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Acts of Conscience

World War II, Mental Institutions, and Religious Objectors

Steven J. Taylor

In the mid- to late 1940s, a group of young men rattled the psychiatric establishment by beaming a public spotlight on the squalid conditions and brutality in our nation’s mental hospitals and training schools for people with psychiatric and intellectual disabilities. Bringing the abuses to the attention of newspapers and magazines across the country, they led a reform effort to change public attitudes and to improve the training and status of institutional staff. Prominent Americans, including Eleanor Roosevelt, ACLU founder Roger Baldwin, author Pearl S. Buck, actress Helen Hayes, and African-American activist Mary McLeod Bethune, supported the efforts of the young men. These young men were among the 12,000 World War II conscientious objectors who chose to perform civilian public service as an alternative to fighting in what is widely regarded as America’s "good war." Three thousand of these men volunteered to work at state institutions, where they found conditions appalling. Acting on conscience a second time, they challenged America’s treatment of its citizens with severe disabilities. Acts of Conscience brings to light the extraordinary efforts of these courageous men, drawing upon extensive archival research, interviews, and personal correspondence. The World War II conscientious objectors were not the first to expose public institutions, and they would not be the last. What distinguishes them from reformers of other eras is that their activities have faded from professional and popular memory. Steven J. Taylor’s moving account is an indispensable contribution to the historical record.

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Acts of Conspicuous Compassion

Performance Culture and American Charity Practices

Sheila C. Moeschen

Acts of Conspicuous Compassion investigates the relationship between performance culture and the cultivation of charitable sentiment in America, exploring the distinctive practices that have evolved to make the plea for charity legible and compelling. From the work of 19th-century melodramas to the televised drama of transformation and redemption in reality TV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Acts of Conspicuous Compassion charts the sophisticated strategies employed by various charity movements responsible for making organized benevolence alluring, exciting, and seemingly uncomplicated. Sheila C. Moeschen brokers a new way of accounting for the legacy and involvement of disabled people within charity—specifically, the articulation of performance culture as a vital theoretical framework for discussing issues of embodiment and identity dislodges previously held notions of the disabled existing as passive, “objects” of pity. This work gives rise to a more complicated and nuanced discussion of the participation of the disabled community in the charity industry, of the opportunities afforded by performance culture for disabled people to act as critical agents of charity, and of the new ethical and political issues that arise from employing performance methodology in a culture with increased appetites for voyeurism, display, and complex spectacle.

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The Adams-Jefferson Letters

The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams

Lester J. Cappon

An intellectual dialogue of the highest plane achieved in America, the correspondence between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson spanned half a century and embraced government, philosophy, religion, quotidiana, and family griefs and joys. First meeting as delegates to the Continental Congress in 1775, they initiated correspondence in 1777, negotiated jointly as ministers in Europe in the 1780s, and served the early Republic--each, ultimately, in its highest office. At Jefferson's defeat of Adams for the presidency in 1800, they became estranged, and the correspondence lapses from 1801 to 1812, then is renewed until the death of both in 1826, fifty years to the day after the Declaration of Independence.

Lester J. Cappon's edition, first published in 1959 in two volumes, provides the complete correspondence between these two men and includes the correspondence between Abigail Adams and Jefferson. Many of these letters have been published in no other modern edition, nor does any other edition devote itself exclusively to the exchange between Jefferson and the Adamses. Introduction, headnotes, and footnotes inform the reader without interrupting the speakers. This reissue of The Adams-Jefferson Letters in a one-volume unabridged edition brings to a broader audience one of the monuments of American scholarship and, to quote C. Vann Woodward, 'a major treasure of national literature.'

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Adapting to a New World

English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake

James Horn

Often compared unfavorably with colonial New England, the early Chesapeake has been portrayed as irreligious, unstable, and violent. In this important new study, James Horn challenges this conventional view and looks across the Atlantic to assess the enduring influence of English attitudes, values, and behavior on the social and cultural evolution of the early Chesapeake. Using detailed local and regional studies to compare everyday life in English provincial society and the emergent societies of the Chesapeake Bay, Horn provides a richly textured picture of the immigrants' Old World backgrounds and their adjustment to life in America. Until the end of the seventeenth century, most settlers in Virginia and Maryland were born and raised in England, a factor of enormous consequence for social development in the two colonies. By stressing the vital social and cultural connections between England and the Chesapeake during this period, Horn places the development of early America in the context of a vibrant Anglophone transatlantic world and suggests a fundamental reinterpretation of New World society.

