For anyone who has looked at a map of the United States and wondered how Texas and Oklahoma got their Panhandles, or flown over the American heartland and marveled at the vast grid spreading out in all directions below, American Boundaries will yield a welcome treasure trove of insight. The first book to chart the country’s growth using the boundary as a political and cultural focus, Bill Hubbard’s masterly narrative begins by explaining how the original thirteen colonies organized their borders and decided that unsettled lands should be held in trust for the common benefit of the people. Hubbard goes on to show—with the help of photographs, diagrams, and hundreds of maps—how the notion evolved that unsettled land should be divided into rectangles and sold to individual farmers, and how this rectangular survey spread outward from its origins in Ohio, with surveyors drawing straight lines across the face of the continent.
Mapping how each state came to have its current shape, and how the nation itself formed within its present borders, American Boundaries will provide historians, geographers, and general readers alike with the fascinating story behind those fifty distinctive jigsaw-puzzle pieces that together form the United States.
For most Americans, the Revolution's main achievement is summed up by the phrase "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Yet far from a straightforward attempt to be free of Old World laws and customs, the American founding was also a bid for inclusion in the community of nations as it existed in 1776. America aspired to diplomatic recognition under international law and the authority to become a colonizing power itself.
As Eliga Gould shows in this reappraisal of American history, the Revolution was an international transformation of the first importance. To conform to the public law of Europe's imperial powers, Americans crafted a union nearly as centralized as the one they had overthrown, endured taxes heavier than any they had faced as British colonists, and remained entangled with European Atlantic empires long after the Revolution ended.
No factor weighed more heavily on Americans than the legally plural Atlantic where they hoped to build their empire. Gould follows the region's transfiguration from a fluid periphery with its own rules and norms to a place where people of all descriptions were expected to abide by the laws of Western Europe-"civilized" laws that precluded neither slavery nor the dispossession of Native Americans.
The United States has always imagined that its identity as a nation is insulated from violent interventions abroad, as if a line between domestic and foreign affairs could be neatly drawn. Yet this book argues that such a distinction, so obviously impracticable in our own global era, has been illusory at least since the war with Mexico in the mid-nineteenth century and the later wars against Spain, Cuba, and the Philippines. In this book, Amy Kaplan shows how U.S. imperialism--from "Manifest Destiny" to the "American Century"--has profoundly shaped key elements of American culture at home, and how the struggle for power over foreign peoples and places has disrupted the quest for domestic order.
The neatly ordered kitchen in Catherine Beecher's household manual may seem remote from the battlefields of Mexico in 1846, just as Mark Twain's Mississippi may seem distant from Honolulu in 1866, or W. E. B. Du Bois's reports of the East St. Louis Race Riot from the colonization of Africa in 1917. But, as this book reveals, such apparently disparate locations are cast into jarring proximity by imperial expansion. In literature, journalism, film, political speeches, and legal documents, Kaplan traces the undeniable connections between American efforts to quell anarchy abroad and the eruption of such anarchy at the heart of the empire.
The First Seminole War of 1816–1818 played a critical role in shaping how the United States demarcated its spatial and legal boundaries during the early years of the republic. Rooted in notions of American exceptionalism, manifest destiny, and racism, the legal framework that emerged from the war laid the groundwork for the Monroe Doctrine, the Dred Scott decision, and U.S. westward expansion over the course of the nineteenth century, as Deborah Rosen explains in Border Law.
When General Andrew Jackson’s troops invaded Spanish-ruled Florida in the late 1810s, they seized forts, destroyed towns, and captured or killed Spaniards, Britons, Creeks, Seminoles, and African-descended people. As Rosen shows, Americans vigorously debated these aggressive actions and raised pressing questions about the rights of wartime prisoners, the use of military tribunals, the nature of sovereignty, the rules for operating across territorial borders, the validity of preemptive strikes, and the role of race in determining legal rights. Proponents of Jackson’s Florida campaigns claimed a place for the United States as a member of the European diplomatic community while at the same time asserting a regional sphere of influence and new rules regarding the application of international law.
American justifications for the incursions, which allocated rights along racial lines and allowed broad leeway for extraterritorial action, forged a more unified national identity and set a precedent for an assertive foreign policy.
In 1898, when war with Spain seemed inevitable, Andrew Summers Rowan, an American army lieutenant from West Virginia, was sent on a secret mission to Cuba. He was to meet with General Calixto García, a leader of the Cuban rebels, in order to gather information for a U.S. invasion. Months later, after the war was fought and won, a flamboyant entrepreneur named Elbert Hubbard wrote an account of Rowan’s mission titled “A Message to García.” It sold millions of copies, and Rowan became the equivalent of a modern-day rock star. His fame resulted in hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles, radio shows, and two movies. Even today he is held up as an exemplar of bravery and loyalty. The problem is that nothing Hubbard wrote about Rowan was true.
Donald Tunnicliff Rice reveals the facts behind the story of “A Message to García” while using Rowan’s biography as a window into the history of the Spanish-American War, the Philippine War, and the Moro Rebellion. The result is a compellingly written narrative containing many details never before published in any form, and also an accessible perspective on American diplomatic and military history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
At the end of the nineteenth century the United States swiftly occupied a string of small islands dotting the Caribbean and Western Pacific, from Puerto Rico and Cuba to Hawaii and the Philippines. Colonial Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern American State reveals how this experiment in direct territorial rule subtly but profoundly shaped U.S. policy and practice—both abroad and, crucially, at home. Edited by Alfred W. McCoy and Francisco A. Scarano, the essays in this volume show how the challenge of ruling such far-flung territories strained the U.S. state to its limits, creating both the need and the opportunity for bold social experiments not yet possible within the United States itself. Plunging Washington’s rudimentary bureaucracy into the white heat of nationalist revolution and imperial rivalry, colonialism was a crucible of change in American statecraft. From an expansion of the federal government to the creation of agile public-private networks for more effective global governance, U.S. empire produced far-reaching innovations.
Moving well beyond theory, this volume takes the next step, adding a fine-grained, empirical texture to the study of U.S. imperialism by analyzing its specific consequences. Across a broad range of institutions—policing and prisons, education, race relations, public health, law, the military, and environmental management—this formative experience left a lasting institutional imprint. With each essay distilling years, sometimes decades, of scholarship into a concise argument, Colonial Crucible reveals the roots of a legacy evident, most recently, in Washington’s misadventures in the Middle East.
Spanning nine time zones from Norway to the Bering Strait, the immense Russian Arctic was mostly unexplored before the twentieth century. This changed rapidly in the 1920s, when the Soviet Union implemented plans for its conquest. The Conquest of the Russian Arctic, a definitive political and environmental history of one of the world's remotest regions, details the ambitious attempts, from Soviet times to the present, to control and reshape the Arctic, and the terrible costs paid along the way.
Paul Josephson describes the effort under Stalin to assimilate the Arctic into the Soviet empire. Extraction of natural resources, construction of settlements, indoctrination of nomadic populations, collectivization of reindeer herding--all was to be accomplished so that the Arctic operated according to socialist principles. The project was in many ways an extension of the Bolshevik revolution, as planners and engineers assumed that policies and plans that worked elsewhere in the empire would apply here. But as they pushed ahead with methods hastily adopted from other climates, the results were political repression, destruction of traditional cultures, and environmental degradation. The effects are still being felt today. At the same time, scientists and explorers led the world in understanding Arctic climes and regularities.
