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University of Richmond

History Faculty Publications

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Full-Text Articles in United States History

Ebony And Ivy: Race, Slavery, And The Troubled History Of America's Universities (Book Review), Edward L. Ayers Feb 2015

Ebony And Ivy: Race, Slavery, And The Troubled History Of America's Universities (Book Review), Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

This book surprises. It focuses, for one thing, on the northeastern United States, not on the southern states where slavery was anchored. The chronological focus, with half its space devoted to the colonial period and to implications of colleges for American Indians, is also not what a reader might expect, given that most American colleges were founded in the antebellum era.

Most surprising, perhaps, the story is less about individual universities than it is about the networks that created and sustained them. Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities is a powerful bill of ...


The Power Elite, Nicole Sackley Jan 2014

The Power Elite, Nicole Sackley

History Faculty Publications

Over the past decade, scholars have begun to write the international history of the foundations. Influenced by the transnational turn in U.S. history as well as growing interdisciplinary interest in the role of non-state actors on the world stage, scholars such as Sunil Amrith, Volker Berghahn, Mary Brown Bullock, Anne-Emmanuelle Birn, Matthew Connelly, David Ekbladh, David Engerman, and John Krige have treated U.S. foundations as important international players. Some of these scholars have focused on foundations’ efforts in particular regions or nations. Others have shown how Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford helped to construct new global problems (underdevelopment, hunger ...


Cosmopolitanism And The Uses Of Tradition: Robert Redfield And Alternative Visions Of Modernization During The Cold War, Nicole Sackley Jan 2012

Cosmopolitanism And The Uses Of Tradition: Robert Redfield And Alternative Visions Of Modernization During The Cold War, Nicole Sackley

History Faculty Publications

The history of the rise and fall of “modernization theory” after World War II has been told as a story of Talcott Parsons, Walt Rostow, and other US social scientists who built a general theory in US universities and sought to influence US foreign policy. However, in the 1950s anthropologist Robert Redfield and his Comparative Civilizations project at the University of Chicago produced an alternative vision of modernization—one that emphasized intellectual conversation across borders, the interrelation of theory and fieldwork, and dialectical relations of tradition and modernity. In tracing the Redfield project and its legacies, this essay aims to ...


Peace Corps At 50: Bringing The World Back Home, Nicole Sackley Jan 2011

Peace Corps At 50: Bringing The World Back Home, Nicole Sackley

History Faculty Publications

Both the critics and defenders of the Peace Corps judge the organization on its ability to change other nations' views of the United States, either by offering technical assistance or by making friends for the United States in the world. What is missing from these debates is a frank acknowledgment that the Peace Corps teaches Americans as much as it serves the world. The organization's greatest value may be in "bringing the world back home" through its more than 200,000 former volunteers.


Church Burnings, Eric S. Yellin Jan 2011

Church Burnings, Eric S. Yellin

History Faculty Publications

On 15 September 1963 a bomb exploded in the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. The ensuing fire and death of four little girls placed the violence of white supremacy on the front pages of the nation’s newspapers. It also entered the 16th Street Church into a long history of attacks against houses of worship in the American South. Though churches burn for any number of reasons, including accident and insurance fraud, church arson in southern culture has frequently been associated with a symbolic assault on a community’s core institution.


The United States On The Eve Of The Civil War, Edward L. Ayers Jan 2011

The United States On The Eve Of The Civil War, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

The four-year war that eventually descended on the nation seemed impossible only months before it began. Powerful conflicts pulled the United States apart in the decades before 1860, but shared interests, cultures, and identities tied the country together, sometimes in new ways. So confident were they in the future that Americans expected that the forces of cohesion would triumph over the forces of division.


‘Broken Brotherhood: The Rise And Fall Of The National Afro-American Council,’ By Benjamin R. Justesen, Eric S. Yellin Jan 2010

‘Broken Brotherhood: The Rise And Fall Of The National Afro-American Council,’ By Benjamin R. Justesen, Eric S. Yellin

History Faculty Publications

The dominance of Booker T. Washington and the loyalty of most African Americans to the Republican Party are often mistaken as markers of black political unanimity at the turn of the twentieth century. Even worse, they are assumed to stand for the whole of African American political life. Benjamin R. Justesen’s story of the struggles to establish and sustain the National Afro-American Council should serve as an important reminder of the tensions, diversity, and energy within black politics in this period. The reminder is so important, and so potential productive, that one wishes that Broken Brotherhood: The Rise and ...


What Lincoln Was Up Against: The Context Of Leadership, Edward L. Ayers Jan 2010

What Lincoln Was Up Against: The Context Of Leadership, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

Abraham Lincoln faced desperate challenges from the moment he took office until the day he was killed. While Union armies in the field struggled for four years against dismayingly effective Confederate forces, Lincoln fought to keep the North from breaking apart. The task proved unrelenting.


Saving Savannah: The City And The Civil War (Book Review), Edward L. Ayers Dec 2009

Saving Savannah: The City And The Civil War (Book Review), Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

Review of the book, Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War by Jacqueline Jones. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.


Lincoln's America 2.0, Edward L. Ayers Sep 2009

Lincoln's America 2.0, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

For most people at the time, far from battles or capitals, the Civil War arrived in long gray columns of text. A new system of telegraph stations, railroads, and press organizations spread words with unprecedented speed and in enormous quantity. Reports form the battlefield poured out in brief messages and long torrents, editorials commenting on every event and utterance. Even generals and presidents understood the shape and meaning of the Civil War through print.


"It Was Still No South To Us": African American Civil Servants At The Fin De Siècle, Eric S. Yellin Jan 2009

"It Was Still No South To Us": African American Civil Servants At The Fin De Siècle, Eric S. Yellin

History Faculty Publications

If Washingtonians know anything about black civil servants of the early twentieth century, it is that they faced discrimination under President Woodrow Wilson. Beginning in 1913, Wilson’s Democratic administration dismantled a biracial, Republican-led coalition that had struggled since Reconstruction to make government offices places of racial egalitarianism. During Wilson's presidency, federal officials imposed "segregation" (actually exclusion), rearranged the political patronage system, and undercut black ambition. The Wilson administration's policies were a disaster for black civil servants, who responded with one of the first national civil rights campaigns in U.S. history. But to fully grapple with the ...


Dead Reckoning (Book Review), Edward L. Ayers Jan 2008

Dead Reckoning (Book Review), Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

Long before she became the first female president of Harvard University in July 2007, Drew Gilpin Faust showed herself to be an inventive, energetic, and restless historian. Her first book, in 1977, focused on a subject many people had doubted was a subject, "the intellectual in the Old South." Five years later, she produced what is still the fullest — and most disturbing — portrayal of a white Southern planter, a man who sought complete mastery over the white women in his charge as well as over the enslaved people he claimed as property.

Soon after that, in a series of brilliant ...


"Momentous Events In Small Places": The Coming Of The Civil War In Two American Communities, Edward L. Ayers Jan 2008

"Momentous Events In Small Places": The Coming Of The Civil War In Two American Communities, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

Historians, professional and otherwise, have written thousands of regimental histories, county histories, and town histories of the Civil War years. These studies make the coming of the war concrete and compelling. Inspired by such accounts, it seemed to me that two local portrayals could be even better than one, that exploring communities on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line as they each confronted the events from the late fifties to the late sixties might make both sides more comprehensible.


The American Civil War, Emancipation, And Reconstruction On The World Stage, Edward L. Ayers Jan 2006

The American Civil War, Emancipation, And Reconstruction On The World Stage, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

Americans demanded the world's attention during their Civil War and Reconstruction. Newspapers around the globe reported the latest news from the United States as one vast battle followed another, as the largest system of slavery in the world crashed into pieces, as American democracy expanded to include people who had been enslaved only a few years before.


Generations Later: Has Once-Remote Promise Of Freedom Been Fulfilled?, Edward L. Ayers Oct 2005

Generations Later: Has Once-Remote Promise Of Freedom Been Fulfilled?, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

Emancipation began with a flickering promise, burned intensely for a few years during Reconstruction, and then smoldered for a century. Equality and justice have come into view for most African-Americans only in the past two generations. For many descendants of slavery, those essential rights of a free people are still hard to see.


What Caused The Civil War?, Edward L. Ayers Jan 2005

What Caused The Civil War?, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

The challenge of explaining the Civil War has led historians to seek clarity in two ways of thought. One school, the fundamentalists, emphasizes the intrinsic, inevitable conflict between slavery and free labor. The other, the revisionists, emphasizes discrete events and political structures rather than slavery itself. Both sides see crucial parts of the problem, but it has proved difficult to reconcile the perspectives because they approach the Civil War with different assumptions about what drives history.


Sacco & Vanzetti Case, Eric S. Yellin, Louis Foughin Jan 2003

Sacco & Vanzetti Case, Eric S. Yellin, Louis Foughin

History Faculty Publications

Nicola Sacco, a skilled shoeworker born in 1891, and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, a fish peddler born in 1888, were arrested on 5 May 1920, for a payroll holdup and murder in South Braintree, Massachusetts. A jury, sitting under Judge Webster Thayer, found the men guilty on 14 July 1921. Sacco and Vanzetti were executed on 23 August 1927 after several appeals and the recommendation of a special advisory commission serving the Massachusetts governor. The execution sparked worldwide protests against repression of Italian Americans, immigrants, labor militancy, and radical political beliefs.


Columbine School Massacre, Eric S. Yellin Jan 2003

Columbine School Massacre, Eric S. Yellin

History Faculty Publications

On 20 April 1999, in one of the deadliest school shootings in national history, two students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Jefferson County, Colorado, killed twelve fellow students and a teacher and injured twenty-three others before committing suicide. Eric Harris, age eighteen, and Dylan Klebold, age seventeen, used homemade bombs, two sawed-off twelve-gauge shotguns, a nine-millimeter semiautomatic rifle, and a nine-millimeter semiautomatic pistol in a siege that began shortly after 11 A.M.


Sabotage, Eric S. Yellin Jan 2003

Sabotage, Eric S. Yellin

History Faculty Publications

A term borrowed from French syndicalists by American labor organizations at the turn of the century, sabotage means the hampering of productivity and efficiency of a factory, company, or organization by internal operatives. Often sabotage involves the destruction of property or machines by the workers who use them. In the United States, sabotage was seen first as a direct-action tactic for labor radicals against oppressive employers.


Teapot Dome Oil Scandal, Eric S. Yellin Jan 2003

Teapot Dome Oil Scandal, Eric S. Yellin

History Faculty Publications

In October 1929, Albert B. Fall, the former Secretary of the Interior under President Warren G. Harding, was convicted of accepting bribes in the leasing of U.S. Naval Oil Reserves in Elk Hills, California, and Teapot Dome, Wyoming.


The Inevitable Future Of The South, Edward L. Ayers Jan 2002

The Inevitable Future Of The South, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

In some ways, the Consolidation started all the way back in the big war they had in the middle of the twentieth century, when the South was still way behind the rest of the country--behind even the ridiculously cold parts up north and the ridiculously dry parts out west. They had to build big army bases and big ships for the war, so they moved some of that to the South and paid people more than southerners had ever earned before. Cities grew real fast, and people got new cars and houses and things when the war ended, but the ...


Slavery, Economics And Constitutional Ideals, Edward L. Ayers Jan 2002

Slavery, Economics And Constitutional Ideals, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

As we think about endings, however, it is also useful to think about beginnings. That is what President Abraham Lincoln did in his Second Inaugural Address, delivered just five weeks before the surrender at Appomattox and his own assassination soon thereafter. All knew, he said reflecting sadly and thoughtfully on how the Civil War came about, that slavery was, "somehow," the cause. In fact, "somehow," however, lay puzzles, contradictions, and questions. The connections between slavery and the Civil War have concerned Americans ever since the events at Appomattox.


Why Were The Railroads The "Contested Terrain" Of Race Relations In The Postwar South?, Edward L. Ayers Jan 2002

Why Were The Railroads The "Contested Terrain" Of Race Relations In The Postwar South?, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

Most of the debates about race relations focused on the railroads of the New South. Travel was a different story, for members of both races had no choice but to use the same railroads. As the number of railroads proliferated in the 1880s, as the number of stations quickly mounted, as dozens of counties got on a line for the first time, as previously isolated areas found themselves connected to towns and cities with different kinds of black people and different kinds of race relations, segregation became a matter of statewide attention.


Civil War Visitor Center At Tredegar Iron Works (Exhibition Review), Edward L. Ayers Jun 2001

Civil War Visitor Center At Tredegar Iron Works (Exhibition Review), Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

Review of exhibition, Civil War Visitor Center at Tredegar Iron Works.


The Great Valley And The Meaning Of The Civil War, Edward L. Ayers Oct 2000

The Great Valley And The Meaning Of The Civil War, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

To understand the coming of the Civil War, then, we need to pick up the story before Fort Sumter and to carry it deeper than national events. We need to understand both the advocated of conflict and those who sought to avoid it regardless of the cost. We need to understand the communities people fought to defend, the institutions that held them together and that drove them apart.


Rethinking Slavery And Freedom (Book Reviews), Edward L. Ayers Oct 1999

Rethinking Slavery And Freedom (Book Reviews), Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

Review essay of the following books:

Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America by Ira Berlin.

Freedom's Soldiers: The Black Military Experience in the Civil War edited by Ira Berlin, Joseph P. Reidy, Leslie S. Rowland.


Virginia History As Southern History: The Nineteenth Century, Edward L. Ayers Jan 1996

Virginia History As Southern History: The Nineteenth Century, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

This essay briefly surveys some of the best work that has been done over the last ten years or so in the field of nineteenth-century Virginia and southern history in general, hoping to supply inspiration for histories yet to be written.


Narrating The New South, Edward L. Ayers Aug 1995

Narrating The New South, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

My book, The Promise of the New South, was intended as something of an experiment with narrative. While some reviewers thought the experiment worked well enough, others disagreed. In the eyes of such critics, my book was underdeveloped and noncommittal, refusing to say what it really meant and refusing to cast itself as an alternative to other interpretation. " Given these criticisms, I thought that perhaps a word of explanation would be useful, describing the intentions, if not necessarily the accomplishments, of Promise.


Memory And The South, Edward L. Ayers Jan 1995

Memory And The South, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

Our sudden interest in memory has something to do with the democratization of history, with our interest in how literally every one saw themselves. It has something to do too with our loss of faith in the coherence and objectivity of professional history. Memory, unlike older conceptions of "national character" or "American culture," tends to divide as much as unify.


The South, The West, And The Rest, Edward L. Ayers Jan 1994

The South, The West, And The Rest, Edward L. Ayers

History Faculty Publications

A response to the essay, Constructed Province: History and the Making of the Last American West by David M. Emmons. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.