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Addicts Who Survived

An Oral History of Narcotic Use in America before 1965

David T. Courtwright

The authors employ the techniques of oral history to penetrate the nether world of the drug user, giving us an engrossing portrait of life in the drug subculture during the "classic" era of strict narcotic control. 

Praise for the hardcover edition:

"A momentous book which I feel is destined to become a classic in the category of scholarly narcotic books."
—Claude Brown, author of the bestseller, Manchild in the Promised Land.

"The drug literature is filled with the stereotyped opinions of non-addicted, middle-class pundits who have had little direct contact with addicts.  These stories are reality.  Narcotic addicts of the inner cities are both tough and gentle, deceptive when necessary and yet often generous--above all, shrewd judges of character.  While judging them, the clinician is also being judged."
—Vincent P. Dole, M.D., The Rockefeller Institute.

"What was it like to be a narcotic addict during the Anslinger era?  No book will probably ever appear that gives a better picture than this one. . . . a singularly readable and informative work on a subject ordinarily buried in clichés and stereotypes."
—Donald W. Goodwin, Journal of the American Medical Association

" . . . an important contribution to the growing body of literature that attempts to more clearly define the nature of drug addiction. . . . [This book] will appeal to a diverse audience.  Academicians, politicians, and the general reader will find this approach to drug addiction extremely beneficial, insightful, and instructive. . . . Without qualification anyone wishing to acquire a better understanding of drug addicts and addiction will benefit from reading this book."
—John C. McWilliams, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

"This study has much to say to a general audience, as well as those involved in drug control."
—Publishers Weekly

"The authors' comments are perceptive and the interviews make interesting reading."
—John Duffy, Journal of American History

"This book adds a vital and often compelling human dimension to the story of drug use and law enforcement.  The material will be of great value to other specialists, such as those interested in the history of organized crime and of outsiders in general."
—H. Wayne Morgan, Journal of Southern History

"This book represents a significant and valuable addition to the contemporary substance abuse literature. . . .  this book presents findings from a novel and remarkably imaginative research approach in a cogent and exceptionally informative manner."
—William M. Harvey, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs

"This is a good and important book filled with new information containing provocative elements usually brought forth through the touching details of personal experience. . . .  There isn't a recollection which isn't of intrinsic value and many point to issues hardly ever broached in more conventional studies."
—Alan Block, Journal of Social History

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Addressing America

George Washington’s Farewell and the Making of National Culture, Politics, and Diplomacy, 1796–1852

In his presidential Farewell Address of 1796, George Washington presented a series of maxims to guide the construction of a wise foreign policy. He believed, as did generations of his adherents, that if the United States stayed true to the principles he discussed, the country would eventually attain national greatness and international respectability. These principles quickly became engrained in the DNA of what it meant to be an American in the first half of the nineteenth century, shaping the formation of U.S. foreign policy, politics, and political culture. The Declaration of Independence affirmed American ideals, the Constitution established American government, and the Farewell Address enabled Americans to understand their country and its place in the world. While the Declaration and Constitution have persisted as foundational documents, our appreciation for the Farewell Address has faded with time.

By focusing on the enduring influence of the Farewell Address on nineteenth-century Americans, and on their abiding devotion to Washington, author Jeffrey Malanson brings the Address back into the spotlight for twenty-first-century readers. When citizens gathered in town halls, city commons, and local churches to commemorate Washington, engagement with the Farewell Address was a cornerstone of their celebrations. This annual rededication to Washington’s principles made the Farewell Address both a framework for the attainment of national happiness and prosperity and a blueprint for national security, and it resulted in its position as the central text through which citizens of the early republic came to understand the connections between the nation’s domestic and foreign ambitions.

Through its focus on the diplomatic, political, and cultural impacts of Washington’s Farewell Address, Addressing America reasserts the fundamental importance of this critical document to the development of the United States in the first half of the nineteenth century.

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Adeline & Julia

growing up in Michigan and on the Kansas frontier: diaries from 19th-century America

Adeline Graham

The keeping of journals and diaries became an almost everyday pastime for many Americans in the nineteenth century. Adeline and Julia Graham, two young women from Berrien Springs, Michigan, were both drawn to this activity, writing about the daily events in their lives, as well as their 'grand adventures.' These are fascinating, deeply personal accounts that provide an insight into the thoughts and motivation of two sisters who lived more than a century ago. Adeline began keeping a diary when she was sixteen, from mid-1880 through mid-1884; through it we see a young woman coming of age in this small community in western Michigan. Paired with Adeline's account is her sister Julia's diary, which begins in 1885 when she sets out with three other young women to homestead in Greeley County, Kansas, just east of the Colorado border. It is a vivid and colorful narrative of a young woman's journey into America's western landscape.

