    1. McGerr argues that “the first decisive blow against that [the popular political] order” was delivered “not in 1896 with the triumph of McKinley, but thirty years earlier” (9). McGerr specifies that “[i]t was in the late 1860s and 1870s that liberal, upper-class reformers rejected popular politics and formulated a new, less partisan, and less democratic conception of political life” (9). Although partisan sentiments manifested in the press, many newspapers were sympathetic to liberal reformers’ ideas; this sympathy was key to reformers’ future influence in redefining politics.

    2. In their quest to assume control over the political process, liberals denied natural rights (47) and promoted the idea that national, state and municipal governments have different functions; arguing that the federal government was responsible for actually governing the country while municipal government was solely responsible for upholding private property rights, liberals sought to disenfranchise urban dwellers, a move that hit the heart of spectacular electioneering (48).

    3. Although liberal elites tried to impose property requirements for New York voters by lobbying for a constitutional amendment, they were unable to achieve this end because of widespread opposition among the city’s poor (49-50). After this attempt, “[a]nti-suffrage sentiment persisted quietly among the upper and middle classes in the 1890s and the new country, but few Northerners would speak openly about depriving poor white men of the vote” (51). Reformers changed tactics and concentrated on the “education of the voters; rejuvenation of the upper class; and the limitation of the party” (52).

    4. McGerr explains that liberal “[r]eformers asserted their power and further developed the politics of limited partisanship through… extra-party organizations” throughout the 1870s and 1880s (58). This trend was exemplified in the liberal independents’ reformation of the late 1870s and early 1880s, which “’strive[d] to produce a habit of mind in the community differing from the present habit of mind in political matters, and indeed reversing it. A voter is now called upon to show why he should not vote with , whereas the party ought to show why he should vote with it’” (56). When coupled with elites’ financial resources, the reform movement’s support for nontraditional ideas about voters’ relation to parties proved long-lasting despite the culmination of the reform in the 1880s (57-58). As McGerr argues, “[b]y the 1890s the reformers had created a new style of limited partisanship” (58).

    B. Educational Politics
    1. McGerr specifies that “politicians, adopting the liberal style, replaced spectacular electioneering with the ‘campaign of education’ in the ‘seventies, ‘eighties, and ‘nineties” (9). Liberals accomplished this within the context of an evolving political culture, where “[i]ssues such as tariff and civil service reform were capturing public attention”; “[m]ore and more Northerners worried over the power of party machines and bosses”; and “increasing numbers of voters had rejected undeviating partisan loyalty” (69). The most important figure to advocate educational politics was Governor Samuel J. Tilden of New York (70). Tilden had been effective in “cultivat[ing] a sense of personal contact” between himself and undecided/independent voters during his 1874 run for governorship, a now-primary strategy that attracted votes (71). McGerr notes that although political campaigns had been used to “lull[ing] the opposition by dropping public electioneering for quiet work among the undecided and the purchasable,” this strategy had been “a desperate resort” earlier in the nineteenth century (74). Now it was a major political tactic.

    2. Grover Cleveland’s victory “accelerated the parties’ conversion to educational politics” (78). During Cleveland’s administration, James S. Clarkson, an editor and businessman from Iowa, emerged to transform the Republican party “into a weapon of political education” (80). During the election cycle of 1888, “[b]oth parties moved closer than before to the educational style,” with Clarkson serving as Benjamin Harrison’s campaign vice-chairman (83). The opening of the Bureau of Information marked the highlight of Clarkson’s success in promoting educational politics, although he suffered from health problems throughout his career (95). Although political parties subsequently tended to downplay Clarkson’s tactics, campaigns for the 1892 election were shocked to discover an apathetic American populace; voters, long used to spectacular electioneering, were not interested in lessons about tariff reform (100). The 1892 voter turnout was 75%, the lowest percentage among eligible Northern voters since the 1872 election (102).

    III. Chapters 5 and 6: The Press Transformed, and Advertised Politics
    A. The Press Transformed
    1. McGerr argues that although “independent journalism” thrived throughout the late nineteenth century, “a competing political vision, alike anti-partisan and anti-liberal… emerged “from sensationalist newspapers by the turn of the century” (9). McGerr notes that throughout the late ‘sixties and early ‘seventies, “a group of newspapermen, mostly Republicans, began to reconsider their relationship to the parties”: Horace Greeley and Whitelaw Reid from the New York Tribune, William Cullen Bryant and later Horace White from The New York Evening Post, to name a few (113). These men “established a new kind of paper, more independent of the parties and devoted to the impartial reporting of the news” (113-114). Journalism became increasingly liberal as a result (113).

    2. McGerr observes that despite its widespread influence, “independent journalism never achieved the virtual monopoly of public discourse that the party press had enjoyed until after the Civil War” (122). In this context, McGerr reemphasizes that the mid-1880s set the stage on which sensational journalists would “challenge both traditional partisanship and liberal independence” (122). “Reaching out to an immigrant, working-class audience… [and] reject[ing] the middle- and upper-class style of educational campaigns and independent journals,” sensational journalism succeeded in discouraging popular politics in the North (122). The most prominent figures in this movement were Pulitzer and Hearst (122). By promoting lurid stories about sex and crime, sensational journalism mounted a well-entrenched challenge to the “exuberant, demonstrative partisanship” that characterized the party press and spectacular electioneering; sensationalism also challenged “the dispassionate deliberative politics of liberal reform” that characterized independent journalism and educational campaigns (137).

    B. Advertised Politics
    1. McGerr explains that “the electoral counterpart of sensationalism, the advertised campaign, challenged the supremacy of educational electioneering after 1896” (9). McGerr astutely observes that the advertised campaign emerged as an alternative political strategy from the consolidation of politicians’ aspirations with corporations’ business incentives. Advertised politics sought to create an intimacy between voter and candidate that ultimately failed; within the context of rapid technological advancements in the early twentieth century, “[t]he radio, the railroad, and the automobile did more to weaken the experience of community than to strengthen it” (182). Ironically, “[b]y promoting a deliberative, less partisan style, Democrats and Republicans helped to undermine their own cultural authority, their ability to speak directly to the people” (182); because new media created yet another degree of separation between voters and political candidates, the advertised campaign undermined educational politics to its own detriment (182-183).

    2. McGerr argues that by the 1920s, “[t]he focus of the advertised campaign was personality, not partisanship or argument” – “[p]oliticians made the presidential campaign into a personal appeal” where “[t]he nominee began to seem larger than his party and his personality more important than his educational pamphlets” (183). Because this new style deprived Northerners of both partisanship and educational politics, voter turnout plummeted afterwards.

    IV. Chapters 7 and 8: “The Vanishing Voter” and Conclusion
    A. Final Synthesis
    1. McGerr concludes his analysis by reiterating that American’s disinterest in politics was attributable to the following political developments: a decline in partisanship and spectacular electioneering, followed by a liberal educational politics that yielded to sensational journalism and a relatively distancing advertising campaign strategy (209). However, McGerr notes additional factors the contributed to this disinterest in politics; unfortunately these factors are described very late in his analysis and are not as well developed as they could be. Dismissing the idea that the decline of popular politics was the result “of a direct, pre-meditated assault by the wealthy,” McGerr notes that “the gradual drop in turnout across the North reflected the region’s capitalist development,” and that “[c]hanges in the forms of communication and leisure, in class relations and communal life, and in the practices of business” were also salient factors (209). These factors seem to fly in the face of McGerr’s analysis, as he structured his argument so as to emphasize how these changes were co-opted by political interests to disenfranchise the working classes in very direct and unequivocal ways…

  9. Lawrence Cappello said, on March 2, 2011 at 5.21pm

    Study Questions: Daniel Rodgers, Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age (Harvard University Press, 2007)
    I’m a big fan of this book.

    • On broader aims: do we agree the best way to distill the essence of American Progressivism is by placing it outside what Rogers calls “an unspoken geo-centrism” and into the broader Atlantic narrative? In some ways this process seems counter intuitive. Were certain aspects exceptional to the American implementation of Progressivism lost here due to matters of scope?

    • Progressive American labor historians have spilled barrels of ink on the marked intellectual rigidity of Samuel Gompers and the American Federation of Labor and the extent to which it ran contrary to the real benefits of the rank and file wage earners the represented. Rogers calls attention to the rather ironic relationship between Gompers and “big-business barons” on the issue of social insurance and injury compensation. Working from his broader framework, what are Rogers’ views on American labor’s administrative character with regards to the rest of the Atlantic community?

    • American devotion toward the sacredness of private property has often been cited as a key hindrance to social progressivism at large. Rogers rather masterfully outlines two mutually contradictory legal principles (the classic anti-redistributionist doctrine and the “police powers” doctrine of ensuring public health and safety) used by judges weighing in on how best to address the requirements of expanding cities. Does the eventual upholding of zoning laws, however ironically framed as being necessary to protect values of surrounding property rights, in any way mark a distinct shift in American conceptions of private property outside just the usual “things were changing with regards to public space” argument?

    • In reviewing Rogers, Michael Katz at UPenn questions whether the author has identified the “second transatlantic movement in social politics,” pointing out that in antebellum discussions about education, mental health, crime, and juvenile delinquency, reformers frequently crossed the Atlantic in a fashion similar to those of the Progressive Era. With these predecessors in mind are the Progressives somehow less distinct than Rogers would claim?

  10. Cambridge Ridley Lynch said, on March 9, 2011 at 3.31pm

    Colin Gordon: New Deals: Business, Labor, and Politics in America, 1920-1935 (1994)

    OVERVIEW: This book challenges modern interpretation of the New Deal by revealing a cacophony of vested interests—economic, political, social, individual—that worked separately to prevent the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive and effective political and economic strategy during the crisis years of the Great Depression. Gordon works within a historiography that places business interests at the very center of New Deal policy, but he adds an astute analysis of the characteristics and limits of the U.S. political system that prevented it from effecting uniform policy change.

    CHAPTER ONE: “Rethinking the New Deal: The Logic and Limits of the U.S. Political Economy”
    • Methodology: “rational choice” approach—individuals, collectivities, and institutions most often act in short-term self-interest (basis for capitalism), but are limited by unique historical circumstances
    • Business interests at core of U.S. political economy, but gov’t is impotent to enforce any collective action that might minimize damaging business practices
    o U.S. gov’t structured to disperse, not consolidate, power—so it (regionalism, municipal vs. state vs. federal regulation) actually exacerbates competitive pressures, leading to an “asymmetry between the territorial limits of politics and the looser boundaries of the markets” (22)
    o Competing schemes of economic organization: regional industrial development, national investment and consumption, dispersed natural resources, urban structure of labor markets, state-to-state differences in public policy
    o Business interests look to Federal gov’t to solve its problems nonetheless, since it’s their best hope of evening out competitive conditions across the board—but the more externalized the intervention, the more coercive it becomes
    • Gordon therefore embarks on “disorganizational synthesis”—interplay of rational self-interest, political and economic competition, and ambivalent business-government relations (34)

    CHAPTER TWO: “Competition and Collective Action: Business Conditions and Business Strategies, 1920-1933”
    • Interwar years’ cutthroat competition, over-production, regional jockeying, and disagreements over international involvement split industries’ strategic and political goals and prevented traditional common-ground issues like labor policy or protectionist economic policy from uniting them. Paves way for extraordinary political program of the NRA.
    o In-depth analysis (including competitive landscape, production capacity, labor relations) of: Automobiles; Rubber, Steel, and Metals (Producer Goods); Oil and Lumber (Natural Resources); Chemicals; Paper; Electrical and Industrial Goods; Food and Tobacco (cigar/ettes, meat-packing, dairy, canning, milling and baking, brewing, soft drinks)

    CHAPTER THREE: “Workers Organizing Capitalists: Regulatory Unionism in American Industry, 1920-1932”
    • Workers’ (understandable) short-sighted material interests resulted in establishment of “regulatory” or “business” unionism, which focused on economic, not social, gains, and was inherently conservative.
    • Employers used unionization to solve underlying structural problems (access to skilled labor, systematization) or to undercut competition by unifying labor costs and squeezing out smaller competitors.
    • Illustrates patterns of regulatory unionism in textiles, needle trades, bituminous coal, trucking, glass, pottery, printing, construction, electrical manufacturing
    • Compares with consistently antiunion mass-production industries, who did not see as much benefit in unions’ potential cost, though “company” unions often served as a tepid compromise.
    • New Deal Labor Policy born from this complex and uneven landscape

    CHAPTER FOUR: “The Limits of Associationalism: Business Organization and Disorganization, 1920-1935”
    • Trade associations served as potential compromise between unpredictability of market and heavy-handedness of the State—some gains were made but they were frantic and desultory, symptoms of increasing desperation with economic landscape and willingness to turn to political solutions
    • Associationalism ultimately failed because members were unwilling to cede authority to the collective interest—the same competition that brought them together prevented associations’ success
    • Trade associations organized competition within single industry, peak associations represented political interests of a number of industries. Both are beset by problems of representation, organization, and enforcement.
    o Details histories of (Peak Assoc’s) National Association of Manufacturers, Chamber of Commerce, National Industrial Conference Board, Special Conference Committee
    • Transitions into next section of book by detailing how Depression undermined the experimental private solutions detailed above (union-management cooperation, welfare capitalism and business organization)—“the promise of collective action began to outweigh its risks” (162)

    “Taken together, these [first four] chapters suggest that competitive chaos and market uncertainty were virtually endemic, that business interests understood their respective troubles in narrowly self-interested terms, and that, with the exception of labor relations, the associational fetishes of the 1920s did little to organize markets or ameliorate destructive competition.” [3])

    CHAPTER FIVE: “The National Recovery Act: The Political Economy of Business Organization, 1933-1935”
    • NRA synthesized 3 premises that dominated business policy post-1929: relief from antitrust law, wider and more precise legal boundaries with uniform enforcement, and funding for industrial recovery
    • Indiscriminately borrowed 1920s strategies (public works, business planning, “work-sharing”, anticompetitive provisions) from many different industries but applied (or misapplied) across the board—dismal failure, economically and legally inconsistent, unfairly administered and poorly thought-out. Ended by 1935 Schechter Supreme Court decision (unconstitutional extension of federal powers)
    • NRA less a failure in industries where labor unions were able to enforce compliance to code provisions, and it strengthened belief that regulation was only possible with a strong federal or union presence.

    CHAPTER SIX: “The Wagner Act: The Political Economy of Labor Relations, 1933-1937”
    • 1935 Wagner Act (result of NRA labor code) gave organized labor basic representation and bargaining rights but standardized them under federal, not local, codes. Intended to contain social unrest
    o Influenced both by legacy of interwar regulatory unionism and by two years of chaotic attempts at regulating labor under NRA
    • Highly unpopular among business interests, but this hides fact that some employers acknowledged uniform labor policy to be important tool against market instability—opposition by no mean universal, reflecting less a concern for labor policy per se but instead the same diversity of understandings and proposed solutions that plagued business interests throughout this time period
    • Outlines key clashes between labor and antiunionist organizations, though posits that in the end most companies found costs of labor to be less than those of resistance
    • Generally, business interests acquiesced to the passage of the Wagner Act as a necessary/inevitable evil, hoping to turn its provisions to their advantage, but found it less flexible than hoped: other competitive pressures remained, costs of unionization were passed on to consumers, and the labor had a strong legal foothold that outlasted the unique social and economic circumstances under which the Wagner Act was passed.

    CHAPTER SEVEN: “The Social Security Act: The Political Economy of Welfare Capitalism, 1920-1935”
    • Debate surrounding SSA indicative of larger patterns of economic competition and competitive federalism
    • SSA built on anti-labor principles—welfare capitalism was seen as alternative to unionization (catering to material interests of workers without giving them collective rights). “Trickle-up” effect occurred as employers sought to pass some of the costs on to states and states sought to pass them off to federal gov’t (all within framework of competition). Historical circumstance of Depression made long-term Social Security more urgent. Ultimately, SSA legislation took on more importance than originally intended because of its ability to complement Wagner Act pension and unemployment regulations.
    • SSA spurred by reform and class pressures, but between its conception and formulation it ultimately became a “business bill”, responding to business interests’ desire to spread the costs of social welfare experiments rather than bearing the burden entirely—and to level competitive playing field between regional interests.

    CONCLUSION: “New Deal, Old Deck: Business, Labor, and Politics After 1935”
    • Post World-War II, New Deal politics refashioned to emphasize internationalism, renewed concern for managerial rights, politics and political culture of growth—“a clarification of their basic premises” (280)
    • This in response to criticism—although New Deal inherently business-friendly, 4 sources of opposition: failure of regulatory policies, implicit threat to managerial policy, regional jealousies, and the undermining of national labor policy by international competition
    • Projecting to future: impotence of political solutions leads to increasing libertarian sentiments after 1935, dissatisfaction with New Deal economic policies led to pursuit of a production- and international-market oriented “politics of growth” in the postwar era, organized labor settles into another “special interest” by the 1980s, partly due to constant undermining by regional and business interests
    • Postwar history hinged on whether New Deal would reflect its “considerable promise or its narrow premise” (295)—and with American private interests historically unwilling to shoulder the burden of the collective good, Gordon places it in latter category, linking New Deal legacy with the modern age’s “politics of lowest common denominator” (304).
    • Frames New Deal as cautionary tale—for a truly democratic political economy, business interests cannot be allowed primacy.

  11. Jeff Diamant said, on March 9, 2011 at 5.41pm

    “The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War,” by Alan Brinkley. Published in 1995 by Vintage Books

    Study questions:

    1) Do we agree with Brinkley’s assessment that the political weaknesses of liberalism late in the twentieth century stemmed from changes to liberalism in the late 1930s? Assuming he is correct, could liberalism have survived as a political force back then without making those changes?

    2) In discussing foreign effects on liberalism in the late 1930s and 1940s, Brinkley mentions World War II and totalitarianism. Should he also have mentioned — as a factor moving liberalism away from class concerns — the growing anti-communist sentiment within the United States?

    3) In what ways did leading liberals of the late 1930s and 1940s make accommodations with capitalist ideology?

    4) With regard to the economic debates of the 1930s, discuss the following approaches: fiscal solution, monetary solution, regulatory solutions, anti-monopolism. Why was each one favored or opposed?

    5) Explain the transitions from “laissez-faire” liberalism of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, to “reform” liberalism of the early twentieth century, and to the “consumer-oriented” and “rights-based” liberalism that came later.

    6) What were Gunnar Myrdal’s contribution to the American liberal mindset on race during World War II?

  12. Andy Battle said, on March 13, 2011 at 9.29pm

    Ira Katznelson, When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America (Norton, 2005)


    paradox: at the height of the New Deal, WEB Du Bois wrote that black well-being was in greater peril than at any other time in the nation’s history – why?

    research agenda:
    – learn how the New and Fair Deals were shaped by the role southern dems played as guardians of segregation
    – identify the ties between what was put in place then and American social and racial policy today

    the policy decisions of the New Deal on the whole excluded or treated differentially African Americans (AfAms hereafter), and inequality actually increased during this time

    this book is forthrightly polemical

    – set the historical record straight
    – understand the mechanisms that produced these outcomes
    – reposition how we think, talk and act about affirmative action – it should focus on antidotes to specific harms that date back to policies enacted in the 1930s and 40s

    how shift focus?
    – re-periodize debate over affirmative action to include the “mainly neglected” earlier history of race and policy during the New Deal
    – broaden our understanding of affirmative action to include not just higher education but broad trends of poverty, inequality, and justice
    – bind New and Fair Deal history to an understanding of “why history should count” in considering affirmative action policies today

    affirmative action advocates often cede the moral high ground to apostles of “colorblindness” who ignore the ways that race continues to organize american society; part of the problem is the narrowness of the policies they defend – a historical analysis allows us to conceive of connecting remedies to very specific “public harms” and make a more compelling case

    this book an “untold history” in the sense that it’s a story that comes into full view only when we understand discrete historical events as a single configuration that worked to dispossess AfAms


    LBJ’s 1965 Howard University commencement speech – “To Fulfill These Rights” (echo of Truman’s committee on civil rights, which produced report “To Secure These Rights”)
    – lauded civil rights achievements but declared they were “not enough”
    – draw distinction b/w equality in theory and equality in fact (my ital) – how to achieve the latter?
    – note that despite rise in standard of living for most Americans, gap b/w blacks and whites has actually widened since WWII – LBJ cited many stats in his speech to demonstrate this
    – appeal to history (not to constitution or to liberal ideals) of “past discrimination” to underscore need for compensatory approach
    – but his failure to deliver specifics about the history of New Deal public policy limited the imaginable repertoire of possible remedies
    – the policies that had contributed to the rise of a white middle class were designed to leave out AfAms; they represented “new and potent sources of racial privilege” that turned the fed govt into “instrument of white privilege”

    why? control of public policy by southern white democrats
    – eg. Bilbo, Smith, Russell, Pepper, LBJ himself
    – dem coalition that produced New Deal composed of two separate systems; one of these was the one-party south
    – southern power bulwarked by possession of key committee chairs (result of one-party dominance), filibuster tool
    – in Congress, southerners’ undemocratic system was “sanitized” by inclusion in the national party; they were able to “transfer” their priorities about race to the national stage

    three mechanisms to achieve this:
    – exclude AfAms from benefits of legislation via crafty bill design – leave out maids and farmworkers, for example (this is code for blacks)
    – insist that control over administering laws devolve to local officials
    – prevent anti-discrimination provisions from attaching to bills

    the New Deal was affirmative action – we should reconceptualize and broaden our idea of what AA constitutes – but it was only for whites


    only the dems showed interest in advancing the rights of blacks; however, the political arithmetic of the New Deal coalition ensured that the national dems would accede to the southern system
    – blacks are trapped; they have “no right choice” – the best they can do is accept a “trade-off” in which they agree to forgo genuine inclusion in exchange for some material benefits
    – this compromise marked nearly every facet of the New Deal
    – Katznelson emphasizes the political impossibility of extending a chance to AfAms – this work is about hard realities of political-geographical structure, about foregone conclusions

    the extent black deprivation at this time is hard for us to conceive of – they lag hugely in all significant indicators of well-being – they lived on the edge of existence, literally and figuratively

    New Deal opportunity for blacks
    – with expenditures coming from the fed govt as opposed to the states, a chance for fairer access, perhaps

    but because of southern insistence on discretionary power devolved to state and local officials in the disbursement of funds (you give us the money and we will decide how to use it) , huge racial disparities in the size and distribution of benefits obtain
    – all New Deal policies contain this “segmented character”; welfare never “unmediated” from the fed govt to black citizens – a white middleman watches out to maintain the racial order and the unique racial political economy of the south

    Social Security Act 1935 – potentially lifesaving for AfAms
    – if truly national, would have undermined the racial order of the south by lifting black workers out of the low-wage economy
    – but southern legislators insisted on farm and domestic work exclusions, eliminating 65% of blacks from eligibility – these restrictions (“policy apartheid”) lasted until 1954
    – the strategy is to make the bill “less inclusive or less national,” and southerners got both
    – each provision (old age insurance, aid to dependent children, assistance to elderly, unemployment insurance) was delicately “shaped to racial contours” and implemented in a way that ensured the perpetuation of existing patterns of discrimination

    how did southern dems achieve this?
    – they correctly discerned the order of priorities for their northern counterparts, who could be counted upon to reliably jettison the interests of blacks in order to maintain southern support
    – southern blacks are violently excluded from representation while southern whites, by virtue of this exclusion, enjoy “a privileged access to the political order” (blacks still counted in the census, inflating the number of representatives and increasing southern power, plus the structure of the Senate permitted 17 southern states to effectively “veto” any legislation)

    in this way, the federal social welfare policies of the New Deal acted as affirmative action in the reverse of how we’re used to using the term – they aided whites while keeping blacks down, widening the gap


    New Deal labor legislation “transformed conditions of work” for many Americans
    – Fair Labor Standards Act – minimum wage, maximum hours, child labor prohibited

    southern members supported this legislation as long as it would not threaten jim crow, so they traded their votes for farm and domestic worker exclusions in the FLSA, National Industrial Recovery Act, and National Labor Relations Act
    – why? it would level wages across racial lines and threaten the racialized low-wage system in the south – its unique political economy

    during WWII, a shift – southern dems begin to feel that the effects of the legislation combined with wartime social changed threatened the racial order – they begin to shift their votes away from dems and toward anti-labor republicans – they are the swing vote on labor legislation
    – concerns: wage leveling, that blacks would be induced leave region if labor market is nationalized, federal bureaucrats might not feel the need to defend Jim Crow
    – this enables the pro-employer Taft-Hartley and Portal to Portal Acts to pass
    – labor legislation increasingly came to function as “referenda about the durability of Jim Crow”
    – in the end, they succeed, in concert with republicans, in altering the institutional climate in which labor is compelled to operate

    – the capabilities of organized labor are severely curtailed, the tide of organizing ebbs, especially in the south
    – possibilities closed off – the greatest blow is to as yet unorganized workers – the future of organizing is limited, the tide is stemmed

    labor unions react to changed climate:
    – abandon southern organizing drives (AFL and CIO)
    – focus on consolidation – collective bargaining and ensuring stable, orderly process (instead of agitating and organizing new unions)
    – shift focus to limited gains – private pension and health insurance benefits instead of a robust national welfare state

    consequences for black americans:
    – loss of organized labor as a conduit to increased opportunities (they are abandoned)
    – other prongs of civil rights movement – judicial strategy and growing mass movement action – develop w/out the benefit of a labor element
    – the black civil rights drive from this point on is missing something – it tends to underplay challenges to the south’s economic structure – this will roar back in the mid-to-late 1960s when the judicial and political gains are consolidated, but blacks still wallow in economic distress


    during WWII, the military remained segregated (that would formally end w/ Truman’s desegregation order in 1948; full integration achieved in 1956)
    – although the military constituted a unique opportunity for advancement for blacks, there still remained “two armies” – one white, one black

    reasons for black skepticism heading into WWII
    – experience of WWI, after which racism re-entrenched
    – Du Bois’ quote, which could stand in for so many facets of black experience and which embodies the always-conflicted mindset of blacks who attempted to serve – “Whatever all our mixed emotions are, we are going to play the game” – as ever, very little choice
    – irony of US fighting war against fascism in Europe in an undemocratic army, on behalf of colonial powers – no one had screamed and yelled when Italy invaded Ethiopia, but when Finland gets in trouble, it’s a war for civilization
    – campaign to make black participation in war effort conditional upon advanced opportunities at home (double-V campaign)

    the campaign for military integration did not succeed
    – Roosevelt’s policy statement 1940 actively affirmed Jim Crow
    – mobilization limited blacks to 6% of military (compared to 10% of US population)
    – blacks seek to enlist in record numbers, but many turned away
    – Selective Service and Training Act – like all New Deal legislation, it formally prohibits discrimination but is implemented in a decentralized way to protect the racial prerogatives of the South
    – first draft call results in no blacks; even when the army begins to need manpower desperately, induction of blacks is delayed until segregated facilities can be obtained (total waste of $$)
    – black educational disadvantage used as tactic to exclude them (Stimson admitted this in his diary)
    – absurdities: the assignement of racial tags became complicated in places like Puerto Rico and in ambiguous racial cases – eventually the US military ends up using racial percentage guidelines much like those in Nazi Germany
    – blacks excluded from fighting roles and assigned to menial work
    – majority of bases are in the south where local racial customs are enforced with violence – base riots, homicides at hands of MPs (there is a book waiting to be written about this)
    – black officers excluded from officer housing, not permitted to take vacations in white areas (they have to go to Harlem or Chicago South Side)
    – the army heads refuse to integrate – “the army is not a sociological laboratory,” they say (it is, of course, whether they like it or not) and reform will just have to wait
    – continued skepticism about ability of black soldiers, continues tradition in which even when they fought valiantly in WWI, southern white officers would mark them down poorly
    – segregation cost – separate facilities, inefficient unit composition – but in the view of the armed forces, that cost was less than the havoc they thought would ensue upon integration (in a cost-benefit calculus, blacks always lose, can be jettisoned)

    Pittsburgh Courier (biggest black paper) sums it up: “Northern Negroes who vote a Democratic President in office put the South in the saddle. The South runs our Congress, Army and our Navy, and there is not very much left of the country after that.”

    war benefits for white ethnics (eg. Catholics and Jews)
    – training, service, benefits, integration into common American purpose; “a great engine of group integration and incorporation”
    – for blacks, the opposite – the impossibility of integration widens a gap and produces a “critical lag” in assimilation

    nonetheless, the military was often the best deal going, in blacks’ eyes, and it did have a profound impact on AfAm life
    – travel, witness diverse experiences, meet other blacks from other regions, in short, enter a “modern” world
    – the military, for all its segregation, did expose many for the first time to a “universalistic ethos” and the idea of an organization based on functionally specific roles rather than on personality (military as “total institution”)
    – skills, training in the specific kinds of works from which blacks traditionally excluded
    – literacy
    – but limited facilities hinder these prospects – blacks get shuttled around because there’s no segregated facilities

    overall effect is of widening of racial disparity; white access to training and occupational advancements advances at much greater rate

    ironically, it was easier to defeat the Axis than to overcome Jim Crow


    Selective Service Readjustment Act (GI Bill) – “the law that worked” – the most influential piece of social legislation in 20C America – literally reconfigured the country – but it worked for some more than others because it was written under southern auspices, and despite formal claims of equal treatment, it was caused to be administered in such a way that it would preserve Jim Crow

    the GI Bill was crafted in the House Committee on World War Legislation, led by Mississippi’s John Rankin, one of the most notorious racists in the chamber; under his direction, the bill was crafted in such a way as to ensure decentralized administration, keeping control out of the hands of unreliable (from the south’s perspective) federal bureaucrats and permitting local southern officials to discriminate as they wished
    – the VA and the American Legion worked with Rankin to ensure that the bill stayed under his control – they felt they had to in order to cultivate support and prevent the bill from being broken up, and they assured Rankin they would not stand in the way of southern control over how the bill would be administered
    – you end up with a situation where southern states get to say “you give us the $$ and we will decide how to spend it” (i.e. not on blacks) – the bill held hostage to this principle
    – under local control, blacks are strongly discouraged from applying for benefits, and the bulk of the $$ goes to whites

    higher education
    – blacks are confined to segregated schools, mainly in the south – no room for the applicants (and so many turned away), vastly substandard facilities (libraries, labs, faculty), no liberal arts or doctoral programs, total lack of support from states
    – white schools, by contrast (think Univ Alabama, Univ Texas) are able to expand successfully under GI Bill

    vocational training
    – blacks barred from farm programs b/c white administrators do not want to risk them being able to eventually own a farm (this would endanger the low-wage agricultural labor system)
    – apprenticeship programs – most won’t accept blacks (same problem as with many unions)
    – fear that training will lead blacks to achieve higher wages
    – two tracks – blacks shuttled into “black jobs” (tailoring, dry-cleaning), regardless of training – men trained as carpenters during war now asked to become janitors, dishwashers – reinforce division of labor by race, aided by radical decentralization of US Employment Service in 1947
    – blacks relegated to system of scam, for-profit training schools (a vocational school version of Univ of Phoenix)

    home loans
    – fed govt doesn’t loan $$ itself; it guarantees mortgages
    – no private lenders will lend to blacks – there is a vicious loop here – they’ve never been allowed to have good jobs or credit, so they can’t get … good jobs or credit


    New Deal social policies effectively consituted a form of affirmative action for the already advantaged (like today, we have socialism for the rich and capitalism for everyone else)
    – majority of blacks excluded from social security well into 1950s
    – lack of protection from labor laws that benefited white americans
    – GI Bill perpetuated racial disparity

    overall, the ties b/w race and class were strenghtened during this period of immense social benefits (for some)

    the history of affirmative action
    – LBJ’s plans, laid out in the Howard speech, were radical and ambitious – and they were defeated – it was to turn this paradigm (affirmative action only for whites) on its head
    – but a “first cousin” to them developed in these years and during Nixon’s presidency – fed agencies required that employers and educators take race into account and employ compensatory policies (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)
    – the burden of proof shifts from specific acts of discrimination (burden on victim) to overall patterns of exlusion (burden on employer)
    – the idea that “outwardly neutral criteria” can be administered in such a way as to produce and preserve racial disparity
    – these policies have been weak but still significant, producing a much more integrated country today than we’d have without them

    the logic of affirmative action
    – acts of “corrective justice” – “interventions which remedy previously unjust decisions that made existing patterns of districution even more unfair than they otherwise would have been” – when is this legitimate?
    – Justice Powell outlined a set of criteria in Regents of the University of California v. Brakke that establish clear, enforceable standards:

    1. there must be a clear link to specific historical harms based on race
    2. the goal must be of sufficient social value to justify suspending criteria of colorblindness

    idea of strict scrutiny – when you investigate not just what a statue says, but what it *does*

    the idea of colorblindness articulated by affirmative action’s opponents sounds noble but requires willful blindness w/r/t the country’s historical record; it fosters the impression that color-conscious public policy is somehow new and that it has only benefited blacks, while a historical analysis shows this to be anything but the case

    and there are lasting, identifiable consequences to the discrimination practiced during those years:
    – the US remains segregated in a de facto sense
    – take missed chances at homeowership – in a country where home equity is a major source of wealth (as distinct from income), missing this boat has produced enormous wealth gap b/w blacks and whites (stats are staggering – in 1984 black median household net worth was 9% of white; that has remained basically constant)
    – look at the New Deal period as a distinct “branching moment” that put whites and blacks on separate tracks w/r/t home ownership, job discrimination, and education


    addendum: check out LBJ’s speech “To Fulfill These Rights,” Howard Univ Commencement, 6/4/65, in which he articulated the rationale for affirmative action:


  13. Glenn Dyer said, on March 13, 2011 at 10.25pm

    Klarman, Michael J. From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

    Study Questions:

    Klarman’s historiographical intervention lies in his revisionist attempt to understand the decisions of the Supreme Court as reflecting society at large rather than conditioning it. In effect he is attempting to show two simple things, that the Supreme Court’s effect in precipitating the Civil Rights movement is overstated and that its capacity to do anything for racial, ethnic, or religious minorities is nihl. But we are left with an interesting theoretical problem, where is the law? Is it outside of society? Does it form part of it, and if so, then how can Supreme Court decisions be unimportant?

