Journal of American History

December 2012

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Volume 99, No. 3

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Presidential Address

Capitalism, Democracy, and the Emancipation of Belief

Common wisdom has it that capitalism and democracy are mutually reinforcing ideologies and practices. The historical record reveals that tensions between them emerged in the early years of industrialization and have persisted ever since. In her presidential address to the 2012 Organization of American Historians annual meeting, Alice Kessler-Harris argues that democracy is rooted in an egalitarian ethos; capitalism demands liberty to amass property and to defend it. Most of the twentieth century evidenced a strong effort to expand democracy by enhancing possibilities for equality; that effort collapsed in the 1970s. The puzzle is why, in the face of the evident tension between capitalism and democracy, belief in their reciprocally reinforcing qualities remained so strong.

pp. 725–740 Read online >


Moving beyond “Rags to Riches”: New York’s Irish Famine Immigrants and Their Surprising Savings Accounts

One of the most enduring paradigms in American popular culture is that of the “American dream” and its corollary, “rags to riches,” a phrase associated with the dime novelist Horatio Alger. Historians tend to refer to these concepts when teaching American immigration history, noting how rarely immigrants rose from poverty to wealth. Using one of the most ragged groups ever to arrive in the United States—refugees from the great Irish “potato famine”—and the records of the Emigrant Savings Bank, Tyler Anbinder finds that New York’s famine immigrants saved much more money, and did so more quickly, than historians’ gloomy portrayals of the famine immigrants would lead us to believe. Anbinder suggests that historians discard the concept of “rags to riches,” a phrase Alger never used, and instead consider the immigrants’ own, more modest goals—accumulating an emergency fund or the means to buy a home or business—when assessing their achievements in the United States.

pp. 741–770 Read online >

On a Temporary Basis: Immigration, Labor Unions, and the American Entertainment Industry, 1880s–1930s

Krystyn Moon fills a gap in our understanding of American immigration history by exploring the understudied relationship between immigration law, organized labor, and the entertainment industry at the turn of the twentieth century. With the rise of increasingly rigid immigration regulations that excluded people based on occupation, race, and nation of origin came the creation of temporary admittance for certain classes of people, including entertainers. This new immigration system became a means for the federal government to recognize the desire of the entertainment industry to recruit foreign talent, and simultaneously to calm the anxieties of nativists and union leaders who did not want to permit artists to compete for jobs or to become American citizens.

pp. 771–792 Read online >

Round Table

Women’s and Gender History

For decades, women’s and gender historians have sought to expand the boundaries of their field, interrogate its assumptions, and reshape standard narratives of U.S. history. Cornelia H. Dayton and Lisa Levenstein assess the state of the field, emphasizing how the scholarship of the past decade challenges U.S. historians to think in new ways about how they teach, synthesize, and design research. The field’s radical edge lives on in scholars’ ever-more-flexible understandings of gender and their new interpretations in areas such as state building, rights claiming, and empire. Following Dayton and Levenstein’s article, Natsuki Aruga, Crystal N. Feimster, Alice Kessler-Harris, Ana Elizabeth Rosas, and Elisabetta Vezzosi offer perspectives on the state of the field.

  • The Big Tent of U.S. Women’s and Gender History: A State of the Field
    Cornelia H. Dayton and Lisa Levenstein (pp. 793–817) Read Online >

  • Can We Have a Total American History? A Comment on the Achievements of Women’s and Gender History
    Natsuki Aruga (pp. 818–821) Read Online >

  • The Impact of Racial and Sexual Politics on Women’s History
    Crystal N. Feimster (pp. 822–826) Read Online >

  • Gender Identity and the Gendered Process
    Alice Kessler-Harris (pp. 827–829) Read Online >

  • Seeing Ourselves and for Ourselves: The Infinite Potential of Women’s and Gender History
    Ana Elizabeth Rosas (pp. 830–834) Read Online >

  • Gender, Generations, Leadership
    Elisabetta Vezzosi (pp. 835–838) Read Online >

Exhibition Reviews

  • “Editor’s note,” by Brian Horrigan and Kathleen Franz (p. 839–840) Read online >
  • “Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site,” by Matthew G. Stewart (p. 840–843) Read online >
  • “War in Our Back Yards: Discovering Atlanta, 1861–1865,” by Laura T. McCarty (p. 844–846) Read online >
  • “The Jennie Wade House Museum,” by Jennifer M. Murray (p. 846–851) Read online >
  • “House and Home,” by Laura Burd Schiavo (p. 852–855) Read online >
  • “Attachments: Faces and Stories from America’s Gates,” by Joan Fragaszy Troyano (p. 855–859) Read online >
  • “Harley-Davidson Museum. Milwaukee, Wisc.,” by Daryl A. Webb (p. 859–863) Read online >