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Adios to the Brushlands

Arturo Longoria

In a little-known area of South Texas, extending across the Rio Grande into Mexico, a mysterious, lush land once harbored mighty trees, bushes, and grasses--brushland home to a plethora of wildlife. In Adios to the Brushlands native son Arturo Longoria remembers this chapparal land of his childhood: hot summer days and frigid winter mornings walking with his grandfather or his best friend through the dense underbrush, watching birds, studying reptiles, identifying plants. Boyhood hunting and varmint calling, encounters with rattlesnakes and fierce pamorana ants, hours spent with his grandfather, Papagrande, and cousins bring to life another time and place. A trained biologist and one-time investigative reporter, Longoria brings his skills of observation and expression to sing the song of this vanishing habitat that once covered nearly four million acres of the Rio Grande Valley. In moving but understated prose he captures the wonder of the brushland and symbolically and emotionally links its loss, through rootplows and bulldozers, to the death of his grandfather, who had introduced him to that world. He reports as well the public policies and private actions that have reduced the brushland to less than five percent of its former extent. He chronicles the efforts to publicize the brushland’s destruction and to save the remaining richness for future generations. At once a celebration of a region’s nature and a call to preserve the little bit of it still left today, this book is to the South Texas Brushlands what Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was to the nation’s wetlands or John Graves’s Goodbye to a River was to the Brazos River. Rife with the natural history of an endangered ecology and capturing as well the binational culture of the region, Adios to the Brushlands draws readers into a land as raw, beautiful, and complex as life itself. A unique descriptive documentary of a disappearing natural treasure, it is a slice of the new natural history that weds the details of the physical world with their significance to the human heart.

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Advancing Democracy

African Americans and the Struggle for Access and Equity in Higher Education in Texas

Amilcar Shabazz

As we approach the fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education (1954), it is important to consider the historical struggles that led to this groundbreaking decision. Four years earlier in Texas, the Sweatt v. Painter decision allowed blacks access to the University of Texas's law school for the first time. Amilcar Shabazz shows that the development of black higher education in Texas--which has historically had one of the largest state college and university systems in the South--played a pivotal role in the challenge to Jim Crow education.

Shabazz begins with the creation of the Texas University Movement in the 1880s to lobby for equal access to the full range of graduate and professional education through a first-class university for African Americans. He traces the philosophical, legal, and grassroots components of the later campaign to open all Texas colleges and universities to black students, showing the complex range of strategies and the diversity of ideology and methodology on the part of black activists and intellectuals working to promote educational equality. Shabazz credits the efforts of blacks who fought for change by demanding better resources for segregated black colleges in the years before Brown, showing how crucial groundwork for nationwide desegregation was laid in the state of Texas.

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Adventures in Philosophy at Notre Dame

Kenneth M. Sayre

Adventures in Philosophy at Notre Dame recounts the fascinating history of the University of Notre Dame's Department of Philosophy, chronicling the challenges, difficulties, and tensions that accompanied its transition from an obscure outpost of scholasticism in the 1940s into one of the more distinguished philosophy departments in the world today. Its author, Kenneth Sayre, who has been a faculty member for over five decades, focuses on the people of the department, describing what they were like, how they got along with each other, and how their personal predilections and ambitions affected the affairs of the department overall. The book follows the department’s transition from its early Thomism to the philosophical pluralism of the 1970s, then traces its drift from pluralism to what Sayre terms "professionalism,” resulting in what some perceive as a severance from its Catholic roots by the turn of the century. Each chapter includes an extensive biography of an especially prominent department member, along with biographical sketches of other philosophers arriving during the period it covers. Central to the story overall are the charismatic Irishmen Ernan McMullin and Ralph McInerny, whose interaction dominated affairs in the department in the 1960s and 1970s, and who continued to exercise major roles in the following decades. Philosophers throughout the English-speaking world will find Adventures in Philosophy at Notre Dame essential reading. The book will also appeal to readers interested in the history of the University of Notre Dame and of American higher education generally.

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