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The Notorious Maxwell Brothers
This thrilling historical true crime narrative recovers the long-forgotten story of Ed and Lon Maxwell, outlaw brothers from Illinois who once rivaled Jesse and Frank James in national notoriety. Growing up hard as the sons of a tenant farmer, the Maxwell brothers embarked on a life of crime that captured the public eye. Made famous locally by newspapers that dramatized crimes and danger, the brothers achieved national prominence in 1881 when they shot and killed Charles and Milton Coleman, lawmen trying to apprehend them. Public outrage sparked the largest manhunt for outlaws in American history, involving some twenty posses who pursued the desperadoes in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Nebraska. Nevertheless, the daring desperadoes were eventually portrayed as heroes in sensationalistic dime novels._x000B__x000B_A stunning saga of robbery and horse stealing, gunfights and manhunts, murder and mob violence, Dime Novel Desperadoes also delves into the cultural and psychological factors that produced lawbreakers and created a crime wave in the post-Civil War era. Every overview and encyclopedia of American outlaws will need to be revised, and the fabled "Wild West" will have to be extended east of the Mississippi River, in response to this riveting chronicle. With more than forty illustrations and several maps that bring to life the exciting world of the Maxwell brothers, Dime Novel Desperadoes is a new classic in the annals of American outlawry._x000B_
1848 and the Challenge to American Exceptionalism
Distant Revolutions: 1848 and the Challenge to American Exceptionalism is a study of American politics, culture, and foreign relations in the mid-nineteenth century, illuminated through the reactions of Americans to the European revolutions of 1848. Flush from the recent American military victory over Mexico, many Americans celebrated news of democratic revolutions breaking out across Europe as a further sign of divine providence. Others thought that the 1848 revolutions served only to highlight how America’s own revolution had not done enough in the way of reform. Still other Americans renounced the 1848 revolutions and the thought of trans-atlantic unity because they interpreted European revolutionary radicalism and its portents of violence, socialism, and atheism as dangerous to the unique virtues of the United States.
The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859
In the decades before the Civil War, Americans debating the fate of slavery often invoked the specter of disunion to frighten or discredit their opponents. According to Elizabeth Varon, disunion was a startling and provocative keyword in Americans' political vocabulary: it connoted the failure of the founders' singular effort to establish a lasting representative government. For many Americans in both the North and the South, disunion was a nightmare, the image of a cataclysm that would reduce them to misery and fratricidal war. For many others, however, threats, accusations, and intimations of disunion were instruments they could wield to achieve their partisan and sectional goals.
The Italian Risorgimento and Antebellum American Identity
Swayed by the myth of the United States as a catalyst of and model for global liberal movements, says Gemme, Americans saw parallels to their own history in the Risorgimento--and they said as much in newspapers, magazines, travel accounts, diplomatic dispatches, poems, maps, and paintings. And yet, in American eyes, Italians were too civically deficient to ever achieve republican goals. Such a view, says Gemme, reaffirmed cherished beliefs both in the United States as the center of world events and in the notion of American exceptionalism. Gemme argues that Americans also pondered the place of 'subordinate' ethnic groups in domestic culture--especially Irish Catholic immigrants and enslaved African Americans--through the discourse on Risorgimento Italy.
Thus, says Gemme, national identity rested not only on differentiation from outside groups but also on a desire for internal racial and cultural homogeneity. Writing in a tradition pioneered by Amy Kaplan, Richard Slotkin, and others, Gemme advances the movement to 'internationalize' American studies by situating the United States in its global cultural context.
The Re-creation of the Nineteenth-Century American Middle Class
Gadfly of the Gilded Age
The life of a celebrated diplomat and editor whose opinions helped to shape views on the national agenda
Born in 1819 in Cincinnati, Donn Piatt died in 1891 at the Piatt Castles that still stand in western Ohio. He was a diplomat, historian, journalist, judge, lawyer, legislator, lobbyist, novelist, playwright, poet, and politician—and a well-known humorist, once called on to replace Mark Twain when Twain’s humor failed him. A staunch opponent of slavery, Piatt campaigned in 1860 for Abraham Lincoln, who briefly took a liking to him but found him too outspoken and later cursed him when, as a Union officer, Piatt recruited slaves in Maryland.
Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Race and Law
Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the Constitutional Paradox
The Life of Confederate ColonelWilliam Henry Chapman
This first scholarly biography of Lieutenant Colonel William Henry Chapman (1840-1929) covers the life of Colonel John Singleton Mosby's second-in-commmand. Chapman, a student at the University of Virginia before the Civil War, started his own bridgade but later joined the cavalry as one of Mosby's Rangers. After the war's end, the Confederate embraced the Republican party and found employment with the Federal government as an IRS agent. Though he had fought enthusiastically and vigorously for his native South, when the war was over and the cause was lost, he accepted defeat with dignity and devoted the remainder of his life to rebuilding the nation.
Edmund Booth was born in 1810 and died in 1905, and during the 94 years of his life, he epitomized virtually everything that characterized an American legend of that century. In his prime, Booth stood 6 feet, 3 inches tall, weighed in at 210 pounds, and wore a long, full beard. He taught school in Hartford, CT, then followed his wife-to-be Mary Ann Walworth west to Anamosa, Iowa, where in 1840, he built the area’s first frame house. He pulled up stakes nine years later to travel the Overland Trail on his way to join the California Gold Rush. After he returned to Iowa in 1854, he became the editor of the Anamosa Eureka, the local newspaper. Edmund Booth fit perfectly the mold of the ingenious pioneer of 19th-century America, except for one unusual difference — he was deaf. Edmund Booth: Deaf Pioneer follows the amazing career of this American original and his equally amazing wife in fascinating detail. Author Harry G. Lang vividly portrays Booth and his wife by drawing from a remarkable array of original material. A prolific writer, Booth corresponded with his fiancé from the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, and he kept a journal during his days on the California trail, parts of which have been reproduced here. He also wrote an autobiographical essay when he was 75, and his many newspaper articles through the years bore first-hand witness to the history of his times, from the Civil War to the advent of the 20th century. Edmund Booth depicts a larger-than-life man in larger-than-life times, but perhaps its greatest contribution derives from its narrative about pioneer days as seen through Deaf eyes. Booth became a respected senior statesman of the American Deaf community, and blended with his stories of the era’s events are anecdotes and issues vital to Deaf people and their families. His story proves again that extraordinary people vary in many ways, but they often possess a common motive in acting to enhance their own communities.