    Somewhat paradoxically, in this work of legal history, we are told by Klarman that the Supreme Court’s decisions mostly were irrelevant in precipitating events and instead reflected them. Given that the context is the determining factor in almost every court case, does he sufficiently demonstrate this given the number of pages he devotes to overall context?

    Why were many of the successful challenges to institutional racism –embodied in the grandfather clause, work contracts, etc.— during the Progressive Era ultimately considered unsuccessful? Additionally, given Klarman’s notion that the Supreme Court reflected broader society, how does he explain these juridical victories?

    What were some of the “extralegal forces”(100) of the interwar period that helped shift the American social terrain towards one more favorable to racial equality? What forces ultimately rendered the Supreme Court’s decisions ineffective?

    Klarman’s periodization posits World War II and the ostensibly democratic conflict with fascism as a turning point in US race relations or perceptions. To what degree does his framing agree with Brinkley’s thesis on the roots of Liberalism’s decline? If we take the two together, then how do we read the successes of Civil Rights?

    Clearly the importance accorded to Brown v. Board of Education in fostering overall desegregation is a major target for Klarman. He states quite plainly that “[t]he pace of desegregation accelerated primarily because of the civil rights movement.”(360) Interestingly though, he argues that Brown fundamentally radicalizes white southern politics, leading to an almost foreordained politics of violent suppression. Is it fair to say this is a direct effect of the Brown decision and does Klarman make a strong enough case?

  14. Laura Ping said, on March 16, 2011 at 11.05am

    Reconsidering Roosevelt on Race by Kevin J. McMahon. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2004.

    Chapter 1:
    • After Brown vs. Board of Education southerners expressed surprise that the Supreme Court had unified against them.
    • Expectation was that South’s traditional stand on segregation would be upheld by court.
    • Decision was a “dramatic turn in American law that rejected defining institutions of the South and endorsed the ideal of a more inclusive democracy.” (3)
    • Author questions how 5 of the 9 Supreme Court Justices who voted for desegregating schools were appointed by FDR.
    • Southern leaders felt as though southern democracy was threatened.
    • Court used social sciences to support the conclusion that segregated schools violated 14th Amendment.
    • Main focus of the book:
    • How did a court with 8 democratically appointed justices defeat the interests of the South?
    • How did a court that was supposed to be committed to judicial restraint act so radically?
    • Why did the court use social sciences?
    • Roosevelt administration established expanded civil rights which significantly influenced judicial policy and court doctrine. Had FDR allowed southern Democrats to base judicial policy around race like they did much of the New Deal the Supreme Court would not have challenged segregation later.
    • Presidency focused. Looks at how non judicial institutions( i.e. the president) structures policy. Must look at presidential motivations: increase votes ( in particular black voters) and advance legislative agenda.
    Chapter 2:
    • Labor Unions, NAACP, legal reformers, social reformers fought to expand Civil Rights.
    • FDR initially overlooked social reform in favor of economic recovery
    • After “Black Monday” when FDR’s first New Deal was shot down he changed his priorities to include restructuring judicial policy to enable progressive reform.
    • Roosevelt ‘s “constitutional vision” was for the president to be at the center of a strong nat’l gov’t that would expand and secure individual rights. Wanted to pursue a program that would eventually weaken state party politics, rally first time voters, and place president at center of “electoral politics.” i.e. Modern president.
    Chapter 3:
    • Court Packing Plan demonstrates FDR’s commitment to judiciary restructure. Plan furthered realist cause. Author argues that Roosevelt wanted a more extensive judiciary reform than originally thought and wanted to incorporate realist ideas.
    • Did not simply want to constitutionalize New Deal but wanted to expand role of the President. Wanted judiciary branch to be the agent of the president. Also wanted to sever alliances between court and sectional interests. i.e. South and Congress.
    • Southerners were threatened by this plan because felt it threatened segregation so they brought down the court packing plan.
    • Challenges most historical arguments of court packing plan’s failure. Most histories say it was presidential mismanagement.
    Chapter 4:
    • Construction of FDR’s Supreme Court.
    • FDR nominees were supporters of legal realism and civil rights. More willing to incorporate new ideas and methods into decisions. Also more open to social science.
    • No specific evidence that FDR nominated judges who would advance African American rights, but the fact that these judges were rights centered liberals who deferred decisions to the president fit FDR’s ideology and allowed the NAACP to gain ground. Lays foundation for Brown v. Board.
    • Worked to block southern conservatives in the 1938 Democratic primaries.
    Chapter 5:
    • FDR Justice Department worked to extend individual rights, specifically for African Americans.
    • Efforts to attack poll tax, lynching, police brutality through Civil Rights Section created by judicial department.
    • WWII made it possible for Roosevelt administration to make democracy more inclusive and to police against violence against African Americans in the South.
    • Roosevelt is not given credit for his administration’s advancements in civil rights. Historiographically FDR is considered against civil rights because he approved the Japanese American Internment program during WWII and b/c he did not respond aggressively to the Holocaust. Also because FDR needed southern Democrats support for immediate legislative goals he made compromises. Should not undermine his judicial policy.
    • FDR may not have been a consistent advocate for civil rights reform, but he supported civil rights when it worked to advance his goals of a strong national government controlled by a progressive president.

    Chapter 6:
    • Truman and Eisenhower administrations ask Court to review Jim Crow Laws. Justice Department led this challenge to segregation. Author says this was a precedent set by FDR justice department.
    • FDR’s electoral goals sought black voters. So did Truman and Eisenhower so they also looked to their justice departments for progressive decisions as did FDR.
    Chapter 7: Conclusions
    • Executive Branch influenced Court on Civil Rights.
    • Presidency focused approach shows that the presidency also shaped the institutional mission of the Court during the mid twentieth century.
    • NAACP’s legal campaign against segregation was influential in Court’s decision to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson. Argues that while this is important one must look at FDR’s presidency-focused approach and the creation of that court to understand why NAACP was able to have that much influence. Also must note that FDR Administration created judicial policy in part as a response to NAACP.

  15. Alisa Harrison said, on March 21, 2011 at 11.03am

    Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era (Basic Books, 1990)

    • Scope: A study of the white middle and working class family in the cold war era, primarily between 1940 and 1960.

    • May relies heavily upon the “Kelly Longitudinal Study,” a database of questionnaires collected between 1935 and 1955, in addition to sources relating to popular culture during the cold war: movies, periodicals, newspapers.

    • Thesis: Argues that cold war ideology had a significant impact upon American domesticity, which she describes as “two sides of the same coin” (10).
    o Foreign policy and familial relationships were both greatly affected by desire for security and containment (which translated also into containment of political activism and feminism).
    o A study of the middle-class family structure—early marriage, lower divorce rate, increase in number of children, and sharper distinctions between gender roles in the family—demonstrates the success of a new model of conformity over that of the Depression and war years.
    o Changes in gender roles that had first been considered a step forward in equality were reshaped as only a solution to a country in crises by this younger generation, who instead sought to solidify the definition between masculinity and femininity within marriage as a constant amidst Cold War chaos.
    o Also argues that it was not a progression of nineteenth-century domesticity, but rather a new type of relationship—that of a consumer-oriented, nuclear family residing in a racially-segregated suburb.

    • In seeking to analyze this concept of “domestic containment,” May hopes to explain “the reasons why, in the cold war era, it was the vision of the sheltered, secure, and personally liberating family on which homeward-bound Americans set their sights” (18).

    Chapter 1: Containment at Home: Cold War, Warm Hearth
    • Provides an analysis of the “Kitchen Debate” as an example of Nixon’s assertion that US cold war superiority derived from domestic security and modernity. May writes, “Consumerism was not an end in itself; it was the means for achieving individuality, leisure, and upward mobility” (21).
    o At the same time, Gender ideology in the US sexualized housewives in contrast to their Russian counterparts, who were painted as unfeminine, hard working, and “purposeful” (22).
    • May notes that couples sought to create stability through their marriages.
    o Middle class couples of the cold war era had more children than previously (two to four), and began their families sooner after marriage than previous generations, hoping to provide sentiments of warmth and security in contrast to social disruption.
    o “Traditional” gender roles were reinforced as a part of “the ‘modern’ middle-class home” (24).

    Chapter 2: Depression: Hard Times at Home
    • In the early 1930s, May notes, marriage and birth rates fell drastically.
    • Argues that the economic crisis of the 1930s allowed for the creation of a new familial dynamic in which husband and wife shared equality; however, depression “also created nostalgia for a mythic past in which male breadwinners provided a decent living, and homemakers were freed from outside employment” (40).
    o Hollywood and other outlets of popular culture bolstered a sense of equality between the sexes
    • However, despite the possibility for change in male-female relationships, several factors served to instead reinforce traditional gender norms: the lack of public policies fostering equality for women, inhospitability in the work force, few long term job prospects for women, and growing sentiment that “the path toward traditional domestic arrangements appeared to be the one most likely to bring Americans toward the secure homes they desired” (57).

    Chapter 3: War and Peace: Fanning the Home Fires
    • World War II, like the depression, disrupted family life in America. War required a complete restructuring of social relationships, labor, and conceptualizations of gender equality.
    o Married women were now encouraged to take jobs as patriotic duty; May notes that during the depression, 80 percent of Americans were against female labor, whereas during WWII that number dropped to only 13 percent (59).
    o Simultaneously, marriage and fertility rates again increased
    • Propaganda films during wartime featured a new type of emancipated woman, emphasizing female capabilities while simultaneously reinforcing some stereotypes of domesticity. After the war, however, female independence was downplayed; May writes, “These movies portrayed female sexuality as a positive force only if it led to an exciting marriage” (62).
    o Americans, May argues, combating the insecurities left behind by the end of World War II and impending cold war with carefully planning for their future families of “skilled homemakers and successful breadwinners”; the stability of the home bolstered American society against potential outside threats (88).

    Chapter 4: Explosive Issues: Sex, Women, and the Bomb
    • May fleshes out a clear link between “the unleashing of the atom and the unleashing of sex” (90).
    o Sexual anxiety, directed particularly at women, became a huge component of cold war ideology and culture. The quest for family stability, a central element in responding to the uncertainty of policy abroad, led Americans to focus heavily upon morality (and, as a result, to reinforce heterosexual marital relationships).
    o An emphasis upon male power (in the home and in the political arena) shifted the female marital role to that of subordinate, “sexually and otherwise” (94).
    • May posits, then, a growing emphasis upon female “sexual containment” and domestication.
    o Sexuality was meant to be unleashed only within the home, where it could serve to enhance family life and reinforce the continuity of the institution. May writes, “Subversives at home, Communist aggressors abroad, atomic energy, sexuality, the bomb, and the ‘bombshell’ all had to be ‘harnessed for peace’” (108).

    Chapter 5: Brinkmanship: Sexual Containment on the Home Front
    • Chapter 5 explores the individual implications of this ideology of “sexual containment” on this cohort of Americans.
    • Despite sexual taboos, May notes, nearly half of those living in the period (according to Kinsey’s study) engaged in premarital sexual activity; an increasingly sexualized popular culture created a contradictory system
    o Early marriage became a way to legitimize teenage sexuality
    • Sexual containment had a notably ambiguous legacy for while it “promised fulfillment in an erotically charged marriage and security against sexual chaos,” the inflated expectations it generated led many women to focus primarily upon “pleasing their spouses” (127).

    Chapter 6: Baby Boom and Birth Control: The Reproductive Consensus
    • Issues of procreation took center stage during the cold war era; May writes, “Rather than representing a retreat into private life, procreation was one way to express civic values” (130).
    • May argues that the baby boom occurred not because of the end of WWII, or because older families postponed childbirth, but rather because “everyone was doing it—and at the same time” (131).
    o It was not simply a phenomenon of demographics, she posits. Rather, it was an articulated ideology reinforced by Hollywood, political culture, literature, and “in the thoughts and aspirations of men and women at the time” (152).
    • Americans conformed to a very similar model of childbearing in the cold war period, marrying early and having no less than three children in quick succession.
    o Society simultaneously endorsed pronatalism, the understanding that having multiple children would lead to fulfillment and happiness; motherhood became glorified as the highest achievement of women’s sexuality.
    o It also emphasized the use of contraception as a method of family planning to space out their children and create large families.

    Chapter 7: The Commodity Gap: Consumerism and the Modern Home
    • This post-war reinterpretation of the American dream saw its locale within that of the suburban home, creating a clear link between the culture of the American family and Cold War international politics.
    o As Nixon emphasized in the Kitchen Debates, the ideal suburban home was intended to be meant for Americans of all classes, pitting capitalism directly against communism.
    o In effect, suburban homeownership would safeguard American freedom by pushing the laboring classes and women to conform, reinforcing “aspirations of upward mobility and diminish[ing] the potential for social unrest” (157).
    • Consumerism was more than just about purchasing power in the cold war period. It was a reflection of “cultural values, demonstrated success and social mobility, and defined lifestyles” (172).
    o Consumerism emphasized the chasm between the American gender identities, reinforcing the man as “breadwinner” and the woman as “homemaker.”
    o However, consumer goods were not always sufficient compensation for the “dissatisfactions inherent in the domestic arrangements consumerism was intended to enhance and reinforce” (173).

    Chapter 8: Hanging Together: For Better or for Worse
    • Challenges to the status quo of the American social structure were, during the cold war era, dangerous to the idea of domestic containment.
    o The American family was a protection from uncertainty and harsh reality of the period, including the atomic bomb and “the massive impersonal organizations in which most men worked, institutional roadblocks to women with career ambitions, and hostility toward anyone whose private life did not conform to the heterosexual family pattern” (175).
    o The home was to be a place for sexual pleasure, material comforts, well-raised children, and evidence of material success through consumer goods. Yet, for many these high aspirations led only to a lowering of personal expectations and accommodation.
    o By tying personal satisfaction to satisfaction within the home, this cohort of Americans married young and stayed married; divorce rates went down as “Many couples stayed together through sheer determination” (177).
    • Yet, as May notes, this “ambiguous legacy of domestic containment was not lost on their children”—for baby boom youth, priorities would be completely different (197).

    Chapter 9: The End of Containment: The Baby Boom Comes of Age
    • Cold war ideology and domesticity were tied together through the common thread of security; May writes that “domestic ideology encouraged private solutions to social problems and further weakened the potential for political challenges to the cold war consensus” (199).
    • Domestic containment, however, broke down over time; particularly in the 1960s, authors like Friedan questioned gender roles in the home and the sense of resentment many white, middle-class women were feeling.
    o Children born during the period of domestic containment responded in widely divergent ways, May notes. Some chose to pursue an education or career. Others began to question their domestic satisfaction.
    o Growing popular counterculture in the 1960s, along with the civil rights and feminist movements, also helped in bringing the previous era to a gradual close.
    o Women also began to bring domestic rhetoric into the political arena; May argues that “their ability to attack the cold war with domesticity as their tool and make a mockery of the congressional hearings indicates that the familial cold war consensus was beginning to lose its grip” (209).
    o Of course, change was gradual. Many continued to adhere to conservative sexual and gender ideologies; yet, simultaneously, the marriage age began to rise, and marriage and birth rates declined. The divorce rate, too, increased significantly throughout the 1960s.
    o Consumer spending transitioned from products relating to the home to products outside the home (recreational expenditures, for instance).
    o Although women were still faced with inequality in the workplace and political arena, May notes that the feminist movement was successful in that “they were no longer bound to the home” (214).
    • The consensus within the home—the idea of domestic containment itself—was disassembled by the baby boom generation. Domestic containment was “a logical response to specific historical circumstances,” but it was no longer the status quo (216).

  16. Kat M. said, on March 23, 2011 at 2.52pm

    Beauregard, Robert. When America Became Suburban. New York: University of Minnesota Press, 2006.

    • Suburbanization, and the decline of America’s industrial centers that it heralded, reshaped American national identity in the period between WWII and the mid-1970s.
    o “My interest is in the implications that the rupture in urbanization had for the way Americans understood ‘America’ and for the ideals they displayed to the world…For a specific historical period and a specific country, this book explores the complex ways in how people lived affected who they were, or at least who they believed they were, and how they represented themselves to the world (xiv).”
    • Uses periodization of the “short American century,” roughly 1945-mid-1970s, because it is during this time period when four major events happened, all of which worked together to cause a change in national identity and how Americans worked to project that image overseas despite challenged to it posed by things such as racism and poverty. Four major things:
    o decline of established industrial cities
    o population shift from these cities to new Sunbelt cities and suburban areas
    o domestic prosperity
    o global dominance challenged only by conflict with the Soviet Union
    • Interested in interpreting, not explaining. To do so, Beauregard uses social forces – “suburbanization, job loss, capital disinvestment, ideological conflicts, obsolesence, consumption” – as historical actors, not people or organizations (xv).
    • Breaks book into four distinct sections:
    o Ch. 1 – general introduction, especially of his ideas about national identity and American exceptionalism
    o Ch. 2-4 – “explore the material basis for the rupture in urbanization that replaced distributive processes with parasitic ones (xv)”
    o Ch. 5-7 – sets out to “extend the rupture into the economic and cultural realms of postwar American society (xv).”
    o Ch. 8 – ties pieces of argument together and discusses possible recent turn away from suburbanization and the revitalization of American cities

    Chapter 1:
    • Makes a distinction between distributive and parasitic growth, and posits that the short American Century was marked by parasitic growth patterns
    o Distributive growth – when population growth in cities leads to expansion of those cities; growth shared between old and emergent cities. Characteristic of American growth from the 1880s-1940s.
    o Parasitic growth – when the population growth of new cities is the result of declining population in other, older cities. Postwar (short American Century) phenomenon.
    • Parasitic growth patterns meant regional, as well as local, decline as Southwest and Western states prospered while the North and Midwest stagnated. Sunbelt overshadowing the Rustbelt.
    • Beauregard notes a global decline in urban centers as well, but believes America was exceptional in terms of its patterns of suburbanization and the organization of the domestic lifestyle to match.
    • Points to economic upswing even as urban centers declining – says that racism, poverty were key components of this urban decline and that urban decline was the price Americans paid for the unprecedented economic gains of the time.

    Chapters 2-4:
    • Suburbs’ growth fed the increasing urban crisis, as decreasing population in major cities contributed to loss of jobs, tax basis, and consumer base. Urban centers went into crisis as a result and, in turn, images of that crisis fueled further exodus from cities to suburbs. These suburbs continued to grow, attract new residents, and become symbolic of an increasing level (and particular representation) of prosperity in American society even as the nation discussed, debated, and agonized over the problem of declining industrial centers.
    • Beauregard looks both at general periods of development and a series of “long waves” of development (an idea borrowed from 1920s Russian economist ND Kontratieff)
    o For the first, he notes two major periods – the first from 1893-1929 (and beginning after the end of Frederick Jackson Turner called “the first period of American history) and marked by distributive development and the second from 1948-1973 and marked by parasitic development (which was, of course, dependent on decline of inner cities).
    o Beauregard’s long waves of development are driven by technological change and innovation – and as each innovation flames out and something new comes along, another wave is formed. For the US, Beauregard says new methods of transportation are especially important drivers for these waves (canals, railroads, street and electric railways, cars) which, naturally, influenced urban development and mostly in distributive ways. The fourth wave, automobiles, is what drove the anamolous parasitic development and the rise of suburbanization and the decline in the mid-1970s is, in this model, keyed to the fact that everyone already owned cars and highways and streets were no longer a developing system but were, rather, completed.
    o Situates these changes in a global context, concluding that the US was different, but not exceptional in the fact that it was suffering from parasitic development.
    • Argues that parasitic growth was only ONE model of growth, though it was the predominant one, and that it was by no means inevitable. Yet there was, Beauregard notes, a “deepambivalence toward cities” that made their growth secondary to that of suburbs and contributed to their decline. Meanwhile, suburban growth was encouraged by investment patterns (disinvestment in cities freed up money for investment in the suburbs), relocation of business and industry as people fled cities (even when they had been willing to return to the cities to shop/work). These things were mutually reinforcing: businesses leaving urban areas, for example, only underscored the image of the unsafe, unstable city and further encouraged people to move to the suburbs.

    Chapters 5-7:
    • Parasitic urbanization is predicated on an simultaneous decline and expansion. Domestic prosperity was represented by America’s “consumption-focused suburban lifestyle,” and this was at the expense of reinvestment in cities. Beauregard talks about the “three pillars”supporting a shift of American national identity in the postwar period: parasitic urbanization is one, as is domestic prosperity. The third he identifies as the kind of global dominance America enjoyed and the way in which “suburbanization became ensnared in the international projection of American interests” during the Cold War rivalry with the USSR (102). Ultimately, despite the recent signs of revitalization in American cities (beginning in the 1970s, and evidenced by the continued density and cultural place of cities like NYC, Chicago, and Boston), Beauregard says that parasitic development and rise of suburbanization caused a shift in America’s “core identity” – a shift toward identifying as a “suburban society (121).”
    • Changing consumer tastes marked the end of Americans’ exclusive love affair with cities and their subsequent embrace of suburbanization and the suburban lifestyle. Yet suburbs were problematic in that they were closed societies, with entrance denied to minorities and the impoverished (and intellectuals and elites shunning them) – so the American identity crafted within their confines was that of an idealized, and (as some critics said) banal, white, middle-class society.
    • Cold War ideology both reinforced and complicated the popularity of the suburb, with cities seen as potential sites of nuclear attacks, hotbeds of radical activity, and centers of poverty, depravity, and racial inequality. Meanwhile, the consumption at the heart of the suburban lifestyle was symbolic of American freedom, equality, and choice – and suburbs were perceived as the land of the American Dream as championed both at home and abroad.

  17. Alisa Harrison said, on March 23, 2011 at 3.02pm

    Study Questions
    Thomas Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton University Press, 1998).

    1.) Sugrue states that a primary purpose of The Origins of the Urban Crisis is to provide a clear starting point for a study of “urban poverty, inequality, and urban decline” in the postindustrial, northern city (14). Is Sugrue successful in his goal to use Detroit as an exemplification of similar processes in other American cities? In what ways does Sugrue’s case study of Detroit tie in to the historical narratives of other postwar urban centers? How does it differ?

    2.) Sugrue has been criticized by reviewers for putting forward a largely speculative and nebulous assessment of white urban identity in Detroit. Do you agree with this critique? Why or why not?

    3.) The 1950s is often historically positioned as a decade of affluence and capitalistic achievement. Sugrue’s case study of Detroit, however, seems to prove the opposite; rather, Sugrue sees the 1950s as a turning point in the downfall of the city’s economic development, “a systematic restructuring of the local economy from which the city never fully recovered” (126). Why does Sugrue pinpoint this decade as the fiscal watershed of the city, and what evidence does he cite to support his conclusion?

    4.) What factors does Sugrue argue contributed to the process of “deproletarianization” among African American youth in Detroit?

    5.) Sugrue seeks to overturn the historiography of 1970s and 1980s urban antiliberalism, arguing that rather than simply a reaction to the emphasis of the Democratic party in the 1960s upon civil rights and welfare legislation, this phenomenon was “the culmination of more than two decades of simmering white discontent and extensive antiliberal political organization” (268). After reading The Origins of the Urban Crisis, would you concur with this statement?

  18. Jeff Diamant said, on March 23, 2011 at 5.14pm

    Jeff Diamant
    Colored Property: State Policy & White Racial Politics in Suburban America, By David M.P. Freund. University of Chicago Press, 2007


    • The book examines the changing nature of white northerners’ opposition to integration, from the 1920s to the 1960s. Chapters two through five examine this mainly from the perspective of federal government programs. Chapters six through nine focus on suburban Detroit (Dearborn and Royal Oak).
    • The main question is, how did northern whites’ views on integration change in this period? Why? The book frames its answers around two scary incidents in Michigan – one was in 1925, in Detroit, and the other was in 1963, in Dearborn. In each, mobs of angry white people surrounded homes in all-white sections of town after hearing rumors that black people were moving in. The expectation might have been that by 1963 this type of thing wouldn’t happen, but of course it did.
    • The federal government’s policies and court decisions earlier last century were responsible for the existence of this type of discrimination in the 1960s, Freund argues. Government rules for zoning regulations and mortgage applications affected racial residential patterns in growing suburbs. In various ways, these rules effectively – often explicitly — excluded black people from homes in devastating ways, with effects that remain with us.
    • In a nutshell: Due to written government rules about who could get federal housing loans, not only were black people excluded from receiving the loans themselves, they were then also excluded from the considerable benefits of homeownership, which accrued over the years for white homeowners.
    • Freund argues that these white homeowners did not tend to view themselves as beneficiaries of government largesse or privilege. That’s partially because the federal government deceptively promoted its involvement with loans as having a neutral effect on the housing market, leading white suburbanites to believe they succeeded on their own, without government help. Yet this easy access to low-interest, long-term loans for single-family houses created significant changes; before they were offered, most people couldn’t afford a house.
    • He also argues that the way northern whites expressed opposition to integration changed. In the 1920s, they would express opposition to integration in words that were critical of the black race, whereas in the 1960s they would more likely express such opposition as color-free concerns over maintenance of property values. Indeed, many of these white people, themselves property owners for the first time, grew “deeply invested in new ideas about the relationship between race and property.” (p. 8) And these concerns “enabled whites to resist important facets of the civil rights movement while still claiming, quite earnestly, that they did not believe in blacks’ inherent inferiority.” Yet Freund believes it is impossible to view racism as conceptually distinct from property concerns.
    • He shows how the federal government portrayed its refusal to grant loans to black people as a function of the market, even though Federal Housing Administration (FHA) guidelines for appraisals, printed in its widely-used Underwriting Manual, explicitly said black people should not be insured for loans. (That’s what the FHA did, it insured loans for banks.)
    • He argues against the existence of a widespread 1970s “backlash” to the Civil Rights movement, seeming to say instead that racial views of many white northerners had never actually changed in the first place.
    • He chose Detroit for this suburban study because by the 1950s, many of its industrial plants had closed and relocated to suburbs, where detached single-family homes were the main type of construction. And Detroit was among the cities that attracted black people in the Great Migration, as well as “white” people from Central and Southern Europe who, not too much earlier, hadn’t really been considered “white” in the United States.
    • He argues that white suburbanites typically failed to recognize how their whiteness helped them.
    • The backdrops to this study are the Civil Rights movement, the discrediting of racial science, World War II’s positive effects on racism in America, and the government’s newly active role in supposedly forbidding discrimination.


    • By the 1960s, most suburbanites lived in “home rule” municipalities where their governments could set rules for zoning, land use, tax collection, etc.
    • Zoning laws, developed in this country in the early 1900s, could lead to rejection of any proposed “‘incompatible land use,’ be it apartments, factories, or occupancy by black people.” The stated goal of zoning was managerial, to protect property values and cities’ fiscal health. (For example, you wouldn’t be able to keep a mobile home on a block of mansions or probably even medium-sized homes. Zoning was patterned after European land-use experiments, especially the German “zone” system (p. 50).
    • Zoning, from the start – but not always afterward – was used in racist/classist ways. New York had the nation’s first comprehensive zoning ordinance, after luxury-goods retailers on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan had a law passed so that large numbers of immigrant garment workers wouldn’t crowd their streets before work, after work and during their mid-day lunch break. In 1916, a law forbade buildings over a certain height, effectively preventing manufacturing plants on Fifth Avenue.
    • Future zoning laws would protect white property in “high class” residential neighborhoods.
    • The Supreme Court struck down explicitly racial zoning in 1917 (Buchanan v. Warley), but the South continued to use it for decades, through equivalents of grandfather clauses.
    • Courts generally allowed municipalities a lot of leeway in determining what ran afoul of zoning laws. Something/someone had to be deemed a threat to public health or safety, or a nuisance.
    • By 1922, cities in twenty states had zoning acts.
    • Herbert Hoover, while Commerce secretary under Warren Harding, oversaw great expansion of the use of zoning laws, which were favored by real-estate trade associations.
    • In 1921, Hoover created an Advisory Committee on Zoning which published widely-used boilerplate legal language for municipalities, letting them regulate land use, the height and size of structures, setback and open-space requirements, and population density. (p. 78).
    • Advocates of zoning presented it almost as a science. The Supreme Court backed zoning law in the 1926 case Euclid v. Ambler, approving the idea that selected property owners could control development patterns and determine what should not be approved. (p. 81)
    • Covenants operated differently than zoning. Zoning decisions are made by a public regulatory authority, with rules pertaining to the entire municipality, while restrictive covenants are in private deeds.
    • In 1948, in Shelley v. Kraemer, the U.S. Supreme Court declared restrictive covenants on race (that is, preventing someone from buying a home due to race) to be unenforceable. But it was easy enough for people to get around this.


