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Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War

The Trials of John Merryman

Jonathan W. White

In the spring of 1861, Union military authorities arrested Maryland farmer John Merryman on charges of treason against the United States for burning railroad bridges around Baltimore in an effort to prevent northern soldiers from reaching the capital. From his prison cell at Fort McHenry, Merryman petitioned Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Roger B. Taney for release through a writ of habeas corpus. Taney issued the writ, but President Abraham Lincoln ignored it. In mid-July Merryman was released, only to be indicted for treason in a Baltimore federal court. His case, however, never went to trial and federal prosecutors finally dismissed it in 1867. In Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War, Jonathan White reveals how the arrest and prosecution of this little-known Baltimore farmer had a lasting impact on the Lincoln administration and Congress as they struggled to develop policies to deal with both northern traitors and southern rebels. His work exposes several perennially controversial legal and constitutional issues in American history, including the nature and extent of presidential war powers, the development of national policies for dealing with disloyalty and treason, and the protection of civil liberties in wartime.

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Absentee Landowning and Exploitation in West Virginia, 1760-1920

Barbara Rasmussen

Absentee landowning has long been tied to economic distress in Appalachia. In this important revisionist study, Barbara Rasmussen examines the nature of landownership in five counties of West Virginia and its effects upon the counties' economic and social development.

Rasmussen untangles a web of outside domination of the region that commenced before the American Revolution, creating a legacy of hardship that continues to plague Appalachia today. The owners and exploiters of the region have included Lord Fairfax, George Washington, and, most recently, the U.S. Forest Service.

The overarching concern of these absentee landowners has been to control the land, the politics, the government, and the resources of the fabulously rich Appalachian Mountains. Their early and relentless domination of politics assured a land tax system that still favors absentee landholders and simultaneously impoverishes the state.

Class differences, a capitalistic outlook, and an ethic of growth and development pervaded western Virginia from earliest settlement. Residents, however, were quickly outspent by wealthier, more powerful outsiders. Insecurity in landownership, Rasmussen demonstrates, is the most significant difference between early mountain farmers and early American farmers everywhere.

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ACC Basketball

The Story of the Rivalries, Traditions, and Scandals of the First Two Decades of the Atlantic Coast Conference

J. Samuel Walker

Walker focuses on the evolution of basketball programs in the ACC in its first 20 years. The continuing theme of the work is how schools tried to maintain a proper balance between academic and athletic achievements. Walker explores how conference administrators, university presidents, chancellors, faculty, coaches, and athletic directors influenced and shaped the athletic program while facing issues such as creation of standards for recruiting players and how best to offer athletes a legitimate chance of earning a degree. The book covers the ACC from its formation in 1953 to the 1972, when the U. of South Carolina left the conference in a dispute over minimum SAT scores for incoming athletes. Walker uses ACC basketball as a way to look inside our culture, situating it in postwar South during a time of racial stress, economic growth, and social change. He shows how basketball and the ACC were deeply influenced by civil rights and the struggle for racial justice. Throughout, he also chronicles on-the-court action, telling stories that recreate for the reader the brilliance and foibles of the coaches, the artistry of the players, the unforgettable games, the tense rivalries, the intense, sometimes wacky, fans, and traditions both new and old that have defined ACC basketball over the years.

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The Achievement of Wendell Berry

The Hard History of Love

Fritz Oehlschlaeger

Arguably one of the most important American writers working today, Wendell Berry is the author of more than fifty books, including novels and collections of poems, short stories, and essays. A prominent spokesman for agrarian values, Berry frequently defends such practices and ideas as sustainable agriculture, healthy rural communities, connection to place, the pleasures of work, and the interconnectedness of life. In The Achievement of Wendell Berry: The Hard History of Love, Fritz Oehlschlaeger provides a sweeping engagement with Berry’s entire corpus. The book introduces the reader to Berry’s general philosophy and aesthetic through careful consideration of his essays. Oehlschlaeger pays particular attention to Berry as an agrarian, citizen, and patriot, and also examines the influence of Christianity on Berry’s writings. Much of the book is devoted to lively close readings of Berry’s short stories, novels, and poetry. The Achievement of Wendell Berry is a comprehensive introduction to the philosophical and creative world of Wendell Berry, one that offers new critical insights into the writing of this celebrated Kentucky author.

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Across the Bloody Chasm

The Culture of Commemoration among Civil War Veterans

M. Keith Harris

Long after the Civil War ended, one conflict raged on: the battle to define and shape the war's legacy. Across the Bloody Chasm deftly examines Civil War veterans' commemorative efforts and the concomitant -- and sometimes conflicting -- movement for reconciliation.

Though former soldiers from both sides of the war celebrated the history and values of the newly reunited America, a deep divide remained between people in the North and South as to how the country's past should be remembered and the nation's ideals honored. Union soldiers could not forget that their southern counterparts had taken up arms against them, while Confederates maintained that the principles of states' rights and freedom from tyranny aligned with the beliefs and intentions of the founding fathers. Confederate soldiers also challenged northern claims of a moral victory, insisting that slavery had not been the cause of the war, and ferociously resisting the imposition of postwar racial policies. M. Keith Har-ris argues that although veterans remained committed to reconciliation, the sectional sensibilities that influenced the memory of the war left the North and South far from a meaningful accord.

