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Bluegrass Renaissance

The History and Culture of Central Kentucky, 1792-1852

edited by James C. Klotter and Daniel Rowland

Originally established in 1775 the town of Lexington, Kentucky grew quickly into a national cultural center amongst the rolling green hills of the Bluegrass Region. Nicknamed the "Athens of the West," Lexington and the surrounding area became a leader in higher education, visual arts, architecture, and music, and the center of the horse breeding and racing industries. The national impact of the Bluegrass was further confirmed by prominent Kentucky figures such as Henry Clay and John C. Breckinridge.

The Idea of the Athens of the West: Central Kentucky in American Culture, 1792-1852, chronicles Lexington's development as one of the most important educational and cultural centers in America during the first half of the nineteenth century. Editors Daniel Rowland and James C. Klotter gather leading scholars to examine the successes and failures of Central Kentuckians from statehood to the death of Henry Clay, in an investigation of the area's cultural and economic development and national influence. The Idea of the Athens of the West is an interdisciplinary study of the evolution of Lexington's status as antebellum Kentucky's cultural metropolis.

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The Body in the Reservoir

Murder and Sensationalism in the South

Michael Ayers Trotti

Centered on a series of dramatic murders in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Richmond, Virginia, ###The Body in the Reservoir# uses these gripping stories of crime to explore the evolution of sensationalism in southern culture. In Richmond, as across the nation, the embrace of modernity was accompanied by the prodigious growth of mass culture and its accelerating interest in lurid stories of crime and bloodshed. But while others have emphasized the importance of the penny press and yellow journalism on the shifting nature of the media and cultural responses to violence, Michael Trotti reveals a more gradual and nuanced story of change. In addition, Richmond's racial makeup (one-third to one-half of the population was African American) allows Trotti to challenge assumptions about how black and white media reported the sensational; the surprising discrepancies offer insight into just how differently these two communities experienced American justice. An engaging look at the connections between culture and violence, this book gets to the heart--or perhaps the shadowy underbelly--of the sensational as the South became modern. Trotti explores murder cases and media and community responses to them as a way of understanding the evolution of sensationalism in the south from the colonial era to the age of ragtime. As the country began to embrace modernity at the turn of the century, the growth of mass culture facilitated (and was facilitated by) people's interest in lurid stories of crime and bloodshed. Trotti argues that this trend was especially evident in the south. He looks at cases based in Richmond, a mid-sized city with a high population density and a range of industries. Richmond also allows Trotti to make comparisons between the sensationalism of the white press and public and how the black community framed crime sensations and justice more generally. He demonstrates what got sensationalized, and how, as well as how the nature of the sensationalism changed over the decades. Centered on a series of dramatic murders in 19th- and early 20th-century Richmond, Virginia, ###The Body in the Reservoir# uses these gripping stories of crime to explore the evolution of sensationalism in southern culture. In Richmond, as across the nation, the embrace of modernity was accompanied by the prodigious growth of mass culture and its accelerating interest in lurid stories of crime and bloodshed. An engaging look at the connections between culture and violence, this book gets to the heart--or perhaps the shadowy underbelly--of the sensational as the South became modern. Centered on a series of dramatic murders in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Richmond, Virginia, ###The Body in the Reservoir# uses these gripping stories of crime to explore the evolution of sensationalism in southern culture. In Richmond, as across the nation, the embrace of modernity was accompanied by the prodigious growth of mass culture and its accelerating interest in lurid stories of crime and bloodshed. But while others have emphasized the importance of the penny press and yellow journalism on the shifting nature of the media and cultural responses to violence, Michael Trotti reveals a more gradual and nuanced story of change. In addition, Richmond's racial makeup (one-third to one-half of the population was African American) allows Trotti to challenge assumptions about how black and white media reported the sensational; the surprising discrepancies offer insight into just how differently these two communities experienced American justice. An engaging look at the connections between culture and violence, this book gets to the heart--or perhaps the shadowy underbelly--of the sensational as the South became modern.

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Bombast and Broadsides

George Johnstone, 1730-1787

Written by Robin F. A. Fabel

 George Johnstone has never received the scholarly attention he fully merits. Historians have assessed him, usually briefly, as governor of West Florida, or as naval commander, or as a member of parliament. Nevertheless, none has considered his important role in East India Company politics, nor, until Bombast and Broadsides, has one synthesized the various roles in which Johnstone was entrusted with high responsibilities.