    • Federal intervention in lending transformed the housing market in the 1930s. (Developers, housing economists and lenders had lobbied for a federal role since the end of World War I.)
    • During the Great Depression, alphabet agencies included the Home Loan Bank System (1932), the Home Owners Loan Corporation (1933), and the National Housing Act (1934), which was the most influential.
    • The NHA would eventually back the idea of low-interest, long-term, self-amortizing mortgages.
    • By 1940, due to federal intervention, more banks felt secure lending, and more people were able to borrow. Loans were available for 10 to 15 years, with only 25 percent down. That’s much more than what is usually required these days, but was very low for back then.
    • Federal intervention also helped determine what kind of homes would be built – single family homes.
    • Richard Ely, of the Institute for Research on Land, Economics and Public Utilities, helped devise the system, but there were competing visions. Ely and others were very well-connected, and many of his views were implemented.
    • Backers of the new system went to great pains to portray federal intervention as an intermediary, as merely bringing together borrower and lender and tinkering with the system/freeing up a sluggish market. They didn’t want to be seen as manipulating the housing market.
    • The Home Owners Loan Corporation had a large impact. It demonstrated that long-term, low-interest loans had a positive difference on many people, and that such involvement by the feds could spur consumer spending. In its first two years, it processed more than a million loans.
    • The term “red-lining” came from HOLC color-coded classifications for properties, lettered A,B, C and D on a map. D, the least valuable category quality of property, was colored red on the map. Most ratings with D were predominantly African-American areas.
    • “HOLC guidelines justified racial segregation solely by invoking the economic argument (that homes and neighborhoods occupied by minorities were worth less money.),” Freund wrote. (p. 117)
    • The FHA (Federal Housing Administration), which mainly insured loans, took up where the HOLC left off, using its predecessor’s ideas for mortgages and the “market imperative argument for racial exclusion.”
    • While helping expand the housing markets, the expansion was in suburbs, for white people: “The FHA openly and systematically discriminated against racial minorities for decades and yet insisted that exclusion was necessitated by impersonal market requirements.” (p. 119)
    • Racial horror stories abound with the FHA: Among the eight factors the FHA used to evaluate housing conditions was the percentage of persons “living in the block that are of a race other than white.” (p. 129). All minority or mixed-race neighborhoods were deemed unstable. One form asked if “inharmonious racial or social groups (are) present in the neighborhood.” And FHA agents refused to insure loans for homes in most C and all D neighborhoods.
    • Minorities thus lost out on the chance to accumulate wealth through homeownership that white people benefited from. The FHA’s operation impacted so many people that it could be said that “the government began to actively promote, indeed to help pay for, the systematic segregation of residential neighborhoods and to deny certain federally subsidized housing opportunities to minorities.” (p. 132).
    • FHA loans became the safest loans anywhere.
    • The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA, or Fannie Mae) was set up to sell FHA-insured mortgages on a secondary mortgage market.
    • In 1937, Congress permitted FHA to insure loans for 25 years with a 90 percent loan-to-value ratio.


    • Created as part of the New Deal, these programs were very unpopular with many business interests and legislators.
    • In massive PR offensives that often defied logic, the government contended that the laws of supply and demand, rather than the government, were reviving the housing market. And, against charges from the NAACP, the government tried to give the impression it was not discriminating against minorities.
    • The system was devised for whites, from the get-go, with the focus on single-family homes and various exclusions of racial minorities.


    • In 1944, the Veterans Administration’s mortgage guarantee program extended FHA insurance to veterans on a more generous scale. Veterans didn’t have to pay fees at closings. But the VA took on the FHA standards on race.
    • In the late 1940s, the federal government removed the racially explicit language from the Underwriting Manual. Yet the practices that prevented minorities from securing these loans extended through the 1960s, despite efforts of civil rights efforts, legislation and court decisions.
    • In 1948, FHA-insured home purchases were allowed to have only 5 percent down payments (down from 10 percent) and, for some loans, a 30-year-payback period.
    • Despite the obvious need for low-cost housing and apartments, real-estate lobbying groups opposed programs that would finance those projects.
    • Another incentive to home-buying was, the government let homeowners deduct mortgage interest from their tax bill. Again, racial minorities didn’t see these benefits in large numbers.
    • In 1953, the new head of the Home and Housing Finance Authority, Albert Cole, said during his confirmation hearing that he would not try to stop racial segregation in federally funded programs, that, effectively, local custom trumped the government’s obligation to fairness.
    • By the late 1960s, ninety percent of municipalities in the United States had zoning laws
    • The nation’s fastest-growing suburbs had few if any apartment buildings, given the bias toward single-family homes.
    • White builders, lenders, housing officials, economists, and appraisers had come to view rules for land-use regulation as an objective science (p. 238)


    • Jobs in Detroit drew tens of thousands of African-Americans during World War II.
    • Albert Cobo won Detroit’s mayoral race in 1949 after promising to oppose racial integration.
    • In Royal Oak, Michigan, even while in the midst of a terrible housing shortage, a developer (Northwood Properties) ran into major opposition trying to build an apartment complex. Politicians who supported the complex lost re-election over the issue. The state Supreme Court ruled for the town against the developer, saying the town could decide what types of projects were compatible for the town.


    • Dearborn residents successfully opposed apartment homes, low-income housing, and African-American homes.
    • Dearborn was known as a white working-class town back then, though it had a large middle-class community as well.
    • A big labor union for Ford Motor Company ran into opposition in 1944 when it asked for low-cost housing for workers.
    • The Southwest Dearborn Civil Association, one of many property owners associations for white property owners around the country, complained in its October 1950 newspaper that “certain unscrupulous real estate dealers are attempting to buy up Dearborn property to resell to people of other than the Caucasian race.” (p. 323)


    • In 1956, the mayor of Dearborn, Orville Hubbard, was quoted in the Montgomery Advertiser (Alabama) saying he supported “complete segregation, one million percent, on all levels,” while acknowledging an “unwritten law against Negroes living in Dearborn.” (p. 333) A priest criticized the mayor. The mayor was widely supported for his words. The author reviewed hundreds of letters of support for the mayor.
    • Whites in Dearborn tended to speak about residential segregation as a property issue, “enabling (them) to call for segregation while portraying themselves as not racist.” (p. 337).
    • Whites favoring segregation would often speak of their “rights” as homeowners, community members and white people, with a constitutional right to protect their property and maintain their privacy (p. 343).


    • In 1968, then-Congressman Gerald Ford, of Michigan, tried to stall legislation barring discrimination in housing rentals and sales, by proposing an exemption for single-family homes. Only after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination did enough members of Congress split with Ford to pass the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
    • Freund opposes use of the term “backlash” to describe conservative reaction to the civil rights movement. That supposed backlash, he said, “was a continuation of a well-entrenched political practice and political vision that for decades had defined property, privilege, and the rights of citizens in racially specific terms.” (p. 385)
    • Too many studies have whitewashed the government’s role in fueling segregation, Freund writes. An exception is the report of the Kerner Commission, which indicted public agencies and the private sector.

  19. Glenn said, on March 24, 2011 at 1.23pm

    Glenn Dyer, summarizer

    Rosenberg, Jonathan. How Far the Promised Land?: World Affairs and the American Civil Rights Movement from the First World War to Vietnam. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.
    In How Far the Promised Land?, Jonathan Rosenberg explores “the interconnection between world affairs and…the African-American freedom struggle” and why the race reform leaders were so interested in international affairs and how they incorporated them into their reform campaigns at home. He focuses on leadership because he thinks that much of the race reform came from above and that they spent a lot of time persuading other black people of their cause, thus their ideas would be indicative of wider perceptions. Additionally, he largely uses NAACP records but he also uses a variety of records from other organizations, depending on the time period (obviously he can’t look at SNCC or SCLC because they didn’t exist until the Civil Rights movement began). Also he focuses on articles, speeches, radio addresses, editorials, etc. Rosenberg notes that scholars have a tough time agreeing on what internationalism is, but he argues that black reformers were internationalist , which has three different meanings that don’t always come together: 1) “belief in the practicability of world cooperation…amongst the world’s people,” 2) belief in one sort of international organization or another needed to make this cooperation happen (UN, League of Nations, etc.), and 3) that the United States has a special mission within this overall. Ultimately, Rosenberg has “suggested that color-conscious internationalism powerfully informed how American race reformers viewed the world and that throughout the twentieth century they placed their understanding of international affairs at the center of their reform message. In exploring that message, this study rests on sources derived from the public record the movement produced, a record typically encountered by large numbers of people in a variety of settings.”

    Part I: World War I and the Peace Settlement
    NAACP founded in 1909 by whites and led by Oswald Garrison Villard, Mary White Ovington, Moorfield Storey, and Joel Elias Spingarn. Foremost leader of early days was WEB Du Bois (joined 1910), who was the editor of organization’s monthly The Crisis. Du Bois thought the journal could be the “mentor of the race.” World War I begins, and early leaders opposed it; some were pacifists or opposed it on moral grounds. Spingarn and Du Bois were less opposed to it and used it rhetorically to discuss racism. Du Bois embedded the black American experience in the roots of the war, and like in Rodger’s book, believed that the war would have transformative powers.
    During and after the war, race reformers connected their ideas to Wilson’s statements on democracy. They saw the struggle for black inclusion as being one and the same struggle. In a sense they retooled Wilson’s arguments for their own purposes and used them to convince people at home of the need for race reform. Additionally Rosenberg argues that this is an attempt to internationalize American race problems through a challenge to the US sovereignty.
    Part II: Between the Wars
    The Crisis (NAACP), The Messenger (A Philip Randolph), and Opportunity (Urban League) all carry numerous articles –“a dizzying number”— on international issues such as the plight of people in Africa and Asia, imperial policies, etc. and contain accounts of people who traveled to other parts of the world and their impressions. The struggle in India captures their imagination as well.
    India continues to capture the imagination of Du Bois who requests letters from Gandhi to inspire people, writes account of their struggle, and calls them a shining light for black people. The Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 was also a big moment because Ethiopia was one of the few places where black people ran their own governments. Reformers tried to intervene before and during it. One Italy invaded, they tried to keep FDR from recognizing Italian sovereignty of the area.
    Part III: From World War II to Vietnam
    World War II & Immediate Post-War
    World War II equated with the struggle for black freedom. The United States was at war with countries that had overtly racist ideologies, thus Jim Crow too must be destroyed for consistency. Rhetoric of equality also bled into protest of unfair hiring practices, mistreatment of black soldiers, and so on. In post-War situation the growing divide of the world along East-West lines equally involved a lot of writing.
    During this time period greater equation of the domestic and imperial situation abroad. Also, the establishment of the UN was a good thing to them because they hoped it could be a “useful arena in which race reform leaders could marshal world public opinion against America’s discriminatory racial practice.” Furthermore, the critique of Soviet tyranny became the foil just as Nazi tyranny had been, thus race reformers used the critique of the Soviet union to push for changes. Significantly, they made their argument against segregation and oppression at home in terms of the US getting the support of the Third World.
    Vietnam War was a point of serious contention for race reformers who were really divided about how to view it. Some obviously criticized it as the same type of imperialist and racist violence that afflicted black people in America

  20. Glenn said, on March 28, 2011 at 11.33am

    Glenn Dyer, summarizer

    Cohen, Lizabeth. Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.


    “This book is devoted to explaining how it was possible and what it meant for industrial workers to become effective as national political participants in the mid-1930s after having sustained defeats in 1919 and having refrained from unionism and national politics during the 1920s.” (p. 5) Essentially, why did they 1) join the Congress for Industrial Organization (CIO) and 2) become faithful Democrats? For Cohen, it’s not a matter of external factors; rather it’s what workers themselves did. They changed as their experiences changed in relation to daily life in terms of the workplace, but also and especially outside of it. Her historiographical intervention then is a reassessment of these people’s lives, avoiding parceling things up into work-life and other areas (religion, ethnic loyalties, gender, race etc.), and how workers construct complex interrelationships between their different spheres of experience on the road to becoming active players in national politics.

    To explain this she examines industrial workers in Chicago, claiming that there was not much regional variation in terms of the trends she is describing and that it is perfectly representative. Chicago at that time was the 2nd largest industrial area, famed for meat-packing, steel production, clothes manufacturing, and as a railway hub; it also had lots of other industries though (baking, cars, etc.). Also Chicago was 1) ethnically (Poles, Lithuanians, Irish, Italians, etc.) and 2) racially diverse (black, white, and Mexican). Lastly, Chicago was extremely well-documented, the most-well documented city in America at this time because of the efforts of social scientists that commissioned and carried out all kinds of surveys and studies of people’s consumption, religious, and other habits. So Cohen has lots of sources, lucky her.

    More or less the shock of the Great Depression causes industrial workers of various ethnicities and races to seek out new mechanism for survival. Major changes or transformations she documents:

    Before “making a New Deal” After “making a New Deal”
    Most industrial workers didn’t vote in national elections, and were wary of large-scale government infringing upon their lives They became loyal Democrats in national elections and supported an interventionist government to handle many problems
    Labor organizing efforts rarely lasted very long They successfully organized as part of the CIO and this lasted over time (still exists in many cases)
    Welfare needs were met by informal networks (family/friends), formal ethnic organizations (fraternal organizations, savings, insurance), and to a lesser degree “welfare capitalist” schemes of employers They now looked to the government and unions to handle these problems
    Ethnicity circumscribed their lives More experiences in common because of mass culture, Democratic Party, and CIO

    The periodization of this book is important because she examine the interwar years. Cohen argues that if you look at the 30’s and the 40’s you draw different, less hopeful and more pessimistic conclusions. The interwar years were a more hopeful times for workers, primarily because of their rising prominence towards the end of the 30s, looking to what they thought in that time period as opposed to what they thought about that time period after the fact. This is both a historiographical engagement and a way of setting aside certain kinds of sources.

    The Beginning : Cohen’s starting point is the terribly unsuccessful strike wave of 1919 in which workers in Chicago and across much of the US were struggling to maintain some of the gains they had made during World War I, only to lose most it and be pitted against one another along racial and ethnic lines. So how do these people end up uniting in large degree to make the New Deal?

    1920s Preconditions for Making a New Deal

    Cultural Contest: Cohen finds this time to be of serious importance because in many ways ethnic institutions begin lose some of their grip on their “rank and file.” Ethnic shopping and recreation threatened by new chain stores and mass entertainment, but people don’t just get homogenized. In many ways people are only partially integrated and in some ways their ethnic identities get reinforced. Blacks on the other hand are seen as embracing mass culture because it actually allows them avenues to participate in the wider culture they have been systematically excluded from. Radio for instance becomes more dominated by large companies as opposed to small ethnically run companies. What comes out of all of this is a “second generation, ethnic, working-class culture” (p. 147), giving common ground to bridge ethnicity, race, and skill (a large division within unions, skilled crafts versus unskilled industrial workers) and that is what is important!

    Welfare Capitalism: In response to strike waves, informal workplace actions, and the intrusions of pesky progressives, owners develop ways to try and win over employee loyalty. They sponsored recreational programs, sometimes provided insurance, wage raise incentives for “good work,” English and civics classes, and ethnic mixing of workforce (used to be Irish did one type of jobs and Italians another, but bosses thought grouping them together would prevent successful organizing). Cohen’s argument is that this welfare capitalist model influenced workers in terms of rising expectations, but also made them believers in what she calls a “moral capitalism.”

    Hatred of Prohibition and Support of Machine Politics: Czech politician Anton Cermak united an interethnic Democratic machine, which was heavily connected to national Democratic politicians. “The issue that made Cermak’s political career, and drew Chicago’s diverse ethnic communities together behind him and the national Democratic presidential candidate in 1928, Alfred E. Smith, was Prohibition.”(p. 255) Workers became more invested in this campaign and organization over time.

    How it Happens

    Even though mass culture and the influence of welfare capitalist schemes are instrumental in workers developing different attitudes and ideas, the Depression is ultimately the turning point. Ethnic institutions, welfare capitalist schemes, and the Catholic Church were unable to meet people’s needs.

    Going Political, Going Democrat: Through their growing involvement in machine politics, workers began to see themselves as voters and over time became more involved through their allegiance to New Deal programs. Also participation in radical organizations, Communist unemployed councils and Socialist parties also taught workers to make their demands to the state, thus a similar outcome. The 1934 national elections, in which Republicans are voted out of congress is a big show of power for this new political, working class.

    Relief Structures: Chicago is in terrible shape by 1933 when Roosevelt takes office. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration gives direct aid to people, and within one year, 1/3 of Chicago’s workers were on Federal relief. Many workers felt their democratic participation, war service, and taxes entitled them to such benefits. This amounted to altogether new expectations of the federal government.

    CIO: Cohen’s argument is that the changing attitudes and experiences of industrial workers made these organizing drives possible, though some argue she minimizes things such as ethnically based radical traditions and earlier traditions of worker’s struggle such as the 1919 strike wave or attempts by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) to organize people industrially. The CIO however, at the same time that there is a growing common cultural understanding by workers of themselves as working class, promotes a “culture of unity” too.

    *Notable New Deal Programs that Industrial Workers Loved*

    Federal Emergency Relief Administration: In Chicago, it doles out direct aid, but through the Catholic Church.
    Home Owner’s Loan Corporation: Helped those who were defaulting on loans by giving them long-term, low-interest loans. This included many industrial workers who had bought their homes but who were losing them in the Depression.
    National Industrial Recovery Act: A voluntary program that employers could opt in to, which meant they would then follow various “codes of fair competition” such as shorter work hours and wage increases dependent on productivity increases. Obviously this opens the possibility for higher wages and more jobs.
    Works Progress Administration: Job creation program, 1/3 of the people employed by them in Chicago were black.
    Civilian Conservation Corps: Employed young men in more rural states taking part in reforestation efforts.

  21. Cambridge Ridley Lynch said, on March 30, 2011 at 5.11pm

    Study Questions
    Colin Gordon, Dead on Arrival: The Politics of Health Care in Twentieth-Century America (2003)

    1.) Do we agree with Gordon in his “all-or-nothing” approach to politics? Does incrementalism and/or compromise relieve a kind of pressure needed to enact wide-sweeping legislation?
    2.) If, as Gordon suggests (in this book and in “New Deals: Business, Labor, and Politics in America, 1920-1935” [1994]), special interests will always skew policy debate in their favor, is there any possibility for meaningful political action?
    3.) Is Gordon’s narrative of exceptionalism convincing without a detailed discussion of the historical circumstances surrounding public health care programs in other countries, or do his broad gestures towards such programs suffice?
    4.) Do we agree with the general assumption that Americans both desire public health care and would be willing to assume the burden of the costs, but for the meddling of special interests?

    And finally, because the question is begging to be asked (in my mind, anyway):

    5.) What has changed historically between the Clinton era and today that allowed for health care reform to pass in 2010? How would Gordon view the legislation that was ultimately passed?

  22. Miranda said, on March 30, 2011 at 5.46pm

    School Lunch Politics: The Surprising History of America’s Favorite Welfare Program, Susan Levine

    1. A Diet for Americans
    -origins of school lunches in scientific nutrition and efforts of early twentieth century reformers
    – school lunch programs targeted both economically needed and nutritionally needy
    – Edward Atkinson- argued that if workers understood nutrition, they could raise their standard of living without spending more on food- conveniently used to justify keeping wages low
    – Wilbur O. Atwater- theory of substitutions- food price and nutritional value aren’t necessarily linked
    -Ellen Richards- home economist- developed institutional kitchens, the first large-scale food service operations and model of standardized recipes and menu cards
    -also opened scientific lunch program in Boston in 1898
    -WWI revealed widespread, cross-sectional malnutrition in America
    -1920s food reformers hoped to Americanize immigrant diets and address consequences of poverty in diets
    -These reformers believed teaching children how to eat was key
    -By the 1920s, standardized height-weight tables used to measure children’s health (but also reinforced racial and gendered body norms since they were based on studies of adult, Anglo-Saxon males)
    – WWI led to expansion of government involvement in food and nutrition- e.g., Hoover’s War Food Administration
    -By 1920s, widespread cafeteria operations and culture of nutrition

    2. Welfare for Farmers and Children
    -1930s- hunger and malnutrition were major threats to nation
    -school lunches appeared as logical form of relief for hungry children
    -by mid-1930s, states began enacting laws which allowed local boards of ed to use tax money to pay for school meals
    -by early 1930s, federal agencies began to distribute food to needy and to school lunch programs
    -in 1935, the Works Progress Administration instituted sizable school lunch operation
    -in 1930s, Surplus Marketing Administration decided to send surplus food to schools
    -schools and students often didn’t know what to do with random food (e.g., played catch with grapefruits)
    -by the end of the 1930s, communities had become dependent on federal resources and a school lunch bureaucracy was taking root
    -by WWII, every state used federal funds to employ nutritionists and administrators for school lunch programs
    -school lunch coalition was very influential in getting Congress to continue appropriations for school lunches

    3. Nutrition Standards, Scientific Diets
    -food rhetoric in WWII era linked proper nutrition with national virility
    -in 1943, Congress authorized continuing funds for school lunches and consolidated various federal programs into Community School Lunch Program, which est. federal contracts governing school cafeterias
    -this was first time fed gov instituted national standards for school-related program
    -but schools also needed their own resources to participate and school lunch programs, therefore, often mirrored local inequalities
    -At start of WWII, nutrition reformers became key figures in US planning for civilian and military food policy and by the end of the war, vitamins, RDAs, and ‘balanced meals’ had entered national lexicon
    -RDAs were also included in Community School Lunch contracts
    – despite talk of appreciating ethnic differences, national food policy sought to shape a unified civic identity
    -school lunches were vehicle for Americanization

    4. A National School Lunch Program
    – nutrition reformers and agricultural groups supported school lunches after WWII
    -Southern Democrats supported school lunch legislation despite their usual distrust of federal welfare plans
    -linked school lunch policy to farm policy and agricultural development
    -Liberals viewed school lunches as extension of New Deal social safety net
    – National School Lunch Act passed in 1946- eliminated federal money for nutritional edu and stipulated federal officials would not be managing schools
    -NY Congressman, Adam Clayton Powell, proposed amendment which would prohibit federal funds from going to any state or school which discriminates between schools
    -worded as anti-discrimination rather than anti-segregation which made it appealing to southern legislators and allowed segregationists to still support it
    -Powell’s amendment passed, but decentralized structure of program meant that racial divisions were left in tact

    5. Lunchroom Ideals and Realities
    – bipartisan support for National School Lunch Program during 1950s
    -support based on its central place in the Dept. of Agriculture’s domestic agenda and claims about children’s health (something for every group)
    -lunchrooms were still important outlet for surplus products
    -raised concern among children’s welfare advocates who worried about nutritional value and consistency of surplus products
    -influence of nutritionists and home economists waned in the Dept. of Agriculture during ‘50s and National School Lunch Program was run with financial, rather than nutritional focus
    -Limits of Program:
    -little federal oversight
    -no enforcement mechanism
    -regional and racial inequalities perpetuated (most states charged students in order to fulfill requirement of matching federal funds)
    -most children receiving lunches were in rural, white school districts in the south and southwest

    6. No Free Lunch
    -federal food policy in the 1950s overlooked that hunger could exist in ostensibly affluent America but gave way in the 1960s to programs which addressed domestic poverty and hunger
    -USDA was leery about getting into business of welfare by providing free lunches to poor children, but growing pressure during the early ‘60s
    -questions raised about USDA’s control over children’s nutrition
    -1966 Child Nutrition Act- appropriated funds directly for free lunches, but problems remained:
    -no new matching money for states and no additional federal money for things like new
    cafeterias or labor
    -left provision of free meals up to local and state officials
    -no objective standard to determine which children were eligible for free meals
    -examples of different standards: whether child looked thin enough, children with alcoholic fathers denied, children had to clean schools in exchange for food
    -federal ‘poverty line’ adopted in 1965- standard measure of eligibility for welfare benefits
    -stigma remained for many poor children receiving free lunches

    7. A Right to Lunch
    -Committee on School Lunch Participation (CSLP), a coalition of women’s groups which formed in 1966, conducted nationwide survey of school lunch program and issued groundbreaking report, The Daily Bread
    -findings included: few poor children participated in the National School Lunch Program,
    those who did were often stigmatized, discrimination against minority children,
    -concluded that lack of enforceable federal standards was root of the problem
    -mounting grassroots pressure for federal action in response to report
    -in 1968, Congress approved $32 million for expanded school lunch program in impoverished areas, and in 1969, Congress approved increasing annual school lunch appropriation for regular school lunches to $50 million with an additional $5 million for needy children
    -But there were still not enough funds for general lunchroom operation and there was still ambiguity about eligibility standards
    -increasing lawsuits and threats of legal action from various groups frustrated with slow pace of change in school lunchrooms
    -In 1971, USDA finally set forth minimum income standards for free lunch eligibility
    -By the early 1970s, school lunch had shifted from “an outlet for farm surpluses to a small convenience for part of the middle class to an important welfare benefit for the children of the poor.” (149)

    8. Let Them Eat Ketchup
    -Nixon proclaimed that new attention would be paid to nation’s hungry
    -increased funding for the National School Lunch Program, targeting the needy
    – But as school lunches were increasingly associated with the poor, children who paid for their lunches began to leave the program
    -school lunch program began to turn to private food service industry since state and local politicians were still resistant to funding free lunches
    -private co.s allowed as long as they met ‘all quantitative and qualitative nutritional requirements’
    -not long before vending machines allowed into schools
    -sale of snacks defended by food industry as way raising revenue for schools
    -loosening nutritional standards:
    -e.g., in 1979, USDA issued new guidelines which allowed for sale of foods with ‘minimum nutritional value’ in school lunchrooms
    -in 1970s, school lunchrooms were important part of food service industry
    -new technologies such as microwaves and dehydrated foods allowed schools to serve lunch without having to invest in working kitchens
    -fast food increasingly served- met minimal nutritional requirements by fortifying food with vitamins and ingredients such as wheat germ
    -by late 60s, early 70s, old guidelines such as requirement that whole milk be served, began to seem irrational in face of increasing obesity epidemic
    – Reagan cut $400 million from school lunch program’s budget
    -’ketchup controversy’ of 1981- USDA’s new dietary guidelines contained provision which counted ketchup as a vegetable in children’s lunches

    Epilogue: Fast Food and Poor Children
    -by 1990s, schools depended more heavily than ever on private food-service industry
    -school lunch program continued as poverty program
    -fast food companies allowed into lunchrooms, although forced to re-formulate many of their products to meet minimal nutritional guidelines
    -stigma against lunchroom food continues today as many view it as a program for low-income children

  23. Cambridge Ridley Lynch said, on March 30, 2011 at 10.41pm

    Owen D. Gutfreund: 20th-Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape (2004)

    Overview: This work is structured in two main parts: a comprehensive historical background (chapter 1), and three case studies (chapters 2-6) that apply its precepts to cities of different sizes and geographic locations. As such, this summary focuses mainly on the key historical developments and then summarizes the case studies more briefly.

    Chapter One: Highway Federalism
    o Prior to 20th century, roads were purview of local government. Two major turning points led to new conception of roads as “public good” that should be enjoyed free of charge: the establishment of the “Good Roads” movement (originally started by bicyclists in the 1880s) and the 1916 Federal-Aid Road/Highway Act (codified federal support).
    o 1916 Highway Act the result of years of lobbying on the part of special interest groups. Several important precedents: federal aid distributed through independent bureaucracy (allowing lobbyists to infiltrate), state highway depts forced to conform to federal standard before receiving aid, aid took form of dollar-for-dollar matching grants, established marked anti-urban bias by distributing aid per skewed formula (this formula would be in use for next ½ century), no user charges, protection from tolls and gas tax (result of lobbying).
    o 1921 Highway Act shifts focus away from farm-to-market roads to include primary long-distance routes as well (in part because of transportation issues during WWI). More precedents: states to pay road maintenance, pro-West, anti-urban bias confirmed.
    o As states become unable to shoulder the cost of building roads, gas taxes, registration fees, and tolls were increasingly introduced; highway lobby able to “protect” gas taxes in the Harden-Cartwright Act of 1934, which legislates that gas tax revenue must be spent on highway construction (which means roads do not have to compete with other essential services for funds).
    o The New Deal exacerbated some of these underlying problems with an inconsistent policy that both encouraged highway construction and tried to re-locate work to urban setting. The resulting instability would cause issues that would have to be solved in the post-War setting.
    o Turnpikes/ Toll Roads: a prewar boom in state turnpike construction threatened the highway lobby, which maintained that all roads should be free to use. Toll roads were generally successful and self sufficient, which pressured traditional highway boosters to make accomodations to their strategy, like connecting center cities to the highway network (a reversal of policy). But boosters ultimately were able to “win” the road debate by using propaganda like the Bureau of Public Roads’ Toll Roads, Free Roads and GM’s “Futurama” exhibit at the New York 1939 World’s Fair.
    o 1944 Highway Act created the Interstate Highway System but was ineptly framed
    o 1956 Highway Act (Eisenhower) enabled 1944 plan to actually be implemented. Particularly committed to toll-free highways, and its aid formula actually increased the wealth-transfer effect from highly urbanized Eastern states to sparsely-settled Western ones. Increased attention to connecting cities but no provisions for traveling through cities; city road quality continues to suffer. With user fees, gas taxes highly opposed by powerful highway lobby, states continue to go into debt in order to fund projects. In end, states look to interstates only, leaving any other road the subject of local control (and paid out of general revenue funds).
    o Most important result is the effective government subsidy of auto use, though monies are distributed to only some parts of the country and all citizens—regardless of whether they drive—are taxed. With resources constantly pushed to the periphery (not just highways—simultaneous developments in federal banking and housing regulations), city/town centers were adversely affected.