Book Reviews

Dec. 2012, Vol. 99 No. 3

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

  • Bacevich, The Short American Century: A Postmortem, by William H. Chafe
  • Balcom, The Traffic in Babies: Cross-Border Adoption and Baby-Selling between the United States and Canada, 1930–1972, by Barbara Yngvesson
  • Baldwin, In the Watches of the Night: Life in the Nocturnal City, by Douglas Henry Daniels
  • Barbato, Democratic Narrative, History, and Memory, by Bernard von Bothmer
  • Barker-Benfield, Abigail and John Adams: The Americanization of Sensibility, by Lisa Wilson
  • Barnes, The Materiality of Freedom: Archaeologies of Postemancipation Life, by Whitney Battle-Baptiste
  • Barnes, The Old South’s Modern Worlds: Slavery, Region, and Nation in the Age of Progress, by Kathleen M. Hilliard
  • Barry, Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty, by Adrian Chastain Weimer
  • Behnken, The Struggle in Black and Brown: African American and Mexican American Relations during the Civil Rights Era, by Max Krochmal
  • Bell, Making Sense of American Liberalism, by Margaret O’Mara
  • Berger, Hotel Dreams: Luxury, Technology, and Urban Ambition in America, 1829–1929, by A. K. Sandoval-Strausz
  • Bessler, Cruel and Unusual: The American Death Penalty and the Founders’ Eighth Amendment, by Helen J. Knowles
  • Blower, Becoming Americans in Paris: Transatlantic Politics and Culture between the World Wars, by J. Gerald Kennedy
  • Blue, Doing Time in the Depression: Everyday Life in Texas and California Prisons, by Dan Berger
  • Blythe, Chiricahua and Janos: Communities of Violence in the Southwestern Borderlands, 1680–1880, by Robert C. Galgano
  • Borstelmann, The 1970s: A New Global History from Civil Rights to Economic Inequality, by David Farber
  • Brasher, The Peninsula Campaign and the Necessity of Emancipation: African Americans and the Fight for Freedom, by John Cimprich
  • Bristow, American Pandemic: The Lost Worlds of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, by N. Pieter M. O’Leary
  • Brown, Remixing the Civil War: Meditations on the Sesquicentennial, by Allen C. Guelzo
  • Burton, The Struggle for Equality: Essays on Sectional Conflict, the Civil War, and the Long Reconstruction, by William L. Barney
  • Buss, Winning the West with Words: Language and Conquest in the Lower Great Lakes, by Susan E. Gray
  • Carwardine, The Global Lincoln, by Matthew Pinsker
  • Case, An Unpredictable Gospel: American Evangelicals and World Christianity 1820–1920, by Paul William Harris
  • Cavicchi, Listening and Longing: Music Lovers in the Age of Barnum, by Michael Broyles
  • Chapman, Prove It On Me: New Negroes, Sex, and Popular Culture in the 1920s, by Koritha Mitchell
  • Chong, The Oriental Obscene: Violence and Racial Fantasies in the Vietnam Era, by James C. Landers
  • Clampitt, The Confederate Heartland: Military and Civilian Morale in the Western Confederacy, by Kevin Adams
  • Clarke, War Stories: Suffering and Sacrifice in the Civil War North, by Cheryl A. Wells
  • Cloud, We Are the Union: Democratic Unionism and Dissent at Boeing, by Liesl Miller Orenic
  • Colby, The Business of Empire: United Fruit, Race, and U.S. Expansion in Central America, by Thomas Schoonover
  • Coquillette , Portrait of a Patriot: The Major Political and Legal Papers of Josiah Quincy Junior, vol. 4; The Law Reports, Part One (1761–1765), by David Thomas Konig
  • Coquillette, Portrait of a Patriot: The Major Political and Legal Papers of Josiah Quincy Junior, vol. 5; The Law Reports, Part Two (1765–1772), by David Thomas Konig
  • Crane, Witches, Wife Beaters, and Whores: Common Law and Common Folk in Early America, byEllen Holmes Pearson
  • Crouch, The Governor’s Hounds: The Texas State Police, 1870–1873, by Timothy Bowman
  • Davies, Saving San Francisco: Relief and Recovery after the 1906 Disaster, by Kevin L. Rozario
  • Davis, Jews and Booze: Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition, by Marc Dollinger
  • Davis, Virginia at War, 1865, by Jason M. Frawley
  • Delfino, Southern Society and Its Transformations, 1790–1860, by Timothy R. Buckner
  • Deutch, The Crisis in Energy Policy, by Paul Chastko
  • Dobak, Freedom by the Sword: The U.S. Colored Troops, 1862–1867 by Keith P. Wilson
  • Dowling, Literary Partnerships and the Marketplace: Writers and Mentors in Nineteenth-Century America, by Michael Anesko