Vladimir Putin has redoubled Russia's efforts to secure the Arctic, seen as key to the nation's economic development and military status. This history brings into focus a little-understood part of the world that remains a locus of military and economic pressures, ongoing environmental damage, and grand ambitions imperfectly realized.
Cultures of United States Imperialism represents a major paradigm shift that will remap the field of American Studies. Pointing to a glaring blind spot in the basic premises of the study of American culture, leading critics and theorists in cultural studies, history, anthropology, and literature reveal the "denial of empire" at the heart of American Studies. Challenging traditional definitions and periodizations of imperialism, this volume shows how international relations reciprocally shape a dominant imperial culture at home and how imperial relations are enacted and contested within the United States. Drawing on a broad range of interpretive practices, these essays range across American history, from European representations of the New World to the mass media spectacle of the Persian Gulf War. The volume breaks down the boundary between the study of foreign relations and American culture to examine imperialism as an internal process of cultural appropriation and as an external struggle over international power. The contributors explore how the politics of continental and international expansion, conquest, and resistance have shaped the history of American culture just as much as the cultures of those it has dominated. By uncovering the dialectical relationship between American cultures and international relations, this collection demonstrates the necessity of analyzing imperialism as a political or economic process inseparable from the social relations and cultural representations of gender, race, ethnicity, and class at home.
Contributors. Lynda Boose, Mary Yoko Brannen, Bill Brown, William Cain, Eric Cheyfitz, Vicente Diaz, Frederick Errington, Kevin Gaines, Deborah Gewertz, Donna Haraway, Susan Jeffords, Myra Jehlen, Amy Kaplan, Eric Lott, Walter Benn Michaels, Donald E. Pease, Vicente Rafael, Michael Rogin, José David Saldívar, Richard Slotkin, Doris Sommer, Gauri Viswanathan, Priscilla Wald, Kenneth Warren, Christopher P. Wilson
Long before the United States became a major force in global affairs, Americans believed in their superiority over others due to their inventiveness, productivity, and economic and social well-being. U.S. expansionists assumed a mandate to “civilize” non-Western peoples by demanding submission to American technological prowess and design. As an integral part of America’s national identity and sense of itself in the world, this civilizing mission provided the rationale to displace the Indians from much of our continent, to build an island empire in the Pacific and Caribbean, and to promote unilateral—at times military—interventionism throughout Asia. In our age of “smart bombs” and mobile warfare, technological aptitude remains preeminent in validating America’s global mission.
Michael Adas brilliantly pursues the history of this mission through America's foreign relations over nearly four centuries from North America to the Philippines, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf. The belief that it is our right and destiny to remake foreign societies in our image has endured from the early decades of colonization to our current crusade to implant American-style democracy in the Muslim Middle East.
Dominance by Design explores the critical ways in which technological superiority has undergirded the U.S.’s policies of unilateralism, preemption, and interventionism in foreign affairs and raised us from an impoverished frontier nation to a global power. Challenging the long-held assumptions and imperatives that sustain the civilizing mission, Adas gives us an essential guide to America’s past and present role in the world as well as cautionary lessons for the future.
The term “civilization” comes with considerable baggage, dichotomizing people, cultures, and histories as “civilized”—or not. While the idea of civilization has been deployed throughout history to justify all manner of interventions and sociopolitical engineering, few scholars have stopped to consider what the concept actually means. Here, Brett Bowden examines how the idea of civilization has informed our thinking about international relations over the course of ten centuries.
From the Crusades to the colonial era to the global war on terror, this sweeping volume exposes “civilization” as a stage-managed account of history that legitimizes imperialism, uniformity, and conformity to Western standards, culminating in a liberal-democratic global order. Along the way, Bowden explores the variety of confrontations and conquests—as well as those peoples and places excluded or swept aside—undertaken in the name of civilization. Concluding that the “West and the rest” have more commonalities than differences,this provocative and engaging bookultimately points the way toward an authentic intercivilizational dialogue that emphasizes cooperation over clashes.
Feast or Famine is the first comprehensive account of food and drink in the winning of the West, describing the sustenance of successive generations of western pioneers. Drawing on journals of settlers and travelers—as well as a lifetime of research on the American West—Reginald Horsman examines more than one hundred years of history, from the first advance of explorers into the Mississippi valley to the movement of ranchers and farmers onto the Great Plains, recording not only the components of their diets but food preparation techniques as well.
Most settlers were able to obtain food beyond the dreams of ordinary Europeans, for whom meat was a luxury. Not only were buffalo, deer, and wild turkey there for the taking, pioneers also gathered greens such as purslane, dandelion, and pigweed—as well as wild fruits, berries, and nuts. They replaced sugar with wild honey or maple syrup, and when they had no tea, they made drinks out of sage, sassafras, and mint. Horsman also reveals the willingness of Indians to convey their knowledge of food to newcomers, sharing salmon in the Pacific Northwest, agricultural crops in the arid Southwest.
Horsman tells how agricultural expansion and transportation opened a veritable cornucopia and how the development of canning soon made it possible for meals to transcend simple frontier foods, with canned oysters and crystallized eggs in airtight cans on merchants’ shelves. He covers food on different regional frontiers, as well as the cuisines of particular groups such as fur traders, soldiers, miners, and Mormons. He also discusses food shortages that resulted from poor preparation, temporary scarcity of game, marginal soil, or simply bad luck. At times, as with the ill-fated Donner Party, pioneers starved.
Engagingly written and meticulously researched, Feast or Famine is a one-of-a-kind look at a subject too long ignored in histories of the West. By revealing the spectrum of frontier fare across years and regions, it shows us that the land of opportunity was often a land of plenty.
The Federalist Frontier traces the development of Federalist policies and the Federalist Party in the first three states of the Northwest Territory—Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois—from the nation’s first years until the rise of the Second Party System in the 1820s and 1830s. Relying on government records, private correspondence, and newspapers, Kristopher Maulden argues that Federalists originated many of the policies and institutions that helped the young United States government take a leading role in the American people’s expansion and settlement westward across the Appalachians. It was primarily they who placed the U.S. Army at the fore of the white westward movement, created and executed the institutions to survey and sell public lands, and advocated for transportation projects to aid commerce and further migration into the region. Ultimately, the relationship between government and settlers evolved as citizens raised their expectations of what the federal government should provide, and the region embraced transportation infrastructure and innovation in public education.
Historians of early American politics will have a chance to read about Federalists in the Northwest, and they will see the early American state in action in fighting Indians, shaping settler understandings of space and social advancement, and influencing political ideals among the citizens. For historians of the early American West, Maulden’s work demonstrates that the origins of state-led expansion reach much further back in time than generally understood.