    Chapters Two and Three: Denver
    o At turn of century, Denver a major rail hub. In 1904, greater metro area consolidated; Mayor Robert W. Speer enacts public works initiatives (civic center; parks and parkways) to improve city’s long-term prospects. As a result, city goes into debt.
    o Colorado State Highway Commission created in 1909 to meet federal standards outlined above. Lobbyist-endorsed legislation sources funding from statewide property tax (1914). These monies are insufficient and state increasingly turns to municipal bonds as source of fundraising. And, as in federal legislation, cities receive a miniscule amount of available funds for roads.
    o Denver Tramway Corp: main source of transportation for the majority of Denverites till the 1930s, after which usage declines dramatically. Decline due to poor fleet maintenance, damaged reputation (bloody Denver Tramway Strike of 1920, itself a result of underfunding), far-flung route system to be maintained without any government assistance. DTC converts to buses; last streetcar route closed in 1950.
    o By end of WWI, Denver was highly centralized, since all trains/streetcars were radial—central business district grows and prospers. Also along several major highway routes, it lacks the infrastructure to accommodate automobiles.
    o Denver Plan (1929): system of improvements, most important with regards to transportation—no mass transit, automotives only. More circular connections between outlying communities, population growth assumed on periphery. Funded by property tax assessments that penalized inner-city dwellers and benefited commuters.
    o WWII exacerbates center city’s decline: military facilities are built on outskirts of city while their workers flood inner city, creating housing shortage that has detrimental effects on character of central Denver (see Sugrue).
    o By mid-century, Denver’s future development into a sprawling metropolis is assured, and is subsequently reinforced by separate decisions on location of toll roads, airports, suburban highways, and real estate developments. The city center struggled but ultimately adapted by catering to corporate offices and entertainment venues—but it is no longer a diversified, vibrant city as many services are concentrated on the periphery.

    Chapters Four and Five: Middlebury, VT
    o Town traditionally centered (at various times) on agriculture, marble and wool industries, and presence of Middlebury College. Town center connected by a single bridge; traditionally serviced by unreliable roads.
    o Vermont Highway Act of 1892 created state aid system funded by special statewide property tax (but administered by towns), created State Highway Commission.
    o Vermont Highway Act of 1906 controverts the spirit of 1892 act by now placing approval of all expenditures in central state body; defines roadway engineering standards. Attempts to get Vermont motorists to pay costs are consistently defeated.
    o With railway service spotty, Vermonters increasingly turn to automobiles—Middlebury becomes important location at regional crossroads and traffic is major problem downtown. Roads were maintained at state and federal mandates, eating up the local budget. Winter climate (salting, patrolling) increases costs. Middlebury’s debt burden increases through the 1930s. New thoroughfares nearby increased traffic but Middlebury did not qualify for federal aid due to its (still small) size. Highway officials would call traffic conditions within moderately-sizes towns the “weak links” of the system (182).
    o As time progresses, manufacturing jobs move outside of town to avoid traffic jams, residential center moves to periphery, center-town retail stores are outcompeted by “suburban” ones.
    o Due to budgetary constraints, no interstate was constructed in western Vermont, so Middlebury continued in its role as through-traffic link. Major debate of the 1950s is whether to construct a bypass; this and new bridge were planned but never made it off drawing-board due to funding problems. Even while new solutions were being planned, the footprint of Middlebury was changing to reflect decentralization. In the end, stopgap measures were enacted that couldn’t save Middlebury from being physically altered and spread out—traffic in the town center continues to be a problem due to their single bridge over the Otter River. Solutions are needed but funding is gobbled up by the superhighways on the eastern side of the state.

    Chapter Six: Smyrna, TN
    o Tiny Southern town (population under 500) benefited from several circumstances in early part of 20th century: Lay directly alongside the Dixie Highway (1915), which was later designated a primary state highway by 1921 Federal Highway Act—Smyrna qualified for aid precisely because it was so small; benefited from modern electrical system from TVA; had first water system built by WPA; construction of Sewart Air Force Base (whose administration helped subsidize local school system); general benefits of Federal patronage. In 1965 the base was de-commissioned, but the opening of nearby Interstate 24 made Smyrna more enticing to potential development—local politicians shrewdly negotiated for the construction of two separate exits off of the highway, and new businesses started developing the abandoned Air Force property. Smyrna had relatively low debt burden due to its relationship with the Federal government, making it more alluring to new business.
    o Nissan: In 1980, Nissan announced its intent to build an enormous factory in Smyrna, after a 3-year search for a suitable site. Even with Smyrna’s existing attributes, new roads had to be constructed, funded almost entirely by the federal gov’t. Nissan, in turn, helped finance major infrastructure needs for the town. That Smyrna should benefit from such external aid while other communities stagnated indicates, per Gutfreund, that “a de facto industrial relocation policy was at work” (215).
    o Landscape: While the city prospered, the landscape was radically changed, typifying the problems of rapid growth and urban sprawl—infrastructure entirely geared towards auto traffic. City development continues to be subsidized by government policy. Smyrna is an embodiment of “how the cumulative effect of government programs had a profound effect on the American landscape” (226).

    o America’s longstanding system of highway finance institutionalized subsidies for automobility and encouraged decentralized development.
    o Complementary income tax and housing developments worked together to create a national policy that aggressively encouraged suburban sprawl while neglecting traditional city centers.
    o Motorists continue to believe that they are entitled to free roads, while refusing to pay any sort of tax or usage fee to defray public costs.
    o Large corporations have responded to gov’t subsidies by moving their factories to business-friendly areas, often shutting down urban locations in response.
    o Population and commerce are divorced, leading to large amounts of traffic congestion that only fuel the perception that the U.S. needs more roads.
    o In short, “the manner in which Americans adapted the national infrastructure to accommodate the autimobile encouraged the dispersal of jobs and people across the continent and fueled a nationwide need for capital expenditures unmitigated by considerations of equity, efficiency, or affordability” (231).

  24. Lawrence Cappello said, on March 31, 2011 at 10.38pm

    Allen Matusow, The Unraveling of America: A History of Liberalism in the 1960s (Perennial, 1985)

    Not exactly the easiest book to condense in this manner as the structure, pacing, and overall balance is rather disjointed. When studying for comps I’d suggest using this alongside a few choice reviews, and between the two you should be able to put this one in the win column. That aside, The Unraveling of America is of the prominent “New American Nation Series” and, being one of the first authoritative accounts of the sixties, is frequently cited.

    A history of domestic liberalism in the 1960s, Matusow tells the story of how liberals attained political power and attempted to use it for extending the blessings of American life to excluded citizens. A liberal himself, he claims to take no pleasure in writing a book that is ultimately a tale of rise and fall – of half measures and failure. “Like the premise of abundance that nourished the decade’s idealism, the premises of its liberalism proved far more fragile than they seemed at the time.”
    Separated into three parts: beginning with JFK in ’60 part I “traces the conversion of his administration to liberal programs and the emergence of a national consensus in favor of their enactment.” Part II is the apex of liberalism under Johnson and the beginning of its rather quick and pronounced decent as the “high hopes of reform fail of fulfillment.” Part III looks at “the great uprising against liberalism in the decade’s waning years” by a splintered counter-culture.

    Part I
    • Liberalism in the 1950s was an ideology in retreat. The revulsion against Stalinism inspired a major reappraisal of belief. Liberalism, rooted in the Great Depression, committed the sin of romantic delusion. Many intellectuals who supported Communism in the 30s now felt embarrassed in the face of Soviet purges and abandoned their earlier principles. This is perhaps best expressed in Arthur Schlesinger’s The Vital Center.
    • Affluence of the 50s prompts complacency – a shift away from the concerns of economic inequality. As the decade begins to wane intellectuals grow restless with their uncomfortable alliance with regnant classes and institutions.
    • In this setting “qualitative liberalism” is born. Articulated by Schlesinger, its first requirement would be “the rehabilitation of a sense of public interest.” In short, complacency erodes society. In the mid-50s the opinion is of the minority.
    • Qualitative liberalism gets a boost from the Russians. The launch of Sputnik in ’57 gave point to the liberal invocation of complacency, lending urgency to their preference for community well-being over narrow personal pursuits. Republican Senator Styles Bridges reflects the national mood in declaring “the time has come clearly to be less concerned with the depth of pile on the new broadloom rug or the height of the tail fin on the new car.”
    • As such, the liberal intellectuals who had entered the fifties in retreat, were departing them in a fighting mood, summoning the nation to higher purpose than mere production for private consumption. They wanted a higher rate of economic growth and the repairing of the public sector.
    • Enter John Kennedy. Norman Mailer writes “Superman Comes to the Supermarket,” positing that Kennedy will pull the nation from a supermarket of consumption by reviving the myth that every American is potentially extraordinary. The ’59 Presidential campaign is a call for national sacrifice, for energetic leadership, for the will to repel Communism abroad and repair the public sector at home. He runs as the economic/liberal/civil rights candidate. He is the embodiment of the national mood. Regarding the super close election results perhaps indicating otherwise, Matusow faults only Kennedy’s Catholicism.
    • On to Kennedy’s Presidency and economics.
    • Despite his credentials, Kennedy entered office as a “Corporate Liberal.” The concept of Corporate Liberalism being leaders who seek a stable environment for corporations, helping insulate them from the competitive rigors of the market, offering just enough concessions to labor and the middle classes to stave off real reform. Corporate prosperity was on top of Kennedy’s economic priority list.
    • Monopolies and trusts are fostered under the early administration. AT&T, DuPont, and the drug companies in particular. But as monopolization in the steel market threatened economic growth, Kennedy comes down hard on Big Steel and Bethlehem.
    • Stage is set where big business scorns Kennedy for assaulting Steel and the bottom falls out of the stock market in May’62. In this mood the President undertakes a major reassessment of his economic policy.
    • Enter Keynesian theory, a favorite of Economics departments in Universities throughout the country and quickly becoming academic orthodoxy – government intervention in the free markets using the powers of taxation and spending to manipulate aggregate demand and make capitalism work properly.
    • Taking in a cadre of Professors as economic advisors, Kennedy giving Keynes a try, pushes tax reduction as a market stimulant.
    • By ’64 (Johnson at the helm) a second stage of tax reduction is concluded. ’65 turns out to be a prosperous year, with GNP overshooting estimates by $9 Billion and unemployment down to 4.1%. Time magazine proclaims “We Are All Keynesians Now.” Matusow is quick to point out nevertheless that in retrospect we should not be quick to credit Keynesian theory as the sole cause. Economics, after all, is tricky.
    • On to Civil Rights.
    • Social and political dislocation brought on by the overthrow of cotton. Urban ghettos are flooded by blacks.
    • Kennedy’s initial civil rights strategy derived not from the promises he made but from the arithmetic of his victory. Needing the votes of blacks and southern whites he received both and now sought a way to keep disparate constituencies in a delicate balance. Basically, he had no intention in 1960 of rocking the boat.
    • The invocations of MLK and the NAACP receive frequent parries and half measures. ’61 race goals of the White House are gets jobs and the vote for blacks – something that would please neither southern whites nor the NAACP, but it would be enough to keep them both from declaring war on him. He isn’t very successful in either aim. Equivocation becomes a defining characteristic: desegregate military reserves but not National Guard; tell state agencies to stop filling discriminatory job orders but refuse to cut off any funding. No teeth.
    • Ever the politician, Kennedy begins to shift towards advocates of Civil Rights around ’63 once the movement had gained significant momentum. It was now an avenue for millions of black votes. Birmingham, the march on Washington, and the prominence of MLK were too powerful to ignore. Pushes the pending Civil Rights Bill in ’63 and wins the support of liberals.
    • Following Kennedy’s assassination, his short lived and rather recent true affiliation with the Civil Right Movement secured him a legacy as a great leader.
    • Civil Rights Act is signed in ’64. Matusow considers it “the greatest liberal achievement of the decade.”
    • War on Poverty, Kennedy Years:
    • Kennedy begins the handling of social welfare policy as he does the economy and Civil Rights – with caution.
    • Much of his early measures are rooted in the complacent assumptions of the corporate liberalism of the 1950s. But in time, he would come to grasp the true dimensions of poverty in America, the linkages between joblessness and race, and the dangerous discontent festering in urban slums.
    • Half measures towards urban renewal and minimum wage do little. His measure to provide federal aid to every school district in America fails miserably.
    • Perhaps the most important contribution made by Kennedy is the Manpower Development and Training Act passed in response to increased job mechanization, which spent $1.5 Billion nation-wide to provide vocational training for one million persons, of whom 600,000 completed a course of study.
    • The frequent failures of the 1961 social welfare programs “illustrate the flaws that conservatives had long argued inhered liberal programs – violation of market logic, covert service to special interest, and perversion by bureaucrats.”
    • The contours of the successful reforms made later stem from the Juvenile Delinquency and youth Offenses Control Act. It’s Mobilization for Youth program parallels the shape of what eventually culminates in a nationwide “war on poverty” – a comprehensive attempt to unlock opportunity through public service jobs, neighborhood service centers, employment of sub-professionals in service institutions, and organization of residence into groups capable of solving their own problems.
    • Revelations of poverty increase with the Civil Rights Movement and shock liberals. As the issue takes center stage, the White House includes a poverty bill in its 1964 legislative package. Commissions are formed to examine the problem.
    • Johnson passes the Economic Opportunity Act in ’64. Matusow writes it should be remembered as the “How Not to Pass a Law Act” or the “How Not to Fight Poverty Act.” Haste precluded serious planning and thought. Poverty planners devise programs like community action that at best nibble at the edge of the problem. Nothing short of redistribution of wealth would have sufficed according to Matusow, and that would be assaulted by conservatives in Washington as radicalism.
    • Part I Sum: that JFK’s administration would become the sponsor of liberal reform is ironic considering he was transparently a conventional politician with conservative inclinations. But as he was a keenly sensitive politician, attentive to shifts in political and social climates, when coupled with his superhuman persona his reluctant embracing of Keynes, MLK, and the liberal stance solidified his legacy as a champion of liberalism and morality.

    Part II
    • LBJ, the accidental President, needs only to take up the Kennedy mantle to secure a landslide victory in ’64. The momentum of liberalism caused by pre-existing trends and exasperated by Kennedy’s assassination.
    • First 100 days in ’64 are an unparalleled flood of passed legislation such as education reform, Medicare, and the Voting Rights Act (142 days on that one). This is the zenith of American liberalism, never before or again has it reached a level of such prominence. The Great Society is upon us.
    • Reminding us that history has a sense of balance, preparations for involvement in Vietnam, a chief cause of liberalism’s decline, are made alongside this momentous period.
    • Now all Keynesian devotees, the White House focuses almost exclusively at first on unemployment figures as the economic gage. By 65-66 inflation sores. Vietnam costs come in well over budget. America becomes obsessed with rising inflation.
    • In the wake of the “Great Inflation” Milton Friedman emerges as one of the most prominent intellectuals in the country. Attacking Keynesianism as wholly impractical acting as a gadfly. The public begins to follow suit, thus aligning with the conservatives.
    • So, the fate of Keynesian ideas had immense relevance for politics in the 1960s. At the start of the decade liberal intellectuals and Keynesians shared an abhorrence of unemployment and trust in government and struck up a natural alliance. The Professors supplied the brains and the liberal politicians the power. Their fates were intertwined. They were flying high. When Keynesianism hit the skids in the war years thus the liberals did too. This link is a cornerstone of Matusow’s thesis.
    • War on Poverty under Johnson has disastrous results. Restrained by his inability to purport income redistribution (political suicide even with his approval ratings) or accomplish any effective redistribution of political power, he produces a ruinous accommodation between reformers and vested interests.
    • Attempts at revamping public housing and urban renewal programs all fall victim to squandered implementation and only end up putting money in the hands of special interests. Matusow blames poor planning and deplorable execution.
    • Medicaid and Medicare are perhaps wonderful achievements, but they open the door for the AMA to fragment certain demographics and lead to a marked upsurge in medical costs.
    • Ironically, it is the Vietnam War that enables most job gains for the poor during the Johnson Administration. Militarization flooded the public sector with labor jobs.
    • Attempts at redistribution of power for the urban poor takes shape in the Community Action Program, but ultimately confirms anew the instinct of discreet politicians to shun the issue of equality altogether. It prompts turmoil in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Harlem. Ultimately, this is indicative of a fact that Johnson was operating within a political culture that imposed severe limits on the extent of permissible change.
    • On Civil Rights: Johnson makes a huge mistake when he reflects the public sentiment in 1965 that the movement was over..the battle won. Most northerners believe this to be the case, and as the War and economics take prominence on the national stage, the waning cause of Civil Rights starts to become a political liability.
    • Housing boycotts, urban rioting, and the persistence of blacks in seeking “real equality” create a backlash movement in Washington. Liberals are starting to take a huge hit on the issue.
    • Violence at home and the Vietcong abroad culminate into an unchangeable trajectory of declension for 1960s liberalism.
    • Johnson is attacked on the left for not supporting the urban movement and on the right for not suppressing it. Thus LBJ, who had once told his staff that Civil Rights leaders would have to wear sneakers to keep up with him, entered the twilight of his presidency in full retreat from the liberal hope of racial justice.
    • Again, due to restraints on “radical” programs, Vietnam, and a public exhaustion with the Civil Right Movement, the central thesis of Part II remains all of this is indicative of a fact that Johnson was operating within a political culture that imposed severe limits on the extent of permissible change.

    Part III
    • The late sixties bring the birth of counter-culture.
    • Some would expect attacks by conservatives to be the main obstacle of the liberal architects of the Great Society. In fact, radicals from the far left would give them far more grief.
    • Two different sources fuel the radical impulse: disillusion with liberal reform and the flowering of Utopian visions among the children of affluence.
    • Hippies seek liberation from repressive American culture. New Leftists would seek to liberate themselves and the world from the rapacity of American capitalism. Black nationalists seek to liberate themselves and their ghettos from everything white.
    • Hippies: much of the early movement influenced by the ideas of Norman Brown, a classical scholar, who reshaped Freud into an argument for complete surrender to the Dionysian impulse. Outgrowth of the hipster movement including Ginsberg, Kerouac, Cassidy, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Much of the counterculture resides with the Haight-Ashbury devotees. Slowly, after 1970, the counterculture fades. Economic recession signals affluence can no longer be assumed and induces caution. Also, the waning of the Vietnam conflict (which had gone so far in discrediting authority).
    • Perhaps most importantly, the waning of counterculture had much to do with the ease with which the dominant culture absorbed it. Hippies were ultimately a spectacular exaggeration of tendencies transforming the larger society. As early as the 1920s the system of mass production depended less on saving than consumption, not on denial but indulgence.
    • Slowly, the counter culture morphs from one of love and peace to the politics of rage.
    • The New Left: emerges out of colleges from students intent on restructuring the social order. It was ultimately a push of the proletariat, familiar in places with turn of the century syndicalism. Again, Vietnam is a huge impetus. Key groups include the many outgrowths of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) such as the Weather Underground. Heroes include Che Guevara, et al. Columbia University takeover. But without an adequate ideological framework to support its actions the movement would become increasingly irresponsible, lose touch with social realities, and fade away within a decade. There is a marked lack of any formation of a native American radicalism. Such an ideology would have accounted for the alienation of the new left’s student bade and offered a persuasive analysis of the oppressive character of American institutions.
    • New Left Legacy: some gains were made… it brought the war home and so helped force de-escalation. It attacked the form and values of the contemporary university, making it less authoritative. It helped demystify authority and contributed to its decline. And its insistent challenge threw mainstream liberals on the defensive…causing many mainstream liberals to shift left.
    • Black Power: bears a striking resemblance to the history of the New Left. But unlike whites, black nationalists never doubted they were the true outcasts of American society. Ultimately, it evolves out of the Civil Rights Movement but “fails the ideological challenge.”
    • Key BP developments include evolution of SNCC from non-violent voter registration to tactical violence and aggressive rhetoric. As cultural heritage needed to be fabricated (only Africa was considered the homeland..but it is a continent, not a nation, and possesses myriad cultures/customs) thinkers such as Malcolm X and Franz Fanon help give the movement its contours. Race riots in Watts, Detroit, and Chicago alert the nation to organized black rage. Yet as the embers of these cities cooled, so too did the oratory of militants. Various efforts to form a cohesive ideology had failed.
    • Decline of LBJ and American liberalism:
    • It would be the war that ultimately eroded Johnson’s political base, and American liberalism with it. The first constituency alienated by Vietnam – and the most dangerous opponent of his war policy – proved to be the liberal intellectuals. A hostile congress, the loss to McCarthy in the Wisconsin primary, and the uncertain role to be played by Robert Kennedy, all culminate in LBJ’s announcement that he would not seek a final term.
    • LBJs exit is indicative of a larger trend. Liberals had once promised to manage the economy, solve the race problem, reduce poverty, and keep the peace. These promises not only remained unfulfilled in 1968 – each would be mocked by the traumatic events of that election year. America began to seek new leadership. It would be only temporarily obscured by Watergate.
    • Affluence in the 1960s had fostered social optimism and liberal reform. Recessions in the 1970s fostered social pessimism and expanded the audience for conservative denunciations of Keynesians, Civil Rights enthusiasts, and advocates of expensive welfare programs. In 1968 Ronald Regan had been too conservative for the Republican party. In 1980 he easily won the presidency running on a platform to repeal the cultural and political legacy of the 1960s.

  25. Yarisbel Rodriguez said, on April 6, 2011 at 2.21pm

    Yarisbel Rodriguez
    Hist 80000 – Literature of American History II
    Submitted Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
    Outline of Naftali’s “One Hell of a Gamble”
    Naftali focuses on the 1958-1964 period to explain the various political interests that intersected with Castro’s desire to establish a socialist society in Cuba. American opposition to a communist country in the Western hemisphere, along with Soviet enthusiasm over such a prospect, played major roles in the early years of the Cold War, as evidenced by the Cuban missile crisis and the ubiquitous fear of impending nuclear war. Castro, Khrushchev and Kennedy tried to achieve their respective political interests, and in this respect, Naftali stresses that there are no clear-cut heroes of villains in the debacle of Soviet-American-Cuban relations.

    I. Part I: The Embrace
    A. “Where Does Castro Stand regarding Russia?”
    1. In 1959, Castro undertook Operation Truth, a six-day tour across the northeastern United States and Canada, in order to gain popular support for the new Cuban government. Despite American sympathy, Washington had reservations about Castro’s political philosophy, and the press constantly conjectured over his stance on communism. In the end, Castro intended for Cuba to achieve economic independence from the United States; the ousting of Batista was only the beginning of his plans for a new society. Although Fidel identified with the left, he did not originally identify as a communist. His political development toward communism would come later. (5-10, 13-14, 19)

    2. Raul Castro spearheaded discussions with Khrushchev to consolidate the rule of the Cuban communist party (PSP) during the late 1950s. The Cuban-Soviet Union talks were unknown to Washington, and occurred during Fidel Castro’s Operation Truth tour. Khrushchev’s Presidium (aka Politburo) sent to Cuba Spanish communists who graduated from Soviet military academies for military support, and also directed Czech allies to give Cuba weapons surreptitiously so that the U.S. would not discover the Soviet-Cuban alliance. (10-13)

    3. Raul Castro was a member of the PSP, a fact which he kept secret from Fidel and which served as the basis for his contacts with the Soviet Union. This secrecy was partly attributable to Fidel’s own contradictory actions concerning the revolution. For example, although Fidel refused to implement Che Guevara’s plan to organize a formal militia during peacetime, he endorsed a land reform system designed by the PSP, the National Institute of Agrarian Reform (INRA), which limited property holdings. Fidel’s endorsement of some communist plans but not others reflected his ambivalence about openly allying with the Soviet Union in the immediate aftermath of the ousting of Batista. A political split between Fidel, Raul and Che initially threatened to undermine the revolution, but the PSP convinced Fidel that anti-communist statements on his part did not help his cause. By the middle of 1959, the Kremlin eagerly awaited Castro’s move to discern his political ties and understand the course the Cuban Revolution would take (15-19)

    B. Our Man in Havana
    1. In fall 1959, Cubans requested arms from Poland, which sought approval from the Kremlin before it undertook any transactions. Naftali identifies this request as the first time the Cuban government openly sought military aid from a communist country since Fidel assumed power. The Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs at first denied Cuba’s request with the rationale that such procurement would justify future American interventions on the island. Khrushchev disagreed with the Ministry and approved Poland’s giving arms to Cuba. (22-25)

    2. KGB agent Aleksandr Alekseev was sent to Cuba to gather intelligence on Castro’s political bent and plans for the revolution; part and parcel of Alekseev’s assignment was influencing Fidel toward more definitively aligning with the Soviet Union. After a lengthy discussion with Alekseev, Castro publicly revealed his brother Raul’s significant role in the Cuban administration; in this regard, Fidel replaced the Ministry of National Defense with the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, the latter of which Raul now led. Fidel also made Raul head of security services and the military, making it “increasingly clear which direction the Cuban revolution intended to take” – toward an open repudiation of the trappings of an imperialized country. The Soviet Union might more readily figure into these plans. (25-31)

    3. Anastas Mikoyan was Khrushchev’s favorite personal emissary, and headed a Soviet exhibition in Mexico City in fall 1959. That same year, Fidel toyed with the idea of inviting Mikoyan to Cuba to feature the exhibition there; the visit would emphasize the Castro administration’s embrace of both the Soviet Union and socialism. Plans for the visit were developed alongside growing Cuban opposition to the emerging communist slant of the revolution; for example, after Fidel announced Raul’s leadership in the military, the former felt compelled to incarcerate one of his military chiefs, who resigned because he did not want to work under communist control. Plans for Mikoyan’s visit officially ended when Fidel himself got cold feet. This occurred because of a vast manifestation of conservative and religious sentiment on the island– the National Catholic Congress of 1959 was able to attract over a million Cubans. The end of Mikoyan’s visiting plans highlighted Fidel’s ambivalence about publicly aligning with the Soviet Union yet again. (31-34)

    C. La Coubre
    1. By January 1960, Castro once again extended an invitation to Anastas Mikoyan. During his stay in Havana, Mikoyan negotiated a trade agreement with Fidel, expressing Soviet support of the Cuban Revolution. Although Fidel didn’t receive as much as he wanted, the Soviet Union agreed to $100 million in trade credits, as well as to buying five million tons of sugar from Cuba over the next three years, of which 20 percent “would be payable in convertible currency.” (36-39)

    2. In March 1960, “a Belgian arms shipment arrived in the Havana harbor on board the ship La Coubre”; an explosion in the harbor killed more than one hundred people, solidifying Fidel Castro’s suspicions about American sabotage on the island. Immediately after the incident, Castro delivered an anti-American speech, which the Kremlin interpreted favorably; subsequently Castro received a blank check from the Soviet Union for the purchase of armaments, with the Kremlin later on deciding that Cuba would not have to pay at all for future weapons. In light of La Coubre, Castro reoriented his plans for the country toward a gradual transition to socialism and preparations against U.S. intervention. In this endeavor, Castro planned for INRA to become “the government within the government.” (40-47)

    3. At the World Federation of Trade Unions in 1960, the Chinese delegation accused Khrushchev of watering down Leninism because the later argued that countries could enter the socialist camp peacefully instead of through violent revolt. Khrushchev retaliated by withdrawing all Soviet advisers from China; however, he feared that Chinese sentiment toward the Soviet Union had influenced Cuba when Castro cancelled plans for Raul to visit Moscow. When a NATO representative informed the KGB that the Pentagon hoped to launch a preventive war against the Soviet Union, Khrushchev publicly declared his military/nuclear weapon support of Cuba in the face of an impending American intervention on the island. Fidel Castro thanked Khrushchev for his statements, and subsequently Raul finally visited Moscow, the first Castro to Khrushchev. “There was now a Soviet ally in the Western Hemisphere.” (47-55)

    D. “Cuba Si, Yankee No!”
    1. In September 1960, Fidel Castro gave a speech in the Plaza Civica outlining his plans for taking Cuba in a new direction. Despite intelligence reports stating that counterrevolutionaries planned to assassinate Castro during the event, Fidel decided to give his speech anyway, expounding on a policy of non-neutrality that would come to be known as the Declaration of Havana (drafted by communist newspaper editor, Carlos Rodriguez). The declaration touted the rights of laborers, women and blacks, along with plans to nationalize monopolies and ensure adequate hospital services and work opportunities for all. In the face of popular support for the Declaration of Havana, the PSP grew increasingly anxious about purging non-communists from its ranks. In July 1960 at a UN gathering, Castro supported Khrushchev’s resolution “favoring a UN investigation of ‘U.S. aggressive actions’”; Castro also denounced the American chief of naval operations for having doubted the Soviet pledge of using nuclear weapons in case of American intervention in Cuba (if Castro seized Guantanamo). A Soviet-Cuban alliance was more and more visible. (56-61)

    2. In October 1960, Cuba expropriated hundreds of companies and all Cuban and foreign banks, also eliminating remaining private property. In the aftermath and in light of circulating rumors about impending American sabotage, KGB agent Aleksandr Alekseev sided with Cuban communists who called for the extensive purging of non-communists from Castro’s ranks. Alekseev’s superiors in Moscow disagreed, and recommended that he promote the detention of individuals among Castro’s Cuban allies instead of an extensive – and messy – purging. Subsequent American attempts to supply Cuban revolutionaries with arms failed and edged Castro closer to endorsing purges, which he conducted when he discovered that his secret police were monitoring his phone calls and those of some PSP leaders. (61-64)

    3. During his presidential campaign, Kennedy stressed the need to oust Castro from power because of his supposed betrayal of the ideals of the Cuban Revolution. Such rhetoric convinced Castro more and more of an impending American attack which, through Guatemalan intelligence, he surmised would originate from U.S.-trained forced departing from Guatemala. At the UN, Cuba and the Soviet Union condemned U.S. interventionism, which the State Department denied while the CIA began preparing for an expansion and increase of counterrevolutionary forces in Guatemala. However, the CIA did not plan for an immediate attack against Cuba; when Castro saw that counterrevolutionary forces did not arrive on the island, he assumed that the Soviet Union had successfully deterred them, and shortly afterwards he publicly identified himself as a communist to the press; identified Moscow as Cuba’s political leader; and acknowledged the prominent role of the PSP in the revolution. In January 1961, Khrushchev formally welcomed Cuba into the socialist bloc, solidifying Soviet-Cuban relations and making it clear that an American attack on Cuba would constitute a direct attack on Soviet authority. (65-73)

    II. Part II: The Clash
    A. Bay of Pigs
    1. With the election of Kennedy, American foreign policy increasingly focused on Cuba. Khrushchev’s rhetorical victories in Southeast Asia increased American anxieties over the saliency that socialism continued to take in Cuba. In this regard, Kennedy went into office when the CIA was refining its plan for paramilitary attacks against Cuba. Part of this plan involved an attack on the town of Trinidad in Cuba, a plan which Kennedy opposed in favor of an organized attack that would hopefully be “an unspectacular landing at night in an area where there was a minimum likelihood of opposition” (85). Despite the Kennedy administration’s early expressions of a desire to improve relations with Moscow, and despite the popularity of the Trinidad plan among CIA officials, Kennedy opted to organize an attack along the Bay of Pigs, “an isolated point on the southern coast of Cuba” so as to cover up American involvement in the impending attack (77-85).

