The true history of a legendary American folk hero In the 1820s, a fellow named Sam Patch grew up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, working there (when he wasn't drinking) as a mill hand for one of America's new textile companies. Sam made a name for himself one day by jumping seventy feet into the tumultuous waters below Pawtucket Falls. When in 1827 he repeated the stunt in Paterson, New Jersey, another mill town, an even larger audience gathered to cheer on the daredevil they would call the "Jersey Jumper." Inevitably, he went to Niagara Falls, where in 1829 he jumped not once but twice in front of thousands who had paid for a good view. The distinguished social historian Paul E. Johnson gives this deceptively simple story all its deserved richness, revealing in its characters and social settings a virtual microcosm of Jacksonian America. He also relates the real jumper to the mythic Sam Patch who turned up as a daring moral hero in the works of Hawthorne and Melville, in London plays and pantomimes, and in the spotlight with Davy Crockett—a Sam Patch who became the namesake of Andrew Jackson's favorite horse. In his shrewd and powerful analysis, Johnson casts new light on aspects of American society that we may have overlooked or underestimated. This is innovative American history at its best.
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A quarter-century after its first publication, A Shopkeeper's Millennium remains a landmark work--brilliant both as a new interpretation of the intimate connections among politics, economy, and religion during the Second Great Awakening, and as a surprising portrait of a rapidly growing frontier city. The religious revival that transformed America in the 1820s, making it the most militantly Protestant nation on earth and spawning reform movements dedicated to temperance and to the abolition of slavery, had an especially powerful effect in Rochester, New York. Paul E. Johnson explores the reasons for the revival's spectacular success there, suggesting important links between its moral accounting and the city's new industrial world. In a new preface, he reassesses his evidence and his conclusions in this major work.
"Theodore Roosevelt is best remembered as America's prototypical "cowboy" president--an outdoorsy, rough-riding figure who was as versatile with a six-shooter as he was with a pen, and who derived his political wisdom from a life spent in rugged and inhospitable environs: the Dakota Badlands, the battlefields of Cuba, and the African savannah. Roosevelt himself did little to dispel his outdoorsy aura, and for decades historians have bought into this mythology. Yet while such experiences certainly contributed to Roosevelt's progressive politics and abiding love of the natural world, they've played an excessive role in defining his biography. In fact, Roosevelt was a native Manhattanite who came of age in the upper crust of New York society, and the reformist, anti-corruption policies for which he would come to be known were firmly rooted in the realities of life in the 19th-century city. A riveting portrait of a man and a city on the brink of greatness, Heir to the Empire City reveals that Roosevelt was a New Yorker through and through, and that his true education took place not on the ranges of the West but on the mean streets of New York"--
Compares the experiences of the New York communities of Albany, Buffalo, and Syracuse during the strikes of 1877, and argues that the crowds were seeking control over urban space, rather than higher wages or workplace control.
This brief text covers the political, social, and cultural history of the United States from 1789-1829. While many books approach the period of the Early Republic from two distinct standpoints--either from a social and cultural perspective or from a political point of view--this book synthesizes all aspects of U.S. history during this era. The Early American Republic 1789-1829 centers on two main themes: the politics and the process of nation-making, from the origins of government under the Constitution through the inauguration of Andrew Jackson, and the beginnings of American market society. Discussing the politics of American nationhood, democracy, and capitalism, it also examines such topics as family life, religion, the construction and reconstruction of gender systems, the rise of popular print and other forms of communication, and evolving attitudes toward slavery and race.
On that July evening in 1946, the leader counted aloud and the mob of white men fired. Seconds later, the leader counted again, "One, two, three," and the mob fired once more. After the third and final volley of gunshots, the white men got into their cars and drove off, leaving the bullet-ridden bodies of two young black men and two young black women lying in the dirt near Moore's Ford Bridge in rural Walton County, Georgia. Since that summer evening, there have never been as many victims lynched in a single day in America. Now, more than a half century later, Laura Wexler offers the first full account of the Moore's Ford lynching, a murder so brutal it stunned the nation and motivated President Harry Truman to put civil rights at the forefront of his national agenda. With the style of a novelist, the authority of a historian, and the tenacity of a journalist, Wexler recounts the lynching and the resulting four-month FBI investigation. Drawing from interviews, archival sources, and an uncensored FBI report, she takes us deep into the landscape of 1946 Georgia, creating unforgettable portraits of sharecroppers, sheriffs, bootleggers, the victims, and the men who may have killed them. Fire in a Canebrake pursues the legacy of the Moore's Ford lynching into the present, exploring the conflicting memories of Walton County's black and white citizens and examining the testimony of a white man who claims he was a secret witness to the crime. In 2001, the governor of Georgia issued a new reward for information leading to the arrest of the lynchers. Several suspects named in the FBI's 1946 investigation are still alive, and there is no statute of limitations on the crime of murder. Fire in a Canebrake -- a phrase local people used to describe the sound of the fatal gunshots -- is a moving and often frightening tale of violence, sex, and lies. It is also a disturbing snapshot of a divided nation on the brink of the civil rights movement and a haunting meditation on race, history, and the struggle for truth.
Joel Kupperman provides an engaging introduction to theories of the good life by exploring the strengths and weakness of six simple statements of what a good life should be. Drawing on classic Chinese, Indian, Greek and Roman sources, Kupperman considers the various ways in which one might think about the values that are worth aiming for, and shows that no simple account can adequately express all that a good life can be.
As an engaging and persuasive survey of American public life from 1816 to 1848, this work remains a landmark achievement. Now updated to address twenty-five years of new scholarship, the book interprets the exciting political landscape that was the age of Jackson, a time that saw the rise of strong political parties and an increased popular involvement in national politics. In this work, the author examines the tension between liberty and power that both characterized the period and formed part of its historical legacy.