Demonstrates the passionate interest the Jeffersonian presidents had in wresting land from less powerful foes and expanding Jefferson’s “empire of liberty”
The first two decades of the 19th century found many Americans eager to move away from the crowded eastern seaboard and into new areas where their goals of landownership might be realized. Such movement was encouraged by Presidents Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe—collectively known as the Jeffersonians—who believed that the country's destiny was to have total control over the entire North American continent. Migration patterns during this time changed the country considerably and included the roots of the slavery controversy that ultimately led to the Civil War. By the end of the period, although expansionists had not succeeded in moving into British Canada, they had obtained command of large areas from the Spanish South and Southwest, including acreage previously controlled by Native Americans.
Utilizing memoirs, diaries, biographies, newspapers, and vast amounts of both foreign and domestic correspondence, Frank Lawrence Owsley Jr. and Gene A. Smith reveal an insider’s view of the filibusters and expansionists, the colorful—if not sometimes nefarious—characters on the front line of the United States’s land grab. Owsley and Smith describe in detail the actions and characters involving both the successful and the unsuccessful efforts to expand the United States during this period—as well as the outspoken opposition to expansion, found primarily among the Federalists in the Northeast.
Many new states entered the United States around 200 years ago, but only Missouri almost killed the nation it was trying to join. When the House of Representatives passed the Tallmadge Amendment banning slavery from the prospective new state in February 1819, it set off a two-year political crisis in which growing northern antislavery sentiment confronted the southern whites’ aggressive calls for slavery’s westward expansion. The Missouri Crisis divided the U.S. into slave and free states for the first time and crystallized many of the arguments and conflicts that would later be settled violently during the Civil War. The episode was, as Thomas Jefferson put it, “a fire bell in the night” that terrified him as the possible “knell of the Union.”
Drawing on the participants in two landmark conferences held at the University of Missouri and the City University of New York, this first of two volumes finds myriad new perspectives on the Missouri Crisis. Celebrating Missouri’s bicentennial the scholarly way, with fresh research and unsparing analysis, this eloquent collection of essays from distinguished historians gives the epochal struggle over Missouri statehood its due as a major turning point in American history.
Contributors include the editors, Christa Dierksheide, David N. Gellman, Sarah L. H. Gronningsater, Robert Lee, Donald Ratcliffe, Andrew Shankman, Anne Twitty, John R. Van Atta, and David Waldstreicher.
Many new states entered the United States around 200 years ago, but only Missouri almost killed the nation it was trying to join. When the House of Representatives passed the Tallmadge Amendment banning slavery from the prospective new state in February 1819, it set off a two-year political crisis in which growing northern antislavery sentiment confronted the aggressive westward expansion of the peculiar institution by southerners. The Missouri Crisis divided the U.S. into slave and free states for the first time and crystallized many of the arguments and conflicts that would later be settled violently during the Civil War. The episode was, as Thomas Jefferson put it, “a fire bell in the night” that terrified him as the possible “knell of the Union.”
Drawn from the of participants in two landmark conferences held at the University of Missouri and the City University of New York, those who contributed original essays to this second of two volumes—a group that includes young scholars and foremost authorities in the field—answer the Missouri “Question,” in bold fashion, challenging assumptions both old and new in the long historiography by approaching the event on its own terms, rather than as the inevitable sequel of the flawed founding of the republic or a prequel to its near destruction.
This second volume of A Fire Bell in the Past features a foreword by Daive Dunkley. Contributors include Dianne Mutti Burke, Christopher Childers, Edward P. Green, Zachary Dowdle, David J. Gary, Peter Kastor, Miriam Liebman, Matthew Mason, Kate Masur, Mike McManus, Richard Newman, and Nicholas Wood.
This book contains four essays by and about Frederick Jackson Turner (1861-1932), the Wisconsin-born historian whose ideas and writings have had such a profound impact upon the way Americans view their past, and their place in the world. It is a book not only for the scholar and teacher (who will find it both useful and incisive), but also for the mythic "general reader" who wants to broaden and enrich his aquaintanceship with Turner and the celebrated Frontier Thesis. In addition to essays by Turner and by Martin Ridge of The Huntington Library and the late Ray Allen Billington, the book is illustrated with photos from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
The American people overwhelmingly supported the nation's entry into the Spanish-American War of 1898, which led to U.S. imperial expansion into the Caribbean and Pacific. In this book, Bonnie M. Miller explores the basis of that support, showing how the nation's leading media makers—editorialists, cartoonists, filmmakers, photographers, and stage performers—captured the public's interest in the Cuban crisis with heart-rending depictions of Cuban civilians, particularly women, brutalized by bloodthirsty Spanish pirates.
Although media campaigns initially advocated for the United States to step in to rescue Cuba from the horrors of colonial oppression, the war ended just months later with the U.S. acquisition of Spain's remaining empire, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. President William McKinley heeded the call for war, with the American people behind him, and then proceeded to use the conflict to further his foreign policy agenda of expanding U.S. interests in the Caribbean and Far East.
Miller examines the shifting media portrayals of U.S. actions for the duration of the conflict, from liberation to conquest. She shows how the media capitalized on the public's thirst for drama, action, and spectacle and adapted to emerging imperial possibilities. Growing resistance to American imperialism by the war's end unraveled the consensus in support of U.S policy abroad and produced a rich debate that found expression in American visual and popular culture.
Widely recognized as a classic of American historiography, The Frontier in American History examines the importance of the unsettled West as both idea and physical reality. Turner's essays explore the changing frontier as it moved progressively westward and discuss the contributions of the pioneers in each frontier area to the development of modern American democracy.
Frontiers of Possession asks how territorial borders were established in Europe and the Americas during the early modern period and challenges the standard view that national boundaries are largely determined by military conflicts and treaties. Focusing on Spanish and Portuguese claims in the New and Old Worlds, Tamar Herzog reconstructs the different ways land rights were negotiated and enforced, sometimes violently, among people who remembered old possessions or envisioned new ones: farmers and nobles, clergymen and missionaries, settlers and indigenous peoples.
Questioning the habitual narrative that sees the Americas as a logical extension of the Old World, Herzog portrays Spain and Portugal on both sides of the Atlantic as one unified imperial space. She begins in the Americas, where Iberian conquerors had to decide who could settle the land, who could harvest fruit and cut timber, and who had river rights for travel and trade. The presence of indigenous peoples as enemies to vanquish or allies to befriend, along with the vastness of the land, complicated the picture, as did the promise of unlimited wealth. In Europe, meanwhile, the formation and re-formation of boundaries could last centuries, as ancient entitlements clashed with evolving economic conditions and changing political views and juridical doctrines regarding how land could be acquired and maintained.
Herzog demonstrates that the same fundamental questions had to be addressed in Europe and in the Americas. Territorial control was always subject to negotiation, as neighbors and outsiders, in their quotidian interactions, carved out and defended new frontiers of possession.
Although the myth of the American frontier is largely the product of writings by men, a substantial body of writings by women exists that casts the era of western expansion in a different light. In this study of American women's writings about the West between 1830 and 1930, a European scholar provides a reconstruction and new vision of frontier narrative from a perspective that has frequently been overlooked or taken for granted in discussions of the frontier.