  • Drake, The Nation’s Nature: How Continental Presumptions Gave Rise to the United States of America, by Edward Watts
  • Dubow, Ourselves Unborn: A History of the Fetus in Modern America, by Leslie J. Reagan
  • Dudden, Fighting Chance: The Struggle over Woman Suffrage and Black Suffrage in Reconstruction America, by Rosalyn Terborg-Penn
  • Eastman, Preaching Spanish Nationalism across the Hispanic Atlantic, 1759–1823, by Gerald E. Poyo
  • Ericson, Slavery in the American Republic: Developing the Federal Government, 1791–1861, by Matthew Mason
  • Farrelly, Papist Patriots: The Making of an American Catholic Identity, by Antoinette Sutto
  • Fass, Reinventing Childhood after World War II, by Nicholas Sammond
  • Fiege, The Republic of Nature: An Environmental History of the United States, by James Morton Turner
  • Fitts, Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage, and Assassination during the 1934 Tour of Japan, by Thomas W. Zeiler
  • Fleche, The Revolution of 1861: The American Civil War in the Age of Nationalist Conflict, by Paul Quigley
  • Fujitani, Race for Empire: Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Americans during World War II, by Kornel S. Chang
  • Gelber, The University and the People: Envisioning American Higher Education in an Era of Populist Protest, by Kenneth H. Wheeler
  • Gellman, Death Blow to Jim Crow: The National Negro Congress and the Rise of Militant Civil Rights, by Cynthia Taylor
  • Genovese, Fatal Self-Deception: Slaveholding Paternalism in the Old South, by Richard Follett
  • Gilkeson, Anthropologists and the Rediscovery of America, 1886–1965, by Terry A. Barhnart
  • Gill, Embattled Ecumenism: The National Council of Churches, the Vietnam War, and the Trials of the Protestant Left, by Patricia Appelbaum
  • Gillespie, Crossing under the Hudson: The Story of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, by Michael R. Fein
  • Givens, Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism, by Clyde R. Forsberg, Jr.
  • Gjerde, Catholicism and the Shaping of Nineteenth-Century America, by Robert Emmett Curran
  • Go, Patterns of Empire: The British and American Empires, 1688 to the Present, by Jay Sexton
  • Gottfried, Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America: A Critical Appraisal, by Thomas L. Jeffers
  • Grivno, Gleanings of Freedom: Free and Slave Labor along the Mason-Dixon Line, 1790–1860, by Ted Maris-Wolf
  • Gudmestad, Steamboats and the Rise of the Cotton Kingdom, by Michael F. Magliari
  • Gustafson, Imagining Deliberative Democracy in the Early American Republic, by Carolyn Eastman
  • Hahamovitch, No Man’s Land: Jamaican Guestworkers in America and the Global History of Deportable Labor, by Sara Abraham
  • Hahn, Making Tobacco Bright: Creating an American Commodity, 1617–1937, by Russell R. Menard
  • Hammond, Contesting Slavery: The Politics of Bondage and Freedom in the New American Nation, by Edward E. Baptist
  • Hansen, Guantánamo: An American History, by Josef Opatrný
  • Harris, Zebulon Pike, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West, by Peter J. Kastor
  • Harvey, Rainbow Bridge to Monument Valley: Making the Modern Old West, by Thomas G. Andrews
  • Haslam, In Thought and Action: The Enigmatic Life of S. I. Hayakawa, by W. J. Rorabaugh
  • Haverty-Stacke, Rethinking U.S. Labor History: Essays on the Working-Class Experience, by Lawrence Richards
  • Hayes, A Catholic Brain Trust: The History of the Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs, 1945–1965, by Kathleen Sprows Cummings
  • Hess, The Civil War in the West: Victory and Defeat from the Appalachians to the Mississippi, by Stephen D. Engle
  • Hilde, Worth a Dozen Men: Women and Nursing in the Civil War South, by Kara Dixon Vuic
  • Hoffert, Alva Vanderbilt Belmont: Unlikely Champion of Women’s Rights, by Sue Davis
  • Holden, The New Southern University: Academic Freedom and Liberalism at unc, by Amy Thompson McCandless
  • Hunt, Arc of Empire: America’s Wars in Asia from the Philippines to Vietnam, by Edmund F. Wehrle
  • Ingram, Indians and British Outposts in Eighteenth-Century America, by Daniel P. Barr
  • Jackson, Highway under the Hudson: A History of the Holland Tunnel, by Michael R. Fein