    2. By the end of 1961, Castro internalized many of the Cuban communists’ ideas, fully purging the secret police and security services of anticommunists, as well as adopting communists’ block surveillance program. Having received word of an impending American attack that was three times the size Cuba and the Soviet Union had anticipated, Castro was unsure what to expect. The Bay of Pigs operation, which involved the deployment of counter-revolutionaries on that beachhead, failed because Kennedy had refused to reinforce the mission with air support. After bombing many of the American forces, the Castro administration declared victory against American invasion and more conspicuously aligned with the Soviet Union, incorporating a security service dominated by the latter and establishing a surveillance state. The Bay of Pigs accelerated Cuba’s transition to communism. (85-100)

    B. The Education of a President
    1. After the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy and Khrushchev resumed plans for organizing a summit. With his brother’s advice, Kennedy concluded that the implementation of a nuclear test ban would constitute American success at such a summit. Georgi Bolshakov, a member of the intelligence service of the Red Army, acted as political liaison during Kennedy’s talks with Khrushchev about summit plans. Along with discussing the nuclear test ban, Kennedy stressed Soviet-American cooperation in space research. However, neither of these recommendations seemed to be having any effect on Khrushchev. The Vienna summit ended up as a vast disappoint to Kennedy, who could not achieve common ground with Khrushchev because of the latter’s insistence on discussing Soviet-East German ties against the West and West Germany. Khrushchev also brought up Castro, a subject Kennedy had wanted to steer clear of from the beginning. In the end, Khrushchev did not give Kennedy what he wanted: an assurance of a friendlier superpower relationship. (101-131)

    C. Condor and Mongoose; Trouble in the Tropics
    1. In 1961, the Soviet Union “had solid documentary evidence – a memorandum from the head of Guatemalan intelligence… outlining the mechanics of Operation Condor, as the plan was code-named” (135). Plans for Operation Condor were developed by the CIA and “involved three people specially trained for [an] attack on Castro,” two of whom were former Cuban police lieutenants (135). The Soviet Union discovered the plan, and although Operation Condor never occurred because of one of the three people involved pulled out, the CIA plot served to make Cubans increasingly anxious about the country’s political future. In the immediate aftermath, the Castro administration requested additional weapons support from the Soviet Union, but the request stalled in Moscow. Additionally, Castro was increasingly incensed by the activity of Soviet intelligence services on the island, which sought more and more Cuban recruits. In the meantime, the CIA began developing Operation Mongoose to destroy the Castro administration from within. By 1962 the White House agreed to secure whatever funding the operation needed so as to avoid the fate of Operation Condor (132-148). Khrushchev and Kennedy continued discussions over nuclear testing, with the former opposing American inspections in the Soviet Union and the latter resuming testing; the outcome of such talks convinced Khrushchev that the U.S. was planning yet another attack in Cuba; however, Soviet intelligence would not be able to find compelling evidence for the development of Mongoose, undermining Castro’s requests for additional arms. Aside from this request and in the face of economic difficulties, Castro reorganized INRA’s structure and leadership, and fired the executive secretary of the PSP, Anibal Escalante, when the latter questioned his right to implement such drastic changes. The ousting of Escalante signalled mounting tensions in the Soviet-Cuban alliance, since Escalante was one of the Soviet Union’s closest Cuban allies. (149-165)

    D. The Nuclear Decision; Anadyr
    1. The ousting of Escalante made the Soviet Union reconsider their initial stalling of Castro’s weapons request; Khrushchev confirmed the delivery of “four divisions of SA-2 antiaircraft launchers and two technical support divisions, with 180 missiles ,” along with an advanced cruise missile system (170). Khrushchev could not afford to Cuba as a socialist ally, hence the weapons delivery; however, he was not as yet prepared to send Cuba nuclear weapons, nor was he compelled to “make the defense of Cuba the direct responsibility of the Soviet armed forces” (170). With Castro publicly stating the need for Cuba to serve as the vanguard of violent socialist revolutions in Latin America, Khrushchev grew increasingly worried over Cuba’s military capacity/ability to ward off an American attack that would be inspired by Castro’s rhetoric. In 1962, despite Alekseev’s observation that Castro would not necessarily agree and might even become afraid, Khrushchev convinced the Presidium to send several medium-range missiles to Cuba, anticipating the building of a Soviet nuclear base in Cuba despite the Castro administration’s desire to remove American military bases in its transition to a socialist state (166-183). By the end of May 1962, “the Soviet general staff had prepared a cover story,” code-named Anadyr, for the operation “to confuse Soviets and foreigners about the destination of… [missiles/] military equipment” to Cuba (191). Despite his knowing that American intelligence would uncover Anadyr, Khrushchev was compelled to keep the operation a secret and to somehow influence Kennedy’s reaction to Anadyr toward a policy of non-retaliation against Cuba (184-197).

    E. “Now We Can Swat Your Ass”; Ex Comm
    1. After uncovering the Soviet-led missile shipments to Cuba, Kennedy stated that such military support to the island was unacceptable for maintaining friendly relations with the Soviet Union. A subsequent meeting with a U.S. official at Pitsunda confirmed Khrushchev’s initial concerns over Cuba’s military might as compared to that of the U.S., consolidating his initial interesting in supplying Castro with missiles. Kennedy and Khrushchev now began to interpret future altercations between the two superpowers over Cuba as increasingly violent, although the U.S. did not anticipate that the Soviet Union contemplated using nuclear weapons in this endeavor (198-215). After U.S. intelligence revealed the possibility of military activity in San Cristobal in Cuba, Kennedy returned to the point of seriously considering the extent of American intervention in the area. This was reflected in the organization of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council, or Ex Comm, the Cuban crisis group that would discuss the extent of Cuban militarization under the auspices of the Soviet Union. Ex Comm would uncover IRBMs in Cuba, to its shock, prompting drastic measures. On October 20, 1962, the Ex Comm agreed to establish a blockade against Cuba and to institute a “quarantine” to “prevent additional offensive weapons systems from reaching Cuba” (235). Kennedy prepared his speech to inform the American public of the missiles in Cuba and of the impending blockade, ever vigilant of Khrushchev’s reaction to the news in order to determine the U.S.’ course of action (215-239).

    F. Missile Crisis; Climax of the Cold War; Mikoyan’s Mission
    1. Kennedy delivered his speech, a copy of which arrived on Khrushchev’s desk shortly afterward. Khrushchev was relieved to learn that although Kennedy planned to institute the blockade and “quarantine,” he did not plan on using force, rather deferring to the UN and the OAS in making a case for perceiving Cuban missiles as a threat to the security of the entire Western hemisphere. Fortunately for Castro and Khrushchev the Aleksandrovsk, the ship carrying nuclear warheads to the island, beat the blockade by several hours. In response to the blockade, Khrushchev decided to threaten Washington with an outbreak of war (240-256). When the Presidium received information that Washington would not be deterred by the threat of war, Khrushchev realized that the Soviet Union could not supply Cuba with missiles and not antagonize the United States; he later contemplated telling Washington that he would remove the missiles from Cuba if it promised not to attack the island. This constituted a diplomatic settlement Khrushchev thought about pursuing, and which would also have allowed for UN inspection of missile sites. Throughout this deliberation, though, Cuba continued to set up its missile systems to the chagrin of the Kennedy administration; clearly the blockade was not working. The last week of October 1962 proved to be the most tense period of Soviet-American posturing in reference to the war threat over the missiles in Cuba; officials on both sides proposed several plans for peacefully diffusing the situation. In the end, the White House proposed that the Soviet Union remove Cuban weapons systems under UN supervision, and that it also no longer introduce weapons systems on the island. The proposal also promised an end to the quarantine and to future plans for American invasion. Khrushchev accepted the proposal, which angered and alienated Castro, who was not consulted during Soviet-American negotiations. In this regard, Castro claimed that Cuban missile systems would not be dismantled unless the Guantanamo base was dismantled as well (257-289).

    2. The aftermath of the negotiations involved Mikoyan’s visit to Cuba, which was not as hospitable as previous visits in light of Castro being slighted by Khrushchev’s acquiescence to the U.S. Cubans actually toasted to Stalin’s health, an act that Khrushchev noted but resolved would not affect Soviet-Cuban relations. At the same time, the White House made a new demand, to remove Il-28 bombers from Cuba, a demand which the Soviet Union did not appreciate, although they eventually complied with it. Castro, however, refused to budge on the Il-28 and the inspections issues, further straining Soviet-Cuban relations. Despite Castro’s later attempts to conserve his newfound nuclear weapons by arguing for Cuba’s defense needs instead of offensive tactical development, Cuba eventually lost its warheads because of the White House proposal by the end of 1962, signaling the end of Operation Anadyr (290-315).

    III. Part III: The Aftermath
    A. To the American University Speech; Dallas and Moscow
    1. In the aftermath of the Cuban disarmament, Khrushchev reaffirmed the Soviet Union’s ability and desire to support socialist countries, especially in Southeast Asia; part of this reaffirmation was attributable to Castro’s lingering anger over the whole affair. Kennedy’s subsequent American University speech expressed the desire to “resume negotiations ‘looking toward early agreement on a comprehensive test ban treaty’” so as to “offer far more security and far fewer risks than an unabated, uncontrolled, unpredictable arms race” (337). Khrushchev “could accept a limited nuclear test ban, proscribing tests in the atmosphere, underwater, and in outer space, areas not requiring on-site inspection for verification purposes”; in the aftermath of Kennedy’s speech, he was eager to discuss arms control with Washington (337). In Khrushchev’s mind, Kennedy’s speech embodied American toleration of the Soviet Union, and resembled the “peaceful coexistence” rhetoric that the former admired (338). In this respect, the speech signalled a step forward from the Cuban missile crisis for U.S.-Soviet relations. (319-338) In the aftermath of Kennedy’s assassination, Khrushchev stressed the importance of supporting Cuba during the White House’s political transition; since his agreements with Kennedy had been founded on mutual understanding instead of mutual interest, Khrushchev understood that Cuba was especially vulnerable after Kennedy’s death. The Soviet Union would continue to support Cuba until the 1980s, and Cuba would ironically outlive its Soviet ally. In this context, Naftali stresses that Kennedy had spent much political capital trying to undermine the Castro administration – the specter of communist Cuba had been part of the reason for Kennedy’s assassination in the first place. In the end, Khrushchev and Kennedy came dangerously close to war because of the geopolitical significance Cuba assumed after the Cuban Revolution. Castro, Khrushchev and Kennedy attempted to do what was best for their respective interests; assigning clear-cut heroes and villains in the early years of the Cold War misrepresents the nature of the entire struggle over Cuba. (339-355)

  26. Kat said, on April 6, 2011 at 4.47pm

    Logevall, Frederick. Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1999.


    Why does Logevall use the periodization he does – the “long 1964”? Is it an effective way to frame his project?

    Though his story is US-focused, Logevall uses international sources as a way to contextualize US thought/action. What sources does he use, and how did he choose them? Did he strike the right balance between domestic and international voices?


    This book has a clear anti-Vietnam War bent: in Logevall’s opinion LBJ chose war, he didn’t have to, and there were alternatives. This argument leaves us with several things to consider:

    First, how and why does Logevall say LBJ choose war? Does Logevall convince us that there were viable alternatives to doing so? That it was possible and realistic at that historical moment for an alternative path to have been forged? What could such a path have looked like?

    On a related note, one review I read asked a thought-provoking question: if Johnson did indeed have a choice, did he know he had a choice? Does Logevall address this?

    Secondly, it seems there’s a disconnect between Logevall’s words and his arguments, and I have the impression that he places the majority of the blame for the war on LBJ though he states otherwise. Do you agree? If I’m right that Logevall blames LBJ, should he? What are the arguments for that? Would it be more or less reasonable to also extend blame to non-vocal allies, reluctant (and so overly quiet) US-based critics, and advisors and members of LBJ’s cabinet (among others)?

    Thirdly, Logevall concludes that the choice to stay in Vietnam was an immoral one. How much moral judgment ought we, as historians, level on our subjects? Is his accusation par for the course or, as historians, is it our job to avoid such judgment? What are our responsibilities to history (and, perhaps more importantly, to our audience)?

  27. Yarisbel Rodriguez said, on April 13, 2011 at 9.05am

    Yarisbel Rodriguez
    Hist 80000 – Literature of American History II
    Submitted Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
    Outline of Nelson Lichtenstein’s “State of the Union: A Century of American Labor”

    Lichtenstein analyzes the elements of trade unionism that inspired the most support and vitriol, with the aim of tracing the social and ideological changes that resulted in the decline of the labor movement since the Progressive era. In this endeavor, State of the Union is not a traditional narrative history, but it tightly focuses on the evolution of the labor movement and the ways industrial democracy, or the extension of brotherhood into workplace norms, was both consolidated and undermined by the 1990s. Lichtenstein has a political message as well, stressing the importance of returning to democratic unionism to revitalize American democracy.

    I. Introduction and Chapter 1: Reconstructing the 1930s
    A. Introduction
    1. The last third of the twentieth century established anti-discrimination laws that business policies and employees’ complaints to the EEOC continue to legitimize today. However, the legacy of anti-discrimination labor statutes exists alongside laws that originated in the pre-New Deal past, specifically laws that consolidate workers’ at-will employment status, which makes them vulnerable to getting fired at the whim of employers. This contradiction between pro-worker legislation and the continuation of the at-will employment policy norm reflects the failure of implementing New Deal unionization and collective bargaining models. Although racial and gender discrimination are vilified by business, popular opinion and the legal system, there are few proponents for worker collectivization, even among workers themselves. In this regard, Lichtenstein argues that such a bifurcation has not always existed in American labor history: “the democratization of the workplace, the solidarity of labor, and the social betterment of American workers once stood far closer to the center of the nation’s political and moral consciousness” (4).

    2. The economic instability of the second industrial revolution led to the birth of industrial democracy as a goal for future New Deal unionists and governmental advocates. Industrial democracy maintained that the concept of brotherhood be extended into the workplace, effecting a democratization that would improve the lives of workers. Post-WWI society provided the testing ground for the labor mobilizations that characterized the New Deal period, but the 1930s witnessed a postwar strike wave that “collapsed in anger and repression,” partly because of big business antagonisms and a labor force that was not as unified as it could have been (9). In this regard, Lichtenstein argues that the reason mass unionism and demands for adequate labor conditions were not institutionalized was because labor, management and the government failed to establish the right kind of relationship. However, I wonder what “the right kind of relationship” actually would have been, since the state, the labor movement and business management had competing interests that were inherent to the industrial model and the demands of capitalist development.

    3. After 1912, which Lichtenstein considers the apex of the Progressive era, the “social wage” deteriorated. The social wage was an integral part of workers’ standard of living – it included “monetary entitlements such as pensions, unemployment insurance, and workman’s compensation,” as well as institutions such as “public education, city parks, mandated vacations, municipal services, health and safety regulations, minimum wage, child labor, and women’s protective laws” (10-11). After 1912, and despite the earlier passage of child-labor laws, workman’s compensation laws and laws regulating the maximum hours for women workers, courts invalidated many Progressive-era statutes, demoralizing the labor movement’s commitment to raising the social wage (11). Flash-forwarding three generations, the 1990s have witnessed the immense decline of trade unionism, with the labor movement only a third as powerful as it had been during the 1950s (16). Contemporary efforts by organized labor do not challenge the status quo, and are more often than not reactionary, responding to benefit cuts instead of actively promoting social wage provisions that had been the focus of collective bargaining, picketing and labor voting patterns decades ago (17).

    4. Lichtenstein argues that his book is “predicated on the idea that a larger, more powerful, and more democratic trade-union movement is essential to any progressive resolution of the contemporary stalemate that structures social politics in the United States” (17). In this regard, he provides not a narrative, but an analysis of the elements of trade unionism that elicited the most support and the most vitriol since the Great Depression, with the hope of tracing the social and ideological changes that contributed to the weakness of the current labor movement (18).

    B. Chapter 1: Reconstructing the 1930s
    1. Lichtenstein argues that the labor question was especially salient during the Progressive era because Americans perceived it as directly tied to the solution to capitalist crisis. In this regard, Lichtenstein explains that even before the onset of the Great Depression, older industries were suffering; farmers and workers in the coal and textile industries suffered economically after the expansion of World War I, the former because of dropping crop prices and the latter because of slashed wages. Despite the expansion of consumer-oriented industries, overproduction led to a marked drop in sales; this pattern developed alongside the increased “concentration of productive capacity and financial power among but a relative handful of enormously big corporations” (23). The failure to maintain wages, prices and production across a wide swath of industries resulted in the drop of American GNP by one-third between 1929 and 1933, with investments dropping ninety-eight percent. Emerging consensus identified “a broad upward shift in working-class purchasing power” as essential to the economic and political interests of the entire country, and Americans began to perceive that a vital new union movement would be necessary for creating this shift (24). This assumption would be embodied in Roosevelt’s National Recovery Administration.

    2. Lichtenstein argues that Communists and Socialists helped direct workers toward making demands on the state and management for better standards of living (27). In this regard, the New Deal came to embody an active sense of citizenship on the part of workers, rather than a dependency on welfare; ideologically, the New Deal can thus be appreciated beyond the material gains it produced for workers (27), particularly because it did more than establish wage-fixing institutions (30). Progressive-era perceived a massive contradiction in American capitalism: Jeffersonian ideals of free speech, democratic participation and autonomy thrived only outside of private enterprise (30-31). As a counterpoint to this contradiction, industrial democracy came to represent several things in the national imaginary: “an economic declaration of rights,” collective bargaining, “a constitutionalization of factory governance, and the growth of a two-party system that put unions and managers on an equal footing” (32). Interestingly, Lichtenstein argues that the factory militancy of the 1930s “was inspired far less by the Bolshevik aspirations of 1917 than by the virtuous republican values of 1776,” alluding to the distinctions between ideology and practice that came to characterize the labor movement: a bourgeois mentality coupled with revolutionary actions (32).

    3. Lichtenstein identifies a pivotal moment that reflected the spirit of the New Deal: Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins’ 1933 visit to the unorganized steel workers of Homestead, Pennsylvania, “to hear their grievances and explain to them New Deal labor policy” (34). After the mayor ended Perkins’ speech when union advocates spoke up, Perkins continued her speech in the lobby of the local post office, “detailing for a largely immigrant audience their new rights under the law” (34). Lichtenstein elaborates on the concept of “industrial jurisprudence,” which was related to the requirement “that management be conducted by rule rather than by arbitrary decision” (36). Collective bargaining was part and parcel of establishing industrial jurisprudence, and supporters of the Wagner Act hoped the legislation would come to consolidate both. The Act “guaranteed workers the right to select their own union by majority vote, and to strike, boycott, and picket”; the law also condemned “the maintenance of company-dominated unions, the blacklisting of union activists, intimidation and firing of workers who sought to join an independent organization, and the employment of industrial spies” (36). Finally, the Act established the National Labor Relations Board, “which heard employee complaints, determined union jurisdictions, and conducted on-site elections” (37). In Lichtenstein’s estimation, the most important provision of the Wagner Act was that against employer involvement in new unionism: the Act intended to ban company-sponsored unions because “such institutions would merely perpetuate managerial power and exacerbate social divisions within the workforce” (37-38).

    4. Lichtenstein argues that although the Wagner Act contained many progressive provisions, the labor movement had to mobilize heavily in favor of it to counteract the vitriol of Congress and a Supreme Court hellbent on declaring it unconstitutional (39). Despite passage of the Act, corporate employers did not take it seriously, believing it was unenforceable, and engaged in the practices the Act explicitly condemned. In light of employers’ intransigence, the leadership of the American Federation of Labor “seemed both unwilling and unable to wage the necessary fight,” largely because they did not have experience in organizing the semi-skilled production workers that comprised the large bulk of the industrial workforce; the AFL was experienced in craft unionism instead (39). The AFL’s difficulty organizing workers hints at the “culture wars” that predominated in the Progressive era; right-wing proponents reacted against “the new unions, with their leaven of radical Jews and anticlerical Catholics, with their rationalizing, modernizing, and cosmopolitan outlook” precisely because they threatened their entire way of life (41). In the face of the AFL’s failure, John L. Lewis (United Mine Workers), Sidney Hillman (Amalgamated Clothing Workers) and several colleagues decided that the labor movement would have to organize outside of the AFL framework (43-44); the establishment of the Committee for Industrial Organization and labor’s official split between this organization and the AFL was consolidated in 1937, with the CIO’s future campaigns invigorating the labor movement (44).

    II. Citizenship at Work; A Labor-Management Accord?
    A. Chapter 2: Citizenship at Work
    1. Despite the Great Depression, “the post-1940 employment boom sparked by the government’s ultra-Keynesian mobilization program gave the labor movement a second chance, while the necessity for a strike-free production effort required that the Roosevelt administration would ensure union growth during the years after Pearl Harbor” (56). Between 1940 and 1967, real wages doubled (56), but pay inequalities between skilled and unskilled workers persisted, and “mirrored ethnic, racial, and gender divisions in the working population” (57-58). Still, wage differentials continued to decline (59).

    2. Shop democracy emerged as a workplace ideal, with “union activists demand[ing] a steward for every foreman and a committeeman for every department” (60). Stewards helped determine workers’ course of action when their grievances were disregarded by management (60-61). Stewards gained importance alongside seniority policies that “eliminate[ed] deference and favoritism” to benefit experienced workers (61).

    3. Because the AFL despised the NLRB’s tendency to “marginalize craft-union claims in favor of CIO-style bargaining units as most appropriate to the spirit of… industrial democracy” (65); the AFL sided with Southern labor-baiting legislators to undermine the efforts of both the CIO and NLRB. Despite the AFL’s alienation from the New Deal, “the unions that remained within the Federation flourished after 1937” (66), most notably the Teamsters, which by the late 1930s had successfully recruited unskilled laborers to promote implementing region-wide trucking contracts (67).

    4. Although occupational unionism garnered support during the early progressive era, “the big craft unions… the carpenters, the plumbers, the railroad brotherhoods – were politically conservative, racially and sexually exclusive, and ill-equipped to manage technological change” (69), consolidating racial and ethnic exclusiveness in the unions (70). Thus, in the face of a reviving labor movement by the mid-1930s, “many black organizations, like the Urban League and the NAACP, remained standoffish” (73). The late 1930s would witness a rise in racial militancy among black workers, who came to understand the need for “their own leaders, stewards, campaigns, even their own unions, within the labor movement” (79). By the end of WWII, at least 500,000 black workers “had joined unions affiliated with the CIO” (79).

    5. FDR’s establishment of the Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) in 1941 consolidated the “African American quest for industrial citizenship” (85), as it targeted discrimination against a wide swath of ethnic groups {85-86). Unfortunately, gender discrimination and paternalism persisted despite such progressive reform, and women workers were marginalized by male unionists (88-90) even in industries that boasted large numbers of women and where they comprised the bulk of membership: “electrical products trades, in clerical and sales work, canning and tobacco processing” (89). Social citizenship continued to be “[d]efined in gender terms” (90), with women often being excluded from employment by virtue of their gender (90-91). When women did find employment, they remained disadvantaged because of the double shift (90-91).

    6. Unemployment insurance, “which was funded as part of the 1935 Social Security Act, excluded 55 percent of all African American workers and 80 percent of all women workers, including more than 87 percent of wage-earning African American women,” consolidating earlier discriminatory patterns (96).

    B. A Labor-Management Accord?
    1. Lichtenstein disagrees with the notion of a labor-management consensus having existed in the 1940s and 1950s, especially since these “were years of historically high strike levels and of corporate-sponsored ideological warfare” (99); industrial relations stability was nowhere to be found in “those growing sectors of the economy where wages were low, output labor intensive, and management militantly anti-union” (99).

    2. Lichtenstein gives his own interpretation for why the American working class was not as radical as European and Latin American workers (105). For example, “[i]n sharp contrast to their counterparts in Britain or Germany, American businessmen has presided over economic institutions that were of both continental scope and vast revenue long before the rise of a powerful state or the emergence of overt class politics” (106) – thus “the most critical decisions about the direction of American economic development were in private hands” quite early (107). In the same vein, American business was not cartelized, as it was in Europe; “[t]he American market was of continental magnitude and regional variation” (107).

    3. FDR’s 1937 Court-packing plan – expanded and packed the Supreme Court with New Dealers – sparked off massive-union, anti-New Deal sentiment (108). Southern white elites fought against the New Deal by lobbying to “exclud[e] much of the region’s people and industry from the scope of New Deal social legislation” (111); promoting its own regional and decentralized administrations, which made it difficult for legislation like the Wagner Act to have any real power in the South (111-112); and straight up nullifying New Deal social legislation (112). Southern businessmen would come to advocate for the 1947 Taft-Hartley bill (114-115), anti-union legislation that would help “purge Communists from official union posts” (115). It also banned secondary boycotts (118). The advent of firm-centered bargaining systems further disadvantaged workers, since management/factory owners could shift resources (and jobs) to other facilities when workers went on strike (124). Lichtenstein also argues that the myth of a labor-management accord persists because of the end of the massive strike era; “[f]rom the late 1940s through the early 1970s, strike levels in the United States stood higher than at any time, before or since” (136). Ironically, immediately after this period, “industrywide bargaining collapsed early in the 1980s” (140)

    III. Erosion of the Union Idea; Rights Consciousness in the Workplace
    A. Erosion of the Union Idea
    1. The reputation of the New Deal declined during the 1950s and 1960s (141). Industrial democracy as an ideal declined as a goal in workplaces across the country (141). “In the United States, intellectuals, jurists, journalists, academics, and politicians came to see the unions as little more than a self-aggrandizing interest group, no longer a lever for progressive change” (141).

    2. In 1955, the AFL and the CIO merged, very similar organizations, especially since the CIO expelled “Communist-dominated unions” (147). George Meany headed the AFL-CIO, which still advocated New Deal-style reform but which “discouraged marches and demonstrations, included those against unemployment in the late 1950s and in support of civil rights during the early 1960s” (148).

    3. Mainstream America (1950s) would come to celebrate collective bargaining, even as it continued to disadvantage the working class (148-150). This was attributable to emerging liberal hopes for a “silent revolution” (151), which were motivated by socioeconomic analyses that stripped capitalism of its power mechanism (150-151). “[L]eft-wing disillusionment with the unions and with the whole structure of collective bargaining became pervasive throughout liberal political culture in the years after 1958” (162). McClellan Committee hearings of 1957 and 1958 revealed corruption and autocracy in trade-union locals, and “had a devastating impact on the moral standing of the entire trade-union world, belying labor’s claim that it constituted the most important and efficacious movement for democracy and social progress” (162).

    4. Courts “continued to honor an outmoded set of pluralist assumptions governing the presumptively equal bargaining power of unions and their corporate adversaries, [and] they generated a false equality between labor and capital” (177) – anti-union. For example, by 1980, the Supreme Court ruled “that companies have no obligation to bargain over… the closure of part of their operations” (176).

    B. Rights Consciousness in the Workplace
    1. Public employee unionism: Post-WWII, “many blue-collar workers [all of a sudden] received more pay, equal job security, and some of the same perks as white-collar public employees” (181). Public-sector unionism “grew rapidly during the next two decades… because even relatively ineffectual unions had considerable appeal to white-collar workers” (185). By the end of the twentieth century, “public-sector unionism, over 4 million strong, represented about 40 percent of all organized workers” (185). Unfortunately, provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act, which “proscribe[d] the union shop” were not repealed in 1965 despite union advocacy for repeal (190-191). Failure here would be mitigated through the passage of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (196-197).

    2. Lichtenstein reiterates the importance of returning to “an autonomous, democratic unionism [in] the workplace” in order to construct a democratic polity (211).

    IV. A Time of Troubles; What is to be Done?
    A. A Time of Troubles
    1. The labor movement suffered throughout the 1970s and 1980s – “[a]s a proportion of the entire workforce, union membership declined from 29 percent in 1973 to just above 16 percent in 1991” (213), concentrating in needle trades, packinghouse industry, construction, etc. (214-215). Lichtenstein notes that in the 1960s, “post-industrialism” emerged as a concept – “just as manufacturing had replaced agriculture as the central mode of production, so too would information processing and the service economy displace the factory, mill, and mine” (215).

    2. The 1990s witnessed emerging “legally sanctioned employee participation schemes [that] represented little more than a new form of union avoidance” to labor groups (245). Trade unions did not grow significantly during the nineties (245).

    B. What is to be Done?
    1. Although the Clinton administration “held the unions at arm’s length… [its] early efforts to raise the social wage and relegitimate government activism – through infrastructure construction, job training, and new employer mandates… were ideologically potential and socially useful efforts to give domestic politics a neo-Rooseveltian flavor” (251). However, the failure of Clinton’s health-care plan “generated a political vacuum” that resulted in Republican control of Congress in 1994 (254).

    2. Lichtenstein notes continuity between Progressive-era reform and the contemporary “living wage” movement (264), and he makes three propositions for revitalizing the union movement: increasing militancy, more universal solidarity among workers (273-274); promoting internal union democracy to ensure successful labor action (274); establishing a labor party, more direct insertion into politics (274-275). Labor question is essential to revitalizing democratic society itself (276).

  28. Laura said, on April 13, 2011 at 3.30pm

    Running Steel, Running America: Race, Economic Policy, and the Decline of Liberalism by Judith Stein.
    By Laura Ping
    April 13, 2011

    1) How does Judith Stein justify her argument that New Deal liberalism existed in the postwar economy? Why does she claim that the steel industry exemplifies this? How does this relate to Alan Brikley’s argument in The End of Reform that by the end of the New Deal the state was focused on consumption rather than liberalism?
    2) In what ways did Title VII undermine specific labor markets? In what way did it benefit African American Laborers? How do these concepts also apply to the Civil Rights Act?
    3) How does Stein’s contribution to the historiography of postwar liberalism link liberal policy and workplace discrimination?
    4) What does Stein claim causes the downfall of liberalism in the 1960’s? How does Stein’s interpretation of the relationship between race and liberalism relate to Thomas Sugrue’s arguments about race in Origins of the Urban Crisis?
    5) How did union lawsuits over workplace grievances benefit African Americans? Does Stein see this as more or less productive than anti discrimination laws.
    6) According to Stein, how does Keynesianism relate to the steel industry?
    7) How did the Cold War steel policy undermine the domestic market? How did this contribute to the decline of liberalism, according to Stein?