Brigitte Georgi-Findlay presents a range of writings that reflects the diversity of the western experience. Beginning with the narratives of Caroline Kirkland and other women of the early frontier, she reviews the diaries of the overland trails; letters and journals of the wives of army officers during the Indian wars; professional writings, focusing largely on travel, by women such as Caroline Leighton from the regional publishing cultures that emerged in the Far West during the last quarter of the century; and late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century accounts of missionaries and teachers on Indian reservations. Most of the writers were white, literate women who asserted their own kind of cultural authority over the lands and people they encountered. Their accounts are not only set in relation to a masculine frontier myth but also investigated for clues about their own involvement with territorial expansion. By exploring the various ways in which women writers actively contributed to and at times rejected the development of a national narrative of territorial expansion based on empire building and colonization, the author shows how their accounts are implicated in expansionist processes at the same time that they formulate positions of innocence and detachment.
Georgi-Findlay has drawn on American studies scholarship, feminist criticism, and studies of colonial discourse to examine the strategies of women's representation in writing about the West in ways that most theorists have not. She critiques generally accepted stereotypes and assumptions--both about women's writing and its difference of view in particular, and about frontier discourse and the rhetoric of westward expansion in general--as she offers a significant contribution to literary studies of the West that will challenge scholars across a wide range of disciplines.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, representations of Poland and the Slavic East cast the region as a primitive, undeveloped, or empty space inhabited by a population destined to remain uncivilized without the aid of external intervention. These depictions often made direct reference to the American Wild West, portraying the eastern steppes as a boundless plain that needed to be wrested from the hands of unruly natives and spatially ordered into German-administrated units.
While conventional definitions locate colonial space overseas, Kristin Kopp argues that it was possible to understand both distant continents and adjacent Eastern Europe as parts of the same global periphery dependent upon Western European civilizing efforts. However, proximity to the source of aid translated to greater benefits for Eastern Europe than for more distant regions.
Transference of orientalist images and identities to the American landscape and its inhabitants, especially in the West—in other words, portrayal of the West as the “Orient”—has been a common aspect of American cultural history. Place names, such as the Jordan River or Pyramid Lake, offer notable examples, but the imagery and its varied meanings are more widespread and significant. Understanding that range and significance, especially to the western part of the continent, means coming to terms with the complicated, nuanced ideas of the Orient and of the North American continent that European Americans brought to the West. Such complexity is what historical geographer Richard Francaviglia unravels in this book.
Since the publication of Edward Said’s book, Orientalism, the term has come to signify something one-dimensionally negative. In essence, the orientalist vision was an ethnocentric characterization of the peoples of Asia (and Africa and the “Near East”) as exotic, primitive “others” subject to conquest by the nations of Europe. That now well-established point, which expresses a postcolonial perspective, is critical, but Francaviglia suggest that it overlooks much variation and complexity in the views of historical actors and writers, many of whom thought of western places in terms of an idealized and romanticized Orient. It likewise neglects positive images and interpretations to focus on those of a decadent and ostensibly inferior East.
We cannot understand well or fully what the pervasive orientalism found in western cultural history meant, says Francaviglia, if we focus only on its role as an intellectual engine for European imperialism. It did play that role as well in the American West. One only need think about characterizations of American Indians as Bedouins of the Plains destined for displacement by a settled frontier. Other roles for orientalism, though, from romantic to commercial ones, were also widely in play. In Go East, Young Man, Francaviglia explores a broad range of orientalist images deployed in the context of European settlement of the American West, and he unfolds their multiple significances.
The Civil War revealed what united as well as what divided Americans in the nineteenth century—not only in its deadly military conflict, but also in the broader battle of ideas, dueling moral systems, and competing national visions that preceded and followed. This cultural civil war was the clash among North, South, and West, as their leaders sought to shape Manifest Destiny and slavery politics.
No site embodied this struggle more completely than St. Louis, the largest city along the border of slavery and freedom. In this sweeping history, Adam Arenson reveals a city at the heart of the cultural civil war. St. Louisans heralded a new future, erasing old patterns as the United States stretched across the continent. They tried to reorient the nation’s political landscape, with westerners in the vanguard and St. Louis as the cultural, commercial, and national capital. John C. Calhoun, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, and John Brown tracked the progress of the cultural contest by monitoring events in St. Louis, observing how the city’s leaders tried yet ultimately failed to control the national destiny.
The interplay of local ambitions and national meanings reveals the wider cultural transformation brought about by westward expansion, political strife, and emancipation in the era of the Civil War and Reconstruction. This vibrant and beautifully written story enriches our understanding of America at a crossroads.
As the size of the United States more than doubled during the first half of the nineteenth century, a powerful current of anxiety ran alongside the well-documented optimism about national expansion. Heartless Immensity tells the story of how Americans made sense of their country’s constantly fluctuating borders and its annexation of vast new territories. Anne Baker looks at a variety of sources, including letters, speeches, newspaper editorials, schoolbooks, as well as visual and literary works of art. These cultural artifacts suggest that the country’s anxiety was fueled primarily by two concerns: fears about the size of the nation as a threat to democracy, and about the incorporation of nonwhite, non-Protestant regions. These fears had a consistent and influential presence until after the Civil War, functioning as vital catalysts for the explosion of literary creativity known as the “American Renaissance,” including the work of Melville, Thoreau, and Fuller, among others.
Building on extensive archival research as well as insights from cultural geographers and theorists of nationhood, Heartless Immensity demonstrates that national expansion had a far more complicated, multifaceted impact on antebellum American culture than has previously been recognized. Baker shows that Americans developed a variety of linguistic strategies for imagining the form of the United States and its position in relation to other geopolitical entities. Comparisons
to European empires, biblical allusions, body politic metaphors, and metaphors derived from science all reflected—and often attempted to assuage—fears that the nation was becoming either monstrously large or else misshapen in ways that threatened cherished beliefs and national self-images.
Heartless Immensity argues that, in order to understand the nation’s shift from republic to empire and to understand American culture in a global context, it is first necessary to pay close attention to the processes by which the physical entity known as the United States came into being. This impressively thorough study will make a valuable contribution to the fields of American studies and literary studies.
Anne Baker is Assistant Professor of English at North Carolina State University.
Inca archaeology has traditionally been intimately tied to the study of the Spanish chronicles, but archaeologists are often asked to explain how Inca civilization relates to earlier states and empires in the Andean highlands-a time period with little coinciding documentary record. Until recently, few archaeologists working in and around the Inca heartland conducted archaeological research into the period between AD 1000 and AD 1400, leaving a great divide between pre-Inca archaeology and Inca studies.
In How the Incas Built Their Heartland R. Alan Covey supplements an archaeological approach with the tools of a historian, forming an interdisciplinary study of how the Incas became sufficiently powerful to embark on an unprecedented campaign of territorial expansion and how such developments related to earlier patterns of Andean statecraft. In roughly a hundred years of military campaigns, Inca dominion spread like wildfire across the Andes, a process traditionally thought to have been set in motion by a single charismatic ruler, Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui. Taking nearly a century of archaeological research in the region around the Inca capital as his point of departure, Covey offers an alternative description of Inca society in the centuries leading up to imperial expansion. To do so, Covey proposes a new reading of the Spanish chronicles, one that focuses on processes, rather than singular events, occurring throughout the region surrounding Cusco, the Inca capital. His focus on long-term regional changes, rather than heroic actions of Inca kings, allows the historical and archaeological evidence to be placed on equal interpretive footing. The result is a narrative of Inca political origins linking Inca statecraft to traditions of Andean power structures, long-term ecological changes, and internal social transformations. By reading the Inca histories in a compatible way, Covey shows that it is possible to construct a unified theory of how the Inca heartland was transformed after AD 1000.