  • Jennings, New Worlds of Violence: Cultures and Conquests in the Early American Southeast, by Greg O’Brien
  • Jortner, The Gods of Prophetstown: The Battle of Tippecanoe and the Holy War for the American Frontier, by Gregory E. Smoak
  • Kaplan, Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis, by Whitney Walton
  • Katz, Why Don’t American Cities Burn?, by Robert Bauman
  • Kidd, Patrick Henry: First among Patriots, by Eric R. Schlereth
  • Kloppenberg, Reading Obama: Dreams, Hope, and the American Political Tradition, by Peniel E. Joseph
  • Konings, The Development of American Finance, by Julia Cathleen Ott
  • Kruse, Fog of War: The Second World War and the Civil Rights Movement, by Neil A. Wynn
  • Kuhlman, Of Little Comfort: War Widows, Fallen Soldiers, and the Remaking of the Nation after the Great War, by Rebecca Jo Plant
  • Lair, Armed with Abundance: Consumerism and Soldiering in the Vietnam War, by Andrew J. Huebner
  • Lause, A Secret Society History of the Civil War, by Ami Pflugrad-Jackisch
  • Lee, Congress vs. the Bureaucracy: Muzzling Agency Public Relations, by Robert J. Spitzer
  • Lengel, The Papers of George Washington: Revolutionary War Series, by Caroline Cox
  • Loss, Between Citizens and the State: The Politics of American Higher Education in the 20th Century, by Hani Morgan
  • Magelssen, Enacting History, by Cathy Stanton
  • Makalani, In the Cause of Freedom: Radical Black Internationalism from Harlem to London, 1917–1939, by Brenda Gayle Plummer
  • Matteson, The Lives of Margaret Fuller: A Biography, by Tiffany K. Wayne
  • Matthews, The Archaeology of American Capitalism, by Samantha A. Rebovich
  • Maxwell, Unlocking V. O. Key Jr.: Southern Politics for the Twenty-First Century, by J. Morgan Kousser
  • May, Howard Pyle: Imagining an American School of Art, by Patricia Smith Scanlan
  • McGinty, The Body of John Merryman: Abraham Lincoln and the Suspension of Habeas Corpus, by Eric M. Freedman
  • McInnis, Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade, by Elisa Tamarkin
  • McIntyre, Souvenirs of the Old South: Northern Tourism and Southern Mythology, by Caroline E. Janney
  • McVety, Enlightened Aid: U.S. Development as Foreign Policy in Ethiopia, by Nick Cullather
  • McWhirter, Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War, by Ann Ostendorf
  • Miller, Born along the Color Line: The 1933 Amenia Conference and the Rise of a National Civil Rights Movement, by Manfred Berg
  • Miller, From Liberation to Conquest: The Visual and Popular Cultures of the Spanish-American War of 1898, by Paul T. McCartney
  • Mitchell, Living with Lynching: African American Lynching Plays, Performance, and Citizenship, 1890–1930, by Amanda Frisken
  • Modern, Secularism in Antebellum America: With Reference to Ghosts, Protestant Subcultures, Machines, and Their Metaphors; Featuring Discussions of Mass Media, Moby-Dick, Spirituality, Phrenology, Anthropology, Sing Sing State Penitentiary, and Sex with the New Motive Power, by Janet Moore Lindman
  • Myers, Forging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston, by Cynthia M. Kennedy
  • Nathanson, A People’s History of Baseball, by Neil Lanctot
  • Neely, Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War, by Brian R. Dirck
  • Nelson, Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race, by Mary C. Kelly
  • Nicholls, Whispers of Rebellion: Narrating Gabriel’s Conspiracy, by Eva Sheppard Wolf
  • Oberg, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 36: 1 December 1801 to 3 March 1802, by Terence Ball
  • Olwell, The Genius of Democracy: Fictions of Gender and Citizenship in the United States, 1860–1945, by Nancy Isenberg
  • Orleck, The War on Poverty: A New Grassroots History, 1964–1980, by Alice O’Connor
  • Paden, Civil Rights Advocacy on Behalf of the Poor, by Thomas F. Jackson
  • Pinney, The Makers of American Wine: A Record of Two Hundred Years, by Robert C. Fuller
  • Plastas, A Band of Noble Women: Racial Politics in the Women’s Peace Movement, by Robbie Lieberman
  • Porter, Native American Freemasonry: Associationalism and Performance in America, by R. William Weisberger
  • Proctor, Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition, by Karen Miller Russell
  • Rasmussen, Queequeg’s Coffin: Indigenous Literacies and Early American Literature, by Gordon M. Sayre