Through research in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Kew, London, Philadelphia, and Washington in largely unpublished manuscripts, together with the use of secondary sources, the author has been able to present the first coherent picture of Johnstone, a vigorous and intelligent but turbulent and always controversial figure. Johnstone was effective as a colonial governor at a difficult time; in the navy he performed several coups de main; in parliament he was formidable in debate but an opportunist; and at East India House he was a doughty, conservative, and largely successful defender of the proprietary interest.

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Bonapartists in the Borderlands

French Exiles and Refugees on the Gulf Coast, 1815-1835

Written by Rafe Blaufarb

The ill-fated Vine and Olive Colony within the context of America’s westward expansion and the French Revolution.

Bonapartists in the Borderlands recounts how Napoleonic exiles and French refugees from Europe and the Caribbean joined forces with Latin American insurgents, Gulf pirates, and international adventurers to seek their fortune in the Gulf borderlands.  The U.S. Congress welcomed the French to American and granted them a large tract of rich Black Belt land near Demopolis, Alabama, on the condition that they would establish a Mediterranean-style Vine and Olive colony.

This book debunks the standard account of the colony, which stresses the failure of the aristocratic, luxury-loving French to tame the wilderness.  Instead, it shows that the Napoleonic officers involved in the colony sold their land shares to speculators to finance an even more perilous adventure--invading the contested Texas borderlands between Spain and the U.S.  Their departure left the Vine adn Olive colony in the hands of French refugees fromthe Haitian slave revolt.  While thay soon abandoned vine cultivation, they successfully recast themselves as prosperous, slaveholding cotton growers and gradually fused into a new elite with newly-arrived Anglo-American planters.

Rafe Blaufarb examines the underlying motivations and aims that inspired this endeavor and details the nitty-gritty politics, economics, and backroom bargaining that resulted in the settlement.  He employs a wide variety of local, national, and international resources:  from documents held by the Alabama State Archives, Marengo County court records, and French-language newspapers published in America to material from the War Ministry Archives at Vincennes, the Diplomatic Archives at the Quai d'Orasy, adn the French National Archives.

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Born of Water and Spirit

The Baptist Impulse in Kentucky, 1776–1860

Richard C. Traylor

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Bourbon Street

A History

Richard Campanella

New Orleans is a city of many storied streets, but only one conjures up as much unbridled passion as it does fervent hatred, simultaneously polarizing the public while drawing millions of visitors a year. A fascinating investigation into the mile-long urban space that is Bourbon Street, Richard Campanella's comprehensive cultural history spans from the street's inception during the colonial period through three tu-multuous centuries, arriving at the world-famous entertainment strip of today.

Clearly written and carefully researched, Campanella's book interweaves world events -- from the Louisiana Purchase to World War II to Hurricane Katrina -- with local and national characters, ranging from presidents to showgirls, to explain how Bourbon Street became an intri-guing and singular artifact, uniquely informative of both New Orleans's history and American society.

While offering a captivating historical-geographical panorama of Bourbon Street, Campanella also presents a contemporary microview of the area, describing the population, architecture, and local economy, and shows how Bourbon Street operates on a typical night. The fate of these few blocks in the French Quarter is played out on a larger stage, however, as the internationally recognized brands that Bourbon Street merchants and the city of New Orleans strive to promote both clash with and complement each other.

An epic narrative detailing the influence of politics, money, race, sex, organized crime, and tourism, Bourbon Street: A History ultimately demonstrates that one of the most well-known addresses in North America is more than the epicenter of Mardi Gras; it serves as a battle-ground for a fund-amental dispute over cultural authenticity and commodification.

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The Boy from Altheimer

From the Depression to the Boardroom

Bill Bowen’s memoir deals with many of the most important events and years in Arkansas history in the twentieth century.