R. Alan Covey is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University.
A Chronicle of the Longest Military Action in American History
"Splendid. . . .a book that has the rare quality of being both an excellent reference work and a pleasure to read."—Wall Street Journal
"As complete and balanced an overview of nearly a century of fighting between the U.S. Army and dozens of Indian nations as there is." —Martin Naparsteck, Salt Lake Tribune
"Excellent. . . . Indian Wars is an outstanding introduction to the 'longest campaign ever waged by any of the United States armed forces.' It also has the virtue of speaking eloquently to the past while offering valuable guidance for the future."—Military.com
The Indian wars remain the most misunderstood campaign ever waged by the U. S. Army. From the first sustained skirmishes west of the Mississippi River in the 1850s to the sweeping clashes of hundreds of soldiers and warriors along the upper plains decades later, these wars consumed most of the active duty resources of the army for the greater part of the nineteenth century and resulted in the disruption of nearly all of the native cultures in the West. Yet the popular understanding of the Indian wars is marred by stereotypes and misinformation as well as a tendency to view these individual wars—the battles against the Sioux, the Cheyenne, the Nez Perce, the Apache, and other groups—as distinct incidents rather than parts of a single overarching campaign. Dispelling notions that American Indians were simply attempting to stop encroachment on their homelands or that they shared common views on how to approach the Europeans, Bill Yenne explains in Indian Wars: The Campaign for the American West, that these wars, fought for more than five decades across a landscape the size of continental Europe, were part of a general long-term strategy by the U. S. Army to control the West as well as extensions of conflicts among native peoples that predated European contact.
Complete with a general history of Indian and European relations from the earliest encounters to the opening of the west, and featuring legendary figures from both sides, including Crazy Horse, Chief Joseph, Sitting Bull, Geronimo, George Custer, Kit Carson, and George Crook, Indian Wars allows the reader to better understand the sequence of events that transformed the West and helped define the American temperament.
From the Mesoamerican highlands to the Colca Valley in Peru, pre-Columbian civilizations were bastions of power that have largely been viewed through the lens of rulership, or occasionally through bottom-up perspectives of resistance. Rather than focusing on rulers or peasants, this book examines how intermediate elites—both men and women—helped to develop, sustain, and resist state policies and institutions. Employing new archaeological and ethnohistorical data, its contributors trace a 2,000-year trajectory of elite social evolution in the Zapotec, Wari, Aztec, Inka, and Maya civilizations.
This is the first volume to consider how individuals subordinate to imperial rulers helped to shape specific forms of state and imperial organization. Taking a broader scope than previous studies, it is one of the few works to systematically address these issues in both Mesoamerica and the Central Andes. It considers how these individuals influenced the long-term development of the largest civilizations of the ancient Americas, opening a new window on the role of intermediate elites in the rise and fall of ancient states and empires worldwide.
The authors demonstrate how such evidence as settlement patterns, architecture, decorative items, and burial patterns reflect the roles of intermediate elites in their respective societies, arguing that they were influential actors whose interests were highly significant in shaping the specific forms of state and imperial organization. Their emphasis on provincial elites particularly shifts examination of early states away from royal capitals and imperial courts, explaining how local elites and royal bureaucrats had significant impact on the development and organization of premodern states.
Together, these papers demonstrate that intricate networks of intermediate elites bound these ancient societies together—and that competition between individuals and groups contributed to their decline and eventual collapse. By addressing current theoretical concerns with agency, resistance to state domination, and the co-option of local leadership by imperial administrators, it offers valuable new insight into the utility of studying intermediate elites.
The idea that the United States—a nation founded after a war of independence—operates as an imperialist power on the world stage has gained considerable traction since the turn of the twenty-first century. But just a few decades earlier, this position was considered radical and even “un-American.” How did this dramatic change come about?
Tracing the emergence of the concept of US imperialism, James G. Morgan shows how radical and revisionist scholars in the 1950s and 1960s first challenged the paradigm of denying an American empire. As the Vietnam War created a critical flashpoint, bringing the idea of American imperialism into the US mainstream, radical students of the New Left turned toward Marxist critiques, admiring revolutionaries like Che Guevara. Simultaneously, a small school of revisionist scholars, led by historian William Appleman Williams at the University of Wisconsin, put forward a progressive, nuanced critique of American empire grounded in psychology, economics, and broader historical context. It is this more sophisticated strand of thinking, Morgan argues, which demonstrated that empire can be an effective analytical framework for studying US foreign policy, thus convincing American scholars to engage with the subject seriously for the first time.
This groundbreaking multidisciplinary book presents significant essays on historical indigenous violence in Latin America from Tierra del Fuego to central Mexico. The collection explores those uniquely human motivations and environmental variables that have led to the native peoples of Latin America engaging in warfare and ritual violence since antiquity. Based on an American Anthropological Association symposium, this book collects twelve contributions from sixteen authors, all of whom are scholars at the forefront of their fields of study.
All of the chapters advance our knowledge of the causes, extent, and consequences of indigenous violence—including ritualized violence—in Latin America. Each major historical/cultural group in Latin America is addressed by at least one contributor. Incorporating the results of dozens of years of research, this volume documents evidence of warfare, violent conflict, and human sacrifice from the fifteenth century to the twentieth, including incidents that occurred before European contact. Together the chapters present a convincing argument that warfare and ritual violence have been woven into the fabric of life in Latin America since remote antiquity.
For the first time, expert subject-area work on indigenous violence—archaeological, osteological, ethnographic, historical, and forensic—has been assembled in one volume. Much of this work has heretofore been dispersed across various countries and languages. With its collection into one English-language volume, all future writers—regardless of their discipline or point of view—will have a source to consult for further research.
