Journal of American History


“Like a Roaring Lion”: The Overland Trail as a Sonic Conquest

Courtesy Nevada Historical Society.

In the essay that won the 2008 Louis Pelzer Award, Sarah Keyes brings a fresh perspective to the story of the Overland Trail by analyzing how sound shaped Native Americans’ and Euro-Americans’ trail experiences and understandings of the trail’s significance. In diaries and memoirs, Euro-Americans portrayed the sounds they made as having the power to subdue the savage wilds and to help transform the West into American territory. Whereas the established narrative of the Overland Trail has downplayed violence between natives and Euro-Americans, overlanders’ depiction of sonic assaults encourages us to reconsider the violence perpetrated by the wagon trains. The sonic component of the trail experience also qualifies historians’ argument that in recent centuries hearing has lost influence to seeing by demonstrating the continued importance of sound in post-Enlightenment Euro-American culture. (pp. 19–43) Read online >

“The Free and Open People’s Market”: Political Ideology and Retail Brokerage at the New York Stock Exchange, 1913–1933

Reprinted from the New York Herald, March 19, 1908.

As the stock market roils and the recession deepens, Americans agonize over their financial futures and policy makers struggle to shore up teetering financial institutions. How did stock market investment—once perceived as disreputable and dangerous—become a mass practice? How did financial markets and institutions—broadly understood as marginal at the beginning of the twentieth century—come to be seen as the foundation of American capitalism? Julia C. Ott examines the efforts of the New York Stock Exchange (nyse) to transform Americans’ perceptions of and relationships with the stock market in the 1910s and 1920s. As nyse publicists promoted stock ownership as a supremely democratic practice, they established many of the basic economic precepts of modern political conservatism. (pp. 44–71) Read online >

Listen to Julia C. Ott and Associate Editor Stephen Andrews discuss her article in the June 2009 installment of the JAH Podcast.

Coal-Fired Reforms: Social Citizenship, Dissident Miners, and the Great Society

Photograph © Fred. J. Maroon. Courtesy Robert Kaplan Papers, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

In the usual narrative of the Great Society, rank-and-file workers appear only in the final chapter, as the brakes on the movement that ended racial apartheid in the South, expanded the welfare state, and sought to give poor people power in devising solutions to poverty. To the contrary, Robyn Muncy argues, ordinary workers—in this case, Appalachian coal miners—also appeared in the first chapter of the Great Society story. Outraged by retrenchments in their private health and retirement programs, these miners and other constituents of organized labor played a crucial role in the social upheaval that created the Great Society. (pp. 72–98) Read online >

Gray Matters: Social Scientists, Military Patronage, and Democracy in the Cold War

Photographer © Halle Erskine. Courtesy Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division.

In the 1950s scholars joined forces with the Defense Department to combat the spread of Communism in the Third World. While many historians have focused on the threat that military patronage posed to scholarly objectivity, Joy Rohde argues that the most important challenge faced by government-funded researchers in the social sciences was reconciling their elite scientific authority with their allegiance to democratic, participatory politics. Scholars produced a range of solutions to the problem, but none satisfied a public that was becoming increasingly disillusioned with expert knowledge. By the end of the 1960s, Pentagon-funded scholars were being exiled from university campuses, with ironic consequences—the backlash against state-sponsored expertise fueled a military-dependent research industry that was private and decidedly undemocratic. (pp. 99–122) Read online >

“The Specter of Environmentalism”: Wilderness, Environmental Politics, and the Evolution of the New Right

Courtesy Steve Greenberg.

The American West has been a fertile seedbed for opposition to environmental reform. James Morton Turner argues that populist opposition to environmental reform from the 1970s into the 1990s did not emerge most forcefully in battles over pollution, toxins, and other threats to public health, but in response to liberal Democrats and environmentalists’ championing of a new federal role in addressing long-standing issues such as wilderness protection. Through its national agenda, beginning in the 1970s the Republican party successfully harnessed growing anger over public lands protection. Republicans thereby made the public lands, especially those in the West, an issue essential to the rise of the conservative Right in the postwar era. (pp. 123–49) Read online >

For suggestions on how to use this article in the U.S. history classroom, see “Teaching the JAH.”

Exhibition Reviews

Photographer Andrea Del Valle.
  • “Introduction,” by Benjamin Filene and Brian Horrigan (p. 149) Read online >
  • “In Our Own Words: Portraits of Brooklyn’s Vietnam Veterans,” by Amy Starecheski (pp. 150–52) Read online >
  • “Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era,” by Michael J. Kramer (p. 153–55) Read online >
  • National Museum of the Marine Corp, Triangle, Va., by Clay Lewis (pp. 156–61) Read online >
  • “What’s Going On: Newark and the Legacy of the Sixties,” by Mark Krasovic (pp. 162–65) Read online >
  • “Black Thursday Remembered: Race, Politics, and Campus Unrest in Northeast Wisconsin during the Late 1960s,” by Andrew E. Kersten and Jerald Podair (pp. 166–68) Read online >
  • “Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe,” by Howard P. Segal (pp. 169–73) Read online >
  • Muhammad Ali Center, by Randy Roberts (pp. 173–77) Read online >

Book Reviews

June 2009, Vol. 96 No. 1

Alphabetical by the last name of the book's first author or editor.


Movie Reviews

	In the hbo film Taking Chance Marine Corps Lt. Col. Michael Strobl, portrayed by Kevin
	Bacon, salutes the coffin of Pfc. Chance Phelps who was killed in Iraq on Good Friday 2004.
	Based on Strobl’s personal account, the film provides insight into the experiences of military
	escorts who accompany the remains of fallen soldiers and bear witness to the reverence and
	respect given to these individuals.
Courtesy James Bridges/hbo

Web Site Reviews

Web site reviews are available without a subscription.

Letters to the Editor


Recent Scholarship

View “Recent Scholarship” listing online >

Recent Scholarship is available as a searchable database, Recent Scholarship Online >

cover image

On the cover:

In 1904 members of the New York Stock Exchange (nyse) commissioned the book The Stock Exchange in Caricature, a limited edition for private distribution. This caricature of Charles E. Knoblauch, former Rough Rider and nyse member, appears there. It associates financial dealings with masculine bravado, rather than technical expertise. Reprinted from The Stock Exchange in Caricature, vol. II (New York, 1904). See Julia C. Ott, “The Free and Open People’s Market:” Political Ideology and Retail Brokerage at the New York Stock Exchange, 1913–1933 (pp. 44).

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