  29. Miranda said, on April 14, 2011 at 8.13pm

    Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class, Jefferson Cowie

    -1970s was a period of realignment: can be thought of as “half post-1960s and half pre-1980s…[but also] bridge between epochs.” (11)
    -”collective sadness” as post-war boom ended, real earnings stagnated after 1972, strikes increased

    I. Hope in the Confusion, 1968-1974
    1. Old Fashioned Heroes of the New Working Class
    -dissident mine workers’ leader, Jock Yablonski, murdered with his family on 12/31/69 by thugs hired by union leader Tony Boyle of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) whose power he had threatened
    -Arnold Miller became new leader of Mine Workers for Democracy (MFD)- first time rank and file member of union beat out incumbent president
    -fueled hope that unions were becoming more democratic
    -Eddie Sadlowski- grassroots campaign for District 31 of United Steel Workers (USW)
    -focused on union’s “accommodation to speed ups, loss of jobs to automation, failure to appoint blacks to administrative positions” (40)
    -but still represented patriarchal views that overlooked role of women
    -Chevy Vega Plant, Lordstown, Ohio went on strike in 1972
    -different generation of younger workers, “not going to swallow the same kind of treatment their fathers did.” (46)
    -Table Grape Industry, Delano, California, 1970
    -consolidated farmworkers’ control over the grape industry but still had to figure out how to find lasting institutional presence for social movement
    -Farah Garment Factory, El Paso, Texas, 1972
    -successful strike and boycott that included Mexican and Mexican-American women
    -gave workers hope that this was just the beginning
    -Gathering of Black Unionists, Chicago, Illinois, 1972- largest gathering of African-American workers in history
    -in the public sector, many minority workers gained union representation for the first time
    -Ultimately, unions did not succeed in reorganizing rank and file
    -energy of first half of the seventies dissipated by the second half
    -union uprisings were too fragmented to be single movement
    -also had to compete with other issues of the Right and Left
    -mid-seventies recession changed dynamic and quieted insurgencies

    2. What Kind of Delegation Is This?
    -Robert F. Kennedy’s ‘68 campaign appealed to ‘common folks’- made class, rather than race, a focus and tried to build a class-based coalition
    -George W. Wallace – Alabama governor- independent candidate in ‘68 and Democratic primary challenger in ‘72 with segregationist message and populist anti-elitism, shot on 5/15/72
    -Dem. Party in ‘68 was a labor party with political power
    -South Dakota senator, George McGovern, had conflicted relationship w/labor even before ‘72 presidential run
    -anti-war platform
    -tried to balance different viewpoints: appeal to youth vote, run against new cultural trends and appeal to social conservatives, and revival of economic populism
    -wound up on ‘weak side’ of all three positions
    -Democratic politics was changing demographically as more women, young people, and minorities made up delegates
    -despite McGovern’s pro-labor record, AFL-CIO attacked him as being anti-worker and for infraction of procedural rule of California primary
    -inability of McGovern’s campaign to win vote of white working-class was ultimately reason why it failed
    -campaign underscored how Democrats and labor unions were both internally divided

    3. Nixon’s Class Struggle
    -central domestic goal of Nixon’s presidency was building a Silent Majority out of blue-collar whites, focusing on patriotism and cultural issues rather than bread and butter issues
    -Nixon’s strategy consisted of dispelling notion that he was anti-worker, manipulating racial tensions, and portraying liberals as elites in order to build a post-New Deal coalition
    -Rosow Report- internal brief that was leaked- argued that white workers were ‘forgotten people’ and outlined proposed new policies
    -May ‘70: NYC construction workers protested against war protesters
    -Nixon saw this as opportunity to forge new alliance, a ‘new right’
    -Nixon’s ‘new Federalism’- increase funding by distributing power away from fed bureaucracy and toward state and local govs
    -”last president to function within the liberal paradigm, but it was a paradigm he sought to undo, not to promote” (138)
    -Nixon invited labor leaders to dine at White House on Labor Day, 1970- gesture of Republican-labor alliance
    -disappointing midterm elections for Republicans led Nixon and some of his advisers to question feasibility of winning labor votes from Dems, although by summer of ‘71, Nixon adopted decisive pro-labor strategy
    -rupture btw AFL-CIO and Nixon on wage-price freeze forced admin to return to courting rank-and-file rather than labor leaders
    -victory of ‘72 election marked “victory of ‘New American Majority’ over the ‘New Politics,’ a victory of traditional American values and beliefs over the claims of the ‘counter-culture’” (161)
    -economic shocks of ‘73 and then Watergate shook Nixon’s blue-collar strategy

    4. I’m Dying Here
    -Nixon invited country music star to play at the White House- by ‘72, country music was associated w/the anti-elite Silent Majority which Nixon was courting
    -the ‘reddening of America’-terms like ‘okie’ and ‘redneck’ were nationalized- nationalization of southern working class identity stood in contrast to counter-culture and liberal elites
    -the Worker’s Woodstock- Lordstown strike and construction workers’ counter-demonstration
    -condescension and hostility of many professional middle-class makers of culture toward workers for their failure to mobilize against the war and for their civil rights record was reflected in popular movies, TV shows, and songs

    II. Despair in the Order, 1974- 1982
    5. A Collective Sadness
    -Michael Harrington wrote abt how New Deal had represented a coherent vision of order which the ‘70s lacked
    -other intellectuals wrote abt cultural rootlessness of ‘70s
    -Tom Wolfe wrote “The Me Decade”
    -made common assumption that postwar affluence had solved the problems of class
    -some economists criticized working class for becoming too coddled
    -”the seventies became, in policy terms, almost the reverse of the thirties.” (222)
    -in contrast to the ‘30s when under consumption and over production were the main problems, was the ‘70s ‘stagflation’
    -political strategists realized importance of social issues (guns, abortion, busing, school prayer) over eco issues in building a coalition
    -early ‘70s saw flood of liberal regulations
    -gave way to Business Roundtable which ‘told business’s story’- new era of corporate assertiveness and business lobbying, which labor tended to see as major threat
    -also rise of corporate PACs
    -post-sixties ‘new class’ Democrats emerged and were less responsive to labor, more concerned w/inflation than unemployment
    -separation btw labor rights and civil rights also marked the ‘70s
    -revolution in minority and women’s rights at the same time as the counter-revolution in labor rights
    -challenge of integrating the workplace at the same time eco opportunities were declining
    -religious revival of late‘70s and Christians became politicized – e.g., abortion debate
    -”cultural exhaustion crept in alongside the decline in union victories” (250)
    -Supreme Court also entered scene and restricted labor rights (miners’ right to strike)

    6. The New Deal that Never Happened
    -strained relationship btw labor and President Carter as labor’s political clout declined
    -Carter had little experience w/unions and saw them as just another interest group
    – “By 1978, the attempts to revive postwar liberalism became the deal that never happened. It all ended far from a liberal revival and something closer to a requiem for a collective economic vision.” (262)
    -Humphrey- Hawkins Act- Democrats pursued full employment which they promoted as granting the universal right to a job, independent of race or gender
    -in courting labor’s endorsement, bill’s sponsors gave up federal controls on wages and prices
    -downfall of the bill came when liberal economists testified against the ‘76 bill
    -Carter had also turned against the bill after initial cautious endorsement
    -joblessness was seen as an individual or racial problem, rather than a structural one and the Humphrey-Hawkins act’s macro-planning approach was out of step w/this view
    -labor leaders saw their decline as the result of corrupt labor law
    -labor law reform – focused on J.P. Stevens case, which epitomized confrontation btw labor and capital
    -once again, the “seventies appeared to be the thirties inverted”- crisis of underconsumption in the ‘30s gave way to criticism in ‘70s of wage demands for leading to rising inflation
    -labor reform bill tepidly supported by Carter administration and ultimately defeated
    -labor leaders blamed business lobbies for bill’s defeat
    -by ‘79 Carter administration turned its attention to fighting inflation
    -Carter also turned attention to nation’s spiritual/cultural problems- e.g., ‘Crisis of Confidence’ speech
    -Reagan campaigned on a different note, arguing spiritual crisis was overblown by Carter Democrats

    7. The Important Sound of Things Falling Apart
    -Saturday Night Fever’s Tony Manero as working class hero of the disco decade and represented an embrace of individualism born from gritty, urban blue-collar existence
    -disco was a “hedonistic and solipsistic response to an economy gone bad” (320)
    -anti-disco uprising soon followed and led to American punk scene bringing gritty back
    -films like Rocky and Taxi Driver also gave voice to working class escapist fantasies and alienated loneliness
    -Bruce Springsteen explored blue-collar identity, but less about escapism and more about what it meant to be left in a “town full of losers” (337)
    -one of themes he touches on is how membership in union, which had been symbol of material liberation in the ‘30s was now a symbol of those left behind

    8. Dead Man’s Town
    -Bruce Springsteen of 80s- rock and roll felt almost powerful again- swirl of masculinity, patriarchy and patriotism, but underneath it was despair
    -examined closely, the pounding anthem of ’Born in the USA’ “was actually more about silence-both existential and political” (360)
    -e.g., lyrics such as ‘he’s looking for a home in his country’
    -events like Reagan’s firing of PATCO strikers reinforced Springsteen’s guerrilla combat metaphors
    -deindustrialization should not be conflated w/decline of working class (they still exist as part of the Walmart working class)

  30. Yarisbel Rodriguez said, on April 25, 2011 at 6.57pm

    Yarisbel Rodriguez
    Monday, April 25, 2011
    Study Questions
    Donald T. Critchlow – The Conservative Ascendancy: How the GOP Right Made Political History (2007)

    1. Is Critchlow’s argument on how the GOP Right undermined the Rockefeller wing in gaining control of the party convincing? Is his conceptualization of the “GOP Right” flexible, or a static representation of conservatives?

    2. Is Critchlow’s analysis of the Rockefeller wing itself sufficient? What is its origin in contrast to that of the future neoconservatives?

    3. Critchlow traces the post-WWII emergence of a conservative intellectual movement and a separate grassroots anti-Communist movement, which combined during the beginning of the Cold War to articulate a militant conservatism based on individual liberty and free enterprise. Does Critchlow adequately explore the actions of grassroots liberals during this period? With respect to portraying conservatives as opponents of modern liberalism, is Critchlow’s analysis of post-WWII liberalism sufficient? How about his explanation of the rise of youth counterculture in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s?

    4. Is Critchlow’s explanation for Goldwater’s political hesitancy in 1964 convincing? Can this explanation be strengthened in light of his analysis of Goldwater’s actions years before the election?

    5. Critchlow argues that the GOP Right consolidated its political power under George W. Bush. In the face of a still-existent welfare state, exactly which political gains defined the conservative ascendancy?

    6. Critchlow claims that political discord and debate between liberals and neoconservatives is a sign of “the vibrancy of a mature democracy.” To what extent do his arguments and conceptualization actually support this claim?

  31. Lawrence Cappello said, on April 29, 2011 at 1.02pm

    Summary: William A. Link, Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism (St. Martin’s Press, 2008)

    One of those few biographies that claims its subject is a deserving lens through which to study broader historical trends and actually delivers when it comes down to making the connections. Jessie Helms was a giant of the modern conservative movement. Throughout his tenure as a radio broadcaster, political operative, and U.S. Senator from the 1950s through the end of the 20th century he opposed big government, was an outspoken critic of Brown and the Civil Rights Act, lambasted feminism and the sexual revolution, opposed secularization of public life through the rhetoric of Judeo-Christian values, and championed old-fashioned morality against the American counterculture of the 60s.

    • Link presses a stark dichotomy with regards to Helms from the outset: He was a ferocious political player, but also held a reputation as one of the nicest and most collegial figures on the hill. He paid his staffers some of the lowest wages their positions warranted, yet they were fiercely impassioned and loyal. Then again, what biography doesn’t open with dichotomy?

    Early Years

    • Helms grew up in small town Monroe, North Carolina. His father a sheriff with a fifth grade education. Fundamentalist Protestant Christianity helped shape his earliest perspectives on life, in particular its unwillingness to tolerate opposing views. Link ties these “small-town values” as an integral part of his future constitution; his “country” scorned efforts by outsiders to alleviate social problems through charity and welfare. Self reliance, discipline, and hard work are the solutions to all of society’s ailments.

    • Attends Wake Forrest in the 40s, works with both college and local newspapers during his undergraduate studies. Finds he has taste and talent for journalism. Later becomes city editor of the Raleigh Times. Segues into radio, WCBT in North Carolina, becomes a small hit with his morning show Rise and Shine, returns to Raleigh to become news director for WRAL radio.

    • Grows more and more interested in politics throughout the 50s. Jumps head first into the brutal Democratic Smith/Graham Senatorial primary of 1950, rising as an able campaign operative for the ultra-conservative Smith.

    • Republicans in the early 50s had no chance of election to any state/local office due to persistent and pervasive Southern hostility toward the party of Lincoln. Thus the conservative yet ambitious factions of statewide American politics were mostly found in the far right of the Democratic Party.

    • Smith is victorious. In the campaign Helms advocates fusing the race issues of desegregation with anti-communism. Basically the rhetorical line goes: government intervention in the race question meant more governmental involvement in the fabric of cultural life, thus setting the nation on a course towards socialism/communism… forced intervention will only create further tension and lead to disaster. On the trail, this argument is frequently peppered with imagery of interracial sexuality.

    • Helms goes on to Washington as a senior “assistant” to Smith, but basically acts as his Chief of Staff. Gets a feel for the Hill. Smith dies suddenly in ’53 from heart failure. Returns to NC and is hired as executive director of the North Carolina Banker Association.

    • From his position he attacks what he calls “increasing left wing direction” of the Dems under Truman. Civil Rights becoming THE political issue of the state.

    • Helms frequently takes a public line proclaiming de jure desegregation would be nothing short of catastrophic. He claims civil rights leaders misrepresent the majority of southern blacks who in fact were rather comfortable with the status quo. Throughout the decade he viciously attacks any efforts at desegregation, even in churches. This mentality was rooted in strong personal convictions. He was utterly confounded that anyone would consider him a racist, and was convinced that he had the best interests of black people in mind. Takes Little Rock crisis as indication that desegregation will be implemented with bayonets.

    • Huge supporter of HUAC and Joe McCarthy. In linking the race issue to communism he says desegregation “was exactly in tune with Karl Marx’s predictions” that government intervention on cultural lines amounted to socialism.

    • In ’57 he wins seat on Raleigh City Council. When Martin Luther King makes plans to come to the city Helms insinuates that violence will occur (it could be read as a thinly veiled threat). His remarks lead to a furor among civil rights supporters.

    • While a public official Helms helps shape the contours of Conservative purity — a trend that would begin picking up steam on a national level. He soon resigns his seat with a distaste for local affairs, but he certainly left a mark.

    Rise/Middle Years

    • During the 50s in various settings Helms wedded segregationist views with anti-Communism and anti-government ideology, which ultimately matured into a critique of New Deal policies concerning labor, agriculture, and social welfare. In this sense Helms anticipated an important political phenomenon: how southern resistance to change in the Jim Crow system became part of an emerging national conservative movement. This is the racial messaging of 50s-60s Conservative politics.

    • Helms always thought it better to throw grenades than to catch them. A natural fighter, the JFK and Johnson years with their frequent attempts at government expansion helped him, through his oppositional tactics, shape the rhetorical platforms of Conservatism. Modern conservatism then is positioned by Link as a predominately (if not exclusively) reactionary movement.

    • Helms returns to radio in ’57. Transitions into television through WRAL and hosts the weekly Sunday editorial program “Facts of the Matter”. Largely adversarial in nature the show has legs, grows tremendously popular, and helps Helms express “a much fuller conservative agenda.” Rhetoric surrounding the agenda is reactionary: claims liberals are manipulating middle class revulsion about racial injustice, were wrapped “in cloaks of self purity,” duplicitous, and it was Black activists who were inciting racial conflict, not whites and certainly not the majority of blacks (who he felt understood the necessity for segregation).

    • Through television Helms was at the forefront of conservatives offering scathing critiques of the 60s. His efforts went a long way toward initiating a long standing cultural war against the sexual revolution and the triumph of secularization in American public life. On the racial front, he cites black activism and federal intervention as causes of social decay.

    • So basically, Helms claims (and believes) that he is not opposing racial justice, but in fact protecting all races from governmental tyranny. This is a rather sophisticated line, it cites “a lack of personal responsibility” to place the victims of racial injustice as lazy/irresponsible instigators. It ignored the prevalence of urban poverty, discrimination, and the legacy of white supremacy, all of which contributed to rising crime. In this way Helms is able to transform the civil rights debate from a discussion of white oppression to one of black deficiency.

    • Helms attacks non-violent resistance and civil disobedience as “traitorous,” charging “Americans cannot simply choose with laws they wish to obey.”

    • Obviously, he comes out against the Civil Rights act of 1964 as a terrible mistake. Points to increased crime rates and racial violence in the second half of the 60s as proof that he was correct about the perils of forced desegregation. The numbers give a sense of legitimacy to the argument as more and more rally to the cause.

    • Anti-communism is a rather large umbrella, and once firmly under it, Helms and the growing conservatives were able to pack in a number of issues – social, cultural, and political.

    • Calls for passage of a law banning speeches on university campuses by “known communist supporters.” Speaker ban law passes in ’63, naturally prompts huge backlash from students and professors, and is later repealed by federal court. Also attacks a UNC English Professor teaching classical poetry on grounds of moral turpitude (poems and assignments too sexual in nature). Goes towards this large general trend of public figures of the conservative persuasion painting universities as “subversive breeding grounds” of cultural and political corruption.

    • By the mid 60s Helms was NC’s leading conservative voice. His Viewpoint editorials reached close to a million viewers, and his daily barrages defined issues in a way that polarized opinion and challenged the state’s media establishment.

    • As the liberal consensus replaced New Deal liberalism, racial and economic fears grew among whites. Those liberal endeavors of the 60s, poorly planned and horribly implemented, helped position Helms to articulate a growing national backlash against liberalism.

    • As the 60s progress, and crime/racial tension increases, Helms reasserts that liberal proclivities toward Civil Rights brought on full-fledged racial conflict. Riots in LA, Chicago, and Newark thus play into his hands.

    • In 1970, he feels Republicans have gained enough traction (thanks to the Conservative ascendancy) for him to switch over from the Democratic Party.

    • Helms, by then a prominent public figure, runs for the Senate in ’72. Destroys his opponent with newly honed tactics of character assassination and aggressive negative campaigning. He enters the Senate on the heels of a rightward turn in American politics – a turn he had a large hand in shaping.

    • Helms’ election moved his powerful political message onto a national stage. Becomes the leading spokesman of the conservative movement. He is ahead of most of his colleagues in his understanding of how to use modern media for political purposes and to further articulate the pure Conservative platform.

    • Political approach is ultra-confrontational. Brilliant really, he focuses little on legislative accomplishments and instead runs a remarkably responsive office (toward his constituency) and isolates himself to a point where he can vociferously lob grenades at liberals in government. Particularly effective tactics for a reactionary movement such as 1970s conservatism.

    • Again, political strategy was not to enact legislation, but to publicize issues and rally a national conservative constituency.

    • Senatorial tactics are basic and pioneering. He becomes a master of parliamentary procedure and adopts an effective strategy of obstructionism. He introduces legislation that has little chance of success but is structured around wedge issues like race, morality, and religious legitimization. Thus Helms is able to put rivals “on record” with miniscule measures that would come to be damning when eventually running for reelection. He is also a master of the filibuster.

    • In ’76 he helps Reagan win the NC Republican primary (he of course falls short of the nomination). Carter’s victory over Ford merely sets the stage for the advancement of Helms and the conservative cause. With Reagan’s ’76 campaign Helms’ had taken a huge step toward emerging as the national conservative leader. During his early Senate career, while passing few bills, Helms’ most important accomplishment was that construction of a new, more unified national constituency for purist conservatism. These issues would eventually cement into a new conservative coalition – opposing abortion, the Equal Rights Amendment, the Supreme Court’s banning of mandatory school prayer, and cross-town busing to achieve racial integration.

    • Following ’76 the momentum of Conservatism is astounding. Carter was failing dismally on the economic front, and the situation in Iran helped the nation develop a sense of embarrassment. Most public opinion polls found Americans were generally conservative; Helms advocated to all Republicans that in order to take power they needed merely to draw distinctions and persuade voters that they provided the conservative alternative. They would take the war to liberalism.

    • Race remains an issue. Helms points to the failure of Soul City as further legitimization of his argument that forced desegregation brought on crisis and decay. He takes this mentality into his fight against forced busing.

    • The New Right issues of the 70s were expansions of those measures used to contest liberalism in the 60s – youth rebellion, sexual promiscuity, and feminism. Center stage were abortion and school prayer.

    • Helms and the conservatives link abortion to the practices of Hitler and saying it will never be a “moral way to solve a problem of immorality.”

    • School prayer, like abortion, is attacked on religious grounds. Helms was unabashedly religious when it came to political determinations. These issues helped launch a counter-counter-(yep, two times)culture against “secular humanism” which conservatives claimed was eroding the moral fabric of American society. The organization of the Moral Majority in ’79 and the Christian Coalition almost a decade later at least partly resulted from Helms’ sponsorship, and in North Carolina the mobilization of Christian evangelicals formed a crucial part of his electoral strategy.

    • In ’78 Helms and his supporters establish the North Carolina Congressional Club – a political machine that proved immensely effective in getting out the conservative agenda and securing election victories. They pioneer new tactics of mobilization and organization in the realm of opinion polls, advertising, and character assassination. As fund raisers, they were among the most impressive in the nation.

    • Conservatives take the same line in their assault on feminism. “We must reverse the trend,” Helms declared, “that says that women must be liberated from the dignity of motherhood and from femininity of her natural development.”

    • As the decade proceeds, Helms ultimately brings the conservative agenda into the realm of foreign policy once taking a seat on the Foreign Relations Committee. His platform was simple: an uncompromisingly muscular presence throughout the world rooted in staunch anti-communism. He is adamant in his opposition of détente in the late 70s. This policy ties into Latin America, where he frequently cast aside any concern for democratic development in favor of authoritarianism (El Salvador and Nicaragua especially) if it meant strong opposition to Communism. Race again comes into the picture, as he backed white minority regimes in southern Africa right up until the collapse of apartheid. At home, he launches a campaign against the establishment of MLK Day.

    • Upon Reagan’s election in ’80 Helms feels the new Executive has his heart in the “right” place. Nevertheless, Helms continues reactionary policies against Reagan’s advisors, who he feels are too moderate/centrist. It is clear throughout the 80s that Helms will continue to pull the Republican Party as far to the Right as he can. He is a purist, and demands all in the party be the same.

    • As a result of his purity and foreign policy inclinations, he again becomes an obstructionist under Reagan by holding up any diplomatic appointment not completely removed from Kissinger’s détente or Carter’s foreign policy.

    • ‘80s bring failure for his efforts against anti-bussing, school prayer, and abortion. So Helms takes aim at gay rights and federal support toward combating AIDS. Stance on homosexuality is that it should remain behind closed doors. AIDS, clearly God’s judgment on that community.

    • Spearheads a major attack on the NEA against what he sees as government funding of “obscene art” (strangely doesn’t make the Hitler connection this time). Succeeds in stripping funding and increasing restrictions on what kind of art qualifies.

    • Has major battle against Jim Hunt for reelection in ’82. Despite being way down in the polls, he is able to cling to an image of being unequivocal. Interestingly, he is able to take a line of you may not agree with me all the time, but at least you always know where I stand. In this sense he was correct, the man never wavered and was never duplicitous. The strategy pays off.

    • By the late 80s Helms digs in deeper regarding foreign policy. By the early 90s, with the wall down, he attempts to define America’s position in the post-Cold War world as unilateral. The UN sets a dangerous precedent in his view as it could both bring America into battles he saw as unworthy of its attention (Rwanda for instance, of course) or restrain it from entering those it should be involved in (the middle east).

    Clinton/Later Years

    • Health starts to decline in the Clinton years. Nevertheless, he again takes up his role as obstructionist against the new liberal president. Comes down hard on issues like flying the confederate flag, affirmative action, and multilateral foreign policy. Appointments are clogged to the best of his ability. Foolishly missteps in a somewhat inappropriate comment some considered a threat to the President.

    • Foreign policy becomes exclusive focus during his final years. Now chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he sought to spread democratic institutions throughout the world, rejected humanitarian efforts from the white house, embraced entrepreneurialism over foreign aid policies, and thus influenced much of the unilateral policy making found under Bush the following decade.

    Quick perspective: Helms was the epitome of Conservative purism, and a wonderful encapsulation of the movement from the 50s through the 90s. Early on, he successfully tied anti-Civil Rights rhetoric with that of anti-Communism, thus creating a large umbrella from under which (over time) he took on myriad social and cultural issues. He was front and center at Right-Wing Radio’s inception, helped craft and ruthlessly articulate the Conservative platform for decades, and pioneered numerous political tactics still utilized by both parties today. He held the Right flank even under Reagan in the 80s. His religious convictions helped position his struggle as a righteous one. His contributions were markedly significant in helping Conservatives dictate terms within the American political forum throughout the second half of the 20th century.

  32. Jeff Diamant said, on April 29, 2011 at 2.32pm

    In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution, By Joseph Crespino.
    Jeff Diamant


    Mississippi is widely believed to have had the worst civil-rights record of any state. Crespino examines its civil-rights history from 1964 to 1980, highlighting gradations among segregationists that he says provide important nuance to historical understandings and underscore the complexity about the roots of modern conservatism. Throughout the book, then, he focuses more on segregationists than on civil rights activists.

    Other foci are Mississippi’s trajectory from Dixiecrat to Republican during those years, and the Republicans’ “southern strategy” to win conservative southern voters by appealing to them on race issues. Many understandings of the southern strategy, he says, lack nuance and oversimplify the state of race relations in Missisippi, focusing too much on rural voters and not on more recent suburban ones, for example.

    Setting: Mississippi was the poorest, least urbanized southern state with the highest percentage of African-American population. Earlier in the century, it lacked the moderating influence of business elites that, in other places, worried that racial violence would hurt local business prospects. That changed in the 1960s, leading to a “moderate” power structure that opposed the violence against black people while also opposing integration of schools. Their fear over the prospect of black violence made them more likely to favor limited concessions.

    Segregationists came to portray their concerns in non-racialized terms, such as “states’ rights.”

    While often portrayed as evil in traditional narratives of the civil rights movement, Mississippians who favored segregation saw themselves “not as American pariahs but as central participants in a conservative counterrevolution that reshaped American politics in the closing decades of the twentieth century,” Crespino wrote. In this regard, he argues, Mississippi was less a national exception than a microcosm of the rest of the country, as national politics became “southernized.”

    During the civil rights movement, the South was in the midst of a transformative change, regarding employment. The plantation economy that had supported the slave trade was in “dramatic collapse.” In 1940, sixty percent of the population worked in some form of agriculture; in 1980, only 5 percent worked in agriculture. In 1951, the ratio of farmers to businessmen in Mississippi’s legislature was three to one; in 1983 that ratio was nearly five businessmen to one farmer.

    And yet. In 1964, only 6.7 percent of African Americans were registered to vote in Mississippi. In 1982, that figure was 75.8 percent.

    Meanwhile, many southern black people moved north as part of the Great Migration.
    When courts eventually demanded the integration of public schools, Southern politicians tried to force Northern cities to do the same thing, in attempts to have the whole integration process stopped. Later, many would try to evade integration laws by opening private/Christian schools that seemed immune to those integration laws, though not all Christian schools were inspired by this motive.

    Crespino repeated himself a lot, so my chapter summaries tend to get progressively shorter.


    Many whites voiced outrage in Mississippi over the Brown v. Board of Education decision. John Stennis, a U.S. Senator from Mississippi, expressed his feelings differently, so as not to inflame the feelings of civil rights activists and northerners. He knew Jim Crow couldn’t be imposed unilaterally, but that negotiations were necessary. People like him were said to favor “practical segregation” in contrast to members of White Citizens’ Councils, who typically had more aggressive responses. The “practical segregationists” were often more effective in preserving segregation, he said, because they knew the days of dictating from the top-down were over.

    Fault lines existed among segregationists. Bombastic hard-liners on the Citizen Councils – who tended to see themselves as of a higher class than Ku Klux Klan members – would apply political pressure to self-described “practical segregationists” such as Gov. James P. Coleman.

    People like Governor Coleman could never be described as soft on segregation – some of his rhetoric wasn’t that far off from George Wallace – but they were widely viewed, in more conservative white communities, as being too open to negotiate on these issues. Coleman was derided as “fair-minded Jim” and upset Citizens Council members by opposing a resolution nullifying Brown v. Board, by calling the FBI in to investigate a murder, and by favoring the construction of an integrated veterans’ hospital. (He contended it wasn’t quite as awful as integrating schools.) For his part, Coleman thought Citizens Council members were too loud and ultimately hurting the segregationist’s cause.

    The state’s Sovereignty Commission, a police/investigative force created under Coleman in 1956, worked behind the scenes to keep racial conflict out of the newspapers. It usually worked in favor of segregationists, though it occasionally opposed actions of Citizens Councils.

    Crespino also mentions Hodding Carter III, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in Mississipi who has long been lionized for having liberal values during the Civil Rights movement.
    Yet Carter was more moderate than many people believe. He occupied middle ground, repeatedly opposing immediate desegregation of schools.

    Replacing Coleman as governor in 1960 was Ross Barnett, more of a hard-liner. After he became governor, the legislature in 1961 passed twenty-one new segregation bills.

    He had a better relationship with the Citizens Council than had Governor Coleman. He was the governor who opposed James Meredith’s famous attempt to enroll at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi, participating in outlandish negotiating sessions with the White House – which eventually brought in federal marshals and military police — on how to resolve the issue.

    White business leaders worried that actions by hard-line segregationists threatened the state’s economic future, especially if public schools were shut down.

    The White House was not amused by the anti-Washington talk coming from Mississippi. Budget gurus pointed out that Mississippi paid $385 million to Washington in federal taxes and received $668 million back in benefits.


    The Cold War affected the civil rights struggle in ways that benefited and hurt each side.

    Anti-communist sentiment definitely hurt advocates for civil rights, linking the push for civil rights to anti-Americanism in a “political climate in which almost any manner of social nonconformity could be construed as a threat to fundamental American values.” The NAACP was a frequent legal target.

    At the same time, as the United States tried to keep neutral countries from choosing the Soviet Union, diplomats had to battle bad publicity about how poorly the United States treated racial minorities. As Nixon said, “We must now allow Khrushchev to point his finger at this nation or any other nation concerning the rights of man in this struggle for freedom throughout the world.”

    American race relations were particularly problematic for American alliances with African and Asian countries. A Mississippi case involving Willie McGee – a 31-year-old African-American man sentenced to death for allegedly raping a white housewife in Laurel, Miss. – drew negative attention worldwide for the United States.

    Conservative Protestants looked on liberal Protestants – especially though who professed a “social gospel — with great suspicion. The Citizens Councils believed “pinkos in the pulpit” were overly concerned with social and political issues, and not concerned enough with helping Christians achieve salvation. A sense of alienation from their liberal national denominations led some ministers to join Citizens Councils.

    For conservative pastors, condemning integration raised different issues than praising segregation, theologically. Some attempting the latter said God created two distinct races to peacefully coexist, or that God’s support for segregation was evident by God’s not wanting Jewish people to intermarry.

    One priest who tried to compromise lost his job. W. B. Saleh resigned from his church in Jackson after members there refused to let black people worship with his predominantly white population. He had maintained the appropriateness of separate churches for the races, but did not want to bar anyone from entering his church to pray.


    To segregationists, the liberal mentality revealed a “cultish belief in human equality.” Ole Miss hadn’t been integrated by invaded.

    Conservative intellectuals such as William Buckley criticized Ross Barnett’s stance on Ole Miss, questioning the sincerity of the governor’s claim that he was favoring constitutional conservatism.