Richard J. Chacon and Rubén G. Mendoza
1. Status Rivalry and Warfare in the Development and Collapse of Classic Maya Civilization
Matt O’Mansky and Arthur A. Demarest
2. Aztec Militarism and Blood Sacrifice: The Archaeology and Ideology of Ritual Violence
Rubén G. Mendoza
3. Territorial Expansion and Primary State Formation in Oaxaca, Mexico
Charles S. Spencer
4. Images of Violence in Mesoamerican Mural Art
5. Circum-Caribbean Chiefly Warfare
Elsa M. Redmond
6. Conflict and Conquest in Pre-Hispanic Andean South America: Archaeological Evidence from Northern Coastal Peru
John W. Verano
7. The Inti Raymi Festival among the Cotacachi and Otavalo of Highland Ecuador: Blood for the Earth
Richard J. Chacon, Yamilette Chacon, and Angel Guandinango
8. Upper Amazonian Warfare
Stephen Beckerman and James Yost
9. Complexity and Causality in Tupinambá Warfare
10. Hunter-Gatherers’ Aboriginal Warfare in Western Chaco
11. The Struggle for Social Life in Fuego-Patagonia
Alfredo Prieto and Rodrigo Cárdenas
12. Ethical Considerations and Conclusions Regarding Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence in Latin America
Richard J. Chacon and Rubén G. Mendoza
This volume explores Abraham Lincoln’s ties to the American West, bringing together a variety of scholars and experts who offer a look at the sixteenth president’s legacy in the territory beyond the Mississippi River. Included in this collection are an examination of Lincoln’s opposition to the Mexican War; a discussion of antislavery politics as applied to the West; perspectives on Lincoln’s views on the Thirteenth Amendment and his reluctance to admit Nevada to the Union; a look at the impact of the Radical Republicans on Lincoln’s patronage and appointments; and discussion of Lincoln’s favorable treatment of New Mexico and Arizona in an effort to garner their loyalty to the Union. Also analyzed is “The Tribe of Abraham”—Lincoln’s less-than-competent appointments in Washington Territory—and the ways in which Lincoln’s political friends in the Western Territories influenced his western policies. Other essays look at Lincoln’s dealings with the Mormons of Utah, who supported the president in exchange for his tolerance, and Native Americans, whose relations with the government suffered as the president’s attention was consumed by the Civil War. Loaded with a wealth of information, Lincoln Looks West explores yet another dimension to this dynamic leader and to the history of the American West.
Before this book first appeared in 1963, most historians wrote as if the continental expansion of the United States were inevitable. “What is most impressive,” Henry Steele Commager and Richard Morris declared in 1956, “is the ease, the simplicity, and seeming inevitability of the whole process.” The notion of inevitability, however, is perhaps only a secular variation on the theme of the expansionist editor John L. O’Sullivan, who in 1845 coined one of the most famous phrases in American history when he wrote of “our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.” Frederick Merk rejected inevitability in favor of a more contingent interpretation of American expansionism in the 1840s. As his student Henry May later recalled, Merk “loved to get the facts straight.” —From the Foreword by John Mack Faragher
Victor Bascara University of Minnesota Press, 2006 Library of Congress E184.A75B37 2006 | Dewey Decimal 303.48273050904
At the beginning of the twentieth century, soon after the conclusion of the Spanish-American War, the United States was an imperialistic nation, maintaining (often with the assistance of military force) a far-flung and growing empire. After a long period of collective national amnesia regarding American colonialism, in the Philippines and elsewhere, scholars have resurrected the power of “empire” as a way of revealing American history and culture. Focusing on the terms of Asian American assimilation and the rise of the model-minority myth, Victor Bascara examines the resurgence of empire as a tool for acknowledging—and understanding—the legacy of American imperialism. Model-Minority Imperialism links geopolitical dramas of twentieth-century empire building with domestic controversies of U.S. racial order by examining the cultural politics of Asian Americans as they are revealed in fiction, film, and theatrical productions. Tracing U.S. economic and political hegemony back to the beginning of the twentieth century through works by Jessica Hagedorn, R. Zamora Linmark, and Sui Sin Far; discourses of race, economics, and empire found in the speeches of William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan; as well as L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and other texts, Bascara’s innovative readings uncover the repressed story of U.S. imperialism and unearth the demand that the present empire reckon with its past. Bascara deploys the analytical approaches of both postcolonial studies and Asian American studies, two fields that developed in parallel but have only begun to converge, to reveal how the vocabulary of empire reasserted itself through some of the very people who inspired the U.S imperialist mission.Victor Bascara is assistant professor of English and Asian American studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Money and finance have been among the most potent tools of colonial power. This study investigates the Japanese experiment with financial imperialism—or “yen diplomacy”—at several key moments between the acquisition of Taiwan in 1895 and the outbreak of the Sino–Japanese War in 1937. Through authoritarian monetary reforms and lending schemes, government officials and financial middlemen served as “money doctors” who steered capital and expertise to Japanese official and semi-official colonies in Taiwan, Korea, China, and Manchuria.
Michael Schiltz points to the paradox of acute capital shortages within the Japan’s domestic economy and aggressive capital exports to its colonial possessions as the inevitable but ultimately disastrous outcome of the Japanese government’s goal to exercise macroeconomic control over greater East Asia and establish a self-sufficient “yen bloc.” Through their efforts to implement their policies and contribute to the expansion of the Japanese empire, the “money doctors” brought to the colonies a series of banking institutions and a corollary capitalist ethos, which would all have a formidable impact on the development of the receiving countries, eventually affecting their geopolitical position in the postcolonial world.
In 1893 a small group of white planters and missionary descendants backed by the United States overthrew the Kingdom of Hawai‘i and established a government modeled on the Jim Crow South. In Nation Within Tom Coffman tells the complex history of the unsuccessful efforts of deposed Hawaiian queen Lili‘uokalani and her subjects to resist annexation, which eventually came in 1898. Coffman describes native Hawaiian political activism, the queen's visits to Washington, D.C., to lobby for independence, and her imprisonment, along with hundreds of others, after their aborted armed insurrection. Exposing the myths that fueled the narrative that native Hawaiians willingly relinquished their nation, Coffman shows how Americans such as Theodore Roosevelt conspired to extinguish Hawai‘i's sovereignty in the service of expanding the United States' growing empire.
American myths about national character tend to overshadow the historical realities. Reginald Horsman’s book is the first study to examine the origins of racialism in America and to show that the belief in white American superiority was firmly ensconced in the nation’s ideology by 1850.
The author deftly chronicles the beginnings and growth of an ideology stressing race, basic stock, and attributes in the blood. He traces how this ideology shifted from the more benign views of the Founding Fathers, which embraced ideas of progress and the spread of republican institutions for all. He finds linkages between the new, racialist ideology in America and the rising European ideas of Anglo-Saxon, Teutonic, and scientific ideologies of the early nineteenth century. Most importantly, however, Horsman demonstrates that it was the merging of the Anglo-Saxon rhetoric with the experience of Americans conquering a continent that created a racialist philosophy. Two generations before the “new” immigrants began arriving in the late nineteenth century, Americans, in contact with blacks, Indians, and Mexicans, became vociferous racialists.
In sum, even before the Civil War, Americans had decided that peoples of large parts of this continent were incapable of creating or sharing in efficient, prosperous, democratic governments, and that American Anglo-Saxons could achieve unprecedented prosperity and power by the outward thrust of their racialism and commercial penetration of other lands. The comparatively benevolent view of the Founders of the Republic had turned into the quite malevolent ideology that other peoples could not be “regenerated” through the spread of free institutions.
The nineteenth century marked the high point of imperialism, when tsarist Russia expanded to the Pacific and the sun was said never to set on the British Empire. Imperialism remains a perennial issue in international relations today, and nowhere is this more evident than in the intensifying competition for global resources.
Leo J. Blanken explains imperialism through an analysis of the institutions of both the expanding state and its targets of conquest. While democratic states favoring free trade generally resort to imperialism only to preempt aggressive rivals—or when they have reason to believe another state’s political institutions will not hold up when making bargains—authoritarian states tend toward imperialism because they don’t stand to benefit from free trade. The result is three distinct strategies toward imperialism: actors fighting over territory, actors peaceably dividing territory among themselves, and actors refraining from seizing territory altogether. Blanken examines these dynamics through three case studies: the scramble for Africa, the unequal treaties imposed on Qing Dynasty China, and the evolution of Britain’s imperial policy in India. By separating out the different types of imperialism, Blanken provides insight into its sources, as well as the potential implications of increased competition in the current international arena.
