Boundaries of the State in US History
Edited by James T. Sparrow, William J. Novak, and Stephen W. Sawyer University of Chicago Press, 2015 Library of Congress JK411.B68 2015 | Dewey Decimal 320.473049
The question of how the American state defines its power has become central to a range of historical topics, from the founding of the Republic and the role of the educational system to the functions of agencies and America’s place in the world. Yet conventional histories of the state have not reckoned adequately with the roots of an ever-expanding governmental power, assuming instead that the American state was historically and exceptionally weak relative to its European peers.
Here, James T. Sparrow, William J. Novak, and Stephen W. Sawyer assemble definitional essays that search for explanations to account for the extraordinary growth of US power without resorting to exceptionalist narratives. Turning away from abstract, metaphysical questions about what the state is, or schematic models of how it must work, these essays focus instead on the more pragmatic, historical question of what it does. By historicizing the construction of the boundaries dividing America and the world, civil society and the state, they are able to explain the dynamism and flexibility of a government whose powers appear so natural as to be given, invisible, inevitable, and exceptional.
Containing Multitudes: A Documentary Reader of US History provides nearly two hundred primary documents that narrate aspects of US history from the period before European contact through the twenty-first century. Presented in two volumes, this curated selection—including letters, literature, journalism, and visual art—provides access to historical voices from a wide range of subject positions and belief systems.
Designed for US history survey courses, this reader provides both analysis and instructional support in the form of brief introductory essays and questions to promote student discussion and reflection. Containing Multitudes not only conveys a rich and complex portrait of the American past but also offers readers valuable insight into the many dimensions of the historian’s craft.
From the colonial era to the present, the ever-shifting debate about America’s prodigious population growth has exerted a profound influence on the evolution of politics, public policy, and economic thinking in the United States. In a remarkable shift since the late 1960s, Americans of all political stripes have come to celebrate the economic virtues of population growth. As one of the only wealthy countries experiencing significant population growth in the twenty-first century, the United States now finds itself at a demographic crossroads, but policymakers seem unwilling or unable to address the myriad economic and environmental questions surrounding this growth.
From the founders’ fears that crowded cities would produce corruption, luxury, and vice to the zero population growth movement of the late 1960s to today’s widespread fears of an aging crisis as the Baby Boomers retire, the American population debate has always concerned much more than racial composition or resource exhaustion, the aspects of the debate usually emphasized by historians. In The State and the Stork, Derek Hoff draws on his extraordinary knowledge of the intersections between population and economic debates throughout American history to explain the many surprising ways that population anxieties have provoked unexpected policies and political developments—including the recent conservative revival. At once a fascinating history and a revelatory look at the deep origins of a crucial national conversation, The State and the Stork could not be timelier.
Women in the United States organized around their own sense of a distinct set of needs, skills, and concerns. And just as significant as women's acting on their own behalf was the fact that race, class, sexuality, and ethnicity shaped their strategies and methods. This authoritative anthology presents some of the powerful work and ideas about activism published in the acclaimed series Women, Gender, and Sexuality in American History. Assembled to commemorate the series' thirty-fifth anniversary, the collection looks at two hundred years of labor, activist, legal, political, and community organizing by women against racism, misogyny, white supremacy, and inequality. The authors confront how the multiple identities of an organization's members presented challenging dilemmas and share the histories of how women created change by working against inequitable social and structural systems.
Insightful and provocative, Women’s Activist Organizing in US History draws on both classic texts and recent bestsellers to reveal the breadth of activism by women in the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Contributors: Daina Ramey Berry, Melinda Chateauvert, Tiffany M. Gill, Nancy A. Hewitt, Treva B. Lindsey, Anne Firor Scott, Charissa J. Threat, Anne M. Valk, Lara Vapnek, and Deborah Gray White