    Republicans in Mississippi were divided between the conservative Lily-Whites and the liberal Black and Tans (mixed-race group). Nationally, the party was hoping the Brown decision would bring black people to the party (given that Eisenhower had appointed Earl Warren to the court, and Brown was seen in many circles as a Republican victory.)

    The Lily-Whites won the day, however, defeating the Black and Tans in a legal and political battle.

    Why hadn’t GOP capitalized earlier on disaffected whites? Among the reasons: Ike’s administration had filed an amicus brief in Brown, and Southern agriculturalists felt no natural connections to a party led by rich northern industrialists.
    Mississippi’s GOP didn’t like the national party’s touting, in a press 1962 release, increased black urban voter turnout.

    Mississippi Democrats didn’t really agree with modern conservative agenda except for on race; national conservatives also held conservative political views on social security and farm subsidies. Fiscally, the southern conservatives would drift closer to the GOP on other issues after the region industrialized and suburbanized, moving away from one-crop agriculture.

    The Mississippi establishment didn’t want an effective two-party system, thinking it would split the white, conservative majority in ways that would give black voters more influence.

    The Coordinating Committee for Fundamental American Freedoms (a conservative pro-segregationist group) was the nation’s biggest lobbying group in 1964. In many ways it was a front for the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission (which by this time was subverting progressive ideals of civil rights)

    The Missouri Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) tried to have the state’s delegates unseated for the 1964 Democratic convention, on grounds that they weren’t picked properly with regards to race. It didn’t work, but MFDP secured two seats from the national party. Mississippi Democrats were upset at the national party: “We didn’t leave the national party. It left us.”

    In an election that was the biggest landslide in American history (based on popular vote), Lyndon B. Johnson beat Barry Goldwater. Mississippi backed Goldwater at a rate of 87 percent.


    In 1963, the group Americans for the Preservations of the White Race (APWR) formed in Mississippi. One chapter, in Rankin County, decided to not publicly frame the enemy as Negros or n-words but, instead, as Communists or subversives. This was in line with the thinking of the Sovereignty Commission, which wanted to replace Jim Crow language with anti-communism language, to better link the cause of southern whites with a broader anti-communist agenda.

    In Freedom Summer 1964, hundreds of college students from the rest of the country descended on Mississippi. White extremist groups were ready for them.

    APWR had many former Citizens Council members. They felt the Citizens Councils were ultimately ineffective and worried that business leaders were overly accommodating to black demands. APWR tried to pressure these business leaders in various ways, urging them to fire black employees and hire white replacements, in some cases. APWR tried to portray itself as Christian and conservative, but it was actually quite extremist; at one fair in 1967, members sold booklets on building homemade bombs.

    Meanwhile, the KKK, largely dormant in Mississippi since the 1920s, began growing again in the state in 1963, bolstered by the White Knights of the KKK in 1964. It had 6,000 or 7,000 members and burned crosses in 64 of the state’s 82 counties in April 1964 as a show of strength. The White Knights faced competition from another klan group, the United Klans of America, which by 1966 was the dominant klan group in Mississippi.

    These groups had their own publications – the Southern Review was the most articulate voice of Mississipi extremists. It called itself“A Journal for Conservatives” and had a similar message to that of the Citizens Council journals. Southern Review published names and addresses of volunteers who came down to Mississippi. Byron De La Beckwith, who killed Medgar Evers, moved to Jackson to work for it full-time.

    Some leaders moderated their rhetoric and action: Gov. Paul Johnson, whose racial rhetoric had been truly loathsome during three campaigns for governor, moderated that rhetoric upon taking office in January 1964. “Hate, or prejudice, or ignorance, will not lead Mississippi while I sit in the governor’s chair.” And Tom Brady, a Supreme Court justice who previously had taken every hard-line stance imaginable, issued rulings from the bench in 1965 and 1966 that seemed to defy his racist past, causing him to receive harassing telephone calls.

    In summer of 1965, Governor Paul Johnson led a successful effort to reform state voting laws so Mississippi would be better positioned to oppose more meaningful federal Voting Rights legislation.

    Here’s a good example of a situation that is more complex that would seem at first glance –In September 1964, the KKK bombed the house of a civil rights activist. (No one was killed.) Nine defendants pleaded guilty or no contest as their trial began, and Judge W.H. Watkins gave them suspended sentences. Watkins was pilloried for doing this. In retrospect, some have pointed out that no jury would ever have convicted them, and that suspended sentences at least held out the strong possibility of preventing future violence (because the defendants were told they would go to jail if they did anything else).

    The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, which had tried to effectively preserve Jim Crow since its 1956 formation, took on a role that Crespino called “racial troubleshooting,” taking hard lines on white supremacists when the white supremacists’ actions would lead to image problems for the state. Their record also includes paying informants to infiltrate civil rights organizations to get information on activists, such as license plate information, which were then distributed to local law-enforcement – including the plate of the car Cheney, Goodwin and Schwerner were in the night they were killed. The sovereignty commission also worked against efforts of child development agencies linked to Head Start, either trying to put them out of existence or maneuver so that white people would benefit more than black people. It also spearheaded an effort to have the accreditation revoked for Tougaloo College, a historically black college, failing at that goal but pressuring the president to retire.

    On the flip side, the Sovereignty Commission tried to calm tensions during violence in Grenada, Mississippi, in 1966 – though it also tried to play civil rights groups against each other, trying to get Roy Wilkins of the NAACP to start a Grenada chapter that could compete for influence against the local SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference). Sovereignty Commission members grew frustrated with its leader, Erle Johnston, when he moderated his approach, agreeing to deals with the black community, and Johnston retired in 1968. Journalists and civil rights activists wound up lionizing him; Crespino said their praise went too far.


    Crespino writes about white extremists who were Christians, one of whom bombed and destroyed a civil rights activist’s home. His name was Jimmy Wilson, and his religiosity had apparently prevented him, two months earlier, from bombing a church – in fact, he sabotaged a bombing effort without his supposed cohorts knowing.

    Like Wilson, many white Mississippians – even some Klansmen – denounced/opposed church bombings. (Dozens of black churches were bombed during Freedom Summer 1964.) At the same time, the theological liberalism that sustained the civil rights struggle, would to many conservatives “become the spark for a critique of how the social changes of the 1960s contributed to moral and religious degeneration in modern America.”

    The “Committee of Concern” was a biracial, interfaith organization of 23 religious leaders that raised money to rebuild bombed churches. Until 1963, only a few brave white ministers had condemned the racial situation. That changed mid-decade.
    Moderate religious leaders played a critical role, “help(ing) break the bonds of fear and silence that restrained many whites from speaking out.”

    Liberal organizations from outside Mississippi, such as the National Council of Churches, which held events in the state, were not well-received by many white religious leaders from Mississippi.

    During this period, white Christians were leaving mainline denominations in droves for more conservative evangelical denominations and non-denominational churches.


    Ten years after Brown, the vast majority of black students in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi were not in school with white students. (Other states, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Delaware, Washington D.C., and West Virginia, had very high rates of black students in schools with white students.)

    Mississippi segregationists favored “freedom of choice” desegregation plans, which theoretically let every student choose where he or she attended, but which in actuality “left segregated patterns of schooling largely untouched” due to white intimidation. The Supreme Court in 1968 ruled in Green v. County School Board that “freedom of choice” plans by themselves were not sufficient measures for desegregation.

    A major U.S. Supreme Court case (1969) was Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education, a Missouri case involving 33 school districts, which ordered Southern school districts to desegregate without delay, doing away with the previous “all deliberate speed” directive of Brown II.

    U.S. Senator John Stennis of Mississippi, a segregationist, tried to make the desegregation objective apply nationwide, not just in the south. His thinking was, there was no way northerners would go for it; their hypocrisy would be exposed.
    Abraham Ribicoff, a liberal U.S. senator from Connecticut, took Stennis’ side on extending this scrutiny to northern race relations. A true liberal on the issue, Ribicoff felt northerners had been ignoring their own states’ segregation issues while being quick to pounce on southern ones. He felt the issue of segregation in suburbs needed to be tackled. Later, he would go further by (unsuccessfully) proposing actual rules and procedures for desegregation of schools where de facto – as opposed to de jure – segregation existed.

    Stennis never successfully moved his idea through Congress without its essence being trumped by Senate liberals during House-Senate conference committees. But he jump-started the issue as a heated one.

    In Kemper County, Mississippi, schools were officially desegregated, at least as far as admission went. But students rode race-specific buses, ate lunch with people of their race, and were taught by teachers of their race. There were even separate wings of the school building.

    CHAPTER SEVEN: Southern Strategies in Mississippi

    Nixon, asked about the Southern Strategy of exploiting Southern racism to win elections, said he targeted southern voters in “border states” rather than in the Deep South, as Barry Goldwater had done. Nixon felt that by going after “foam-in-the-mouth segregationists,” Goldwater had hurt GOP prospects with moderates.
    Southern Democrats were becoming increasingly distant from the national party.

    Mississippi’s powerful politicians like Senator Stennis played a major role with the Nixon White House in securing what Southern conservatives wanted on anti-integration directives.

    In 1965, white and black moderates formed Mississippi Democratic Conference to try to restructure the Democratic Party along biracial lines. Its leader, Aaron Henry, an African-American, resigned when he thought it was becoming too much like a civil rights organization.

    Another group, the Mississippi Young Democrats, also relied on young people in its quest to make the Democratic Party biracial.

    In 1966, some moderate Republicans warned against embracing white extremist types in the party. Nixon was fairly progressive on this issue, before he was president, warning Republicans to “resist the fool’s gold of racist votes.”

    Clarke Reed was a moderate GOP party chairman for Mississippi – more out of wariness to the national party sensitivities than to a change in attitude, Crespino notes..
    In 1971 and 1975, Mississippi elected Democrat governors who were racial moderates.

    Nixon supported tax exemptions for private schools in the south. Many of these were set up simply because they could discriminate against black people in admissions even after public schools could no longer do so. In 1970, though, the Nixon White House announced it would deny tax exemptions to racially discriminatory private schools.
    Nixon’s policy for school desegregation in the South was, “Do what the law requires, and not one thing more.”

    Nixon won 78 percent of the popular vote in Mississippi in 1972, his highest percentage in any state. Crespino speculates that this might have been different had Democrats nominated a less liberal candidate than George McGovern or George Wallace not been shot earlier in the year.

    Thad Cochran and Trent Lott, longtime U.S. Senators from Mississippi, were both elected to Congress for the first time in 1972. Though both were conservative Republicans, they represented different worldviews. Cochran had praised a very controversial civil rights-era book, Mississippi: The Closed Society, which was a critique of the state’s segregationist policies and history. Cochran even wrote the author a personal note, thanking him for promoting freedom of expression in Mississippi. Lott had more direct ties to former segregationist Democrats, and of course later lost his Senate leadership position after making a toast for Strom Thurmond that seemingly yearned for the days of segregation.

    No southern state saw greater ideological cohesion between the segregationist Democratic and new Republican leadership than did Mississippi, Crespino writes, citing an observation of other scholars.

    Crespino says the party transformation across the Deep South had less to do with code words and secret strategies than with “powerful critique of liberal social reforms that … combined white Mississippians long-standing opposition to black advancement with what many saw as the rampant secularization and elitism implicit in modern liberalism.”


    In 1980, the IRS began investigating the tax exemption of the Presbyterian Christian School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, over whether it discriminated against black students in admission. The Court had specified many ways one-race schools could demonstrate non-discrimination – adopting an official statement, advertising in minority media, etc. – none of which were demonstrated by the school. On the other hand, there was a decent rationale for the school’s position. Racist parents had other, older options for a white-only private school in the area (A segregated option had existed several years before PCS opened in 1976.). In addition, the school’s founders were Presbyterians whose denomination had split from the Presbyterian Church, theological conservatives who desired a religious education – complete with prayers, which were banned in public schools in 1963 by the Supreme Court – for their children.

    From one angle, the fight over schools’ tax exemptions seemed to focus on the newest way for segregationists to subvert the law, that is, making church schools mere extensions of segregationist academies of the previous decade. From another angle, these church schools were pioneering efforts to protect the fundamental American right of religious freedom.

    And yet, the racial pattern was clear. By 1969, there were 6,130 students at 52 private schools benefiting from state tuition grants. All but one of those schools were all-white, the exception being an all-black school. The tuition granting program came to an end after a 1969 federal appellate decision had ruled that the program effectively established a system of private segregated schools for whites seeking to avoid desegregated public schools.

    In 1970, legislators cut $12 million from the already-underfunded Mississippi public school system, on the grounds that 29,000 students had left the public schools that year.

    At the same time, private schools received various degrees of government help, such as municipal services; in one case, the same free water service received by the public schools.

    Conservatives in Congress made political hay out of grassroots reaction against IRS guidelines that removed tax exemptions from schools deemed discriminatory. Schools that formed around the time of desegregation and that had small numbers of minority students were “reviewable” under IRS guidelines and had to show they had taken steps to have minority students enroll.

    Outside Mississippi, the Bob Jones University v. U.S. case also commanded attention of conservatives. After the IRS denied Bob Jones University tax-exempt status, the school sued on grounds that racial discrimination was part of its religious belief. (The school had formal bans on interracial marriage and interracial dating.) The Supreme Court ultimately ruled against the school, holding that the national interest in doing away with racial discrimination outweighed the burden that the denial of tax benefits placed on religious beliefs.

    In January, the Reagan Administration revoked the 11-year-old practice of denying tax exemptions to segregated private schools. After a public uproar, the administration withdrew the new policy. But it was clear that the administration sympathized with the schools in question.


    In 1964, white Mississippians were out of step not just with the rest of the country on segregation, but also with the rest of the South. By 1980, the gap had narrowed. Sixty-nine percent of Mississippians favored integration, compared to 84 percent regionally and 86 percent nationally.

    Crespino ponders the idea of a “Long Civil Rights Movement,” put forth by scholars over the last decade, positing that the traditional narrative of 1954 to 1965 for the Civil Rights Movement is overly simplistic. Battles over access to schools, as the book showed, continued into the 1980s.

  33. Roy Rogers said, on May 4, 2011 at 2.24pm

    Summary of Edward T. Linenthal & Tom Engelhardt’s History Wars

    • The book is a collection of essays spawned by the intense controversy of the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) proposed exhibit displaying the Enola Gay.
    • Several essays are addressed to issues relating directly to the Enola Gay incident and a few that take up the issues of history, memory, and warfare in the 20th century more broadly
    Enola Gay
    • The Enola Gay exhibit was meant as part of a conscious move on the part of the Smithsonian to move the NASM from a “temple” to aviation and industry to a “forum” where contemporary issues relating to airpower and aviation are presented before the public.
    • In the planning stages controversy and criticism came from many directions – neither entirely from the left, the right, or the military.
    • There was no coherent “veteran” position – some opposed displaying the Gay at all – unlike what would emerge once the controversy broke open.
    • The proposed exhibit was broken into five parts: “Fighting to the Finish” (context of WW2), “Decision to Drop the Bomb” (where the cases for and against are presented but no firm moral conclusion is reached), “Delivering the Bomb” (how the bomb & bomber were built, the actual Enola Gay is displayed), “Ground Zero” (results of the bombing), and “The Legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki” (impact of bomb on surrender of Japan).
    • Once the controversy breaks open, criticism with be organized by the Air Force Association (AFA) – a private lobbying group of (mostly) Air Force veterans.
    • The line devised by the AFA was that the exhibit was pro-Japanese, used extreme imagery, and downplayed or ignored the suffering of American troops.
    • NASM officials viewed this criticism as extreme & unfair.
    • Academic advisors (of which one the authors of this volume, Edward Linenthal) were supportive.
    • The only academic criticism was the opposite of the AFA – that the exhibit may be too celebratory.
    • Internal Smithsonian criticism was muted – exhibit was good, could use some “balancing” and stressing of Japanese brutality and aggression.
    • The public debate over the Enola Gay exhibit was dominated by the AFA. The AFA decided to go public in 1994 after being “frustrated” by what they saw as stonewalling.
    • In public the AFA argued that the NASM was “un-American” and “politically correct curtailing.”
    • Criticism caused NASM to form the “Tiger Committee” of veterans and military historians to suggest revisions.
    • A new script was written per these recommendations which stressed even more context, American causalities and war-weariness, along with Japanese atrocities.
    • However, such revisions were ignored in the press and a narrative of a stubborn and condescending NASM and Smithsonian leadership developed.
    • The exhibit became entirely politicized by the time of the revised exhibition and part of the larger culture wars of the 1990s.
    • Scholars were late to the political game, marshaling a limited public relations campaign at the end of 1994 – after the debate had been dominated by veteran & anti-exhibition groups.
    • In the end the debate over the Enola Gay became a controversy over not just the exhibit but an attack on the historian profession as politically correct and anti-American.
    • Critics saw any presentation of the “darker” side of American history as unpatriotic
    • The final outcome was that the Enola Gay was displayed with no accompanying exhibit. Simply the plane itself was displayed.

    History & Memory
    • Michael Sherry argues that by the 1990s there was a “narrowing” of national historical memory and its appropriation by the populous.
    o 1930s and 1940s – national historical memory was “open” and dominated by liberals.
    o Created space for African-American and non-Anglo-American ethnics to appropriate historical memory to challenge the status quo and call for their incorporation within the national community.
    o Coercive elements of national culture were balanced by open elements
    o Vietnam was a turning point – patriot culture under strain
    o Narrowing – open elements fall way, coercive/homogenizing elements dominate
    o “Patriotic orthodoxy” becomes “tightly linked to political conservatism”
    • Paul Boyer stresses how the general public views historians as “distorters” who violate true historical memory and reality with political correctness.
    o Popular image of the “good war” leads to backlash against narratives that challenge American actions during the war – i.e. dropping the atomic bomb.
    o Historical memory is always political and the memory of the bomb has been tied
    o The term “revisionist” becomes tied to anyone who critical of standing memories of historical narrative. This discourse places historians out of the “true” narrative of events.
    o Within this discourse, status as veteran is believe to allow one to have the “appropriate” perspective on the bomb.
    o The dropping of the atomic bomb is the “Verdun” and “Waterloo” of American historical memory
    • Mike Wallace and Richard Kohn both argue that the Enola Gay controversy slows that history under strong attack as part of the broader culture war. Historians need to understand that this is part of a broader attack on academy and actions are needed to organize against unwarranted attacks on the historical profession and historical thinking.
    • Building on that, Marilyn Young argues that the true sin was not a lack of balance but its attempt at historicalization of the atomic bomb.
    o What the final exhibit presented was un-history.
    o It presented the “Good War” where “Good Men flew a Good Plane and dropped a New Bomb on Bad People.”

  34. Roy Rogers said, on May 4, 2011 at 4.51pm

    Study Questions for Patrick Hagopian’s The Vietnam War in American Memory?
    1.) What does “healing” mean in the context of the Vietnam War mean?
    2.) How is this healing political?
    3.) How does the medical discourse surrounding the memory of the war help disguise the political nature of Vietnam memorialization?
    4.) What role does the Left play in the politics of memorization?
    5.) How does memoralization reflect the broader political culture of the 1980s and 1990s?
    6.) It what ways were the attempts to “rehabilitate” veterans part of a brooder attempt to “rehabilitate” American society as a whole?
    7.) How does “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” tied into Hagopian’s conception of the medicalization and politicization of the Vietnam War?
    8.) What is the “Vietnam Syndrome” and what is importance in how Vietnam is remembered?
    9.) What is the place of the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Hagopian’s argument?
    10.) How much is this book about “disremembering” as much as it is about “remembering?”
    11.) What different kind of sources does Hagopian use in his argument and how are they employed?

  35. Alisa Harrison said, on May 11, 2011 at 2.01pm

    Saul Cornell, A Well-Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America (Oxford University Press, 2006).
    Alisa Harrison

    • Provides a narrative-style constitutional interpretation of the Second Amendment.
    • Cornell synthesizes his own research with the historiography of the topic, rejecting simple answers to the question by providing a very nuanced, intricate response to the issue of gun control and the original meaning of the amendment.
    • His book traces the ways in which understanding of the Second Amendment shifted, both in popular understanding and judicial response.
    • Cornell seeks to maintain objectivity on the subject, arguing that “Only by casting aside the ideology of gun rights and gun control can one discern the real and previously hidden history of the great American gun debate” (7).
    • The original understanding of the issue was not about individual right or self defense but rather “a civic right that guaranteed that citizens would be able to keep and bear those arms needed to meet their legal obligation to participate in a well-regulated militia” (2).
    • All sides of the modern debate claim faithful rights to the amendment’s origins, yet neither side would truly want the return of militiamen.
    o The militia played an important role in colonial society—it was nurtured by rural communities, regulated liberty, and organized citizens politically. The 2nd amendment, therefore, protected Americans from disarmament.
    • Cornell traces the shifts in this meaning of gun control, noting that “the blurring of the distinction between the constitutional right to bear arms for public defense and the individual right to bear a gun in self-defense” solidified during the Jacksonian period (4).
    • He argues the debate is not just over arms bearing as an issue of state constitutional law; rather, it must e contextualized by the bitter Federalist/Anti-Federalist debates over the 2nd Amendment and the Constitution as a whole.
    o Likewise, Cornell argues that the Anti-Federalist legacy tied to interpretations of the amendment as arms rights in a regulated militia offered the “ultimate check” on federal government (5).
    • This states’ rights theory of gun control lost its radical meaning over time, and was transformed significantly during the Civil War and Reconstruction era.
    • Cornell posits that the theoretical evolution of the 2nd Amendment was closely tied to debate over the 14th Amendment, during which Republicans sought to “give the federal government the power to incorporate the fundamental liberties protected by the Bill of Rights” in direct opposition to the Democrat push for understanding of the amendment as a right of the state rather than of the citizen.
    • This late-nineteenth century conceptualization of states’ rights theory shifted into a “modern collective rights theory” in the early twentieth century; the collective right of gun control ideology was furthered by the creation of the National Guard, which effectively tore apart the link between the right to bear arms and civic protection (6).

    Chapter One: English Tyranny Versus American Liberty
    • The right to bear arms as a political philosophy was articulated in the early Revolutionary era as a response to fears of a British standing army and soon became inextricably tied with other obligations of American citizenship.
    • Cornell writes, “If a standing army symbolized tyranny, a citizens’ militia was its antithesis, embodying virtue and liberty” (12).
    • The colonial militia played a pivotal role in the American Revolution as the preserving force of public order and protection, and as a central means for socially and politically organizing citizens.
    • Whereas the right to individual self-defense remained an issue of common law, the right to bear arms first gained definition within the state constitutions.
    o Because the states possessed significant power, it was in their power to regulate gun possession; states could prohibit gun use in certain locations and on certain occasions, and could disarm groups if necessary. Cornell argues that states possessed far more power in terms of “regulating civilian gun use” than with “laws pertaining to bearing arms” (29).
    • Shay’s Rebellion provided a testing ground for understanding the right to bear arms
    o The Regulators chose to arm themselves in a manner similar to the militiamen of the Revolution, an act that clearly delineated their understanding of arms bearing as “a natural right that superseded any written constitutional text” (32).
    o The movement itself played an important role in prompting reform to the Articles of Confederation

    Chapter 2: A Well-Regulated Militia: The Origins of the Second Amendment
    • The debate over arms bearing was radically changed by the move to replace the Articles of Confederation with a national government
    • Discussion of the right to bear arms became “embroiled in the larger dispute over federalism” as those at the constitutional convention questioned the balance of power between state and federal government and where militia regulation fell into that balance (41).
    • It was at this juncture that the development of states’ right theory of the militia/arms bearing began to take place; Anti-Federalist proponents put forward that a well-regulated militia under control of the states had the ability to protect against potential tyranny of the federal government.
    o While Federalists won out, Anti-Federalists secured the Bill of Rights at the First Congress; the 2nd Amendment, however, did not unite the two different conceptualizations of the right to bear arms—self defense versus public defense—or solidify the appropriate role of the militia within the new nation. Cornell argues that “Rather than establish a single monolithic original understanding, the bitter and divisive debate over ratification gave rise to several competing interpretations of the Second Amendment’s meaning and its role in the federal system” (65).

    Chapter 3: “The True Palladium of Liberty”: Federalists, Jeffersonians, and The Second Amendment
    • Federalists were alarmed with the conception of the 2nd Amendment as providing rights to the states to regulate the federal government; in fact, many Americans in the period of the early republic struggled to solidify the limits of Constitutional authority as it pertained to their daily lives.
    • Understanding the radical states’ rights theory of arms bearing as a means by which to place a “constitutional right of revolution” within the structure of American law, participants in the debate argued that “the notion that there could be a constitutional appeal to arms was antithetical to the idea of constitutionalism itself” (76).
    • The Whiskey Rebellion, in a manner similar to that of the Shayites, subsumed popular rhetoric of militia muster to organize.
    o While the rebellion was put down, it represented the continuing Anti-Federalist push for a states’ rights understanding of the militia that remained a “latent force to be reckoned with in American constitutionalism” (85). The Fries’s Rebellion, too, exemplified this.
    o Even into the nineteenth century, this radical understanding of the meaning of the right to bear arms remained infused within American culture in direct opposition to the Republican push for a state-controlled well-regulated militia.
    o Cornell argues that critique of the right to self-defense in the early nineteenth century would “lead some to fuse the common-law right of bearing a gun in self-defense and the constitutional right to bear arms into a single principle” (106).

    Chapter 4: Militias, Mobs, and Murder: Testing the Limits of the Right to Bear Arms
    • During the Jeffersonian era, meanings of self-defense and the limits of the states’ rights theory of the 2nd Amendment were closely tested and transformed.
    • Conflict between the state of Pennsylvania and the Madison administration on the subject of the Olmstead affair produced a confused legacy in which, despite the victory of the federal government, states’ rights proponents used the “Pennsylvania Doctrine” as “vindication of their theory” (123).
    • Understandings of the right to bear arms became closely tied up with the issue of national defense, particularly during the War of 1812 and emerging controversy over conscription.
    o In the period after the War of 1812, a civic interpretation of the 2nd Amendment that understood the right to bear arms in a militia as a right of citizenship came to again dominate discourse; Cornell argues that “The constitutional ferment over this issue would even affect the well-established line dividing the constitutional right to bear arms from the common-law right of self-defense” (135).

    Chapter 5: Rights, Regulations, Revolution: The Antebellum Debate Over Guns
    • The early decades of the nineteenth century saw a “profound change in the nature of American gun culture,” posits Cornell (137).
    o Weapon possession became closely tied to personal self-defense, creating a divide between opposing theoretical understandings of the right to bear arms: civic and individual.
    o Gun control legislation within the states—and debate over travelling armed with concealed weapons—created a backlash that “produced the first systematic defense of an individual right to bear arms in self-defense” (138).
    • Abolitionists also put forward a radical theory of the 2nd Amendment; that it “not only protected a fundamental right of personal self-defense, it provided the constitutional foundation for an individual right of revolution” (152). This conceptualization would later play a significant role in defining understandings of the 2nd Amendment within the Republican Party.
    • At midcentury, Cornell states that the debate over the right to bear arms was “more unsettled than at any point in the previous hundred years” (164).

    Chapter 6: Individual or Collective Right: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Origins of the Modern Gun Debate
    • The Civil War saw the culmination of the states’ rights theory of gun control, during which the idea that a state could muster its militia in response to tyranny of the federal government, was “put into practice with tragic results” (167).
    • The Civil War, therefore, removed most of the radicalism from the 2nd Amendment; however, it still left behind a series of other questions surrounding the meaning of the right to bear arms that would be debated throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
    • The issue of gun control in the Reconstruction era became closely tied up with discussion of Klan violence and Negro militias in the South.
    • The 2nd Amendment was brought before the Supreme Court in U.S. v Cruikshank in 1875; Cornell argues that “The Court decisively rejected both the individual and civic interpretations of the right to bear arms,” instead focusing upon the states’ rights theory (190).
    • With the creation of the National Guard, the “citizen soldier” was no longer a militiaman but a member of the National Guard, representing a distinct break from past understandings of the right to bear arms.
    • Cornell then analyzes the modern debate over gun control and emergence of “collective rights theory.”
    o He notes that there exists now an impasse has kept American citizens from developing a clear-cut and rational policy regulating firearms; “the simplistic individual/collective rights dichotomy that continues to structure public discourse over this issue certainly has not helped matters much,” he theorizes (207). Understanding the issue as two sides diametrically opposed to each other distorts the complexity of the topic and hinders rational public debate.

    Conclusion: A New Paradigm for the Second Amendment
    • Both modern interpretations of the 2nd Amendment, Cornell argues, take away from the original constitutional meaning of the issue; the civic understanding of arms bearing is lost.
    o Collective rights theorists focus only upon the first clause of the amendment, the right to maintain a well-regulated militia. Gun rights advocates focus instead upon the final clause of the amendment, which “affirms the right of the people to keep and bear arms” (212).
    • Cornell sees the loss of the link between civic duty and the right to bear arms as “the greatest failing of both the modern collective rights and individual rights paradigms” (214).
    • In order to define a new paradigm of gun control, both sides need to “back away from the extremist rhetoric” and transform public culture, perhaps by requiring some sort of public service for America’s youth (218).

  36. Laura Ping said, on May 11, 2011 at 3.31pm

    Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003 by William N. Eskridge, Jr.