Winner of the SHEAR Book Prize Honorable Mention, Avery O. Craven Award
“Few books have captured the lived experience of slavery as powerfully.” —Ari Kelman, Times Literary Supplement
“[One] of the most impressive works of American history in many years.” —The Nation
“An important, arguably seminal, book…Always trenchant and learned.” —Wall Street Journal
A landmark history, by the author of National Book Critics Circle Award finalist The Broken Heart of America, that shows how slavery fueled Southern capitalism.
When Jefferson acquired the Louisiana Territory, he envisioned an “empire for liberty” populated by self-sufficient white farmers. Cleared of Native Americans and the remnants of European empires by Andrew Jackson, the Mississippi Valley was transformed instead into a booming capitalist economy commanded by wealthy planters, powered by steam engines, and dependent on the coerced labor of slaves. River of Dark Dreams places the Cotton Kingdom at the center of worldwide webs of exchange and exploitation that extended across oceans and drove an insatiable hunger for new lands. This bold reconsideration dramatically alters our understanding of American slavery and its role in U.S. expansionism, global capitalism, and the upcoming Civil War.
Walter Johnson deftly traces the connections between the planters’ pro-slavery ideology, Atlantic commodity markets, and Southern schemes for global ascendency. Using slave narratives, popular literature, legal records, and personal correspondence, he recreates the harrowing details of daily life under cotton’s dark dominion. We meet the confidence men and gamblers who made the Valley shimmer with promise, the slave dealers, steamboat captains, and merchants who supplied the markets, the planters who wrung their civilization out of the minds and bodies of their human property, and the true believers who threatened the Union by trying to expand the Cotton Kingdom on a global scale.
But at the center of the story are the enslaved people who pulled down the forests, planted the fields, picked the cotton—who labored, suffered, and resisted on the dark underside of the American dream.
“Shows how the Cotton Kingdom of the 19th-century Deep South, far from being a backward outpost of feudalism, was a dynamic engine of capitalist expansion built on enslaved labor.” —A. O. Scott, New York Times
“River of Dark Dreams delivers spectacularly on the long-standing mission to write ‘history from the bottom up.’” —Maya Jasanoff, New York Review of Books
Savage Exchange explores the politics of representation during the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) at a pivotal moment when China was asserting imperialist power on the Eurasian continent and expanding its local and long-distance (“Silk Road”) markets. Tamara T. Chin explains why rival political groups introduced new literary forms with which to represent these expanded markets. To promote a radically quantitative approach to the market, some thinkers developed innovative forms of fiction and genre. In opposition, traditionalists reasserted the authority of classical texts and advocated a return to the historical, ethics-centered, marriage-based, agricultural economy that these texts described. The discussion of frontiers and markets thus became part of a larger debate over the relationship between the world and the written word. These Han debates helped to shape the ways in which we now define and appreciate early Chinese literature and produced the foundational texts of Chinese economic thought. Each chapter in the book examines a key genre or symbolic practice (philosophy, fu-rhapsody, historiography, money, kinship) through which different groups sought to reshape the political economy. By juxtaposing well-known texts with recently excavated literary and visual materials, Chin elaborates a new literary and cultural approach to Chinese economic thought.
Over the twentieth century, American Indians fought for their right to be both American and Indian. In an illuminating book, Paul C. Rosier traces how Indians defined democracy, citizenship, and patriotism in both domestic and international contexts.
Battles over the place of Indians in the fabric of American life took place on reservations, in wartime service, in cold war rhetoric, and in the courtroom. The Society of American Indians, founded in 1911, asserted that America needed Indian cultural and spiritual values. In World War II, Indians fought for their ancestral homelands and for the United States. The domestic struggle of Indian nations to defend their cultures intersected with the international cold war stand against termination—the attempt by the federal government to end the reservation system. Native Americans seized on the ideals of freedom and self-determination to convince the government to preserve reservations as places of cultural strength. Red Power activists in the 1960s and 1970s drew on Third World independence movements to assert an ethnic nationalism that erupted in a series of protests—in Iroquois country, in the Pacific Northwest, during the occupation of Alcatraz Island, and at Wounded Knee.
Believing in an empire of liberty for all, Native Americans pressed the United States to honor its obligations at home and abroad. Like African Americans, twentieth-century Native Americans served as a visible symbol of an America searching for rights and justice. American history is incomplete without their story.
In Settler Garrison Jodi Kim theorizes how the United States extends its sovereignty across Asia and the Pacific in the post-World War II era through a militarist settler imperialism that is leveraged on debt as a manifold economic and cultural relation undergirded by asymmetries of power. Kim demonstrates that despite being the largest debtor nation in the world, the United States positions itself as an imperial creditor that imposes financial and affective indebtedness alongside a disciplinary payback temporality even as it evades repayment of its own debts. This debt imperialism is violently reproduced in juridically ambiguous spaces Kim calls the “settler garrison”: a colonial archipelago of distinct yet linked military camptowns, bases, POW camps, and unincorporated territories situated across the Pacific from South Korea to Okinawa to Guam. Kim reveals this process through an analysis of how a wide array of transpacific cultural productions creates antimilitarist and decolonial imaginaries that diagnose US militarist settler imperialism while envisioning alternatives to it.
Slave Country tells the tragic story of the expansion of slavery in the new United States. In the wake of the American Revolution, slavery gradually disappeared from the northern states and the importation of captive Africans was prohibited. Yet, at the same time, the country's slave population grew, new plantation crops appeared, and several new slave states joined the Union. Adam Rothman explores how slavery flourished in a new nation dedicated to the principle of equality among free men, and reveals the enormous consequences of U.S. expansion into the region that became the Deep South.
Rothman maps the combination of transatlantic capitalism and American nationalism that provoked a massive forced migration of slaves into Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. He tells the fascinating story of collaboration and conflict among the diverse European, African, and indigenous peoples who inhabited the Deep South during the Jeffersonian era, and who turned the region into the most dynamic slave system of the Atlantic world. Paying close attention to dramatic episodes of resistance, rebellion, and war, Rothman exposes the terrible violence that haunted the Jeffersonian vision of republican expansion across the American continent.
Slave Country combines political, economic, military, and social history in an elegant narrative that illuminates the perilous relation between freedom and slavery in the early United States. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in an honest look at America's troubled past.
A case study about the formation of American pluralism and religious liberty, The Spires Still Point to Heaven explores why—and more importantly how—the early growth of Cincinnati influenced the changing face of the United States. Matthew Smith deftly chronicles the urban history of this thriving metropolis in the mid-nineteenth century. As Protestants and Catholics competed, building rival domestic missionary enterprises, increased religious reform and expression shaped the city. In addition, the different ethnic and religious beliefs informed debates on race, slavery, and immigration, as well as disease, temperance reform, and education.