  • Reed, The Rise of Chicago’s Black Metropolis, by Randal Maurice Jelks
  • Remillard, Southern Civil Religions: Imagining the Good Society in the Post-Reconstruction Era, by Gavin James Campbell
  • Robinson, After Camp: Portraits in Midcentury Japanese American Life and Politics, by Ellen D. Wu
  • Rosenzweig, Clio Wired: The Future of the Past in the Digital Age, by Orville Vernon Burton
  • Silva, Miraculous Plagues: An Epidemiology of Early New England Narrative, by Walter W. Woodward
  • Simpson, Creating Wine: The Emergence of a World Industry, 1840–1914, by Paul Lukacs
  • Slate, Colored Cosmopolitanism: The Shared Struggle for Freedom in the United States and India, by Joseph Kip Kosek
  • Smith, The Freedoms We Lost: Consent and Resistance in Revolutionary America, by Terry Bouton
  • Smith, Heaven in the American Imagination, by Kathryn Gin Lum
  • Smith, Showdown: jfk and the Integration of the Washington Redskins, by Charles H. Martin
  • Sogrin, Istoricheskii Opyt SShA (Historical experience of the usa), by Norman E. Saul
  • Spring, Advertising in the Age of Persuasion: Building Brand America, 1941–1961, by Daniel L. Lykins
  • Suri, Liberty’s Surest Guardian: American Nation-Building from the Founders to Obama, by Michael E. Latham
  • Thomas, The Iron Way: Railroads, the Civil War, and the Making of Modern America, by Robert G. Angevine
  • Tomek, Colonization and Its Discontents: Emancipation, Emigration, and Antislavery in Antebellum Pennsylvania, by Julie Winch
  • Trask, Things American: Art Museums and Civic Culture in the Progressive Era, by Victoria M. Grieve
  • Way, Conserving Southern Longleaf: Herbert Stoddard and the Rise of Ecological Land Management, by Jack E. Davis
  • Welke, Law and the Borders of Belonging in the Long Nineteenth Century United States, by Christopher Capozzola
  • Welky, The Thousand-Year Flood: The Ohio-Mississippi Disaster of 1937, by Karen M. O’Neill
  • Wells, Women Writers and Journalists in the Nineteenth-Century South, by Kathryn B. McKee
  • Wells, The Southern Middle Class in the Long Nineteenth Century, by Jane Turner Censer
  • Whayne, Delta Empire: Lee Wilson and the Transformation of Agriculture in the New South, by Gavin P. Wright
  • Wheeler, Cultivating Regionalism: Higher Education and the Making of the American Midwest, by Scott M. Gelber
  • White, Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War: The Trials of John Merryman, by Eric M. Freedman
  • White, The Challenge of Blackness: The Institute of the Black World and Political Activism in the 1970s, by Tracy Elaine K’Meyer
  • Williams, They Left Great Marks on Me: African American Testimonies of Racial Violence from Emancipation to World War I, by Amy Louise Wood
  • Wood, Retiring Men: Manhood, Labor, and Growing Old in America, 1900–1960, by Brian Gratton
  • Yokota, Unbecoming British: How Revolutionary America Became a Postcolonial Nation, by Stephanie Kermes
  • Zimring, The City that Became Safe: New York’s Lessons for Urban Crime and Its Control, by Marilynn S. Johnson

Movie Reviews

  • Clinton, by William L. O'Neill (p. 1003) Read online >
  • Game Change, by Kathy M. Newman (p. 1005) Read online >
  • 41, by James I. Deutsch (p. 1008) Read online >
  • Paul Goodman Changed My Life, by Stephen J. Whitfield (p. 1009) Read online >
  • Jesse Owens, by Daniel A. Nathan (p. 1011) Read online >
  • Caught on Camera: Combat, by Douglas A. Cunningham (p. 1013) Read online >
  • Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview and Steve Jobs–One Last Thing, by Thomas Streeter (p. 1015) Read online >

Web site Reviews


Recent Scholarship

View “Recent Scholarship” listing online >

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

cover image

On the cover:

This drawing, “Irish Depositors of the Emigrant Savings Bank Withdrawing Money to Send to Their Suffering Relatives in the Old Country,” was published in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper on March 13, 1880. The balances in the famine immigrants’ accounts would have been even higher had they not sent so much money to struggling family members in Ireland. (See Tyler Anbinder, “Moving beyond ‘Rags to Riches’: New York’s Irish Famine Immigrants and Their Surprising Savings Accounts,” p. 741.)
Courtesy New-York Historical Society.

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