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Rise of Multicultural America

Economy and Print Culture, 1865-1915

Susan L. Mizruchi

Publication Year: 2009

Between the Civil War and World War I the United States underwent the most rapid economic expansion in history. At the same time, the country experienced unparalleled rates of immigration. In ###The Rise of Multicultural America#, Susan Mizruchi examines the convergence of these two extraordinary developments. No issue was more salient in postbellum American capitalist society, she argues, than the country's bewilderingly diverse population. This era marked the emergence of Americans' self-consciousness about what we today call multiculturalism.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. xi-xii

It is a pleasure to thank the friends and family who contributed to this book. My brother Mark provided invaluable advice on the book’s social scientific and historical aspects as well as on the writing. Eytan Bercovitch o√ered a rich fund of knowledge...

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pp. 1-9

In 1899 Mark Twain published an essay, ‘‘Concerning the Jews,’’ that is rarely considered today because it confronts an embarrassing topic: the commercial expertise of the Jews. Responding to a letter from a Jewish lawyer seeking an explanation...

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ONE: Remembering Civil War

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pp. 10-43

The Civil War initiated a publishing industry. The war between the northern Union and the southern Confederacy inspired chronicles—photographic, historical, journalistic, and literary—at a rate unmatched by previous wars. Dime novels written for soldier...

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TWO: Racism as Opportunity in the Reconstruction Era

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pp. 44-75

In 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, Harriet Jacobs published an autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. The book recounted her unusual experience of slavery; in particular, her ability, as a literate, lightskinned slave with free relatives in town, to resist the sexual advances of her master, Dr. James Norcom...

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THREE: Cosmopolitanism

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pp. 76-101

The borders of the American nation were flexible in the late nineteenth century both for those who sought entry and for those who sought exile.1 This was due in part to the expansion of the American economy and workforce and the growth of tourism among the middle and upper classes. At the same time, migration...

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FOUR: Indian Sacrifice in an Age of Progress

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pp. 102-137

‘‘The love of possessions is a disease among them,’’ observed Sitting Bull, seeking to distinguish the dominant from the indigenous culture and to explain America’s increasingly predacious behavior toward Indians over the course of the nineteenth century...

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FIVE: Marketing Culture

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pp. 138-175

During television coverage of the 1984 Winter Olympics, novelist John Updike found himself riveted not by the Games but by the high-stakes advertising that accompanied them. ‘‘I have no doubt that the aesthetic marvels of our age, for intensity and lavishness...

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SIX: Varieties of Work

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pp. 176-212

The nature of work changed in the second half of the nineteenth century. Advanced capitalist countries experienced the rise of the factory system, intensified machine production, and the massing and subdivision of labor. Between 1850 and 1900 every industry...

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SEVEN: Corporate America

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pp. 213-255

In his widely influential Business Cycles: A Theoretical, Historical, and Statistical Analysis of the Capitalist Process (1939), Joseph Schumpeter observed, ‘‘It was not enough to produce satisfactory soap, it was also necessary to induce people to wash...

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EIGHT: American Utopias

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pp. 256-287

It is well known that one of the most popular works of American literary utopianism, Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward (1888), was written in the era of capitalist expansion; less familiar is the extraordinary outpouring of utopian novels that appeared between...

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pp. 288-290

I have argued in this book that America became a multicultural nation between 1865 and 1915 and that this happened in large part because all the engines of modern capitalist development were in place to assist it. Whether observers invoked the term ‘‘cultural pluralism’’ or ‘‘melting pot...


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pp. 291-332


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pp. 333-355

E-ISBN-13: 9781469605678
E-ISBN-10: 1469605678
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807832509
Print-ISBN-10: 0807832502

Page Count: 368
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2009

OCLC Number: 405095841
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Rise of Multicultural America

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Subject Headings

  • Cultural pluralism -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
  • Cultural pluralism -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Cultural pluralism -- Economic aspects -- United States -- History.
  • United States -- Economic conditions -- 1865-1918.
  • Capitalism -- Social aspects -- United States -- History.
  • United States -- Emigration and immigration -- History.
  • United States -- Race relations -- History.
  • United States -- Intellectual life -- 1865-1918.
  • American literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism.
  • American literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
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