Specifically, Smith explores the Ohio Valley’s religious landscape from 1788 through the nineteenth century, examining its appeal to evangelical preachers, abolitionists, social critics, and rabbis. He traces how Cincinnati became a battleground for newly energized social reforms following a cholera epidemic, and how grassroots political organizing was often tied to religious issues. He also illustrates the anti-immigrant sentiments and anti-Catholic nativism pervasive in this era.
The first monograph on Cincinnati’s religious landscape before the Civil War, The Spires Still Point to Heaven highlights Cincinnati’s unique circumstances and how they are key to understanding the cultural and religious development of the nation.
The Fascinating History of the Rapid Expansion of Roads, Canals, and Railways in the First Decades of the United States
While the great overland migration routes to America’s far west are well known and documented—the California, Oregon, Mormon, and Santa Fe Trails, the Central Overland and Pony Express—less attention has been given to how Americans in the first decades of the republic traveled across the western frontiers of the original colonies. Following the revolution, Americans began to seek their fortunes to the west in greater numbers. Land grants to veterans inspired others to move, including tradesmen, merchants, and tavern owners. With the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the country doubled in size, and the rate of migration became extraordinary, with wider and more durable roads built, ferries installed at river crossings, canals cut to move goods, regular stage routes established, and ultimately the first railroad tracks laid down. Entire regions that supported few communities in the 1790s exploded in population, and as a result seven new states were admitted to the Union in the decade following the War of 1812. John Bradbury, who traveled through the United States between 1809 and 1811, wrote that “In passing through the upper parts of Virginia, I observed a great number of farms that had been abandoned, on many of which good houses had been erected, and fine apple and peach orchards had been planted. On enquiring the reason, I was always informed that the owners had gone to the western country.” In Maryland, a newspaper reporter wrote, “The time is close at hand when the region west of the Allegheny mountains will sway the destinies of the nation.” By 1839, the National Road extended more than 700 miles from Washington, DC, to central Illinois, New York’s Erie Canal operated from Albany to Buffalo, and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad carried passengers briskly west, ultimately to the Ohio River.
To the Wide Missouri: Traveling in America During the First Decades of Westward Expansion by Louis Garavaglia covers the routes and methods that emigrants used to reach the west in the forty-year period following the Louisiana Purchase. Using contemporary maps and the graphic descriptions found in diaries, journals, letters, and newspaper accounts, the author details not only the land and water routes that led settlers to the western country, but also illustrates the hardship, perseverance, humor, and romance that colored their journey.
The Touch of Civilization is a comparative history of the United States and Russia during their efforts to colonize and assimilate two indigenous groups of people within their national borders: the Sioux of the Great Plains and the Kazakhs of the Eurasian Steppe. In the revealing juxtaposition of these two cases author Steven Sabol elucidates previously unexplored connections between the state building and colonizing projects these powers pursued in the nineteenth century.
This critical examination of internal colonization—a form of contiguous continental expansion, imperialism, and colonialism that incorporated indigenous lands and peoples—draws a corollary between the westward-moving American pioneer and the eastward-moving Russian peasant. Sabol examines how and why perceptions of the Sioux and Kazakhs as ostensibly uncivilized peoples and the Northern Plains and the Kazakh Steppe as “uninhabited” regions that ought to be settled reinforced American and Russian government sedentarization policies and land allotment programs. In addition, he illustrates how both countries encountered problems and conflicts with local populations while pursuing their national missions of colonization, comparing the various forms of Sioux and Kazakh martial, political, social, and cultural resistance evident throughout the nineteenth century.
Presenting a nuanced, in-depth history and contextualizing US and Russian colonialism in a global framework, The Touch of Civilization will be of significant value to students and scholars of Russian history, American and Native American history, and the history of colonization.
The Two Faces of American Freedom boldly reinterprets the American political tradition from the colonial period to modern times, placing issues of race relations, immigration, and presidentialism in the context of shifting notions of empire and citizenship. Today, while the U.S. enjoys tremendous military and economic power, citizens are increasingly insulated from everyday decision-making. This was not always the case. America, Aziz Rana argues, began as a settler society grounded in an ideal of freedom as the exercise of continuous self-rule—one that joined direct political participation with economic independence. However, this vision of freedom was politically bound to the subordination of marginalized groups, especially slaves, Native Americans, and women. These practices of liberty and exclusion were not separate currents, but rather two sides of the same coin.
However, at crucial moments, social movements sought to imagine freedom without either subordination or empire. By the mid-twentieth century, these efforts failed, resulting in the rise of hierarchical state and corporate institutions. This new framework presented national and economic security as society’s guiding commitments and nurtured a continual extension of America’s global reach. Rana envisions a democratic society that revives settler ideals, but combines them with meaningful inclusion for those currently at the margins of American life.
Sicily has been the fulcrum of the Mediterranean throughout history. The island’s central geographical position and its status as ancient Rome’s first overseas province make it key to understanding the development of the Roman Empire. Yet Sicily’s crucial role in the empire has been largely overlooked by scholars of classical antiquity, apart from a small number of specialists in its archaeology and material culture.
Urbanism and Empire in Roman Sicily offers the first comprehensive English-language overview of the history and archaeology of Roman Sicily since R. J. A. Wilson’s Sicily under the Roman Empire (1990). Laura Pfuntner traces the development of cities and settlement networks in Sicily in order to understand the island’s political, economic, social, and cultural role in Rome’s evolving Mediterranean hegemony. She identifies and examines three main processes traceable in the archaeological record of settlement in Roman Sicily: urban disintegration, urban adaptation, and the development of alternatives to urban settlement. By expanding the scope of research on Roman Sicily beyond the bounds of the island itself, through comparative analysis of the settlement landscapes of Greece and southern Italy, and by utilizing exciting evidence from recent excavations and surveys, Pfuntner establishes a new empirical foundation for research on Roman Sicily and demonstrates the necessity of including Sicily in broader historical and archaeological studies of the Roman Empire.
An illuminating account of Russia’s attempts—and failures—to achieve great power status in Asia.
Since Peter the Great, Russian leaders have been lured by opportunity to the East. Under the tsars, Russians colonized Alaska, California, and Hawaii. The Trans-Siberian Railway linked Moscow to Vladivostok. And Stalin looked to Asia as a sphere of influence, hospitable to the spread of Soviet Communism. In Asia and the Pacific lay territory, markets, security, and glory.
But all these expansionist dreams amounted to little. In We Shall Be Masters, Chris Miller explores why, arguing that Russia’s ambitions have repeatedly outstripped its capacity. With the core of the nation concentrated thousands of miles away in the European borderlands, Russia’s would-be pioneers have always struggled to project power into Asia and to maintain public and elite interest in their far-flung pursuits. Even when the wider population professed faith in Asia’s promise, few Russians were willing to pay the steep price. Among leaders, too, dreams of empire have always been tempered by fears of cost. Most of Russia’s pivots to Asia have therefore been halfhearted and fleeting.
Today the Kremlin talks up the importance of “strategic partnership” with Xi Jinping’s China, and Vladimir Putin’s government is at pains to emphasize Russian activities across Eurasia. But while distance is covered with relative ease in the age of air travel and digital communication, the East remains far off in the ways that matter most. Miller finds that Russia’s Asian dreams are still restrained by the country’s firm rooting in Europe.