    This book seeks to understand why understandings of sodomy changed after the Civil War and why sodomy is no longer a crime for consenting adults.
    Sodomy or the “crime against nature” was the sin of Sodom, the famed Biblical city where the citizens sexually assaulted an angel of God evoking God’s wrath with “brimstone and fire.”
    Crime of sodomy has been largely associated with Christian religious judgment but was also condemned by secular authorities.
    St. Paul’s arguments against sodomy:
    Disgust – Sex with no rational function is disgusting
    Pollution – Selfish pleasure seekers who prey on others and hurt them, especially children
    Destabilization – fornicators can’t join the kingdom of God
    During the Colonial Period secular authorities condemned sodomy based on religious principles.
    Term homosexual did not exist in 1860
    But society was threatened by sexual rebels such as Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony.
    Neo-Puritans denounced any kind of sexual freedom and fundamentally wrong
    From Colonial Era up to Nineteenth Century sodomy was a capital crime.
    Sodomy was not clearly defined and was therefore not regularly enforced.
    Could include oral sex, anal sex, bestiality, or two men having sexual intercourse
    Mean to maintain purity within the community and to prevent sexual crimes specifically against children.
    After Independence all original 13 colonies and subsequent states adopted laws against sodomy or attempted sodomy.
    No clear definition given but followed English buggery laws regarding penetration of a male penis inside the rectum of an animal, woman, girl, man, or boy. But judges rarely were willing to include these Biblical laws into criminal law. Mostly used to regulate sexual assault.
    Sodomy continues to be rarely enforced until 1880.
    1860’s criminal law differed from Puritan laws because in the latter non procreative sex was a crime.
    By 1860’s Whitman, Stanton, and Anthony created new politics for the body – people control their own bodies, women control right to reproduce.
    Comstock Act of 1873 – federal crime to send pornographic literature , contraception, or abortion materials or devices through the mail.
    14th Amendment – rejected feminism, effects how sexuality is understood.
    1892 Case of Alice Mitchell and Freda Ward – wore their hair short and agreed to marry one another with Alice passing as a man. Family finds out and separates them. Freda agrees to marry someone else and Alice is so distraught she murders her.
    New myths appear of homosexual men as perverts and lesbians as vampires and African Americas as rapists.
    Urbanization enables sexual flourishing.
    Civil War allows women to embark on careers in urban areas. i.e. Jane Addams. (New Women)
    Alice Mitchell represents New Woman gone bad / anti true womanhood.
    Urbanization = rise of female prostitute and antithesis of True Womanhood
    1870-1920 American cities witness purity movements
    Subculture of male prostitutes also develops – subculture of Sodom.
    1890 subculture of feminized men who called themselves “fairies” develops. Many also cross dress.
    Women also cross dress and “pass” for men
    Scientists claim these people represent downward evolution – key shift in thinking from Comstock but also reflects Bilbical disgust for sex as a pleasurable experience.
    1879 fellatio also becomes a crime against nature – increased with invention of zippers on men’s pants in 1893.
    After 1900 increased sodomy arrests
    WWI yields increased amounts of sexual interaction between men.
    Harlem also has a sexual renaissance and bathhouses appear.
    During the 1940’s Society become paranoid about homosexuals – fueled by secret boom in oral sex among heterosexual couples, nostalgia for old fashioned marriages, and fear about biracial marriages.
    Homosexuals became a scapegoat for those who felt they had committed sex crimes – i.e. J. Edgar Hoover.
    Also used to voice racism and fear that African Americans were oversexed.
    1940’s Focus on “foreign threats” – communists, Japanese Americans, homosexuals.
    Punishments for sex offenders become more severe and extends beyond their prison stay. – sex offenders register.
    Homosexuals become secretive about sexuality
    Military and government cleanse departments of homosexuals.
    McCarthy era and Eisenhower focus on “sexual perversion”
    Leads to state witch hunts and Lavender terror
    1935 Prof. Alfred Kinsey argues that sexual taboos negatively affected people. Argues that if it is rooted in primate behavior than the sex act is natural.
    Nothing wrong with pursuing sex for pleasure.
    Opposed consensual sodomy laws
    Jeremy Bentham ( 1748-1832) – laws should improve social utility. Argues that buggery laws have nothing to do with this.
    Intellectuals use Bentham’s arguments to oppose rigid sexual laws.
    Kinsey argues that if men are to be called homosexuals based on one act as was implied with lavender terror most men are homosexuals.
    Writes book on the normal sexual experiences for men and women.
    1957 Astronomer Frank Kameny dismissed from job with Army Map Service for being homosexual. Fights back. Argues gov’t has no business looking into people’s private affairs and that this legislation makes homosexuals second class citizens.
    Motion denied but begins campaign by Kameny.
    Civil Rights and second wave feminism takes off so does sodomy reform who seek equal citizenship.
    Argue for the constitutional right to privacy.
    Sexual revolution dispels sexual taboos but sodomy remains homosexual crime
    1969 sodomy law repealed in CT. 1968-69 Repealed in TX and KS
    1969 Gay bar , the Stonewall Inn located in Greenwich Village was raided by police. Police raid – usually not too violent turns into mob action. Police are barricaded in bar and bar is set on fire. Riot ensues.
    Launches political actions by homosexuals for equal rights.
    By 1972 Bayard Rustin – strategist for Martin Luther King, Jr. was applying what he knew about civil rights to social movements such as women and minority rights and pays specific attention to state antidiscrimination campaigns – bring movement from the ground up.
    Sexual revolution – people are no longer afraid to engage in sex for pleasure. By 1977 almost half the states had repealed sodomy laws.
    1978 24 states had repealed laws.
    Sexual Revolution has extreme effect on religion. Women become ministers and liberal Christians call for gay-friendly readings of the Bible – i.e. Sin of Sodom was not same sex intercourse but inhospitality and the threat of rape against visiting angels. Creates Christian tension.
    Fundamentalist Christians create counter vision to Liberal view on homosexuality. Unites Baptists and Catholics
    After 1930 legal system increasingly uses sodomy laws to withhold rights from homosexuals – i.e. civil marriage, adoption, citizenship, testimony, jobs, adoption, custody rights over biological children. Also religious restrictions by conservative/fundamental Christian churches.
    BUT consensual private sodomy is no longer a crime b/c reformers had institutional forums in which to challenge state laws – most sodomy laws were state laws. Constitutional arguments against laws – use civil rights and women’s rights as basis.

  37. Laura Ping said, on May 11, 2011 at 3.31pm

    Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003 by William N. Eskridge, Jr.

    This book seeks to understand why understandings of sodomy changed after the Civil War and why sodomy is no longer a crime.
    Sodomy or the “crime against nature” was the sin of Sodom, the famed Biblical city where the citizens sexually assaulted an angel of God evoking God’s wrath with “brimstone and fire.”
    Crime of sodomy has been largely associated with Christian religious judgment but was also condemned by secular authorities.
    St. Paul’s arguments against sodomy:
    Disgust – Sex with no rational function is disgusting
    Pollution – Selfish pleasure seekers who prey on others and hurt them, especially children
    Destabilization – fornicators can’t join the kingdom of God
    During the Colonial Period secular authorities condemned sodomy based on religious principles.
    Term homosexual did not exist in 1860
    But society was threatened by sexual rebels such as Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony.
    Neo-Puritans denounced any kind of sexual freedom and fundamentally wrong
    From Colonial Era up to Nineteenth Century sodomy was a capital crime.
    Sodomy was not clearly defined and was therefore not regularly enforced.
    Could include oral sex, anal sex, bestiality, or two men having sexual intercourse
    Mean to maintain purity within the community and to prevent sexual crimes specifically against children.
    After Independence all original 13 colonies and subsequent states adopted laws against sodomy or attempted sodomy.
    No clear definition given but followed English buggery laws regarding penetration of a male penis inside the rectum of an animal, woman, girl, man, or boy. But judges rarely were willing to include these Biblical laws into criminal law. Mostly used to regulate sexual assault.
    Sodomy continues to be rarely enforced until 1880.
    1860’s criminal law differed from Puritan laws because in the latter non procreative sex was a crime.
    By 1860’s Whitman, Stanton, and Anthony created new politics for the body – people control their own bodies, women control right to reproduce.
    Comstock Act of 1873 – federal crime to send pornographic literature , contraception, or abortion materials or devices through the mail.
    14th Amendment – rejected feminism, effects how sexuality is understood.
    1892 Case of Alice Mitchell and Freda Ward – wore their hair short and agreed to marry one another with Alice passing as a man. Family finds out and separates them. Freda agrees to marry someone else and Alice is so distraught she murders her.
    New myths appear of homosexual men as perverts and lesbians as vampires and African Americas as rapists.
    Urbanization enables sexual flourishing.
    Civil War allows women to embark on careers in urban areas. i.e. Jane Addams. (New Women)
    Alice Mitchell represents New Woman gone bad / anti true womanhood.
    Urbanization = rise of female prostitute and antithesis of True Womanhood
    1870-1920 American cities witness purity movements
    Subculture of male prostitutes also develops – subculture of Sodom.
    1890 subculture of feminized men who called themselves “fairies” develops. Many also cross dress.
    Women also cross dress and “pass” for men
    Scientists claim these people represent downward evolution – key shift in thinking from Comstock but also reflects Bilbical disgust for sex as a pleasurable experience.
    1879 fellatio also becomes a crime against nature – increased with invention of zippers on men’s pants in 1893.
    After 1900 increased sodomy arrests
    WWI yields increased amounts of sexual interaction between men.
    Harlem also has a sexual renaissance and bathhouses appear.
    During the 1940’s Society become paranoid about homosexuals – fueled by secret boom in oral sex among heterosexual couples, nostalgia for old fashioned marriages, and fear about biracial marriages.
    Homosexuals became a scapegoat for those who felt they had committed sex crimes – i.e. J. Edgar Hoover.
    Also used to voice racism and fear that African Americans were oversexed.
    1940’s Focus on “foreign threats” – communists, Japanese Americans, homosexuals.
    Punishments for sex offenders become more severe and extends beyond their prison stay. – sex offenders register.
    Homosexuals become secretive about sexuality
    Military and government cleanse departments of homosexuals.
    McCarthy era and Eisenhower focus on “sexual perversion”
    Leads to state witch hunts and Lavender terror
    1935 Prof. Alfred Kinsey argues that sexual taboos negatively affected people. Argues that if it is rooted in primate behavior than the sex act is natural.
    Nothing wrong with pursuing sex for pleasure.
    Opposed consensual sodomy laws
    Jeremy Bentham ( 1748-1832) – laws should improve social utility. Argues that buggery laws have nothing to do with this.
    Intellectuals use Bentham’s arguments to oppose rigid sexual laws.
    Kinsey argues that if men are to be called homosexuals based on one act as was implied with lavender terror most men are homosexuals.
    Writes book on the normal sexual experiences for men and women.
    1957 Astronomer Frank Kameny dismissed from job with Army Map Service for being homosexual. Fights back. Argues gov’t has no business looking into people’s private affairs and that this legislation makes homosexuals second class citizens.
    Motion denied but begins campaign by Kameny.
    Civil Rights and second wave feminism takes off so does sodomy reform who seek equal citizenship.
    Argue for the constitutional right to privacy.
    Sexual revolution dispels sexual taboos but sodomy remains homosexual crime
    1969 sodomy law repealed in CT. 1968-69 Repealed in TX and KS
    1969 Gay bar , the Stonewall Inn located in Greenwich Village was raided by police. Police raid – usually not too violent turns into mob action. Police are barricaded in bar and bar is set on fire. Riot ensues.
    Launches political actions by homosexuals for equal rights.
    By 1972 Bayard Rustin – strategist for Martin Luther King, Jr. was applying what he knew about civil rights to social movements such as women and minority rights and pays specific attention to state antidiscrimination campaigns – bring movement from the ground up.
    Sexual revolution – people are no longer afraid to engage in sex for pleasure. By 1977 almost half the states had repealed sodomy laws.
    1978 24 states had repealed laws.
    Sexual Revolution has extreme effect on religion. Women become ministers and liberal Christians call for gay-friendly readings of the Bible – i.e. Sin of Sodom was not same sex intercourse but inhospitality and the threat of rape against visiting angels. Creates Christian tension.
    Fundamentalist Christians create counter vision to Liberal view on homosexuality. Unites Baptists and Catholics
    After 1930 legal system increasingly uses sodomy laws to withhold rights from homosexuals – i.e. civil marriage, adoption, citizenship, testimony, jobs, adoption, custody rights over biological children. Also religious restrictions by conservative/fundamental Christian churches.

  38. Laura Ping said, on May 11, 2011 at 3.33pm

    But reformers were able to undermine state laws which made sodomy a crime using Constitutional Rights. Used women’s rights and civil rights as a basis.

  39. Kat M. said, on May 19, 2011 at 3.51pm

    Brooks, Karl Boyd. Before Earth Day: The Origins of American Environmental Law, 1945-1970. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2009.

    Book tackles two main problems:
    • How did environmental history emerge between 1945-1970?
    • What does that emergence tell us about American life in the same time period?

    His main point of historiographical debate is with historians claiming that the 1970s was the birth of the environmental movement, made possible because of a few high profile cases in the 1960s. Does not like the 1970s as the “environmental decade” narrative. Instead, pinpoints beginning of environmental law as postwar phenomenon. Laws in the 1970s reflected an acceptance of environmental values, and actions that were already being taken by citizens and communities across the country, that had already occurred years earlier. Says “environmental decade” simply “accelerated” a process that had been ongoing since the end of WWII.

    Especially important to his argument are the five legal rights that form the foundation of environmentalism and environmental law, all of which citizens secured for themselves between 1945 and 1970:
    • Citizens got input about government plans that would affect the natural environment
    • Courts deemed it their constitutional duty to take seriously citizens’ complaints about government plans to alter nature
    • Lawmakers reserved the right to mandate what property owners could and could not do with their property
    • Regulatory action could cross political boundaries (like state lines),
    • Creation of national standards.
    Brooks asserts that lawmaking in 1970s worked to further codify these things, not to create them.

    Especially sees a problem with legal education, which obscures real legal history. Part of the problem because it emphasizes court law and neglects the groundswell of support and growing activism. Proposes a new methodology for legal history, and for divining and interpreting our laws: historians must “incorporate all forces that make legal systems within human culture” and “interpret the civic, commercial, and cultural life of the people who made the law (11).”

    Also gives agency to “natural forces” and asserts that formation of environmental law is best understood as a “dialogue between human society and natural environments (13).”

    Chapters 2-4:
    • “Show how rising pressure on natural resources, coupled with intensifying concerns about public health accelerated the pace and scope of environmental lawmaking in the 1950s” and shows how “some of environmental law’s primary features and objectives” had been “established at the state level by the mid-1950s”
    • Big business interests, specifically urge to expand in response to economic upswing and growing consumer culture, threatened conservationists’ efforts. Conservationists not as powerful – less money, smaller lobby – so needed to forge alliances with others for whom conservation wasn’t necessarily important for conservation’s sake. In other words, needed allies with similar goals but different motivations.
    • Formation of “conservation coalition” of outdoor enthusiasts (those traditionally concerned with conservation), farmers, scientists, city dwellers concerned about having clean drinking water – made conservation into an issue with broad social support by connecting large groups of people who could be affected in some way by dirty water, dam construction, soil erosion, and deforestation. Key point of tension was government efforts at dam-building and resulting affects on rivers and aquatic environment.
    • Looks at the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (FWCA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), arguing that they “encouraged new groups to use new administrative law methods to bring new claims into the legal system (41)” – ultimate affect was that this helped create new ways of dealing with environmental problems and of mediating the increasingly contested relationship between man and nature.
    • Legislation like FWCA and APA was intended to unite but was ultimately divisive. Tension between federal and state, activists and legislators, business interests and community groups deepened, but their different perspectives and different use of the laws was beneficial, in a way. It generated discussion, but more importantly generated loads of new laws covering a variety of environmental topics, which helped form a broad foundation for environmental law. Moreover, lots of federal laws were passed between 1947 and 1960, all of which helped make environmental law come under the purview of federal, and not state, government.
    • Regulation about air quality shows several important things: first, the effect that postwar prosperity had on the environment and the ways in which changing lifestyles also changed the ways humans interacted with nature. Americans were increasingly upset at the negative impact these lifestyles had on the environment. Also important were the ways administrative bodies attempted to deal with the problem – the federal government deferred responsibility, leaving it to cities and states to create regulations. By the time the feds began regulating in 1963 there was a patchwork of stopgap regulation. Brooks sees this as good, saying that the feds’ refusal to deal with the problem enabled local officials to gain close to 15 years of experience wrestling with the problems and formulating increasingly sophisticated solutions and environmental laws.

    Chapters 5-6:
    • Asserts that accepted historical narrative – that environmental law did not emerge as a filed until after the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 – is wrong. Points to Aldo Leopold’s work, A Sand County Almanac, published in 1949. Asks why Carson’s work “accelerated lawmaking” when Leopold’s did not.
    • Argues that three cultural shifts occurred between 1949 and 1962, all of which worked together to “destabilize…traditional popular values that Americans used to subordinate nature to society (94).”
    o Americans began spending more time enjoying the outdoors
    o America experienced a population boom, and increasing numbers of families moved to newly-constructed suburbs built on land that had previously housed streambeds and forests
    o Americans became so comfortable with prosperity, and the material comforts it offered, that they were not willing to question the environmental costs involved
    • Ultimately, the first two factors meant that environmental law started to emerge. But the last factor meant that it, even after Silent Spring, “proved increasingly irrelevant to manage the primary forces of consumption, ambition, and individualism that still disordered the natural world to serve humans’ self interest (121).”
    • Talks in detail about the formation of federal environmental laws, and concludes that, because of the way such laws are negotiated they are always subject to change. Government has to mediate between multiple states, has to account for business and citizens’ interests and has chosen to give all parties significant power to call for redress, judges across the country have set precedent – all of these things are important for the formation of environmental law, and they all mean that the law is constantly evolving. This also ties into Brooks’ argument about the importance of understanding political/social context for understanding environmental law – the relationships above have massive impact on legal history.

    Chapters 7-8:
    • Important case studies in this chapter, to augment his argument.
    • Chapter 7 is about how Bruce Bowler’s work, in the 1950s-1960s, helped define and lay out the parameters of the emerging field of environmental law.
    • Chapter 8 is about legal education and environmental law, and the ways in which legal scholars wrote the history of the field.
    • One thing these chapters do talk a little more in depth about is the growing concern with public health and that it influenced the push for greater regulation and more laws.
    • I’m not really offering details on these chapters because I think the other chapters have the key components of his argument – I don’t think there is anything new and original in these chapters that has not been presented earlier in the book.

    Chapter 9 is his conclusion, wherein he restates his arguments and draws some interesting parallels between labor law at the turn of the 20th century with environmental law at the turn of the 21st. Perhaps the biggest parallel he sees is that both fields were once full of life, but labor law, in particular, has become less a public and government concern and so has lost its effectiveness. Brooks sees the same future for environmental law – sees it happening now – in part because of the fact that Americans still care more for material comfort than environmental health. He feels that environmental law is no longer an effective tool for creating change.

  40. Glenn said, on May 25, 2011 at 11.32am

    Moody, Kim. From Welfare State to Real Estate: Regime Change in New York City, 1974-Present. New York: The New Press, 2007.

    From Welfare State to Real Estate: Regime Change in New York City, 1974-Present describes the transformation of New York City from a city-based, pseudo welfare state to a neoliberal city through an “economic, social, and political story.”(8) The earlier New York was a “social democratic polity” that emerged out of the New Deal, incorporating labor and later black and Puerto Ricans into the fold. As Moody notes, CUNY’s own Joshua Freeman expertly covers this in his Working-Class New York. For Moody class is essential to telling this story, but not class understood in terms of identity but class in the Marxist sense, groups constituted by their relationship to the means of production. The neoliberal turn in New York City is basically an assault by the capitalist class who wanted to wrest control from working class people (but in reality mostly their representative organizations such as unions, political machines, civil rights and community organizations, etc.). As he states, “to impose its agenda in New York, the city’s business elite had to reassert its influence over city affairs in an era of social movements.” (5) He also makes an argument that New York is a significant site of study because of its wealth gap and high rates of poverty alongside wealth, because earlier historians have often been Manhattan-centric, and also because New York is a place where global and local capital meet. Thus while it may exemplify broader changes, New York’s specificity and difference is what makes it so important.
    The launching of the neoliberal assault comes in 1975 following the fiscal crisis which occurred in conjunction with a worldwide recession. Because New York was and is a global city, meaning that it is heavily interconnected to world financial systems, it is even more seriously affected than other parts of the US. Moody spends a great deal of time explaining the fiscal crisis because historical memory has made it such that fiscal crises in the United States are associated with bloated budgets due to the greed of municipal employees and laziness of the poor. Moody shows that the growth rate for AFDC (welfare) and municipal employee payment and benefits slowed during the five-year period prior to the fiscal crisis. The CUNY system and the hospital system stood out as two other major expenses that were growing. But he also claims that the city developed a major debt problem due to its rapidly increasing involvement in construction of barely public projects, amounting most basically to business subsidies for real estate construction. Over time debt rose to a significant portion of the budget, 36% by 1975. Moody then goes on to show how white flight led to an eroding tax base (for property and sales taxes) along with tax abatement for new office construction and under assessment of property value led to stagnant revenue from property taxes. He supplements this by showing that most major cities in the US relied on property taxes for 80% of their revenue, but in New York it was only 50% of the revenue.
    The beginning of Moody’s first chapter establishes the political context of New York City prior to 1975, which sets the stage for the neoliberal assault. He outlines the various social groupings that hold political power from the 1930s on, which include a combination of machines (1 in each borough), various unions and labor groups, civil rights organizations, community/minority organizations, and especially the various business groups. The crisis leads to a serious realignment of political forces and the imposition of new spending priorities by the city’s business elite. What later comes to be known as the neoliberal program –deregulation, privatization, cuts to social services and education as a reassertion of class power— is implemented by a “crisis regime,” a rearrangement of power players in government to manage a fiscal problem. Afterwards the various machines, unions, and parties are in disarray, left to align themselves within this new playing field.
    In Moody’s eyes, once the crisis happens and business elites take greater control, the game is over and the rest of the work discusses the various electoral coalitions behind each mayor, starting with three-time mayor, Ed Koch (1978-1989), through the seeming counter-example of Dave Dinkins (1990-1993), followed by two-term Rudolph Giuliani (1994-2001), and finally three-term for now, Michael Bloomberg (2002-present). Koch came to power in a fractured Democratic primary that involved 7 candidates, which Moody argues shows the complete disarray of political groupings. In the end Koch was backed by finance, real estate, the Democratic machine, white ethnics, the media, and unions dependent upon city contracts; Moody calls this a “mayoral-business coalition.” Koch attracted many ethnics white through his race-baiting and notoriously ignored violent racist attacks in the city. The tax abatement, heavy involvement in private building, and decrease in public services carried on throughout his tenure, and a reshuffling of labor leaders took place as well, though none seemed to really challenge Koch, much to Moody’s dismay.

    Essentially the story is the same over and over: there are new mayoral coalitions, but they are business oriented in all respects and the stripping away of the social democratic polity carries on. Moody uses a lot of descriptions of outcomes as opposed to showing motives, but this doesn’t bother me too much because the outcome is ultimately what’s really important here. Interestingly he shows a class-based revolution from above to change the order of things, sounding conspiratorial, but with enough evidence to show collusion.

  41. Miranda said, on May 28, 2011 at 1.24pm

    Jason Scott Smith, Building A New Deal Liberalism: The Political Economy of Public Works, 1933- 1956

    1. Reevaluating the New Deal State and the Public Works Revolution
    -look at how New Deal spent it money- redefine New Deal through examination of expenditures on public works
    -over ⅔ federal emergency expenditures were toward public works programs
    -it is a mistake of the historiography to cast public works as temporary measures- this overlooks their importance. Public works programs are critical to understanding New Deal liberalism
    -we should view the New Deal as a political project that sought to create long term markets by building infrastructure in undeveloped regions
    -New Deal also reinforced gender and racial boundaries- construction and building tracks provided white male employment

    2. Economic Development and Unemployment during the Early New Deal
    -By the time the Depression arrived, there was a need to strengthen infrastructure
    -Between ‘33 and ‘35, the New Deal’s first public works program, Public Works Administration (PWA), conceived of public works not simply as employment measures, but as part of larger strategy of economic development
    -roots of gov-funded construction to counter unemployment go back to the 1830s economic downturn
    -1st 100 days of FDR’s first term – one of most innovative periods of governance in U.S. history
    -passed National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA)
    -Title II of NIRA called for establishment of Federal Emergency Act for Public Works (known as PWA)
    -had support from construction industry, contractors, organized labor, progressive organizations
    -Special Board set up to expedite funds for public works programs
    -emphasis on positive public image
    -PWA worked through existing federal depts.
    -Creation of gov-run employment services alarmed organized labor
    -PWA had labor advisory board- deal w/issues such as hours laborers could work
    -FDR declared PWA would be regional, rather than state organization
    -PWA was committed to “robust” large-scale public works construction- e.g., hydroelectric projects
    -policy favored development over unemployment- esp. in national defense projects
    -PWA was criticized for being too slow to ‘put men back to work’
    -in Feb., 1934, Harold Ickes gave address in which he justified PWA as welfare program

    3. Making a New Deal State: Patronage and the Public Works Administration
    -PWA required a huge bureaucracy in order to build projects in every county
    -nation divided into ten regions, special agent in charge of each area
    -tried to balance being free of corruption with efficiency although in practice, need for expert knowledge often overrode concerns for impartiality
    -but worked in reverse as well- concerns over impartiality often took priority over the need to start construction on projects
    -led to criticism of PWA for its delays
    -PWA’s engineering division provides an example of ‘strikingly inefficient’ aspect of PWA-
    duplicated work of other divisions and didn’t do original analysis
    -also problems w/overly zealous division of investigation
    -PWA and its projects played a key role in building and solidifying the Democratic Party at the federal, state, and local levels of gov
    -it created new ties btw federal gov and localities by distributing federal grants and loans and appointments led to a ‘silent upheaval’ in the distribution of patronage by the Dem Party
    -nation’s mayors, local and state politicians were all eager to benefit from PWA

    4. The Dilemma of New Deal Public Works: People or Projects?
    -sample PWA projects: streets and highway building, funded nonfederal and federal hydroelectric projects, public health projects such as sewers, waterworks and hospitals, administrative office buildings
    -philosophy of self-liquidation for public works shaped the way New Dealers likes Ickes and Harry Hopkins thought of the proper role of public works
    -self-liquidation= make cost of project back by generating revenue, e.g., a dam could make money back by selling electricity it generated
    -PWA’s ‘Achilles’ heel’ was self-liquidation- made it difficult to generate direct employment, which emphasized on-site employment and was the main purpose of work relief (compare direct employment with public works which placed less emphasis on on-site employment and was often contractual)
    -Works Progress Administration created in 1935
    -while Works Progress Administration (WPA) spent its funds on ‘work relief’ and PWA spent its funds on ‘public works,’ both produced extensive infrastructure throughout the nation
    -WPA was federally administered and organized by region and state
    -direct employment remained a goal- tried to balance building public works w/employing maximum amt. of workers off relief rolls
    -contrast WPA which put people to work by means of force-account labor w/PWA which used contractors to build its projects
    -PWA tried to portray itself as ‘agency of serious construction’ that was efficient reemployment agency and provided direct and indirect employment. Also characterized WPA as ‘work-relief agency’ that provided direct employment through make-work
    -WPA’s sample projects- new airports, built public buildings and made improvements to others, built and improved streets and roads
    -New Dealers framed public works of PWA and WPA as ‘following in a long history of using government to foster economic development’

    5. ‘Boondoggling’ and the Welfare State
    -WPA received two criticisms – first, that its projects were wasteful, and second, that it was injecting politics into business of providing relief to unemployed
    -administration was able to counter idea that WPA and PWA projects were wasteful- emphasized the importance of the infrastructure that was being built by public works and pointed to the local enthusiasm for WPA projects
    -WPA was politicized- its ‘clubby’ atmosphere criticized
    -politics operated on the local level as well and even in Republican areas of the country
    -but there were also instances of corruption that did not occur along party lines

    6. Party Building and ‘Pernicious Political Activities’: The Road to the Hatch Act
    -polarization of opinion about WPA
    -cultural explanations of opposition to WPA that point to antistatist sentiment aren’t enough- have to look at politics as well
    -in 1938, Dem. Senator Carl Hatch proposed amendment to relief-and -recovery appropriation bill- would forbid employees of New Deal relief programs from standing as candidates or ‘interfering’ in any primary or general election
    -case study of Kentucky’s 1938 primary election which attracted national attention- pitted Dem Senate majority leader Allen Barkley against Kentucky’s Governor Al Chandler
    -Hatch’s amendment opposed by Allen Barkley
    -journalist Thomas Stokes exposed role of WPA in campaign and documented incursion of politics into WPA- e.g., WPA workers’ jobs threatened if they did not support the Senator
    -senate formed The Shepard Committee to investigate Stokes’ allegations
    -the Committee proposed different measures to separate politics from public works
    -despite investigation, Barkley still won election
    -WPA head Harry Hopkins also brought negative attention to WPA and its intertwinment with money and politics: during 1938 election he commented on the New Deal’s formula for success, saying “We shall tax and tax, spend and spend, and elect and elect”
    -although Hatch’s amendment was voted down in spring of ‘38, he revived amendment in ‘39 and presented it separately as “an Act to prevent pernicious political activities”
    -FDR signed Hatch Act into law and portrayed it as a measure that stemmed from his own call for greater regulation of politics in relief
    -FDR reassured federal employees that they still had right to attend political meetings, make campaign contributions, and voice political opinions- just couldn’t be part of formal campaign
    -Act only extended to federal employees- did not cover state and local employees
    -Ultimately, it “signaled the growing unpopularity and political liability of public works programs, and it provided a common point of reference both for future liberals and conservatives who looked to expand or roll back the welfare state” (188)

    7. Public Works and New Deal Liberalism in Reorganization and War
    -in 1939 federal gov consolidated its public works construction functions w/in one umbrella agency- the Federal Works Agency (FWA) – contained PWA and WPA
    -during early 40s, public works programs created large number of projects- e.g., airports, housing for defense workers, road improvement
    -FDR appointed Army Colonel Francis P. Harrington to head the WPA and John Carmody to head the PWA
    -Carmody made the case for fed gov’s role in constructing public works- emphasized historical roots of such gov involvement and argued public works were necessary for national defense. -Carmody also stressed FWA’s commitment to economy and efficiency.
    -by 1940, around 20 percent of WPA projects were defense activities- e.g., roads and airports which also put large numbers of unskilled workers to work
    -but WPA began to move away from its ‘cardinal principle’ of putting unemployed to work directly- turned to private contracting and the labor market.
    -WPA’s involvement in heavier defense construction projects “represented a reordering of internal priorities, demonstrated in the shift from providing employment to carrying out timely construction in the name of wartime efficiency and economy” (210)
    -WPA also began to train workers (including women and older workers) for the first time in its history- by ‘41, WPA had formally est. new Training and Reemployment Division
    -PWA had been involved w/national defense projects from beginning of New Deal (contrast to WPA which increased its defense efforts only as war approached)
    -WPA also involved in the internment of Japanese Americans
    -Between March and November 1942, WPA organized and staffed the ‘assembly centers’ and ‘relocation camps’ and spent $4.47 million on relocation and internment

    8. Public Works and the Postwar World
    -individual New Deal public works programs were eliminated by Congress during the war
    -but Federal Works Agency (FWA) functioned until 1949 when it was absorbed by new agency, the General Services Administration (GSA), formalizing “the return of public works to an ideal of efficiency and economy.” (233)
    -FWA and National Resources Planning Board began plans for returning to peacetime economy and sponsored the Public Works Reserve Project to assemble a ‘shelf’ of public works plans to undertake at first sign of economic downturn- efficiency and economy stressed
    -in 1947, Congress called for commission to make recommendations on how to reduce federal gov- recommended that the FWA be dissolved-FWA absorbed by General Services Administration in 1949
    -Truman’s Point Four program – fourth point called for aiding underdeveloped nations
    -during the 1950s, projects, such as highway building, were completed abroad – ‘exporting the New Deal’
    -Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 also looked to New Deal precedent
    -Johnson’s Great Society liberalism also drew on New Deal liberal principles

    9. Epilogue
    -”By and large, the New Deal was a political project not centrally concerned with advancing racial equality, redistribution of wealth, or social democratic ideals. It was focused instead on the goals of administering and managing resources efficiently while preserving the social order.” (263)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: