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  • 15. Reconstruction (50 comments)

    • Comment by Reed on August 19, 2014

       level is misspelled in this paragraph. Also maybe consider giving the user pages for book marking or at least a way to highlight important details they may find necessary to use later.

      Comment by ejb on August 29, 2014

       OMG, do any of us actually know who made this image? Mark Elliott and I have been discussing for years 🙂 The engraver is John Lawrence Giles; the artist was Horatio Bateman. At what point do I get some love for resurrecting this image 🙂

      Comment by ejb on August 29, 2014

      So Elaine Parsons is about to come out with a big and important book on the KKK – highly recommend looking at her work before running this. She basically suggests there was no klan! 

      Comment by ejb on August 29, 2014

      OK, whoever edits this chapter may want to grab Heather Cox Richardson’s West from Appomattox and get some West in there. They may also want to include something on the rise of department stores and urban consumer capitalism; and finally, for the love of saint pete, can Dwight Moody, yellow fever, and Custer get in here. Anyone who reads newspapers from the 1870s knows that those are the big 3 time sucks. Oh, and how about a little Little Women. Did I miss it?

      Comment by Blanche K. B. on September 1, 2014

      No, “local levee commissioner” is correct, but it perhaps it should be “Levee Commissioner.

      Comment by Blanche K. B. on September 1, 2014

      Missing a word —  should read something like  “and teachers like William V. Turner from Alabama who served as public officials

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      There’s a disjunction between paras 3 and 4 — 3 suggests a focus on three questions about what Reconstruction would mean; 4, the last para of the intro, focuses exclusively on the third of these, relationships among freedom, citizenship, and equality.The relationships among citizenship, freedom, and equality are not laid out as clearly as they could be. In the early phase of Recon, conservatives hoped to limit emancipation to a small set of legal freedoms, creating a class of effectively bound laborers who were no longer chattel. Once the CRA and A14 established “citizenship” as the framework for legal equality, those conservatives sought to limit the legal, political, and social implications of that citizenship.Extraneous comma in “certain, unalienable.”  

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      “among blacks that mourned the loss” is awkward and confusing, suggesting there were blacks who did not; “among blacks, who mourned the loss” would be preferable.   

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      This paragraph makes it sound as thought Johnson was in a position to “grant … right” to Southern freedpeople. Isn’t it more to the point to say that he did not insist that the readmitted states grant freedpeople anything more than simple freedom (which was already encompassed by the requirement that the states ratify the A13)?

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      This para demands a stronger concluding sentence than the present version – not a laundry list of limitations, but a statement of what the framers of the BCs intended them to accomplish.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      “racial equality” is overbroad and vague – clarify what non-radical Repubs were “willing to tolerate” (or indeed actively sought — voting rights!) vs. the broader social equality Stevens and many blacks sought — using that term not in its later and more common use as a scare tactic, but for equal and dignified treatment of all people by all people.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      “Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving” also does the trick here, and works better without as much magnification. But this image is great.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      The veto of what? Johnson didn’t have power to veto an amendment, so this must refer to the CRA. 

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

       Ratified 1868, not 1867.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

       No, not yet constitutionally enfranchised for the 1868 election. They had been registered and enabled to vote by the Recon Acts, unequal suffrage for adult men had been penalized in the A14, but constitutional enfranchisement (or, rather, federal prohibition on unequal suffrage on the basis of race) did not follow until the ratification of the A15 in 1870.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      See comment on Para 18 – “the first vote,” if 1867 is the correct date on this image, has nothing to do with the A15, which would not be ratified until 1870.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      Not true that this was the first time AAs participated in governance. Black men had voted in some Northern and Southern states at various points between the Revolution and the CW. There had been a handful of black officeholders in the antebellum North, and Massachusetts elected two black men to its legislature in 1866. Southern Recon marked the first mass participation of AAs where they made up a significant fraction of the voting population.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      The story of the black towns is fascinating and important, but this is putting the cart before the horse – the exodus to those towns in the western black belt and Great Plains primarily followed Reconstruction; this discussion belongs at the end of the chapter, not here.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      (see above comment) …especially since this para takes us back to 1865!

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      Why was land redistribution tabled? Some discussion of the limits of “radicalism” as practiced in Congress here.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      This makes it sound as though women did regularly have access to the pulpit. Was this in fact the case?

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      This sentence really belongs somewhere else!

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      No. This is a common misrepresentation of the A15. It prohibited discrimination in suffrage on a series of bases, but it did not establish an affirmative “right to vote.”

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      It’s not clear to me why this section on women is located here in the chapter. Perhaps the overall organization of the chapter could be signaled somewhere?

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      Small point, but the A13 is not just adopted by Congress but ratified as part of the Constitution.”decimated” is the wrong word.legislators:black codes – citizens:terrorism is a misleading pairing. Terror against black activists was led by elements of the white Democratic political leadership.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      “urban” is not really the right category here; New Orleans and Hamburg are not the same kind of place. Better to say riots against black political authority.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      better to say “unreported or unprosecuted”

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      better to say “unreported or unprosecuted.”

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      “The national government, initiated by President Lincoln,” needs rewriting.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      This repeats language from Para 65.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      Reconsider the “two economies” analysis here in light of, e.g., Johnson, River of Dark Dreams and Baptist, The Half Has Never Been Told.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

       This is a highly schematic and unsatisfying paragraph about postwar economic developments. See: Nelson, A Nation of Deadbeats; Stanley, From Bondage to Contract; White, Railroaded.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      The early and ongoing postwar drawdown of forces bears underscoring here.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      The expulsion of the black members of the Georgia legislature merits mention.

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      What are “sound economics and fiscal policy”?

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      “armed conflict broke out” is a poor and passive description of “the Mississippi Plan.”

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

       “honest politics and home rule”?

      Comment by SK on September 9, 2014

      General comments on this chapter:1) Nothing explains the apparent loyalty of most white Southerners to the ex-Confederate leadership.2) Agreeing with commentator EJB, this is a now-old-fashioned N/S Recon with no attention to the Western dynamics and questions. I presume a good deal of this is covered in ch. 17, but the simultaneous development of the Peace Policy and redeployment of the army westward takes place in the context of these eastern developments, and vice versa. The citizenship language of the CRA is the only mention of Native Americans here, though the A14 is arguably an even more important development for the status of Indian peoples.Also:1) “second class citizenS”2) What does it mean (in the conclusion) to say that “a modern nation was born”? The burden of this chapter is that a modern nation was in many respects stillborn.

      Comment by Karim Tiro on October 11, 2014

      need em-dash after “society” to set off the definition of reconstruction from the rest of the sentence

      Comment by Karim Tiro on October 11, 2014

      need hyphen between “Republican” and “led” and delete apostrophe in “African Americans” in last sentence

      Comment by KMT on October 11, 2014

      line 8: “led” not “lead”

      Comment by KMT on October 11, 2014

      “New World” not “New Word”

      no hyphen in New-England

      Comment by Karim Tiro on October 18, 2014

      I believe the white robes became common in the Klan revival of the 1920s, not during Reconstruction.

      Comment by Nicholas Robbins on May 4, 2015

      A couple of sentences should be added explaining the presence of the Union army during Reconstruction. The Union army stayed heavily posted in the South even before the 1870s, starting immediately after the Civil War ended, and their presence was crucial to the reduction of violence and the success of Reconstruction. The interactive website Mapping Occupation by Gregory Downs and Scott Nesbit (Map) and Nancy Cohen-Lack’s A Struggle for Sovereignty (Struggle) both shed some light on this matter. Beginning immediately after Appomattox, the Union army protected the newly freed slaves and oversaw “the dismantling of…Confederate state government” (Struggle). Additionally, their presence was crucial for implementing and enforcing the Enforcement Acts that are discussed in this paragraph. The army “took control of court cases involving freedpeople, arrested white vigilantes, and tried to stop the resurgent practices of slavery” (Map). That being said, it should still be noted that the army was content to “compel freedmen to enter labor contracts with their former owners, to impress them into military labor, [and] to arrest idle freedmen as vagrants” (Struggle). The army did not always work in freedpeople’s favor, but it did play a powerful role in protecting equality and stopping violence.

      Comment by Ryan Pappal on May 4, 2015

      As military Reconstruction was undoubtedly a large time period, this chapter of the American Yawp successfully selects very relevant material to discuss. However, I think one key issue was left out that makes the discussion incomplete. Particularly, what was the impact of military presence on freedmen status, and what factors in the South moderated that impact? To answer this question, I point you to two excellent sources, as well as some primary accounts.
      Mapping Occupation (MO) (1) has a time-lapse map presentation showing the locations and sizes of troop deployments throughout the post-war South. According to MO, the Army played a significant role in quashing leftover Confederate rebellion and eliminating slavery. Still armed with wartime power, the Army “aimed to undercut rebels’ organizational capacity by taking control of local governments” (MO, Proclaiming Power, Proclaiming Emancipation). Further, the Army presence was “crucial for convincing masters that slavery had indeed ended” (MO). Indeed, the Army served as the enforcers of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment. Some actual cases may illuminate the importance of Army proximity to fair treatment of former slaves. For instance, in Gates County, North Carolina in 1865, Mr. Parker, a plantation owner, continued to mistreat blacks, who were now freedmen in labor contracts, by threatening and enacting violence toward workers to keep them from running away (2). According to MO, Army access was limited in Gates County, likely preventing these­ freedmen from seeking access to either Army personnel or agents of the Freedmen’s Bureau. In other cases, the connections between Army proximity and freedmen treatment are ambiguous (3, 4, 5).
      However, MO is limited in its scope. While the location and size of Army deployments were not trivial, other factors inhibited the Army’s ability to enact protections on the behalf of freedmen. In her essay A Struggle for Sovereignty (6), Nancy Cohen-Lack (CL) explores the effectiveness of Army occupation in post-war Texas in protecting former slaves. After President Jackson nullified Confederate land redistribution intended to provide homestead for former slaves, coerced labor contracts became the only way to maintain the free labor market in the South (CL, pg. 60), as mentioned in this American Yawp text. However, why didn’t the Army reverse this contractual labor system, as freedmen were clearly oppressed, forced to return to the same masters that enslaved them? According to CL, the military had to protect not only the freedmen but the stability of the Southern plantation megasystem. Indeed, the Army displayed “preference for stability and production [of crops] over the former slaves’ freedom” (CL, p. 67). Despite the persistence of these forced labor contracts, it would be wise to note that, depending on the agenda of the Army General in command, there were varying levels of enforcement of fairness in the contractual agreements. During Army non-enforcement, planters refused to pay laborers, or reduced their wages without justification, against the terms of the agreement. Physical abuse persisted, with situations where “a number of planters threatened to kill any of their freedmen who attempted to leave and held them all ‘nearly naked’ without wages” (CL, p. 70). However, certain Army leadership reversed this pattern of noncompliance on the part of landowners. For example, General Mower in Texas instituted policy harshly punishing “perpetrators of outrages against freedmen,” such that these individuals would be penalized “as though the crime had been committed upon a white person” (CL, p. 72). Clearly, the presence of the Army along with the leadership in charge and the economic situation all impacted the mobility and freedom afforded to former slaves at any given time.
      I highly recommend that this information be included in your chapter on Reconstruction. As noted in your chapter, the lack of economic freedom for former slaves caused much anguish on part of former slaves following emancipation. Indeed, the definition of freedom was different for white Southerners and for freedmen. In his speech at a political convention, freedman Bayley Wyat insisted that freedom meant an ability to choose who to work for and thus be independent economically, and to access education that was inaccessible during slavery (7). As we seek to understand various aspects of Reconstruction in this chapter, an essential element is examining what freedom was actually afforded to freedmen after emancipation, and why limitations in their economic and intellectual mobility existed, even in the face of the Army occupation’s reassurances.






      Cohen-Lack, Nancy. “A Struggle for Sovereignty: National Consolidation, Emancipation, and Free Labor in Texas, 1865.” The Journal of Southern History 58, no. 1 (1992): 57-98. Accessed May 3, 2015. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2210475?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents.



      Comment by Rachel Lee on May 6, 2015

      This paragraph should include information about how in some southern states, parts of the Union army had to remain after the war ended to make sure that freedom for slaves was actually being practiced. http://www.mappingoccupation.org provides a helpful visual of where Union troops were placed in the south, how many there were in each location, and how these factors changed over time. However, an accurate narrative cannot be gained from this website alone. Nancy Cohen-Lack’s A Struggle for Sovereignty: National Consolidation, Emancipation, and Free Labor in Texas provides a more nuanced narrative to supplement the website’s. Cohen-Lack states, “… army officers devised a system of year-long labor contracts whereby all freedmen were forced to remain on plantations working in staple crop production in exchange for wages; any who failed to comply were deemed vagrants and subject to corrective measures by the United States Army” (pg. 60). Cohen-Lack goes on to say that although certain measures were taken to further the cause of free labor, they were almost as stringent and confining as slavery. This addition would provide the reader with more information about how newly freed slaves were treated in the south and how the north intervened, creating a more well-rounded narrative.

      Comment by Sam Pierce on May 6, 2015

      I Believe it would be valuable to mention how many of these early laws could have led to racism in Americas Future. Blacks had been freed, but it was still very clear that they were not held to an equal standard as whites, and could provide in interesting, non mono causal reason for why racism is still existing in our country today.

      Comment by Esteban Serrano on May 6, 2015

      This paragraph and the following paragraphs present a narrative of freed people and politics that is too simple. While there were many progressive steps taken during and after Reconstruction for freed people there were just as many efforts opposing the inclusion of African Americans into the voting population and government.

      John Roy Lynch is an example of success for freed people in government. Lynch was educated and quickly found interest in politics and only ten years after the Civil War’s end he was a member of Congress. Unfortunately, every step taken by freed people to vote was met with opposition from former confederates. The Republican party in the South depended on the African American vote to hold its ground. Ulysses S. Grant and other Republican nominees owed their success freed people votes in the South.

      However, the success of those Republican officials was disliked by former slave owners and confederates who worked to undo the efforts made by the Republicans and freed people. Albert Ames was the governor of Mississippi during the Reconstruction era; he was appointed by Congress and made many efforts to advance the rights of freed people. While his time as Governor was successful he was met with a large amount of opposition from former confederates and Democrats seeking to take control of the state and undo Reconstruction efforts. In December of 1874 Democrats in Vicksburg held a coup and overthrew the appointed officials. There efforts continued over the months and spread across the state. They effectively stopped African Americans from voting and Republicans from being able to react to the violence. The Democrats massacred freed people, lynched appointed officials of both races, and even managed to take over the 1875 election in November. Ames was forced to resign his office in order to keep the peace in his state.

      From examples such as John Roy Lynch and Albert Ames we see that the battle for enfranchisement of freed people was an arduous one that had moments of incredible progress and unfortunate regress. Similar to other factors of the Reconstruction era, the narrative of freed people in politics is complex and cannot be described as one long move towards total inclusion of freed people and for that reason I believe there should be more mention of the struggles and Democratic wins during the Reconstruction of the South.

      Comment by Parker Hanusa on May 6, 2015

      I realize this is a conclusion paragraph and as a writer you’re limited in your wording. I would, however, suggest that the sentences, “it did forever end legal slavery in the United States” and “African Americans remained second-class citizens”, be followed by some explanation or reason as to why blacks remained second-class citizens. For example, you could mention the discriminatory and recurrent racial attitudes expressed by Union Army troops during Occupation. More specifically, from historian Nancy Cohen-Lack’s novel A Struggle for Sovereignty, there is strong evidence that suggest recently freed blacks met unexpected animosity from their assumed liberators. On page 64 of her novel, Cohen-Lack explains, “In Galveston, the former Confederate mayor actively rounded up “runaways” with the intention of returning them to their owners. The army’s provost marshal, who held police and judicial authority under military government, did not object to the mayor’s policy on principle but preferred to hold the freedmen in the city jail for “safekeeping” until his quartermaster had work for them.” This notion of treatment expressed by the troop’s challenges simplistic and mono-causal assumptions, such as the ones we see from websites like MappingOccupation.com. Here, the website claims, “Army officers, sometimes working through the Freedmen’s Bureau, took control of court cases involving freed people, arrested white vigilantes, and tried to stop the resurgent practices of slavery.” Although there is partial truth to this statement, we cannot ignore the evidence presented in Cohen-Lack’s article. To better explain and convey the challenging aspects of the era of Occupation to your audience, I strongly suggest adding a sentence or two that demonstrates what I have previously discussed.

      Comment by Jakob Cummings on November 29, 2018

      When the assassination of Abraham Lincoln was mentioned in this chapter there was little historical background and no mention on the Background of John wilks Booth who had a huge part on the down-spiral of the movement of reconstruction. in this chapter, they talked a lot about what Andrew Johnson was Executing and ratifying but instead they weren’t talking about what the African  Americans were being denied as human citizens of the U.S.. It explains that Andrew Johnson refused to grant them (African Americans) any rights beyond legal freedom, but what are those rights he is denying? the rights he is denying is not very clear and could mean many different ones, such as human rights or just the rights to be a citizen. Legal Freedom only consist of not being owned, not all of the other natural rights you are granted to live as a U.S. Citizen.

  • 03. British North America (41 comments)

    • Comment by Michael D. Hattem on August 30, 2014

      Just a suggest… In place of “the outbreak of civil war,” I would suggest “the result,” because what the Civil Wars did was create a new bureaucratic, fiscal-military state with the kind of resources necessary for England to begin attempting to exert some form of imperial control over the colonies. “As a result of the Civil Wars between King and Parliament, the English state had grown enough–both fiscally and militarily–to begin attempting to consolidate its hold over the American colonies.”

      Comment by JEC on August 31, 2014

       “grew horrified almost immediately” might be better as “was almost immediately horrified by what he saw.”

      Comment by JEC on August 31, 2014

      “strongest” rather than “stiffest”?”Members of the elite” rather than “elites” 

      Comment by JEC on August 31, 2014

      Why is Virginia singled out here?”As had been the case for many thousands . . .” is better.”observation” rather than “observations”?  

      Comment by JEC on August 31, 2014

      “English” rather than “British” would be more accurate for 17th century.  

      Comment by JEC on August 31, 2014


      Comment by JEC on August 31, 2014

      “Kieft’s War””King Philip’s War” 

      Comment by JEC on August 31, 2014

      “southern colonies” rather than “South” 

      Comment by JEC on August 31, 2014

      Better to put the Equiano material re. birthplace within parens?  

      Comment by JEC on August 31, 2014

      put before “mine”:  “American”  

      Comment by JEC on August 31, 2014

      Put “had” before “made”Big debate about suplus European labor; possible that trade in slaves took off earlier, in wake of plague and loss of European population.  

      Comment by JEC on August 31, 2014

      Sentence “Females were more likely to be found . . . ” is confusing.  What comparands are being considered, here?  

      Comment by JEC on August 31, 2014

      Debatable:  strong notions of race existed re. Jews in Europe, and re. Indians in the americas.   

      Comment by Martha Katz-Hyman on September 14, 2014



      for complete information on this watercolor, which is part of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum at Colonial Williamsburg. Note that the artist is no longer unidentified and the time period is much more closely defined.


      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on September 23, 2014


      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on September 23, 2014


      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on October 27, 2014

      “Equiano claimed to have been born in Igboland (in modern-day Nigeria), but he may have been born in colonial South Carolina and collected memories of the Middle Passage from African-born slaves.”

      This sentence seems unclear to me. It seems that either “who” needs to be added before claimed and the “he” deleted OR have it broken into two sentences.

      Comment by Matthew Kruer on October 27, 2014

      “Bacon resorted on bluster and blasphemy” should be changed to “Bacon resorted to bluster and blasphemy”

      Comment by Matthew Kruer on October 27, 2014

      The final sentence should be split into two sentences. For example, “Building contracts for the forts went to Berkeley’s wealthy friends, who conveniently decided that their own plantations were the most strategically vital areas. Colonists condemned the government as a corrupt band of oligarchs more interested in lining their pockets than protecting their people.”

      Comment by Matthew Kruer on October 27, 2014

      “understood” should be replaced with “portrayed”

      Comment by Matthew Kruer on October 27, 2014

      The last three sentences of this paragraph, beginning with “However”, reflect an interpretation of Bacon’s Rebellion that is badly outdated. Scholars since Kulikoff in Tobacco and Slaves (1986) have pointed out that there is little evidence to connect Bacon’s Rebellion with the adoption of racial slavery. John Coombs’ more recent article in the William and Mary Quarterly, “Phases of Conversion” (2011) has decisively disproved the contention that Bacon’s Rebellion led to racial slavery, and he convincingly shows that wealthy planters adopted wholesale racial slavery as early as the 1640s. This paragraph would be improved if these sentences were  removed.

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      “tied” and “networks” too much, end of this para.

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      “grew horrified almost immediately”: grow implies over time, vs. immediately. And in any case, does one grow horrified? One is or one isn’t? Or is that just me?

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      It’s been an age since I read Le Jau, but please recheck: did he really teach several hundred slaves to read? I’m not sure he even claimed to convert that many, but it’s more likely that, than literacy, surely?

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      Do laws create expectations, or is it the other way round? This suggests that laws cause rather than reflect attitudes. An interesting question.

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      “settlers” is a loaded word. Omit, unless you use an adjective, as in “English settlers” or “Iroquois settlers”. Europeans thought they were settling the wilderness; Natives thought they were unsettling lands natives had tamed.

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      Here I go again, with word choice. “Rebellion” usually connotes an uprising within a political system, such as what happened in 1776, say, or a slave rebellion. Since Wampanoags, Nipmucks, and others were sovereign peoples, this wasn’t a rebellion, to my mind.

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      They weren’t going into a “wilderness,” since as this para notes, there was a community there. (More than one, of course.) Even the English, quoted here, called it “their country,” not a “wilderness.”

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      Why is “Indian Power” in quotation marks? Is it to suggest that there never really was such a thing? Unclear.

      Also, I’m among those against using Pequot instead of Pequots. But maybe that’s just me.

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      As with “rebellion,” “insurrection” = ww.

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      In the 1670s this wasn’t “western and central Massachusetts,” it was the realm of various Indian peoples.

      “more mobile native villages”? Not sure what this means, but it sounds like they’re picking up the entire town and moving it as they go.

      Comment by Philip Smith on May 18, 2015

      The founding of Charleston alarmed the Spanish in Florida. Almost immediately Spain began building the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine. Enslaved Africans from Carolina escaped and made their way to St. Augustine. English requests to return their property resulted in Spain’s 1693 Decree of Sanctuary allowing escaped slaves from the English to be free if they became Catholic and swore loyalty to Spain.

      These events created a meaningful border between Spanish and English North America, a border based on different treatments of race and slavery. Spain allowed Florida’s growing number of free Africans to bear arms and wear Spanish militia uniforms and to create a defensive position at Fort Mose. In 1740, this fort was attacked by General Oglethorpe from  Georgia, and Spain’s Black militia effectively defended St. Augustine.

      Spain’s Sanctuary Decree and Fort Mose may have been contributing factors to the 1739 Stono Rebellion.

      This would be a good place to insert something about Spanish versus English views on race and slavery in North America.

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on June 4, 2015

      “…as even the output of even its most prosperous…” one “even” too much

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on June 4, 2015

      These attitudes were not unique to elites in the colonies; the idea common people were inherently and beast-like was prominent among intellectuals in England and on the continent – tying this idea to Irish colonization may be useful.

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on June 4, 2015

      my comment should read “inherently lazy…”

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on June 4, 2015

      image of a slave ship here?

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on June 4, 2015

      I think the implications of the concluding sentence need to be stated clearly, e.g. slave status heritable from the mother was an economic calculation made by slave owners.

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on June 4, 2015

      I disagree: the key statement is “modern notions of race…” If Jews were considered as a distinct racial group, why were they forcefully converted to Christianity? Same for Native Americans.

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on June 4, 2015

      I know you’re condensing a lot of information here, but what does it mean to say Charles II ruled effectively? If by that is meant the re-imposition of order through the suppression of dissent, freedom of press, etc., then OK. I would recommend a lead sentence or two emphasizing popular suspicions of Stuart sympathies for Catholicism and continental-style absolutism that culminated in James II’s open Catholicism and allegiance to France. And possibly break into new para when transitioning to colonies.

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on June 4, 2015

      a map somewhere representing the new colonies discussed above would be useful

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on June 4, 2015

      “whobattled” typo – 2 words

  • 01. The New World (36 comments)

    • Comment by Jonathan Wilson on August 23, 2014

       This cold open could be intimidating—especially since this long paragraph technically covers 9,000 years. I’ve found that students often struggle to see the narrative or overall concept in surveys of Pre-Columbian history, so a bit of overview to start the chapter would be useful.

      Comment by Joe Locke on September 3, 2014

      We should better transition to the “Mico” and “Sachem” discussion. And can we should clarify how exactly the Muskogee peoples (who need a geographic identifier) are representative of larger ideas.

      Comment by Tatiana Hernandez on September 3, 2014

      “On October 12, 149, after two months at sea, the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria and their ninety men landed in the modern-day Bahamas.”

      October 12, 149**

      Comment by Caroline on September 13, 2014

      Not all native American groups were matrilineal. some were patrilineal–esp plains Indians.

      Comment by Caroline on September 13, 2014

      the astrolabe allowed mariners to know their latitude but not longitude. That was not accessible till the 18th c because it required an accurate chronometer that would keep time at sea. See the book Longitude!

      Comment by Karen Reeds on September 13, 2014

       “New Foundland in present-day Canada” This way of identifying the island of Newfoundland is confusing, geographically, historically, editorially. 


      “Culturally and geographically isolated, some combination of limited resources, inhospitable weather, food shortages, and native resistance drove the Norse back into the sea.” 

      “Culturally and geographically isolated” — the phrase presumably describes the Norse, but placement is poor.


      “drove the Norse back into the sea” — literal-minded readers will think the Norse started swimming or drowned. (A medievalist told me about her student who asked how the serfs were “tied to the land!”)

      Comment by Ian Chambers on September 13, 2014

      I like this opening paragraph for is succinct description of the current western archaeological statement of the population of north America. I would however, like to see the inclusion of Amerindian explanations for the population addressed in some way. Although I know this will not be an easy thing to accomplish.

      In later chapters you cover the religious motives of Europeans for traveling to the Americas and the role that their religion played in there lives, so ignoring the religious beliefs of the indigenous population seems to be  odd.

      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on September 23, 2014


      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      (There’s no “bubble” beside the title, so I’m putting this here.) “The New World” is a loaded term, Eurocentric to its core. These lands were “new” only to Europeans arriving 1492 and later. Unless the chapter explicitly challenges the common usage–by arguing that the hemisphere was, once, “new” to everyone, including those who crossed the Bering strait–it should omit the phrase.

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      I’m no expert on the subject in this para, but ask about 2 possible misnomers: “sheets” = ww? A “sheet” is usually thin, isn’t it, and as you note here, these formations were anything but. Second, “land bridge”: the word “bridge” makes it sound like this was a narrow strip of land that people tiptoed across, deliberately crossing. But wasn’t the “bridge” hundreds of miles wide, making the movement into this hemisphere less a conscious decision and more merely following game?

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      Save agriculture for later? It gets repetitious, otherwise, and ahead of itself. Also, “the Atlantic Coast” doesn’t do justice to the extent of these so-called “Woodland” peoples. Isn’t it more than that?

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      “isolated among themselves” is awkward and unclear?

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      “Corn and…” but “it”?

      “Three Sisters”: save for later? Who is calling these crops that? Why?

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      Does “glue” hold “fabric” together?

      mens’ should be men’s

      Will readers know what Algonquian and Muskogee are?

      A phrase on exactly what “clout” women wielded, and how, seems in order.

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      Transition matches the previous paragraph’s, and can be confusing, to and fro: despite differences, similar; despite similarities, different.

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      “pre-contact” is another loaded word that should either be explained or, better, omitted. It implies, contrary to the information already in this chapter, that native peoples had no contact with “foreigners” before Europeans showed up.

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      “it’s” here should be fixed.

      Is “wholly unprepared” in keeping with current understandings? Dan Richter, for example, argues that there was far less of a clean break with the pre-European past than commonly assumed. (See Facing East…)

      Diseases: did Native Americans live in a disease-free world before 1492? This seems to imply that they did.

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      “forged middle grounds”: I’ve been skimming and skipping the previous paragraphs. Is “middle ground” explained there? If not, it’s unclear here. And “forged middle grounds” suggests that natives alone did this work, not natives and newcomers, as Richard White suggests.

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 26, 2014

      A bit overly dramatic here? “debauching path” is awk and unc. How does a path debauch? So, with with waves crashing relentlessly. This is a dramatic and tragic tale as it is; no need to over write it.

      Also, “in an instant”? Truly? Again, I’m no expert (I seem to be typing that a lot), but aren’t Dobyns’s numbers and his claims for the speed of diseases’ spread debated?

      Comment by Tom de Mayo on January 12, 2015

      I think this section should probably include at least some mention of the current Pre-Clovis theories. My impression as a non-specialist is that the Bering Strait theory of Native American origins, if not dead, mortally wounded.

      Comment by Stephen Duncan on January 15, 2015

      Sentence #2: “They ruled their empire **not** through a decentralized network . . .” “Not” should be removed.

      Comment by John Shaw on March 12, 2015

      Where is a map!?

      Comment by aes on March 12, 2015

      ” ways of life as arose as varied as” should be “ways of life arose as varied as”

      Comment by aes on March 12, 2015

      “Central America first domesticated maize and and developed perhaps”

      Extra and

      Comment by aes on March 12, 2015

      Agreed, and probably move the paragraph after about agriculture before this, which is about society.

      Comment by Jacki Rigoni on March 13, 2015

      Text: “Women often chose their husbands, and divorce often was a relatively simple and straightforward process.”


      Edit: “divorce often” reads awkwardly and implies that divorce itself was often. Revise to say, “and divorce was often a relatively simple. . .”


      Cool project! I’m a homeschooling parent and will definitely be sharing this with my kids.

      Comment by Mary Berkery on March 24, 2015

      There is a typo in this paragraph – the sentence below should read:

      Pigs ran rampant through the Americas, transforming the landscape as *they* spread throughout both continents.

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on May 27, 2015

      I think the sentences on property could be condensed and simplified. Perhaps something along the lines of “While a concept of ownership concerning tools, weapons, land, and crops existed for Native American groups and individuals, a European sense of permanent possession often did not. Ownership was based on use, whether individual or communal, rather than on individual property to be bought and sold.”

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on May 28, 2015

      I like this paragraph, but the sentence “Asian goods flooded European markets, creating a demand for new commodities” may be an overstatement in terms of social impact on the majority of the European population.

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on May 28, 2015

      Last sentence: “unrest festered beneath the Aztec’s imperial power” seems an awkward construction. Maybe “unrest festered within the Aztec imperial system”?

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on May 28, 2015

      Maybe “Hernando De Soto tortured, raped, and enslaved Native peoples across the Southeast.”

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on May 28, 2015

      I agree; and the use of “unleashed” twice in 1st two sentences is awk. first two sentences might be reworked, condensed into 1.

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on May 28, 2015

      Another typo: 3rd sent should read “the Americas’…” rather than “the America’s…”

      Comment by Mark O'Malley on June 5, 2015

      You might want to mention the Portuguese invented the “mariners astrolabe.” The original astrolabe is known to have existed in antiquity.

      Comment by Stephen Bosworth on March 14, 2016

      Subsections should be numbered with Roman, not Arabic, numerals to stay consistent with subsequent chapters.

      Comment by Philip D Lamb on August 22, 2018

      The abundance of large forest mammals including deerk, elk, moose, and caribou

      Deer is misspelled and says Deerk.

  • 05. The American Revolution (23 comments)

    • Comment by Michael D. Hattem on August 30, 2014

      Might we consider putting this in a block quote centered with the line breaks coming after as they do in the original, which can be seen in the original posting here.

      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on August 30, 2014

       That first comment is meant to refer to the quote beginning, “PRO PATRIA.”

      Comment by Caroline on September 13, 2014

      The colonists didn’t create the Assemblies–England did. they were set up in the charters. So of course the Brits recognized the ‘legal standing’ of the assemblies.

      Comment by Caroline on September 13, 2014

      higher proportion of MALE colonists participated in politics. Women (widows) could own land but didn’t have the vote

      Comment by Caroline on September 13, 2014

      The Sons of Liberty as an organization was not founded until AFTER the riots in Boston so they could not have led them. Peter Oliver was the stamp DISTRIBUTOR not the stamp COLLECTOR.

      Comment by Caroline on September 13, 2014

      ditto re: COLLECTOR in this ¶

      Comment by Caroline on September 13, 2014

      this is for the illustration: the victim here was an ordinary customs officer not one of the 5 customs commissioners.

      Comment by Caroline on September 13, 2014

      no tea was destroyed in Charleston or Philadelphia. Only a relatively small amount was destroyed in  New York, not the main shipment. There were no other ‘tea parties’ immediately though some followed elsewhere months later. Don’t overstate what happened. The Mass Govt Act did NOT dissolve the Mass Assembly. It did change the composition of the Council. Again, don’t overstate.

      Comment by Matthew Hulbert on September 13, 2014

      It seems very odd to cover the Revolution from a military perspective without a single explanation – or even reference – to the American navy or the actions of privateers? Omission of the latter, especially, would seem to put this chapter at odds with current waves of scholarship redefining the conflict as one being international or, at the very least, Atlantic in scale? In other words, a large piece of the military equation seems to be missing here?

      Comment by E. Wayne Carp on September 14, 2014

      “Stamps were to be required on all printed documents, , , ,” The statement is untrue. Not stamps, despite the Act’s name but stamped paper, i.e., a royal watermark on the blank paper. If I remember correctly, that fact is mentioned in Morgan’s The Stamp Act but it has been a long time, I can’t remember the page.

      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on September 23, 2014

      That is correct. That sentence should be re-worded.

      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on September 23, 2014

      I agree with Matthew that those are important considerations. However, I think there are literally dozens of aspects of the Revolution that are not covered in this chapter or glossed over. That happens even in book-length treatments of the Revolution. It is an impossible task to tell the entire story of the Revolution in under 7,000 words. It is also important to remember that while the naval and especially the Atlantic aspect of the war is something that should be covered in a course devoted to the Revolution, this textbook is designed to be used in a survey where the Revolution itself will get no more than just a few class sessions.

      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on September 23, 2014

      A very small amount of tea was dumped in Charleston in 1774 by the actual consignees while a large amount had previously been seized and stored away (ultimately sold by the state). Philadelphians issued printed threats to the captain of the the tea ship, Polly, which ultimately turned back.

      Also correct is that Massachusetts General Court was not dissolved so that phrase “dissolving the assembly” should be struck.

      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on October 27, 2014

      Referring to paragraph 10, “recognize their assemblies’ legal standing” should be changed to “define their assemblies’ legal prerogatives.”

      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on October 27, 2014

      “Conflict was inevitable, but a revolution was not.”

      This sentence is unnecessary. Conflict, at least at this point, was certainly not “inevitable,” e.g., had Britain’s later policies been agreeable to the colonial assemblies and elites. I understand the desire to inject a sense of contingency but use of the term “inevitable” actually diminishes it. I’d advise cutting this sentence.

      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on February 6, 2015

      There is a “the” missing after “in” and before “eighteenth century.”

      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on February 6, 2015

      Rhode Islanders will certainly have a problem with ignoring the burning of the Gaspee.

      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on February 6, 2015

      This sentence about natural law seems out-of-place. In fact, if anything that Locke wrote had an impact on changes in social and political hierarchy it was his “Thoughts on Education.”

      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on February 6, 2015

      Suggested edit of penultimate sentence:

      “The Revolution did not end all social and civic inequalities in the new nation, but, over time, the Declaration of Independence’s rhetoric of equality highlighted those inequalities and became a shared aspiration for future social and political movements, including, among others, the abolitionist and women’s rights movements of the nineteenth century, the civil rights movement of the twentieth century, and the gay rights movements of the twenty-first century.”

      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on February 6, 2015

      “…that would transform post-Revolutionary politics and society.”

      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on February 6, 2015

      I’m a bit conflicted about this sentence. Maybe:

      “Indeed, the Revolution raised more questions than it answered, and it was left to the citizens of this new republic to find those answers.”

      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on May 12, 2015

      Edit for opening sentence of paragraph:

      “Between the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the middle of the eighteenth century, Britain had largely failed to take the initiative in both defining the colonies’ relationship to the empire and instituting a coherent program of imperial reform.”

      Comment by Kristen Coats on November 26, 2018

      I think that the photographs in this chapter relate to the text but does not explain how it relates to the text. When I look at the picture I want it to summarize some of the text but in this case I do not think that these photographs match up to the text.

  • 17. Conquering the West (17 comments)

    • Comment by Alyce Vigil on September 5, 2014

      The word “by” is close word repetition in the last sentence. Also, this paragraph quotes many phrases without giving credit.

      Comment by Alyce Vigil on September 5, 2014

      Unclear sentences. Consider: “…At the end of the Civil War, a steer bought for $4 in Texas could be sold in Kansas for $40, leading the cattlemen to make enormous profits. … The railroads had created them and the railroads ended them. …”

      Comment by Alyce Vigil on September 5, 2014

      millions of what? 

      Comment by Alyce Vigil on September 5, 2014

      Structure is confusing and hard to follow. Consider:Cattle drives were difficult tasks for the crews of men who managed the herds. Historians estimate the number of cowboys in the late nineteenth century to be between 12,000 and 40,000. Perhaps a fourth were African American, and more were likely Mexican or Mexican American. In fact, the American cowboy is an evolution of the Mexican vaquero. American cowboys adopted Mexican practices, gear, and terms. The practice of lassoing calves, gear such as spurs or sombreros, and terms such as “rodeo,” “bronco,” and “lasso” entered the American west by way of vaqueros.Most cowboys were young men, many hoping one day to become ranch owners themselves. But it was tough work. Fluctuations in the cattle market made employment insecure and wages were almost always abysmally low. While trail bosses could earn as much as $50 per month, beginners could expect to earn around $20-25 per month, and those with years of experience might earn only $40-45. On a cattle drive, cowboys worked long hours and faced extremes of heat and cold and intense blowing dust. They subsisted on limited diets with irregular supplies. While most cattle drivers were men, there are at least sixteen verifiable accounts of women participating in the drives. Some, like Molly Dyer Goodnight, accompanied their husbands. Others, like Lizzie Johnson Williams, helped drive their own herds. Williams made at least three known trips with her herds up the Chisholm Trail.

      Comment by Alyce Vigil on September 5, 2014

      Verb tense: “…The Virginian, established the character of the cowboy as a gritty stoic…”No “the” needed before rodeo in the third sentence.Chronology is wrong. The heyday of Wild West shows was before rodeo really took off. Consider splitting up into two or three paragraphs. The other paragraphs in this section are all very short. This one is long, and has many topics that would lend themselves to several paragraphs. Split this one into three (i.e. the Cowboy stereotype, Wild West shows, and rodeo), and put the rodeo paragraphs after those about Wild West shows.

      Comment by Alyce Vigil on September 5, 2014

       Consider this for the Wild West shows portion: Americans also experienced the “Wild West” by attending traveling Wild West shows, arguably the unofficial national entertainment of the United States from the 1880s to the 1910s. Wildly popular across the country, the shows traveled throughout the eastern United States and even across Europe and showcased what was already a mythic frontier life. William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody was the first to recognize the broad national appeal of the stock “characters” of the American West—cowboys, Indians, and sharpshooters. Operating out of Omaha, Nebraska, Buffalo Bill created the first Wild West performance in 1883. But Cody shunned the word “show,” as it implied exaggeration or, worse, falsity. Cody’s enterprise was called “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West,” as if it were a real place. To add to the aura of authenticity, Cody employed real cowboys and Native Americans in his productions. But it was still, of course, a show. It was entertainment, little different in its broad outlines from contemporary theater. Early storylines depicted westward migration, life on the Plains, and Indian attacks, in addition to “cowboy fun” such as riding bucking broncos, roping cattle, and sharpshooting contests.

      Comment by Alyce Vigil on September 5, 2014

      This may not be the best image, or at least the caption could be more clear. The caption does not explain why Cody is “coming,” or where he is coming to, or why his coming is significant. 

      Comment by Alyce Vigil on September 5, 2014

      Close word repetition. Delete the phrase “in the business” in the fourth sentence. The phrase in parentheses is also unclear. Consider “…(most people just called it “the Two Bills Show”)…”Finally, the last sentence  should read as follows: “The cast included performers of many ethnicities, such as American cowboys and western girls, American Indians, Mexican vaqueros, Russian Cossacks, Japanese acrobats, and even an Australian aboriginal.”

      Comment by Alyce Vigil on September 5, 2014

      Regarding the second sentence: It wasn’t really her “stage name,” as such; I feel uncomfortable calling it that, although I suppose one could make that argument. I would prefer the text read: “Billed as “Little Sure Shot,” she shot apples off her poodle’s head…” Similarly, let’s change the text regarding May Lillie to read: “…performed as the “World’s Greatest Lady Horseback Shot.””

      Comment by Alyce Vigil on September 5, 2014

      Delete the “A” at the end of the paragraph. 

      Comment by Alyce Vigil on September 5, 2014

       Regarding the second sentence: It wasn’t really her “stage name,” as such; I feel uncomfortable calling it that, although I suppose one could make that argument. I would prefer the text read: “Billed as “Little Sure Shot,” she shot apples off her poodle’s head…” Similarly, let’s change the text regarding May Lillie to read: “…performed as the “World’s Greatest Lady Horseback Shot.””

      Comment by Alyce Vigil on September 5, 2014

       The last sentence just kind of hangs there.  Consider: “By being very famous, very strong female characters in the arena, perfectly capable of outriding and outshooting any man, both Oakley and Lillie challenged expected Victorian gender roles. In order to make themselves more appealing to audiences, both were very careful to maintain their feminine identity and dress. Both women were fond of visiting local dignitaries in each city they passed through, and entertaining in their tents. They always rode sidesaddle in full skirts and corsets; never astride in new-fangled bloomers or split-skirts.

      Comment by Alyce Vigil on September 5, 2014

      I appreciate the point of this paragraph, but it needs to be elaborated upon. Why did the industrial world of office work lead society to think men “soft”? How were cowboys “civil,” as the preceding paragraphs all discuss how tough and rowdy they were?

      Comment by Martin Woodside on May 6, 2015

      I actually like this image here, a fairly iconic one for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West,  though I agree it needs more context.  Cody’s advance agents traveled ahead of the show, pasting images like these far and wide.  Jack Rennert claims they’d cover towns within a 200 mile radius of cities Buffalo Bill’s Wild West planned to visit; also, the posters they put up were immense.  Rennert describes larger billboards, consisting of 4 poster sheets totaling 9 feet by 91 feet.  These imposing images of Buffalo Bill and the promise he was “coming” were key components of the show’s success.  Cody and his business partners (Nate Salsbury probably deserves some mention here, as Cody only found success after partnering with Salsbury) did not create much of the Wild West show; for instance, they were not the first to feature traveling shows of Native Americans nor the first to feature sharpshooters or rodeo acts.  They were the first to put all of these things together successfully in a massive touring show, one that traveled not only around the nation but across the Atlantic and all over Europe.  Among other things, these successes reflect a considerable aptitude for marketing, demonstrating how Buffalo Bill’s Wild West tapped into–and gave shape to–emerging ideas of mass culture in the late nineteenth century.

      Comment by Martin Woodside on May 9, 2015

      It’s worth elaborating on a number of themes here.  Oakley and Lillie were hardly exceptions, as the “girl sharpshooter” became something of a staple in Wild West shows–some 80 of which were touring the country by the turn of the century.  Indeed, it was important that these performers maintained a conventionally “female identity,” and you could draw a clearer contrast here between Oakley and Lillie and Calamity Jane, whose picture leads off this section.  By dressing and acting in conventionally masculine ways, Calamity Jane challenged American audiences more directly than Oakley and Lillie, and as a result she was typically perceived as a social outcast (and a fallen woman).
      Age is important, too.  Oakley didn’t just present herself as typically feminine but as young and feminine.  When California teenager Lillian Smith joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West as a sharpshooter, Oakley immediately felt threatened.  Her immediate response was to make herself younger, subtracting eleven years from her actual age.  For Oakley, Smith, Lillie, and others, success came from balancing remarkable shooting with girlish charm.

      Comment by Martin Woodside on May 9, 2015

      I agree that elaboration is needed here, especially since the figure of the cowboy is at the center of this paragraph.  Even in the 1870s, cowboys were often perceived negatively in the public eye, considered to be from a degenerate and criminal class. Cody and his partners made a point of rehabilitating the cowboy’s image through their show.  Cody started touting the cowboy as a misunderstood hero when touring with Texas Jack Omohundro as a theater troupe, The Buffalo Bill Combination.  After forming Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, Cody continued promoting the cowboy as a heroic figure.

      Rather than “civil,” what distinguished cowboys in the imagined West was their status as “noble” laborers.  Buffalo Bill was an Indian Scout, in the mode of James Fenimore Cooper’s Natty Bumppo, a figure caught between savagery and civilization.  The cowboy was aggressive, even wild, but he also represented the domestication of the West and the successful imposition of clear social class boundaries on the frontier; cowboys worked for cattle ranchers.  In reality, they were not the equivalent of middle class Americans dreaming of western rejuvenation but, rather, something much closer to the working classes toiling in eastern factories and mills.

      The figure of Teddy Roosevelt might help tie these threads together.  Roosevelt appealed to the sense of nostalgia invoked here, and his cult of the strenuous life did invoke the “wildness” of the West as an antidote to ills of over-civilized eastern life. At the same time, he was a member of the Anglo-Saxon elite, a ranch-owner and not a ranch-hand.  His winning of the west meant appropriating cultural icons like the scout or the cowboy in the name of revitalizing–while preserving–hegemonic notions of white American manhood.

      Comment by Edward T. Custard on October 24, 2015

      Black Kettle was not killed at the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864 as stated in this paragraph. He was killed in 1868 at the Battle of the Washita.


  • 19. American Empire (16 comments)

    • Comment by Shane Landrum on August 22, 2014

      Typo fix: “As AMERICA asserted itself abroad”

      Comment by Shane Landrum on August 22, 2014

      Subject-verb agreement: “What WERE the nation’s obligations…?”

      Comment by Kevin Baker on September 14, 2014

      “American interventions in the Mexico, China…”

      Remove “the”

      Comment by Kevin Baker on September 14, 2014

      ” but they still operated outside for the formal expression of American state power”

      replace “for” with “of”

      Comment by Kevin Baker on September 14, 2014

      “American notions of superiority, then, were long-standing as Americans intervened in the Middle East.”

      Confusing sentence.

      Comment by Kevin Baker on September 14, 2014

      “Rough Rides”

      “Rough Riders”

      Comment by Kevin Baker on September 14, 2014

      “that sailed around the word between 1907 and 1909”


      “that sailed around the world between 1907 and 1909”

      Comment by Kevin Baker on September 14, 2014

      “Latin America as prime opportunities for investment.”

      Perhaps: “Latin American countries as prime opportunities for investment”

      Comment by Kevin Baker on September 14, 2014

      “He also believed that American sphere”

      He also believed that the American sphere

      Comment by Kevin Baker on September 14, 2014

      “both imperialist and anti-imperialist politics organizations”


      “both imperialist and anti-imperialist organizations ” or “both imperialist and anti-imperialist political organizations”

      Comment by Kevin Baker on September 14, 2014

      “By 1900, Catholicism in the United States had growing”

      By 1900, Catholicism in the United States had grown

      Comment by Kevin Baker on September 14, 2014

      “Whether as formal subjects or unwilling partners on the receiving end of TR’s “big stick,” those who experienced U.S. expansionist policies found confronted by new American ambitions.”

      “Whether as formal subjects or unwilling partners on the receiving end of TR’s “big stick,” those who experienced U.S. expansionist policies were confronted by new American ambitions.”

      Comment by Kevin Baker on September 14, 2014

      “The American University of Beirut was long the most modern and Western university in the Middle East.”

      Consider removing the word “modern” from this sentence.

      Comment by Alan Baumler on March 11, 2015

      Was preventing a closing of trade really the motivation for joining the Boxer Expedition? I think “saving civilization and protecting missionaries” sounds more like it, but I am a China person and not very up on how it was presented in the U.S. If you are going to mention the precedent of sending in troops without Congressional approval, you might also mention that they were part of a multinational force, something that would become more common after 1900.

      Comment by Gregory Moore on July 12, 2015

      Having discovered this project while preparing an online class in 20th century American History, I was excited to be able to utilize the materials presented within as part of the reading assignments for my students.

      However, in this chapter I find no discussion of the Open Door Policy. Having just published Defining and Defending the Open Door Policy: Theodore Roosevelt and China, 1901-1909, I would be willing to contribute a paragraph about the Open Door and the efforts on the part of the U.S. to uphold it in this time frame.


      Gregory Moore, Ph.D.
      Department of History & Political Science
      Notre Dame College
      4545 College Road
      South Euclid, Ohio 44121

      Comment by Ben Wright on July 13, 2015

      See paragraph 8. If you think more is needed send me an email, and I can talk it over with the chapter editors.

  • 27. The Sixties (16 comments)

    • Comment by Lucie Kyrova on August 29, 2014

       To say that the pan-Indian movement of the 1960s failed is not correct. It might have failed in achieving immediate results, but it certainly draw attention of the nation and helped to put Native American issues on the front page. That in turn led to political influence / pressure and eventual changes, for example the mentioned Bolt Decision.

      Comment by Lucie Kyrova on August 29, 2014

      You cannot leave out the occupation of Wounded Knee by AIM from the text. Wounded Knee was a turning point in the Red Power Movement. While the fishing struggle started to draw attention to Native issues, WK “kicked the door wide open” so to speak, not only on the national level, but on international level as well. It played  important role in Nixon’s decision to finally officially end the Termination policy and it can be argued that the increased international awareness also helped to get Native / indigenous issues onto the international human rights agenda of the UN. If there is a problem with space – length of text, I suggest you shorten up the NIYC part and add the Wounded Knee bit from the original submission.

      Comment by seth offenbach on January 12, 2015

      You might want to define Vietminh and explain that Ho Chi Minh and North Vietnam were communists. I think (I could be wrong) this is the first mention of all three.

      Comment by seth offenbach on January 12, 2015

      You move very quickly through this topic with lots of technical detail. It’s all accurate but hard for a novice to follow. I’d recommend cutting some of it (do you need the Battle of Ap Bac and an explanation of ARVN deficiencies?) to slow down and instead be a bit more clear about how the conflict was getting out of S. Vietnam’s hands.

      Comment by seth offenbach on January 12, 2015

      No mention of how by Jan 1968 there were about 500,000 troops there or that the war appeared no closer to an end. This is an important jump; esp considering the detail in the previous paragraph.

      Comment by seth offenbach on January 12, 2015

      Can you use the photo of the Saigon chief executing a VC during Tet?

      Comment by seth offenbach on January 12, 2015

      Is this really the most important thing that came out of the Vietnam War? You’ve devoted about 7 paragraphs to the war (which seems small considering it was one of the longest in US history) and this doesn’t seem like the most important point. I don’t mean to say it is irrelevant (it isn’t!) but there seem like more obvious low-hanging fruit which one would expect in a Vienam section.

      Comment by Lucie Kyrova on February 19, 2015

      I’ve been skimming the text to see if the NCAI is discussed elsewhere. I haven’t found it yet. If it is not included in earlier chapters – 1950s / Termination Policy, the appearance of the organization here, with no explanation, can be confusing to the reader.  You might want to at least add the year of its founding – 1944.

      Comment by Maria Cristina Garcia on February 19, 2015

      Why mention Che Guevara and Celia Sánchez here?  Guevara was Argentinian not Cuban so one could quibble that he is not a ‘compatriot.’

      Batista fled the country on New Year’s Eve.

      Can one really say that 1956-1959 constitutes a “long war”?

      The 1960 embargo was a partial embargo on certain commodities; the embargo as we know it today was imposed in 1962.

      Comment by Maria Cristina Garcia on February 19, 2015

      The majority of the Brigade 2506 soldiers were taken prisoner.  The soldiers would be ransomed over the next 18 months.

      Comment by Maria Cristina Garcia on February 19, 2015

      The Cuban Adjustment Act did not grant automatic permanent residency.  It helped those admitted as parolees to normalize their status.  The Cubans of the 1960s were  “paroled” into the US by the Attorney General, and parolees have no legal status unless Congress passes special legislation to normalize their status.  The Cuban Adjustment Act (one of several adjustment acts passed for a wide range of parolees from different countries) allowed Cubans to become permanent residents.  Before 1966, if a Cuban parolee wanted to become a permanent resident s/he had to go to a third country and apply for a traditional immigrant visa.  This adjustment act saved them that step.

      The “freedom flights” of 1965-1973 allowed a quarter million Cubans to enter the US, most of them members of the working class.

      Comment by Dean Blobaum on March 11, 2015

      “Outside the convention hall” is wrong. The convention was at the International Amphitheater, at the Chicago Stockyards, which is five miles from where any protest took place. Some protestors wanted to march to the Amphitheater–they got nowhere near it.

      Students for a Democratic Society did not–as a group–endorse, support, or organize the demonstrations of Chicago ’68. Individual SDS members participated as individuals. The protests were primarily organized by the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE). Tom Hayden, a past president of SDS, was an organizer, but he was hired by MOBE to do so.

      “Planned massive protests” is misleading.  The Yippies and MOBE talked of bringing 100,000 people to Chicago. But they achieved far, far less. Perhaps 10,000 people showed up for the rally at the old Grant Park bandshell on August 28. Most of them did not make their way to the front of the Hilton Hotel where the televised police assault happened that evening. Possibly a thousand protestors were clotting the street when that began.

      You are simply repeating some of the most common misconceptions about Chicago ’68. See http://www.chicago68.com/c68myths.html


      Comment by Caleb McDaniel on April 23, 2015

      Test comment.

      Comment by Allison Garcia on May 6, 2015

      President Johnson wrote legislation he felt was necessary at the time of his presidency. With that said, it is a stretch to say Johnson “embraced” the Civil Rights Movement. In Why Mass Incarceration Matters, Thompson claims the president’s “tough on crime” position, inspired by the need for law and order” created the “largest crime fighting bureaucracy the nation had ever seen” (Thompson 730). Unfortunately, this position had unfortunate implications for African Americans as they saw a disproportionate increase in arrests. In fact, due to several state laws barring criminals from voting, President Johnson had undermined the goals of Civil Right Movement.

      Comment by Edwin Breeden on July 13, 2015

      “Ambitions” should be cut from the end of sentence, “It was the decade of…”

      Comment by Joseph Locke on July 25, 2016

      Thanks, Edwin!

  • 24. World War II (15 comments)

    • Comment by Montgomery Wolf on February 26, 2015

      “but the United States not only the military capacity but the will to oppose the Japanese invasion.”

      should this read as follows? “but the United States lacked not only the military capacity but the will to oppose the Japanese invasion.”

      Comment by Montgomery Wolf on February 26, 2015

      Two different sized fonts in this paragraph.

      Comment by David-James Gonzales on March 17, 2015

      Noticed a few typos:

      Space needed after end of sentence “…emerging each morning to put out fires and bury the dead. (insert space) The Blitz…”
      Space needed after end of sentence “It was the largest land invasion in history. (insert space) France and Poland…”
      Delete “by” in the following sentence: “But Russia was too big and the Soviets were willing to sacrifice millions to stop by (delete) the fascist advance.”


      Comment by David-James Gonzales on March 17, 2015

      Caught a typo:

      Coral Sea is typed twice in the following sentence: “In the summer of 1942, American naval victories at the Battle of the Coral Sea Coral Sea (delete) and the aircraft carrier duel at the…”

      Comment by David-James Gonzales on March 17, 2015

      The last sentence “The war against Japan was fought with more brutality than the war against Germany” requires more explanation.

      Why was the Pacific theatre more brutal?
      Was the brutality of the Pacific theatre related to the prevalence of racial hatred between Anglo-American and Japanese forces? (see Dower, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War, 1987).

      Comment by David-James Gonzales on March 17, 2015

      The first sentence should be rewritten with the following additions for clarity:

      “Estimates varied, but given the tenacity of Japanese soldiers in islands far from their home, some officials estimated that an invasion of the mainland could result in a half-million American casualties and perhaps millions of Japanese civilians.”

      Comment by David-James Gonzales on March 18, 2015

      It seems to me that a sentence or two more on the use of atomic weaponry against the already defeated Japan is necessary in order to point out the various reasons unrelated to the Pacific War cited by gov. and military officials in support of dropping the bombs.

      For example, page 338 of The Oxford Guide to United States History lists the following:

      Fear of Nazi atomic bomb (mentioned in paragraph 48).
      Ferocity of the war in the Pacific theatre combined with “exterminationist fantasies” fueled by racial hatred between Japan and U.S.
      Use of bomb as an act of revenge and victory.
      Use of bomb to threaten, intimidate, and compel Soviet leaders into cooperating with U.S. officials in postwar negotiations.
      Use of bomb to avoid excessive U.S. casualties (mentioned in paragraph 47).

      Further page 318 of The Oxford Guide to American Military History notes that debate occurred among U.S. and Allied military officials whether “demonstrating” the bomb’s capabilities (on an uninhabited Japanese island) or its actual use to “obliterate” a Japanese city would be the proper moral and strategic choice.

      Comment by David-James Gonzales on March 18, 2015

      Typo in the caption. Caption should read “Much like during WWI, citizens during WWII (currently reads WWI) were urged to buy war bonds…”

      Comment by David-James Gonzales on March 18, 2015

      Perhaps another term besides “wave” could be used to describe the initial importation of bracero workers? Water metaphors are frequently associated with migration and imply an unwanted, unstoppable, and unwelcome presence of foreign persons.

      Comment by David-James Gonzales on March 18, 2015

      Typo. Second to last sentence should read “But the holocaust-the systematic murder of 11 million civilians, including 6 million Jews (currently reads 6 Jews)-had been underway for years.”

      Comment by David-James Gonzales on March 18, 2015

      Caption typo. Should read “This photograph, originally from Jurgen Stroop’s May 1943 report to Heinrich Himmler, circulated (currently reads ‘it circulated’) throughout Europe and America…”

      Comment by David-James Gonzales on March 18, 2015

      Typo. First sentence should read “Roosevelt had long showed enthusiasm for the ideas later (currently reads ‘laters’) enshrined in the United Nations charter.”

      Comment by David-James Gonzales on March 18, 2015

      Typo. Sentence should read “The G.I. Bill caused (currently reads ’cause’) a boom in higher education.”

      Comment by Boyang Zhang on March 31, 2015

      Japanese assaulted the Marco Polo Bridge on July 7, 1937.

      Comment by Boyang Zhang on March 31, 2015

      Madame Chiang was born in a wealthy Chinese family.

  • 25. The Cold War (15 comments)

    • Comment by Ari Cushner on January 16, 2015

      I’m not sure what happened to the second sentence, but…”to rally the Soviet Union’s capitalists” seems to be an obvious error.

      Is it supposed to read: to rally the Soviet Union against capitalists (or capitalism)”? Either would work. Or, maybe “to rally the Soviet citizenry”? Something like that, perhaps.

      “Many saw it as empty rhetoric to rally the Soviet Union’s capitalists, but officials in the United States and Britain, long suspicious of Stalin’s postwar intentions, viewed it with alarm.

      Comment by Ari Cushner on January 16, 2015

      The third sentence is missing a pronoun: “Stalin considered within the Soviet ‘sphere of influence.’”

      Simply adding “it” would work.

      But I might go with something like: “Stalin considered that territory within the Soviet ‘sphere of influence.’”

      Comment by Ari Cushner on January 16, 2015

      I would break up the final sentence: “Roosevelt had remained skeptical of Stalin but held out a trusting hope that the Soviets could be brought into the “Free World,” but Truman, like Churchill, had no illusions of Stalin’s postwar cooperation and was committed to a hardline anti-Soviet approach.”

      Suggestion: “Roosevelt had remained skeptical of Stalin but held out a trusting hope that the Soviets could be brought into the “Free World.” But Truman, like Churchill, had no illusions of Stalin’s postwar cooperation and was committed to a hardline anti-Soviet approach.”


      Comment by Ari Cushner on January 16, 2015

      Not a major issue, but perhaps the first sentence should read:

      Many officials on both sides thought that the Soviet-American relationship would dissolve into renewed hostility upon the closing of the war…

      Many Soviet and American officials knew that the Soviet-American relationship would dissolve into renewed hostility upon the closing of the war…”


      Comment by Ari Cushner on January 17, 2015

      This sentence is a bit confusing, having just mentioned the Molotov Plan:

      The Soviets countered with the Molotov Plan, a symbolic pledge of aid to Eastern Europe. Polish leader Józef Cyrankiewicz was rewarded with a five-year, $450 million dollar trade agreement from Russia for boycotting the Plan.

      Perhaps it should read:

      Polish leader Józef Cyrankiewicz was rewarded with a five-year, $450 million dollar trade agreement from Russia for boycotting the Marshall Plan.

      Comment by Ari Cushner on January 17, 2015


      …(later famously separated by a series of walls [barriers?] from August 1961 until November 1989).

      …(later famously separated from August 1961 until November 1989 by walls).

      Comment by Ian Maney on February 17, 2015

      In the first sentence, the word “eveyr” should be corrected to “every.”

      Comment by Montgomery Wolf on March 5, 2015

      Typo in the first sentence. Marshall Plan not Marshal Plan.

      Comment by David-James Gonzales on March 19, 2015

      Typo. Delete ‘by’ from “…declaring that Europe had been cut in half by into two spheres…”

      Comment by David-James Gonzales on March 20, 2015

      Typo in caption, delete “and” after communism in the first line. Sentence should read, “With the policy of ‘containing’ communism at home and abroad…”

      Comment by David-James Gonzales on March 20, 2015

      While potentially redundant, perhaps it would help readers if the names of these cities were included in the sentence? For example, the second sentence could read:

      “In August, two bombs leveled the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing an estimated 180,000 people.”

      Comment by David-James Gonzales on March 20, 2015

      Space needed after “June 19, 1953. (insert space) The Rosenbergs…”

      Comment by Eric Rojas on March 26, 2015

      Do you mean empty rhetoric to rally the Soviet Union’s communists? Because how would anti-capitalist rhetoric rally the capitalists of the communist Soviet Union?

      Comment by Phil Rubio on March 30, 2015

      General Dwight Eisenhower defeated Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson in the 1952 election and Stalin died in March 1953.

      Comment by Jeff Capra on June 23, 2015

      Ike defeated Adlai Stevenson in 1952.  Truman was not a candidate.

  • 26. The Affluent Society (15 comments)

    • Comment by James McKay on September 19, 2014

      “other minorities everywhere” sounds awkward, maybe just “other minorities”

      Comment by James McKay on September 19, 2014

      again “tore their way through the outskirts of cities” seems awkward and imprecise.

      should be “contracting crews” instead of “contracted crews” to go with the rest of the sentence

      Comment by James McKay on September 19, 2014

      “reclaimed millions of acres of rural space” probably isn’t accurate, more like “claimed millions of acres”

      Comment by James McKay on September 19, 2014

      insstead of “inequality persevered and questioned man of”  maybe “inequality persevered, undercutting many of the assumptions” at least change “man” to “many”

      Comment by James McKay on September 19, 2014

      instead of “explicitly racial neighborhood housing covenants, making it illegal to explicitly consider race”  maybe just take out the second explicitly.

      Comment by James McKay on September 19, 2014

      additionally “it would be years until housing acts passed in the 1960s could provide” sounds awkward, maybe “would provide”

      Comment by James McKay on September 19, 2014

      opening sentence sounds awkward, maybe instead of “had illustrated” just “illustrated”?

      Comment by James McKay on September 19, 2014

      The last sentence reads very awkwardly, particularly “she was the woman around whom Montgomery activists rallied a boycott around”  maybe “built a boycott”

      Comment by James McKay on September 19, 2014

      change “coordinating council to helping” to “coordinating council to hel”

      Comment by James McKay on September 19, 2014

      whoops, meant “to help” not “to hel”

      Comment by James McKay on September 19, 2014

      the second sentence has “although” twice and is awkward and confusing.  maybe “Although the act was nearly compromised away to nothing, it did achieve some gains”

      Comment by James McKay on September 19, 2014

      This is an incredibly long and somewhat intimidating paragraph, it might be best to break it up into two or three paragraphs if possible

      Comment by James McKay on September 19, 2014

      topic sentence is awkward instead “While the pressure to conform in the Affluent Society was intense”

      Comment by James McKay on September 19, 2014

      Great job editing, when I first read through this chapter a few weeks ago there was a lot to clean up.  Looking much better now. Thanks!

      Comment by Leah Cabrera on May 5, 2015

      While this section is a great explanation of “white flight” and the Second Great Migration, it seems to be missing statistical data to back up the claims. The data could be used to give a more complete picture of how the demographics of cities and the demographics of the suburbs changed over time. It would also help to describe how racial tensions were connected to housing.

      A good source for this information is “Race, Rights, and the Reaction to Liberalism” written by historian Thomas Sugrue. Introducing a case study like Detroit can help bring home the idea of how movement in and out of the city was determined by the factors already detailed in this chapter.

      Some information from his paper that will create a clearer picture of how the city demographics would be:

      “The city’s Black population increased by over five hundred thousand between 1940 and 1970, growing from 9 percent of the city’s population in 1940 to 45 percent in 1970.”

      Some info that will show how racial tensions mounted would be:

      “The issue of race and housing were inseparable in the minds of many white Detroiters. Homeowners feared, above all, that an influx of Blacks would imperil their precarious economic security.”

      There is a survey that helps describe how attitudes towards black individuals was dependent on social class. This piece would be a great case study for one of these example cities used in this section of the chapter.


  • 02. Colliding Cultures (15 comments)

    • Comment by Ian Saxine on August 29, 2014

       “Previously forbidden holidays like Christmas were NOT only celebrated in church.” is what I think you mean.

      Comment by Edwin Huerta on September 8, 2014

       Unfinished sentence in the last paragraph  

      Comment by Christophe Horguelin on September 15, 2014

      The first successful permanent French colony in Northeast North America was Port-Royal, in Acadia (p.d. Nova Scotia), in 1603. Tadoussac (est. 1607), in the lower St. Lawrence, also predates Quebec, as a permanent trading post. There should really be mention of Acadia and French forays on the eastern seaboard down to Cape Cod. Acadia remained as a French colony until conquest in 1710 and cession in 1713.

      I have never seen evidence of the French Crown actively encouraging rumors that New France was a death trap. In fact the Crown subsidized emigration to New France. This seems plain wrong.

      Comment by Heath Chaney on January 27, 2015

      Pocahontas is misspelled in this paragraph.

      Comment by Brenda Safer on March 19, 2015

      So this is confusing. In the on line text, not the one adjacent here,  the map is identified as a map of New Amsterdam.  Here, the caption is in error.  So the following refers to the map and content as it is presented in what I think you are calling the beta draft and not as shown here.

      I’ve done a fair amount of research regarding Jaques Corteljou, the Surveyor General for New Netherland/New York from 1657 to his death in 1693.  It’s delightful to see his most well known map, “A View of the City of Amsterdam in New Netherland” [or The Castello} used to introduce the focus on Europeans other than the Spanish in the New World of the seventeenth century.  I would, however, suggest some adjustments.  These would include the work being attributed to Corteljou and a note about it being, in part, the result of Dutch advances in map making .  Also, if you have not already done so, you might request some additional input from the New Netherland Institute , Albany, New York for the sections on Dutch history in New York.  And lastly, my sincere thanks for your recognition of the Dutch attempts at tolerance, which, despite their flaws, were commendable.

      Comment by Mary Berkery on March 24, 2015

      Extra period at the end of the first sentence

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on May 21, 2015

      Why is the enclosure movement “so-called,” and put into quotes I wonder? Whatever the real economic impact of enclosures, their cultural significance (see More’s Utopia, popular anti-enclosure riots, Tudor rebellions, etc.) was real enough.

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on June 1, 2015

      It may be worth inserting a clause (perhaps parenthetically) after “French Huguenots” stating that these were Protestants in France. Most students will not know what a Huguenot was.

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on June 1, 2015

      map somewhere here?

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on June 1, 2015

      First sentence requires concluding clause: greater religious tolerance and press freedom…than other European states?

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on June 1, 2015

      It may be worth noting concerning “half freedom” that children of the half free were held in bondage by the Company. Also, the “debate” referred to here seems to have been the written protest by some free New Netherlanders against the enslavement of Christianized Africans. I think a more forceful concluding sentence regarding the conflict between economy and society/culture would be useful.

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on June 1, 2015

      map of Europe and the British Isles?

      Comment by Daniel Johnson on June 1, 2015

      I suspect more on labor will be coming below, but a brief mention of what indentured servants were may be helpful.

      Comment by Mark O'Malley on June 5, 2015

      ” The patroon system granted large estates wealthy landlords, ”

      Should be “TO wealthy landlords”

      Comment by Gray Overton on November 28, 2018

      I love the introductions to each chapter, the one thing that does bother me with this specific introduction is the language. Specifically “Foodstuffs” this word could be specified to a specific foods that are later explained in the chapter.

      Although this word was chosen probably to save space and leave the reader on some what of a cliff hanger. It could use some specifics that are not necessarily “deep”. An example of this word to use “crops” and then in the body paragraph go into detail about what crops were used. This method of could be used 2-3 times instead of “foodstuff.”

      In closing foodstuff can literally be anything without context clues. The reader needs to know some context not that they were just eating. Me being a reader I know that they got food stuff; it’s also informal maybe try “while a variety of foods contributed Europeans population  boom.”

  • Help Us Improve (15 comments)

    • Comment by Ben Wright on August 15, 2014

      This is a sample comment.   

      Comment by Joe on August 15, 2014

       This is a sample comment.

      Comment by Kevin R. Hardwick on September 14, 2014

      I would not use this chapter, as it is missing some major topics: Federal Reserve Act–probably the most important institutional addition to the structure of US government in the 20th century, and something every American citizen today needs to know about; because the way in which a state extracts resources from citizens is central to understanding how it works, some mention of the income tax; the ideas of Herbert Croly, whose Promise of American Life is central to understanding Progressivism; the various regulatory reforms of Woodrow Wilson, especially those aimed at regulating business, which are basic to understanding Progressive era expansion of the role of government in regulsting the economy; some discussion of the Supreme Court in this era would also be helpful. Tindall and Shi, David Reynolds do a decent job on these topics.

      Comment by Kevin R. Hardwick on September 14, 2014

      An additional thought–the experience of what (if I recall correctly) Hawly calls “wartime socialism” was a major precursor to the New Deal. FDR repeatedly used the metaphor of “war” to legitimate executive action to address the great depression. The earlier experience that made that metaphor meaningful was the administrative state apparatus created by the Wilson administration to coordinate the economy and reorient it to support the war effort. This deserves mention in the chapter devoted to WWI.

      Comment by Steve Gustafson on September 24, 2014

      “Click Here to improve this chapter” takes you to this top comments page, rather than to the comments page for the chapter you were reading and being invited to comment on.  This seems counterintuitive.

      Comment by Shannon on November 5, 2014

      Fragment in para 3–Stalin considered within the Soviet ‘sphere of influence.’

      Comment by Shannon on November 5, 2014

      25. Cold War

      “Stalin considered within the Soviet ‘sphere of influence.’” fragment

      “clearly understood the development of the ERP as an assault against Communism in Europe” (call it ERP before giving the full title–confusing to students)


      “Having fought and died abroad to for American democracy” (remove to)


      McCarthy had hardly alone.?? Was hardly alone?


      as the United States had after eveyr major conflict


      The Soviet Union, too, was attempting TO sway the world.

      The gray font used as captions certainly stands apart from the text, but it is difficult to read. It would be useful to be darker.



      Comment by Larry Cebula on February 5, 2015

      I see no direct references to my dissertation in this book. That is totally unacceptable.

      Comment by Leron Tortsky on February 19, 2015

      In the section “Free and Enslaved Black Americans and the Challenge to Slavery” of Chapter 7 the last two sentences of the second paragraph and first sentence of the third paragraph could use some minor (but meaningful) tinkering. First, migrants from what became Haiti also flocked to Philadelphia, Charleston, and New Orleans (though not yet US territory) with greater numbers and influence than those only referenced in Virginia. Second, the colony of French Saint-Domingue only became Haiti in January 1804, though references telescope to the post-independence name. Third, the Haitian Revolution is called the Haitian Revolt in the text, which is probably just a typo.

      Comment by Minna Ziskind on March 13, 2015

      Key words in italics or bold would help make this text more user-friendly.  It is an increasingly important feature for students with learning differences.


      Comment by Laurie on May 15, 2015

      Just discovered this recently and it’s super helpful, but am I missing the footnotes/citations?

      Comment by Bob Brown on April 28, 2016

      Simply in the interest of accuracy, I’d suggest changing the language quoted from the Declaration of Independence to reflect what actually is written: “All men ARE created equal.” If it’s important to put the section in past tense, I’d suggest, “All men [were] created equal.” It indicates that a word was changed though the context remains the same.

      Comment by Joseph Oakley on September 22, 2021

      There is a glaring lack of positivity and almost no discussion of American accomplishments. The magnitude of industry, the economic might, the scientific breakthroughs, all seem to be given second place to a discussion of inequality.

      Comment by Dale Fritch on October 6, 2022

      I would hope to see the inclusion of illustrative maps and charts within the text of each chapters.  Many of my students often lack a historical sense of place or region.

      Comment by Dale Fritch on October 6, 2022

      I would like to see that as well.

  • 29. The Rise of the Right (14 comments)

    • Comment by Alex on August 31, 2014

      The last sentence leaves an opening to address students to the theme of “morning in america” 

      Comment by Randal Balmer on September 2, 2014

      There are a few issues with the previous section:Evangelicals were at best indifferent to abortion at the time of Roe v. Wade; many in fact supported legalization. Also, this passage makes much more of the school prayer decisions than evangelicals themselves did. They didn’t much like the decisions, of course, but they did not by any means treat them as a summons to political engagement; they merely interpreted them as confirmation of the wisdom of staying out of the political fray. 

      Comment by Marita Sailor on April 22, 2015

      This paragraph refers to the New Deal state as “decades of liberal dominance,” but historians Jefferson Cowie & Nick Salvatore propose a different idea that could be incorporated. In Scholarly Controversy; Rethinking the Place of the New Deal in American History, Cowie and Salvatore argue that the the New Deal state was a “‘long exception to the nation’s political traditions” instead of being the decline of the presumed conservative norm (5). These so-called “political traditions” were laid by the conservative grassroots activists of the 1930’s and 1940’s long before the New Right emerged. I suggest incorporating Cowie & Salvatore’s arguments in a new section about the grassroots activists to emphasize the political change that the New Deal brought and to show that the roots of conservative tradition were founded long before Reagan’s election in 1980.

      Comment by Taylor Jacobe on April 28, 2015

      I think this portion of the chapter needs to include more ideas which do not simply stick to the “backlash” thesis of explaining conservative ascendance, as this seems largely monocausal. Although the chapter mentions how conservatives were gaining attention in the 1950s because of individuals like McCarthy and Buckley, it is important to clarify that conservatives were active all throughout the early 20th century, and there are differing perspectives on the so-called “rise of the right.” In Kim Phillips Fein’s book, Invisible Hands, Fein discusses how the conservative values held by wealthy businessmen in the 1930s led them to form political groups like the American Liberty League, fighting for business’ role in government. Historian Elizabeth Tandy Shermer’s “Origins of the Conservative Ascendancy: Barry Goldwater’s Early Senate Career and the De-legitimization of Organized Labor” also displays that conservatives played a political role in the 1930s, writing anti-New Deal articles in newspapers quickly after the New Deal was enacted. Historians Jefferson Cowie and Nick Salvatore have asserted a “Long Exception” ideology that views the New Deal simply as a brief interruption in American conservative values, claiming that the Right didn’t actually “rise,” it was just “restored.” Historian Lisa McGirr has asserted that the conservative ascendancy was an ascendancy, but it occurred in the 1950s rather than the 1980s because “suburban warriors” in the Western United States were campaigning for conservative values in their local areas during this time. It would be beneficial to explore these different viewpoints on conservatism in the 20th century to give readers a more detailed background on American conservative history.

      Comment by Jake Levens on May 2, 2015

      F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom is one piece of this intellectual strand of rising conservatism.  Published in 1944, Hayek opposes central-planning of the economy and supports a more laizzes-faire capitalist system.  Though not universally praised by conservatives, this book provides an academic basis for the free-market capitalism that was essential to, for instance, Reagan’s policies.  For instance, there is a clear connection between Hayek’s argument for “competition as superior not only because it is in most circumstances the most efficient method known but even more because it is the only method by which our activities can be adjusted to each other without coercive or arbitrary intervention of authority” and Reagan’s claim, “Government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem.” Evidence like this text suggests that while conservative economic policies were, on one hand, a reaction to a perceived failing of liberal policies, they also have a basis in earlier intellectual economic thought.

      Comment by Kenton Whitmire on May 3, 2015

      This would be a good opportunity to discuss the “Southern strategy” and go into further detail into the Backlash Thesis. Though the general narrative presented here follows the idea of backlash, it does not specifically address this theory and tends to say that some voters were swayed because they disliked women’s rights, others because they didn’t like their religion being disagreed with and still others because of the resentment of being working class. A more consolidated look, or the acknowledgment of the existence  a deeper conservative ideology would serve this well. We know this ideology exists because off articles like the one by Elizabeth Shermer, who writes in an article about Goldwater and Conservative Ascendance that many of the working class had a fundamental distrust of the New Deal and were drawn to the ideas of small government and distrust of liberalism.

      It seems to gloss over race relations, and voting patterns were and still are divided among racial lines to an extent that is noticeable. It does mention a “white backlash” but it’s more of an afterthought than an actual reason. The Rise of the Right as portrayed here seems to only be due to reactionary responses. It would allow for a much deeper narrative that would tie this chapter together with 1960’s and allow for the “Recent Past” chapter to connect with this one in a more tangible way.

      There is also a lack of evidence for the narrative here. It seems to just present the story without actually backing any of it up. Besides some isolated quotes from Wallace and citing a couple of court cases in one sentence, there isn’t any evidence. It would be nice to have some articles or quotes from new articles that reveal more underlying sentiments from actual people rather than just political rhetoric.

      Comment by Fintan Hoey on May 4, 2015

      Neil Young and Willie Nelson’s charity concert was “Farm Aid” which was inspired by “Live Aid.”

      Comment by Colin Shaw on May 6, 2015

      The “traditional family” of the 1970s began much earlier, as a result of changing expressions of Catholic and Protestant values. As Cowie and Salvatore suggest in “The Long Exception: Rethinking the Place of the New Deal in American History,” the encouragement of the closer-knit “Catholic ghetto” (9) and the rejection of new-order policies on contraception begin the religious aspect of the conservative resurgence as early as the 1950s. This dovetails with earlier comments on in this section (paragraph 4) indicating the longer arc of conservative progression

      Second, it would  be helpful to differentiate these newly “mobilized” women from politically active, yet conformist, women that had preceeded them. In the words of Michelle Nickerson in “Women, Domesticity and Postwar Conservatism,” “these ‘kitchen table activists’ … were not the cloistered, depressed, valium-popping housewives of Betty Frieden’s ‘Feminine Mystique'” (20).

      Comment by Colin Shaw on May 6, 2015

      This paragraph does a good job summarizing the different aspects that converged in the late 1970s, but some of the aspects don’t receive as much time in the above sections as they deserved. For example, the backlash to the “New Deal political order” doesn’t receive any space in this section. Though it’s mentioned elsewhere in the Yawp (Chapter 28, for instance) the fact that this backlash (or drawn out response) had such a big effect on the policies of the 1970s needs to be mentioned here.


      Additionally, it would help to include newly empowered women in the list of conservative movement “wings.” Lisa McGirr’s “Suburban Warriors” describes the odd dichotomies that these women exemplified: “[They] were found to be [present] in the most modern of communities. Post–World War II American conservatism thus explodes any easy dichotomies between tradition and modernity. Indeed, an exploration of this movement highlights the dual nature of modern American conservatism: its strange mixture of traditionalism and modernity, a combination that suggests the adaptability, resilience, and, thus perhaps, intractability of the Right in American life” (8). The inclusion of this material (or similar) would provide a more interwoven narrative.

      Comment by Rachel Lee on May 6, 2015

      This paragraph very clearly supports the Backlash Thesis, which which holds that the right grew in popularity as a “backlash” to the liberal movements that occurred between 1964 and 1980. This portion of the Yawp could improve by including information from Kevin M. Kruse’s Beyond the Southern Cross. Kruse shows that “national alliances forged by the nascent Religious Right were taking shape long before the 1970’s” (Kruse, pg. 287). This information shows that the reasons behind the “rise of the right” are not as monocausal as the Backlash Thesis portrays them to be. It is important to note that although the liberalism and counter-culture of the sixties might have helped to spur the rise of the religious right, the religious right was mobilizing much earlier.

      Comment by Dhruv Madhok on May 6, 2015

      While the Yawp does mention many causes for why Americans became estranged with the Democratic Party and liberalism (Johnson’s Great Society, the upending of the Jim Crow South, “white backlash”, economic vulnerability to many working and middle-class citizens) and in this way does does appear to present a dense web of overlapping factors that is key to narrativity, the Yawp is still neglecting  one other key cause for the Rise of the Right. In Heather Ann Thompson’s essay on mass incarceration, Thompson raised the point that the rise of mass incarceration in the last 40 years, imprisoned and disenfranchised constituents and voters of the Democratic Party, driving America toward the Right. Thompson talks about a New York state senator, who so openly validated this point: “One New York senator, Republican Dale Volker, admitted publicly that hew as glad ‘that the almost 9,000 people confined in his district cannot vote because they would never vote for me”‘.

      As such, the Rise of the Right can be attributed to practical reasons, rather than general disillusionment with the Democratic Party, as the Yawp seems to focus on. The Yawp should include for this information as well if it wants to illustrate mastery in narrativity and evidence (as a narrative should always show the full picture, and make use of the full range of evidence to achieve this).

      Comment by Jake Spisak on May 6, 2015

      The information presented in this paragraph implies that the so-called ‘white backlash’ against racial equality primarily occurred in the 1960s and 1970s: “In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Black Power, affirmative action, and court-ordered busing of children between schools to achieve racial balance brought “white backlash” to the North, often in cities previously known for political liberalism.”

      Only presenting this information, however, ignores the white backlash present in the early post-war era due to racial housing integration. All-white neighborhoods in many of the ‘urban cities known for political liberalism’ suddenly found themselves dealing with an influx of black homeowners, which caused a political backlash decades before the busing protests. To cite a specific example, Thomas Sugrue’s article “Crabgrass-Roots Politics: Race, Rights, and the Reaction against Liberalism in the Urban North, 1940-1964” describes how racial housing integration in post-war Detroit pushed many staunchly liberal blue-collar workers to vote conservative in the 1950s in an attempt to preserve their racially homogeneous neighborhoods.

      This evidence complicates the claims made in this paragraph, which link the swift rise of conservatism that clearly occurred from Barry Goldwater’s overwhelming defeat in 1964 to Reagan’s stunning victory in 1980 to the sudden emergence of white backlash. While white backlash undoubtedly contributed to the rise of conservatism (as Sugrue’s article demonstrates), it was not quite the new, powerful force of the 1960s and 1970s that this paragraph might lead the reader to believe. I would recommend amending this paragraph to make it clear that white racial backlash has deeper roots, which can connect this passage back to earlier chapters.

      Comment by Evan Lopez on May 6, 2015

      This is an excellent context in which to address one of the roots of modern institutionalized racism.  For instance, present-day journalist Colin Gordon of Dissent magazine notes how zoning and redevelopment practices resulted in pockets of low-income, largely African-American housing: “The major redevelopment plans drafted in the late 1950s and early 1960s zeroed in on the county’s pockets of black occupancy” (How Racism Became Policy in Ferguson, published March 5, 2015 in Dissent).  Historian Thomas J. Sugrue describes Detroit: “Between 1940 and 1960, the first African Americans moved in 110 previously white census tracts…the 1943 race riot [was] the bloodiest civil disorder in the United States since…the Civil War” (Crabgrass-Roots Politics: Race, Rights, and the Reaction against Liberalism in the Urban North, 1940-1964, published September 1995 in the Journal of American History).

      Comment by Evan Lopez on May 6, 2015

      Differences existed between the right and left regarding socialism; the American relations with the Soviet Union discussed here would be an excellent context in which to address these.  In the Port Huron Statement for instance, issued by the Students for a Democratic Society in June of 1962, they note that “A new left must include liberals and socialists, the former for their relevance, the latter for their sense of thoroughgoing reforms in the system” (Port Huron Statement, p. 11).  No such sentiment can be found in The Sharon Statement, made by the conservative group Young Americans for Freedom in September of 1960: “[We, as young conservatives, believe] that the forces of international communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these liberties” (Sharon Statement, p. 1).

  • 30. The Recent Past (13 comments)

    • Comment by Michael Hammond on August 17, 2014

      “ever” instead of “every” in first sentence 

      Comment by Michael Hammond on August 17, 2014

      “2000” election instead of “200” election 

      Comment by David Moody on October 1, 2014

      1. Remove apostrophe from “catastrophe’s” (line 2).

      2.  Avoid repetition of “began” (line 2) by insertion of “have” before “most” (line 1).

      3.  Explain reference to “one percent.” As with the subsequent “Occupy Wall Street” reference, one can assume student reader familiarity with current terms for only five years.  One hopes this writing will last longer than that.


      Comment by David Moody on October 1, 2014

      Apologies for my 3rd comment to para 57.  That problem is more than adequatey solved in para 58.

      Comment by David Moody on October 1, 2014

      In the final sentence, “generation of Americans look” :  apparently includes a singular subject connected to plural verb (and I submit further apologies for my own typo in comment to 57: “adequately”).

      Comment by David Moody on October 1, 2014

      . . .suggest insertion of comma after “stability”, “seemingly” before “interminable.”

      Comment by Bill Harshaw on March 10, 2015

      I suggest adding  sentences something like:  The shock led to a rally-round-the-flag effect, which permitted passage of the Patriot Act with only one senator in opposition.  The Act served as the legal basis for the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other aspects of the war on terror.

      Comment by James A Norris on March 12, 2015

      I think short mention of the reason for the intervention in Kuwait ought to be mentioned in the second sentence of the paragraph. “In response to Iraq’s invasion and conquest of Kuwait. . . Congress . . .

      Comment by Caleb McDaniel on April 21, 2015

      Shouldn’t the phrase “Clinton was denounced as a social liberal THAT” read “social liberal WHO”?

      Comment by Montgomery Wolf on April 25, 2015

      The section titled “The Obama Presidency” should be section V not IV.

      Comment by Alex on May 5, 2015

      I think this paragraph/section would benefit from a more neutral viewpoint and a more complex way of evaluating presidential effectiveness, as well as generally providing more depth and warrants for the claims made in it.

      Specific comments and suggestions of things to improve are:
      Defining Obama as a lame duck on the basis of a gridlocked congress omits several defining characteristics of his presidency.
      Among them:
      1. Expanding the use of executive orders/executive authority. For instance, while he was unable to pass his desired legislation addressing climate change, his administration was a driver in a change of EPA regulations determined to have cleaner air.
      2. Fallout from the revelations of global surveillance programs.

      Additionally, the use of half-heartedly to describe both the economy and Obama’s efforts seems to be quick to rush to judgement.

      Comment by Henrik Munch on May 6, 2015

      It seems to me that this paragraph suffers from two principal limitations. The first limitation is that it only mentions the Great Society programs between 1964 and 1965 as an explanation for the younger Americans being the most diverse generation in American history. The second limitation is that it only talks about the increase in hispanic population for being the reason behind this diversity. These two aspects make the explanation for this great diversity too simplistic. What I mean by this is that it seem as though the Great Society programs are the only reason for this diversity, and also that American society being diverse is a recent phenomenon that only dates back to the 1960s.

      What I suggest to improve this passage is, for example, to briefly mention the period of slavery in the United States. This would show that the increase in diversity is not a phenomenon as new as this paragraph suggests. Additionally, it would also show that there are multiple explanations for the increase in diversity, and that the hispanic population is not the only ethnic group responsible for the increase in diversity but that the African-Americans also played a large part in the process.

      By including these changes I think it would allow the paragraph no to seem too monocausal, meaning that there is not just one simple reason for the increase in diversity, but rather that it is a complicated phenomenon with multiple causes. Additionally, it would give the paragraph stronger evidence and more empathy, meaning that it would be showing that there are many different perspectives that help explain why, the young American population, has become the most diverse generation in American history. These changes to the paragraph would show that the increase in diversity is a complicated phenomenon that requires a lot of evidence, and many different perspectives to be properly explained.

      Comment by Person on May 17, 2015

      Please fix the roman numerals here, they are incorrect in multiple sections.

  • 13. The Sectional Crisis (13 comments)

    • Comment by Jesse Gant on September 13, 2014

      Rather than say “slavery disappeared” from half of the nation, maybe say slavery “became less common,” “shifted westward,” “became more aligned with southern agriculture?” I worry that by saying slavery disappeared, we’re not offering an analysis of how it actually came to an end in New England, Middle Atlantic, the Northwest, etc.

      Comment by Jesse Gant on September 13, 2014

      Last sentence has some repetition–

      “A new transatlantic antislavery movement began to argue that freedom was the natural condition of man was freedom.”

      Strike the last two words “was freedom” to make the sentence shorter.

      It should read “A new transatlantic antislavery movement began to argue that freedom was the natural condition of man.”

      Comment by Jesse Gant on September 13, 2014

      To cut down on the use of the word “revolutionaries,” maybe just say “In the United States, leaders declared, ‘All Men are Create Equal,’ in the 1770s.

      Minor point, but seems to read better this way.

      Comment by Jesse Gant on September 13, 2014

      Ohio statehood is in 1803. Maybe include it if we’re also going to include Indiana and Illinois admission dates?

      Comment by Jesse Gant on September 13, 2014

      Don’t believe there’s a comma necessary in after “Laws” in the sentence beginning “Ohio’s so-called ‘Black Laws’ of 1803

      Comment by Jesse Gant on September 13, 2014

      Let’s just say Tallmadge proposed laws

      I don’t think we need to over-editorialize by saying he alone “stirred up the trouble.”

      Comment by Jesse Gant on September 13, 2014

      More democratic for white men, at least. Maybe clarify?

      Comment by Jesse Gant on September 13, 2014

      “the ending the interstate slave trade” should be changed to “an end to the interstate slave trade,”

      Comment by Jesse Gant on September 13, 2014

      This paragraph is confusing and needs to maybe be re-cast.

      Will develop…

      Comment by Jesse Gant on September 13, 2014

      we need a comma after Sojourner Truth in sentence beginning “Other former slaves, including Sojourner Truth,”

      Comment by Jesse Gant on September 13, 2014


      California wants admission as a FREE STATE.


      We need to change this…

      Comment by Emma Reed on February 27, 2015

      “Texas, which had already come into the Union as a slave state, was asked to give its lands up and give them to New Mexico”

      This sentence is a little repetitive near the end and  would flow a little easier if changed to “Texas, which had already come into the Union as a slave state, was asked to give some of its lands to New Mexico.” or something similar.

      Comment by Alison Mann on April 6, 2015

      James Bachelder was the name of the Marshall killed in the melee, but he was shot, not stabbed. It’s erroneous information on Wikipedia. Burns was purchased in 1855 and returned to MA (aside). http://www.masshist.org/longroad/01slavery/burns.htm

      For details on Bachelder’s death, see Kantrowitz’s “More Than Freedom,” 2012.

  • 28. The Unraveling (12 comments)

    • Comment by Alex on September 1, 2014

      unnecessary “of” in first sentence

      Comment by Steve Gustafson on September 23, 2014

      “and “fifth Beatle” Billy Collins”


      Surely you mean Billy Preston.



      Comment by seth offenbach on January 12, 2015

      This feels like you’ve taken a step backward chronologically with Vietnam. Why not combine the two sections into a very long section; it could be in this chapter.

      Comment by seth offenbach on January 12, 2015

      Again, this feels like it should be integrated into the Nixon paragraph from the previous chapter.

      Comment by Caleb McDaniel on February 12, 2015

      Unless I’m missing it, I don’t think that the “New Left” has been defined in any previous part of the text, so students don’t have a context for it here.

      Relatedly, I think some discussion of Port Huron statement and New Left should be added to the chapter on the Sixties.

      Comment by Bill Harshaw on March 10, 2015

      When Loving v. Virginia was decided interracial marriage was legal in 33 of the 50 states.


      I’d suggest replacing “American law” with “State law”

      Comment by Andrew on March 19, 2015

      Hi crew – there is a redundant “the” in the last sentence of this paragraph (the one about the Hell’s Angels).

      Comment by Nathan Andrus on April 29, 2015

      This is a great and thorough explanation of deindustrialization and the decline of labor, but there are still important components missing from the narrative. It’s wonderful to see the focus on race and the disparities in wealth and opportunities between white and colored workers. The ties between the Sunbelt and suburban-based conservatism are also well articulated and substantiated by works like Lisa McGirr’s Suburban Warriors. Furthermore, this section clarifies many important factors contributing to the fall of labor, including: cities’ desire for higher-end property than factories; mechanization of unskilled jobs; loss of support from the public and Democratic Party following World War II; manufacturers seeking cheaper labor alternatives; and important legislative changes like the 1949 Taft-Hartley Act.
      However, race played an even bigger role than what is currently provided. Cowie and Salvatore argue in The Long Exception that “the unresolved issue of race” was an important cause of the internal fracturing that hurt the labor movement in the second half of the 20th century (Cowie & Salvatore, p. 9). Thomas Sugrue asserts in Crabgrass-Roots Politics that the housing segregation mentioned in this section sometimes prevented African Americans from being able to geographically access factory jobs. Additionally, Sugrue shows that white union members were often hostile to African Americans because they were economic threats, not only because they were competition for jobs but because they would hurt property values.
      As far as external pressure on unions and their loss of support, this section would benefit from some discussion of the conservative opposition that worked to discredit unions. Elizabeth Shermer has written a great piece called Origins of the Conservative Ascendancy, which shows how Barry Goldwater undermined labor in various ways, including appealing to unionists financial well-being, as he did in Bisbee, Arizona, and working to restrict unions and give “control ‘back to the people’” as part of the Labor Committee in Senate (Shermer, p. 697). Coverage of such opposition would explain some of the loss of support for unions.
      Finally, the section’s explanation of cheaper labor alternatives is lacking. The section claims: “American firms fled from pro-labor states in the 1970s and 1980s.” However, no connection is made between this phenomenon and earlier episodes of industries relocating within the U.S., like when the textile industry migrated to the South after World War I, as explained by David Koistinen in The Causes of Deindustrialization. The section also states that American firms “went overseas… to exploit low-wage foreign workers.” But no mention is made of the exploitation of prison labor. Heather Ann Thompson has argued compellingly in Why Mass Incarceration Matters that the use of prison labor was an integral factor in the decline of labor in the late 20th century. The inclusion of prison labor would also lend to a discussion of the rise in prominence of the carceral state in the late 20th century and its effect on minorities, topics sorely missing from the Yawp’s narrative.
      These additions would make the section’s discussion of deindustrialization in the North and the decline of labor much more complete.

      Comment by Fintan Hoey on April 30, 2015

      Nixon was not the first president to visit the USSR. FDR was at the Yalta conference shortly before his death.

      Comment by Fintan Hoey on April 30, 2015

      Technically LBJ didn’t ‘resign’ in March 1968.

      Comment by Yasmine Filali-Adib on May 6, 2015

      While the section on racial tensions shows a facet of events of the late 1960s and 1970s, it doesn’t empathize well with all members of society involved in protests and is a very monocausal, somewhat whiggish narrative of racial tensions. For example, when discussing social change, the section states that it was the pace of social change that caused the racial tensions of the late 1960s and early 1970s. This is true, as is evidenced by the MLK LBJ phone conversation. However, it is a very monocausal way of looking at things, as America has a long history of conflict in race relations, from backlash from Roosevelt having Booker T. Washington to the Lincoln New Years Reception to LBJ and MLK. While the Yawp has discussed racial relations prior to this, simply stating that the pace of social change caused the “increased” tensions without any explanation is not enough for readers.
      The section also discusses American culture before racial tensions blew up as “exclusively white, male-dominated, conservative, and stifling” (Yawp). This is partially true; for a white person in the 1950s and 1960s, a lot of the culture they would have had access to would have indeed been white, male-dominated, etc. However, other subcultures were very rich in content. Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald were all very popular in the 1950s and 1960s. The rock and roll of Elvis Presley and the like was adapted for an African American musical style. It’s not the the culture of the 1950s and 1960s was male-dominated. American culture was very diverse. It’s just that a lot of what was easily visible was white and male-dominated.
      In addition to completely glossing over entire aspects of American culture in order to make a point, which is a very poor use of evidence, the evidence the piece does include is very poorly organized. It discusses country music pining for simpler times, then trends in television that highlighted racial tensions, and then newer African American musical styles such as disco, along with artists like Aretha Franklin, failing to highlight the culture clash within the musical industry. In order to improve the style of the piece, it should discuss the different musical styles of black and white artists together in order to highlight the increased culture class. The section also jumps from cultural attributes of different subcultures, such as music and television with no smooth transition.
      The section’s discussion of violence is also very monocausal and lacks empathy. It states that race relations became increasingly violent in the 1970s. While it does mention the anti-black terrorism that took place during the southern civil rights movement, it seems somewhat inaccurate to state that violence increasingly marked American race relations. It is true that the 1970s were marked by African Americans beginning to be violent back towards police and white business owners, but the claim that violence in racial relations increased in the 1970s is misleading in terms of the evidence the Yawp provides. It would be better to begin the paragraphs on violence by stating that the nature of violence within race relations changed, and became less one-sided. It would also help to further highlight the fact that it wasn’t just African Americans being violent, and that both African Americans and white people took part in the racial violence of the 1970s.
      The piece also doesn’t discuss other racial tensions, such as Latino, Asian-American, etc. This would make the narrative on race relations less monocausal, and would also give an opportunity to provide more evidence on race relations in the 1970s and provide a clearer view of race relations in the 1970s, not just race relations between African Americans and white people.

      Comment by Zavier H Howard on February 21, 2019

      Hunter and others were beaten by the Hell’s Angels. Hunter was pulled from a speaker and beaten and as he ran away from the gang and was trapped, he held his gun in the air hoping to stop being pursued. He was beaten more after being stabbed and refused help by others there.

  • 14. The Civil War (12 comments)

    • Comment by ejb on August 29, 2014

      i would include a chart or map of secession state-by-state … to show who went when (and at this point, right, the upper South had not)

      Comment by ejb on August 29, 2014

      second ‘state secession’ chart … to show response to call for troops 

      Comment by ejb on August 29, 2014

      have I missed it or have you not discussed contrabands and runaways at this point? If not, I would NOT segregate African American experiences and get that stuff rolling along here with the chronological development; students are typically amazed to hear of how fast some blacks went to Union lines 

      Comment by ejb on August 29, 2014

       ok, I’m fine with your division and breakdown but this is WAY TOO East Coast, too white-black … if you want this to be serviceable as the years go on, you are going to need US in the world perspective AND you need some stuff west of the Mississippi River. How about California being included? How about Maximillean and Mexico?

      Comment by Gregory Stern on August 29, 2014

      Including the available photographs of USS Monitor or etchings of the battle at Hampton Roads between the ironclads Monitor and CSS Virginia would be evocative here. 

      Comment by Gregory Stern on August 29, 2014

      Campaign maps tracing the movements of Grant and Sherman will be useful here.

      Comment by Gregory Stern on August 29, 2014

      Including primary source letters would be a boon to this section. University of Virginia’s Valley of the Shadow project may have some to that end: http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/But I’m not sure how many could feasibly be included in this format.

      Comment by Matthew Hulbert on September 13, 2014

      Guerrilla warfare – as evidenced by recent and forthcoming scholarship – probably warrants more than a single, passing mention? Granted, undergraduate survey courses likely won’t have the time to cover irregular violence with great depth, but it’s at least worth noting that in many places, especially in the Border West, guerrilla warfare was the “regular war” experience. While states like Missouri technically failed to secede from the Union, irregular war operated at the household and community level and on this scope (the scope at which individuals understood the war as they experienced it), many areas of the Border States should be considered disloyal.

      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on September 23, 2014

      I suspect adding primary sources is beyond the scope of the format and is probably best left up to each individual instructor. I do, however, think it would be great if perhaps a list of online primary source resources could be included with each chapter somehow, or a separate page or “chapter” (e.g., an addendum) that offers a list of primary source links for each chapter.

      Comment by Jeff Landrum on January 15, 2015

      In this sentence “Once free, African Americans continued to work of freedom by enlisting in the Union army”, needs to be corrected to “continued the work of freedom” or “to work for freedom“.

      Comment by Jeff Landrum on January 15, 2015

      First sentence “South’s” needs to be changed to “South”.

      Comment by Patrick Lacroix on July 21, 2015

      The vice president of the Confederacy was Alexander Stephens.

  • 04. Colonial Society (10 comments)

    • Comment by Carole Shammas on August 31, 2014

       Stylistic — avoid double use of stem  strain

      Comment by Carole Shammas on August 31, 2014

       Actually, a higher proportion of the population lived in American cities in 1690 than in 1775 because of the importance of agriculture — slaves imported to work on plantations, immigrants coming in to own their own land.

      Comment by Carole Shammas on August 31, 2014

       The consumer revolution for the bulk of the population (20% of which was enslaved by the tme of the Revolution) was in dietary items — tobacco, sugar, molasses, tea, coffee, chocolate — not in tools and in household furniture. Those items had been imported from the beginning.  The most innovate household commodities — tableware — were connected with the dietary items. The most innovate clothing item was calico (cotton cloth from India). The big point to make about consumer items in this period is their global nature. Many came from disparate parts of America but others from China and India.

      Comment by Carole Shammas on August 31, 2014

      Credit for consumer items was not new. Almost all shopkeepers from as far back as there were shops offered credit and marked up their goods accordingly. 

      Comment by Carole Shammas on August 31, 2014

      Currency and the lack of specie was definitely a problem. Everything was pegged to the equivalent value in pounds sterling. It wasn’t so much that the currency in one colony wasn’t good in another but what could be agreed upon as its pound sterling value.   The second sentence in this paragraph is repeated at the end of the paragraph.

      Comment by Carole Shammas on August 31, 2014

      Good to point out the symbiotic relationship between the mainland colonies and the Caribbean. Mostly though the trade was between the northern colonies and the West Indies.  The northern colonies certainly sold lumber and fish to the Caribbean but their most lucrative trade was in slaves and that should probably be mentioned here too. On mahogany — American furniture makers did not travel down to the West Indies. There were New Eng. merchants and mostly, according to Adam Bovett (Brunel U. dissertation), the expert on this trade,  that even the bulk of  what they purchased was sent to Britain and Europe. The number of fine furniture cabinet makers in colonial America was limited. The Anderson book is a bit misleading on this.

      Comment by Carole Shammas on August 31, 2014

      Good points. 

      Comment by Carole Shammas on August 31, 2014

      It is worthwhile to point up that there were slaves in the north and they were concentrated in port cities engaged in the slave trade. The first sentence, however, should point out that almost all enslaved Africans lived in rural areas and were engaged in agricultural labor. In the next section you go into detail, so no need to do it here.In cities most worked as domestic servants. The founding fathers, as did almost all respectable upper and upper middle class householders, had slaves as domestic servants. So it took some real entrepreneurial skill to  escape that and work as a tradesperson with one’s own household.

      Comment by Jim Merrell on November 28, 2014

      How far can we trust this depiction? It’s a century later, after all. Besides that, does the text provide context for the Indians’ behavior in this instance? There is scholarship aplenty on it. If no context is given, then this image reinforces stereotypes of Native peoples as bloodthirsty savages and Europeans as trying to quell said savagery. Omit?

      Comment by Emma Reed on February 27, 2015

      The last sentence in the paragraph is also the second sentence in the paragraph.

  • 16. Industrial America (9 comments)

    • Comment by Dave Hochfelder on August 30, 2014

       Should be “… sometimes even strengthen…”

      Comment by Dave Hochfelder on August 30, 2014

      I think some or most of the material on the early history of Tammany should move to another chapter or be radically condensed. I did not do so originally out of respect for the contributing author’s contribution, but it strikes me now as a digression from the flow of the chapter 

      Comment by Dave Hochfelder on August 30, 2014

      Bob Hope should be eliminated from this paragraph; his career really took place after this period. 

      Comment by Paul Matzko on September 1, 2014

      ‘Then-scientific’ is an awkward phrase. Perhaps something like “cutting-edge” would make more sense to the reader?

      Comment by Paul Matzko on September 1, 2014

      Also that sentence is wordy. Maybe change it to something like, “…they believed that young men ought to progress through civilizational stages, evolving from primitive nature-dwelling into industrial enlightenment.”

      Comment by Montgomery Wolf on January 14, 2015

      “The 1920 U.S. census revealed that, for the first time, a majority of Americans lived in urban areas.” Already stated in paragraph 4.

      Comment by Judy L. on May 6, 2015

      Perhaps Chicago did embody the triumph of American industrialization. However, one should also consider an industrialization that occurred earlier and had an almost equal impact on urbanization that Chicago had: the textile industry. Princeton Beth English even described the shift of the textile industry from North to South as a result of competition and restrictions, was an “early step of globalization.”

      Chicago’s industry and jobs attracted many foreign immigrants, as stated in the Yawp. New England textile companies were large and encompassing for their time and attracted people from rural America to the cities, like the Lowell Mills. Although textiles are discussed as early markets in Chapter 8, I believe this is a great place to tie it together and show how the past actions may have laid a foundation for the successes in Chicago and rise of labor unions.
      Decades before the industrialization period mentioned here, northern US noticed the increasing disparity between the wealthy textile mill conglomerates (for that time period), and the wage laborers. The section following this paragraph seems a bit isolated in terms of labor unions. Chapter 8 mentioned a Carpenter’s Union protest in 1825 which can possibly be connected. In fact, because there were more regulations and organized unions in the North, northern textile mills either lost competing with newer southern mills or relocated south, becoming a “runaway shop,” as Beth English would call it in her “Capital Mobility and the 1890s U.S. Textile Industry.” Therefore, labor unions were not new in the late 1800s early 1900s. These successful early attempts perhaps even show thoughts, issues, and concerns that accompany a type of industrialization. The connection of industrialization with rights and regulations via labor unions can also be highlighted.
      Basically, I believe it worthy to bring up the many aspects of the textile industry in this section regarding technology but also labor unions. Because the textile industry has been so mobile, perhaps it’d be interesting to have a brief section on deindustrialization, if there is not one already. How did the U.S. go from being a place of industries and jobs to most of the manufacturing done outside of the U.S. today?

      Comment by Patrick Lacroix on July 21, 2015

      I would highly recommend mentioning French-Canadian immigration as well. Rough estimates indicate that approximately 900,000 Canadians, most of them from Quebec, settled in the United States from the Civil War to the Great Depression. The vast majority settled in New England, though some went to New York and to the Midwest. These French Canadians, soon to be Franco-Americans, altered the cultural and religious landscape of New England and supplied a convenient, often docile labor force in budding industrial towns and cities. This group’s migration experience was in many respects different from that of European or Asian immigrants.

      Comment by Emily Lindy on June 2, 2018


      While Edison’s contributions were critical to commercializing electric power, his focus was on direct current. Today, thanks to the work of George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla, we use mostly alternating current.

      I think a paragraph discussing the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago should be inserted. This was a turning point for our history. Westinghouse, Tesla, and Edison came together to showcase AC versus DC.

      Edison believed direct current was more efficient because it runs in a single direction. However, Tesla (using Michael Faraday’s Laws of Electromagnetism) believed that changing the current’s direction a certain amount of times per second allowed for the current to be easily converted from high and low voltages. This was important because you did not want a power plant close the town and you did not want high voltages at the plant or close to homes due to increased dangers. With alternating current, the voltages can be low at the plant, converted to high for transport and then converted back down to low in the town, all without loss of power. Edison did not agree with Westinghouse and Tesla. Alternating current resulted in reduced power loss over time allowing Westinghouse to secure the winning bids for the Fair and also the Niagara Falls Company that year.

      You may not want all of that information in your text since this is history book after all. It was more for your information. I just wanted to stress the importance of Westinghouse and Tesla. Please consider adding some information.

      Thank you!

  • 12. Manifest Destiny (8 comments)

    • Comment by Lauren Brand on September 27, 2014

      Typo: should be “was temporarily halted

      Comment by Lauren Brand on September 27, 2014

      The Indian Removal Act itself did not seize any lands from Native peoples. It gave the president the authority to begin treaty negotiations that would give Natives land in the west for their lands east of the Mississippi. I wouldn’t compare it to the Georgia law either, which was aimed specifically at extending state laws over the territory of the Cherokees.

      I also think it would make sense to start the section on Indian removal with a paragraph like this, instead of the Florida example. The way the section is currently structured makes it seem like events in Florida were the only catalyst for removal.

      Comment by Lauren Brand on September 27, 2014

      I love that this section on the rise of the Comanche was included in the Yawp, but I think it feels out of place sandwiched between the Cherokee court cases and the government’s civilization policies.

      Comment by Ben Wright on April 10, 2015

      Rewrite this for accessibility.

      Comment by Ben Wright on April 10, 2015

      This comment was intended for the above paragraph. “anathema” etc.

      Comment by Ben Wright on April 10, 2015

      Lopez is not pictured. Fix this.

      Comment by Philip Smith on May 18, 2015

      Good. Jesup’s quote is very important. During the Second Seminole War, Florida became the most militarized territory in U.S. history. The concern was not over Indian removal as much as fear that Indian resistance would attract more enslaved Blacks to join and might result in a general slave uprising. One white citizen wrote home to her family New Hampshire that she feared “the horrors of San Domingo” could be repeated in Florida.

      Comment by Patrick Lacroix on July 21, 2015

      Adams is not pictured.

  • 06. A New Nation (5 comments)

    • Comment by Marco Basile on September 27, 2014

      Hi, there.  I drafted this section and just caught an error that was introduced by some new language from the editing process.  The commercial legislation to which SC and Georgia agreed made it EASIER, rather than harder, to pass commercial legislation. Thus, the first sentence should read:

      <New England and the Deep South agreed to what was called a “dirty compromise” at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. New Englanders agreed to include a constitutional provision that protected the foreign slave trade for twenty years; in exchange, South Carolina and Georgia delegates had agreed to support a constitutional clause that made it easier for Congress to pass commercial legislation.> 

      Many thanks! The textbook looks great!

      Comment by Wendy Wong Schirmer on December 3, 2014

      “Traditional scholarship”:  this needs to be clearer, more specific.

      Those words made me do a bit of a double-take, because for a minute there, I thought they referred to the historiography of the period.  “Classical learning,” perhaps– along with a few examples– would pin things down better.

      Comment by David Harscheid on March 28, 2015

      Lines 5 and 6.

      “…Burr and his political allies conspired behind the scenes to win key state votes.”

      There is no documented proof that Burr ever did any of what is written in this paragraph concerning any “conspiracy. But Burr myths are legion – not helped by his complete silence in ever disputing in print what was printed about him. Perhaps because he was a very proud New Englander, from a well-known and widely respected family. He assumed he never had to justify his actions, and is often seen as an enigmatic figure in history. He had many enemies, including Alexander Hamilton, which is easily proven by reading Hamilton’s published opinions about him. There is no documented proof that Burr was anything but what he declared himself to be, but, probably because of his disinterest in answering critics, he made many enemies. He also had many ardent friends. Immediately after the tie was broken in the House Jefferson turned against him. It has been conjectured that he thought Burr had conspired against him during the tie’s balloting (over 35 times) in the House, but available sources say otherwise.. ( Burr never appeared in Washington before or during the balloting. See Milton Lomask, below.)

      1. December 16, 1800: Burr Letter to .Rep. Samuel Smith of Maryland, a close friend of Jefferson’s. “…if such should be the result [a tie], every man who knows me ought to know that I would utterly disclaim all competition. Be assured that the federal party can entertain no wish for such an exchange. As to my friends, they would dishonor my my views and insult my feelings by a suspicion that I would submit to be instrumental in counteracting the wishes and expectations of the United States And I now constitute you my proxy to declare these sentiments if the occasion should require.”
      The letter was published on December 30, 1800, in the Washington Post. (Lomask, Milton, “Aaron Burr…1756-1805” Farrar,
      Strauss & Giroux, 1959, pp270, 271.)

      2. Again, Burr wrote to Smith: “I could hardly forgive any democrat who would for a moment doubt the line of conduct I shall pursue.” (ibid)

      3. In a letter to Jefferson himself, dated December 23, he wrote: “As to myself, I will cheerfully abandon the office of VP if it shall be thought that I can be more useful in any active station. In truth my whole time and attention shall be to render your administration grateful and honourable to our country.” (ibid, p. 273.)

      4. Milton Lomask adds: “The remaining events of the tie yield no evidence that Burr went after it-and strong evidence that he did not.” (ibid, p. 277.)

      [Lomask spent the better part of two years in the Library of Congress and at the New York Historical Society, and with other sources. His two-volume work on Burr was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.]

      Comment by Jose A. Montero on June 6, 2015

      What were the causes of the financial strains suffered by Massachusetts? Something should be said about the Articles of the Confederation and the problems they posed to the functioning of the new nation.

      Comment by Jose A. Montero on June 6, 2015

      Why nothing about the “Federalist Papers”?

  • General Comments (4 comments)

    • Comment by Caroline on September 13, 2014

      you know, this may be free, and I’ve tried to correct some errors I’ve seen on a brief survey of the early chapters, but it reads like what it is, a collectively written basic summary. There is little here to hold a student’s interest, I regret to say. I wouldn’t use it.

      Comment by Michael D. Hattem on September 23, 2014

      That’s a fair comment. I think that its value will depend on how one intends to use it. For an instructor whose survey course does not follow a textbook but still feels their students should have access to concise background information (without having to spend a lot of money on a textbook that would be incidental to the course), then I think this could prove useful. On the other hand, I don’t think it could/should serve as a replacement for textbook-structured survey courses, since textbooks can treat these topics and periods at greater length, in more depth, and with more breadth than these chapters are intended to do.

      Comment by Emily Hegarty on January 25, 2015

      I am using this as a background/resource text for my Early American Literature course at a community college. I love the book, but I wish it had a search function on the front page. I wanted to find a quick rundown on King Phillip’s War for when it’s time to read Rowlandson, but I had to guess the likely chapter and click. Many of my students won’t have any idea which chapter is likely. If they could type a phrase into a search box, that would be ideal. Not sure how hard that is to implement on the web, so I just offer it as a wishlist suggestion. I really admire all you’ve done here. It’s by far the most attractive and accessible of the 3 or 4 online American history surveys I considered.

      Comment by Jakob Cummings on November 29, 2018

      I Believe that the American Yawp is a very well-done and revised book on american history. Even though is it really well done, the american yawp needs to have first hand accounts more and more documents instead of propaganda art and pictures. the american Yawp needs more documents so the reader can fully understand what was going through their mind at the times and the hardships and circumstances they faced.

  • 20. The Progressive Era (4 comments)

    • Comment by Montgomery Wolf on January 27, 2015

      “And as the remaining African American voters threatened to the dominance of Democratic leadership in the South…” should read

      “And as the remaining African American voters threatened the dominance of Democratic leadership in the South…” 

      Comment by Jennifer Krafchik on April 21, 2015

      The name of one organization is actually the National American Woman Suffrage Association

      National Woman’s Party is spelled this way.

      Comment by Rachel Lin on May 6, 2015

      This would be a good opportunity to discuss the dinner between Booker T. Washington and Teddy Roosevelt. In 1901, Teddy Roosevelt invited Washington to dinner at the White House and proceeded to dine with him. Through what sounds like a fairly innocuous gesture, Roosevelt performed what Gary Gerstle, author of “American Crucible,” describes as his “greatest sin against southern whites” (62). In describing the shock that accompanied the controversial dinner, Gerstle referenced the opinions of who he called “one keen observer,” this dinner represented “the one unpardonable violation of of the Southern racial code” and “the breaking of bread between the races on equal on equal terms” (63). According to Gerstle, “With the exception of interracial sexual intercourse, there could be no more ‘ultimate and positive expression’ of a commitment to social equality” (63). The fact that this dinner ignited such controversy serves as a representation of the tentative push for progress in terms of racial equality, but also represents the limited scale that people were allowed to operate on. Merely a dinner caused such uproar, which is a testament to the state of progression during this time.

      Comment by Andy on July 22, 2015

      There are a number of problems with the suffrage section. It uses the pejorative “suffragette.” It refers to Rose Schneiderman as “Ruth.” And it refers to the National American Suffrage Association rather than the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

  • 10. Religion and Reform (4 comments)

    • Comment by Andrea Lee on February 16, 2015

      “Many if not ALL of the same factors…”

      Comment by Jonathan Koefoed on February 19, 2015

      I think the first sentence of this paragraph needs to be revised. It gives the impression that many Transcendentalists were visiting and writing with the three European thinkers mentioned.

      If the parallel construction of the sentence is meant to communicate that they visited Coleridge, wrote with Carlyle, and translated Kant it might be correct, although I’m not sure which of them actually translated Kant and am not sure they did. As far as I know the only transcendentalist to visit Coleridge was Emerson, and the only one I’m aware of writing with Carlyle was Emerson, although it wouldn’t surprise me if more did.

      Thanks! Hope that is helpful.

      Comment by Meg on May 29, 2015

      There is an extraneous apostrophe after “voluntary societies” in the middle of the paragraph.

      Comment by Caroline on November 29, 2018

      In the last sentence, there is a confusing word “en masse.” This would need to be changed into a word that would be easier to understand.

      A graph that shows what women could do and couldn’t do is an easy way to understand the concept and grasp the idea of what’s being said. Could do- educate children and maintain household (cook, clean). Couldn’t do- vote and work.

  • 22. The Twenties (3 comments)

    • Comment by Guy Lancaster on September 2, 2014

       The following sentence is incorrect: “Sociologist Rory McVeigh surveyed the KKK newspaper Imperial Night-Hawk for the years 1924 and 1924, at the organization’s peak, and found the largest number of Klan-related activities to have occurred in Texas, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, and Georgia.”Notice the repetition of “1924.” The years should be “1923 and 1924.”

      Comment by Patrick Jackson on March 18, 2015

      The caption suggests that Darrow & Co were the Fundamentalists. It was the prosecution who argued for a literal interpretation of the Bible, not the defense.

      Comment by Gavin Owens on April 10, 2015

      Change mores to morals in line 6.

  • 23. The Great Depression (3 comments)

    • Comment by Montgomery Wolf on February 22, 2015

      “In the aggregate, Americans in 1929 were better off than in 1929.” There is one 1929 too many. 

      Comment by Montgomery Wolf on February 22, 2015

      “In 1930, amid one the Depression’s many false hopes,” should read (I presume) “In 1930, amid one of the Depression’s many false hopes”

      Comment by Kimiko Nakajima on May 5, 2015

      Despite some oppositions, this chapter creates the prevailing atmosphere that the New Deal has successfully changed the American society. Section X is titled Voices of Protest and it introduces some oppositions from conservative politicians and business leaders. However, the conclusion of the chapter is that the New Deal had brought changes in how Americans see the government which seems too simple and linear. This conclusion is coherent with the backlash thesis the later chapters (27. The Sixties, 28. The Unraveling and 29. The Rise of the Right) support which explains Reagan’s victory in the presidential election in 1980 as “backlash” to leftists movements originally triggered by the New Deal. By leaning towards the “backlash thesis,” the American Yawp misses out some details that could have helped in shaping more complex and accurate narrative of the history. In order to improve this simplistic narrative, it would be beneficial to introduce some thoughts from Cowie and Salvatore’s writing The Long Exception : Rethinking the Place of the New Deal in American History. The authors use some immediate oppositions to the New Deal to argue that “the New Deal was more of an historical aberration–– a byproduct of the massive crisis of the Great Depression––than the linear triumph of the welfare state.” Using this kind of evidence to avoid creating a linear explanation of the rise and fall of the Right can dramatically improve the accuracy of the narratives in the chapters.

  • 18. Capital and Labor (3 comments)

    • Comment by Matt Simmons on December 26, 2014

      Important to note that American socialist was not simply an urban phenomena which the first sentence seems to imply. In fact, socialism in parts of the Midwest and Southwest was very much a rural phenomena. Furthermore in these rural areas socialism largely built upon the earlier agitation of the Populists in membership, and to a degree, in ideology as well.

      Comment by Matt Simmons on December 26, 2014

      The third sentence is a bit awkward. The use of the word anonymous seems to suggest we don’t know who these workers were, which is not necessarily the case. A different modifier for American workers is suggested. A better phasing might be “They were joined by a heterogeneous group of American workers: lumberjacks from the Northwest, miners from the West” etc. Additionally the very last phrase of the last sentence doesn’t quite flow right. A better phrasing might be “perceived incompatibilities between socialism and American values prevented the Socialist Party from achieving critical mass as a viable national third party. By the early 1920s the once-promising socialist movement had faded into oblivion.”

      Comment by Maximilian McElligott on May 6, 2015

      As you give notice to the rise of the labor movement it is my opinion that the identification that the sectional shift of the textile industry from north to south should also be identified as it was also a contributor to the formation of labor unions. “Explosive growth of big business” effectively played a role in the stimulation of the post-Civil War economy of the south.  For example, as northern unions pushed for higher wages, better hours, and overall better working conditions, southern states courted northern corporations to open branches in the south.  A textile firm known as The Dwight Manufacturing Company succumbed to such an opportunity when it opened its own southern branch.  As this sectional shift proceeded, companies would sometimes establish their southern branch as their headquarters as was the case with The Dwight Manufacturing Company.  I would also like to add that the ability of corporations to uproot and replant in the south was less likely in most cases.  For example, by identifying The Great Railroad Strike of 1877, it must be noted that the mobility of such a market would make restructuring very strenuous.  Through the collaboration of workers and owners, the expanse of territory the industry covers as well as the diversity of public influences would add to the complexity of the goals that the Labor Movement aimed to achieve.

  • 11. The Old South (3 comments)

    • Comment by Ben Wright on March 24, 2015

      Rephrase this: “However, by around 1830, the growth of Christianity in slave communities increased the prevalence of nuclear families. “

      Comment by Ben Wright on March 24, 2015

      Remind readers that slavery was not confined to the South

      Comment by Jeff Fortney on August 13, 2015

      Perhaps this is a pedantic point, but Indian removals started in 1831, which is also the origin of the term Trail of Tears.  This is referencing specifically Cherokee removal.

  • 09. Democracy in America (3 comments)

    • Comment by Andrea Lee on February 13, 2015

      “Jackson was so indignant because HE had recently been through a similar scandal…”

      Comment by Alison Mann on March 1, 2015

      I did extensive research on the Lawrence trial–the man who tried to assassinate Jackson.  There is no evidence Jackson beat Lawrence; rather, the Secretary of the Navy testified that Jackson’s aides held him back.  This is the text of the footnote in my dissertation with sources:

      The editors of the Intelligencer never reported any counter attack by Jackson, and given the sensationalism connected with the first assassination attempt of an American president, they would have made much of Jackson’s act of self-defense.  Upon examination at Lawrence’s trial, Secretary of the Navy Mahlon Dickerson testified Jackson had “lifted his stick…but made no blow, having been prevented by his friends.” National Intelligencer, 13 April 1835.  By the mid-twentieth-century, popular accounts of the assassination attempt exaggerated Jackson’s movement, reinterpreting the act as aggressive rather than a defensive motion.  See Carlton Jackson,”—Another Time, Another Place—the Attempted Assassination of President Andrew Jackson,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly, 26 (Summer 1967): 184-190; Laura Simmons, “‘Old Hickory’ Too Tough To Kill,” American History Illustrated, 1 (November 1966): 31.  In an online article for American Heritage magazine dated January 30, 2007, writer Jon Grinspan made claims that Andrew Jackson not only drew his cane, but actually charged at Lawrence and struck him, leaving him “beaten and subdued.”  For an analysis of the political connotations of the assassination attempt, see Richard C. Rohrs, “Partisan Politics and the Attempted Assassination of Andrew Jackson,” Journal of the Early Republic, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Summer, 1981): 149-163.

      Comment by Angela Boswell on May 14, 2015

      I suggest moving the discussion of “Indian Removal” from chapter 11 and placing it here. Chronologically it should appear here (and readers that might be assigned along with this book would place such essays at about this location). It also thematically belongs here both in the discussion of Andrew Jackson regarding state rights, race, and democracy.

  • 07. The Early Republic (3 comments)

    • Comment by Julie Richter on February 20, 2015

      I believe that it is better to use the term “conspiracy” than “rebellion” to describe these events because the plan was betrayed and the slaves were stopped from trying to seize their freedom.

      Comment by Julie Richter on February 20, 2015

      In the second sentence in this paragraph I like “indicated” or “revealed” rather than “suggested” because it conveys the fact that Gabriel and other Richmond-area slaves did more than just think about rebelling against slavery.

      Comment by Philip Smith on May 18, 2015

      At the outset of the War of 1812, the United States also invaded Spanish Florida with a company of U.S. Marines and Georgia militia. It was called The Patriot War. The invasion failed because it was militarily defeated by Spain’s Black militia, as they had defended Spanish Florida earlier in the 1740s from British attack.

      Although the invasion of Florida failed, it did wreck the economy of Spanish Florida.


  • 08. The Market Revolution (1 comment)

    • Comment by Charlie McCrary on August 22, 2014

      I think there should be something in this chapter–not necessarily in this paragraph, though here’s as good as anywhere–about counterfeiting. It was a pretty widespread practice, and it was significant for a number of reasons, including the proliferation of the (literary and real-life) character of the confidence man. A short discussion of this would be a helpful illustration of the anxiety over the new market economy and, eventually, speculation, futures markets, and so on.See, e.g., Stephen Mihm’s great book _A Nation of Counterfeiters_.   

  • 21. World War I & Its Aftermath (1 comment)

    • Comment by Carol Byerly on February 11, 2015

      “Labled H1N1 by medical researchers” is an anachronism — virology did even not exist at the time.  Scientists knew it was influenza but did not agree on the etiology.  Some believe it was caused by a bacterium.


      The Surgeon General of the Army does not make “Public health reports.”  This is conflating the Army with the Public Health Service.   Also, while there are no cures for influenza, vaccines are often effective and antibiotics can cure killer secondary infections such as bacterial pneumonia.

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