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The Breckinridges of Kentucky

James C. Klotter

Across more than six generations -- beginning before the Revolutionary War -- the Breckinridge family has produced a series of notable leaders. These often controversial men and women included a presidential candidate, a U.S. vice president, cabinet members, generals, women's rights advocates, congressmen, editors, reformers, authors, and church leaders. Along with success, the Breckinridges, like other Americans, faced hardship and war, contended with race, lived through difficult family situations -- including a sex scandal -- and encountered personal and political failure. An articulate, opinionated, and frank family, the Breckinridges have left a detailed record that allows us a vivid recreation of the range of American history and society.

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The British Gentry, the Southern Planter, and the Northern Family Farmer

Agriculture and Sectional Antagonism in North America

James L. Huston

Drawing on the history of the British gentry to explain the contrasting sentiments of American small farmers and plantation owners, James L. Huston's expansive analysis offers a new understanding of the socioeconomic factors that fueled sectionalism and ignited the American Civil War. This groundbreaking study of agriculture's role in the war defies long-held notions that northern industrialization and urbanization led to clashes between North and South. Rather, Huston argues that the ideological chasm between plantation owners in the South and family farmers in the North led to the political eruption of 1854-56 and the birth of a sectionalized party system.

Huston shows that over 70 percent of the northern population-by far the dominant economic and social element-had close ties to agriculture. More invested in egalitarianism and personal competency than in capitalism, small farmers in the North operated under a free labor ideology that emphasized the ideals of independence and mastery over oneself. The ideology of the plantation, by contrast, reflected the conservative ethos of the British aristocracy, which was the product of immense landed inequality and the assertion of mastery over others.

By examining the dominant populations in northern and southern congressional districts, Huston reveals that economic interests pitted the plantation South against the small-farm North. The northern shift toward Republicanism depended on farmers, not industrialists: While Democrats won the majority of northern farm congressional districts from 1842 to 1853, they suffered a major defection of these districts from 1854 to 1856, to the antislavery organizations that would soon coalesce into the Republican Party. Utilizing extensive historical research and close examination of the voting patterns in congressional districts across the country, James Huston provides a remarkable new context for the origins of the Civil War.

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Brothels, Depravity, and Abandoned Women

Illegal Sex in Antebellum New Orleans

Judith Kelleher Schafer

Winner of the 2009 Gulf South Historical Association Book Award When a priest suggested to one of the first governors of Louisiana that he banish all disreputable women to raise the colony’s moral tone, the governor responded, “If I send away all the loose females, there will be no women left here at all.” Primitive, mosquito infested, and disease ridden, early French colonial New Orleans offered few attractions to entice respectable women as residents. King Louis XIV of France solved the population problem in 1721 by emptying Paris’s La Salpêtrière prison of many of its most notorious prostitutes and convicts and sending them to Louisiana. Many of these women continued to ply their trade in New Orleans. In Brothels, Depravity, and Abandoned Women, Judith Kelleher Schafer examines case histories from the First District Court of New Orleans and tells the engrossing story of prostitution in the city prior to the Civil War. Louisiana law did not criminalize the selling of sex until the Progressive Era, although the law forbade keeping a brothel. Police arrested individual public women on vague charges, for being “lewd and abandoned” or vagrants. The city’s wealthy and influential landlords, some of whom made huge profits by renting their property as brothels, wanted their tenants back on the streets as soon as possible, and they often hired the best criminal attorneys to help release the women from jail. The courts, in turn, often treated these “public women” leniently, exacting small fines or sending them to the city’s workhouse for a few months. As a result, prosecutors dropped almost all prostitution cases before trial. Relying on previously unexamined court records and newly available newspaper articles, Schafer ably details the brutal and often harrowing lives of the women and young girls who engaged in prostitution. Some watched as gangs of rowdy men smashed their furniture; some endured beatings by their customers or other public women enraged by fits of jealousy; others were murdered. Schafer discusses the sexual exploitation of children, sex across the color line, violence among and against public women, and the city’s feeble attempts to suppress the trade. She also profiles several infamous New Orleans sex workers, including Delia Swift, alias Bridget Fury, a flaming redhead with a fondness for stabbing men, and Emily Eubanks and her daughter Elisabeth, free women of color known for assaulting white women. Although scholars have written much about prostitution in New Orleans’ Storyville era, few historical studies on prostitution in antebellum New Orleans exist. Schafer’s rich analysis fills this gap and offers insight into an intriguing period in the history of the “oldest profession” in the Crescent City.

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