Harris's masterful analysis of veteran memory assesses the ideological commitments of a generation of former soldiers, weaving their stories into the larger narrative of the process of national reunification. Through regimental histories, speeches at veterans' gatherings, monument dedications, and war narratives, Harris uncovers how veterans from both sides kept the deadliest war in American history alive in memory at a time when the nation seemed determined to move beyond conflict.

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Adventurism and Empire

The Struggle for Mastery in the Louisiana-Florida Borderlands, 1762-1803

David Narrett

Narrett shows how the United States emerged as a successor empire to Great Britain through rivalry with Spain in the Mississippi Valley and Gulf Coast. As he traces currents of peace and war over four critical decades--from the close of the Seven Years War through the Louisiana Purchase--Narrett sheds new light on individual colonial adventurers and schemers who shaped history through cross-border trade, settlement projects involving slave and free labor, and military incursions into Spanish and Indian territories.

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After Freedom Summer

How Race Realigned Mississippi Politics, 1965-1986

Chris Danielson

No one disagrees that 1964--Freedom Summer--forever changed the political landscape of Mississippi. How those changes played out is the subject of Chris Danielson’s fascinating new book, After Freedom Summer.

Prior to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, black voter participation in Mississippi was practically zero. After twenty years, black candidates had made a number of electoral gains. Simultaneously, white resistance had manifested itself in growing Republican dominance of the state.

Danielson demonstrates how race--not class or economics--was the dominant factor in white Mississippi voters' partisan realignment, even as he reveals why class and economics played a role in the tensions between the national NAACP and the local Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (an offshoot of SNCC) that limited black electoral gains.

Using an impressive array of newspaper articles, legal cases, interviews, and personal papers, Danielson's work helps fill a growing lacuna in the study of post-civil rights politics in the South.

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After Slavery

Race, Labor, and Citizenship in the Reconstruction South

Bruce E. Baker

Moves beyond broad generalizations concerning black life during Reconstruction in order to address the varied experiences of freed slaves across the South. This collection examines urban unrest in New Orleans and Wilmington, North Carolina, loyalty among former slave owners and slaves in Mississippi, armed insurrection along the Georgia coast, racial violence throughout the region, and much more in order to provide a well-rounded portrait of the era.

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Against the Tide

Immigrants, Day Laborers, and Community in Jupiter, Florida

Sandra Lazo de la Vega and Timothy J. Steigenga

Across the United States, the issue of immigration has generated rancorous debate and divided communities. Many states and municipalities have passed restrictive legislation that erodes any sense of community. Against the Tide tells the story of Jupiter, Florida, a coastal town of approximately 50,000 that has taken a different path.
    At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Jupiter was in the throes of immigration debates. A decade earlier, this small town had experienced an influx of migrants from Mexico and Guatemala. Immigrants seeking work gathered daily on one of the city’s main streets, creating an ad-hoc, open-air labor market that generated complaints and health and human safety concerns. What began as a local debate rapidly escalated as Jupiter’s situation was thrust into the media spotlight and attracted the attention of state and national anti-immigrant groups. But then something unexpected happened: immigrants, neighborhood residents, university faculty and students, and town representatives joined together to mediate community tensions and successfully moved the informal labor market to the new El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center.
    Timothy J. Steigenga, who helped found the center, and Lazo de la Vega, who organized students in support of its mission, describe how El Sol engaged the residents of Jupiter in a two-way process of immigrant integration and helped build trust on both sides. By examining one city’s search for a positive public policy solution, Against the Tide offers valuable practical lessons for other communities confronting similar challenges.

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Ain't Scared of Your Jail

Arrest, Imprisonment, and the Civil Rights Movement

Zoe A. Colley

Imprisonment became a badge of honor for many protestors during the civil rights movement. With the popularization of expressions such as "jail-no-bail" and "jail-in," civil rights activists sought to transform arrest and imprisonment from something to be feared to a platform for the cause.

Beyond Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letters from the Birmingham Jail," there has been little discussion on the incarceration experiences of civil rights activists. In her debut book, Zoe Colley does what no historian has done before by following civil rights activists inside the southern jails and prisons to explore their treatment and the different responses that civil rights organizations had to mass arrest and imprisonment.

Colley focuses on the shift in philosophical and strategic responses of civil rights protestors from seeing jail as something to be avoided to seeing it as a way to further the cause. Imprisonment became a way to expose the evils of segregation, and highlighted to the rest of American society the injustice of southern racism.

By drawing together the narratives of many individuals and organizations, Colley paints a clearer picture of how the incarceration of civil rights activists helped shape the course of the movement. She places imprisonment at the forefront of civil rights history and shows how these new attitudes toward arrest continue to impact contemporary society and shape strategies for civil disobedience.

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