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University of Nebraska Press

University of Nebraska Press

Website: http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu

Founded in 1941, the University of Nebraska Press is a nonprofit scholarly and general interest press that publishes 160 new and reprint titles annually under the Nebraska and Bison Books imprints respectively, along with 20 journals. As the largest and most diversified university press between Chicago and California, with nearly 3,000 books in print, the University of Nebraska Press is best known for publishing works in Indigenous studies, history and literature of the American West, translated literature, and sports history


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American Indians and State Law

Sovereignty, Race, and Citizenship, 1790-1880

Deborah A. Rosen

American Indians and State Law examines the history of state and territorial policies, laws, and judicial decisions pertaining to Native Americans from 1790 to 1880. Belying the common assumption that Indian policy and regulation in the United States were exclusively within the federal government’s domain, the book reveals how states and territories extended their legislative and judicial authority over American Indians during this period. Deborah A. Rosen uses discussions of nationwide patterns, complemented by case studies focusing on New York, Georgia, New Mexico, Michigan, Minnesota, Louisiana, and Massachusetts, to demonstrate the decentralized nature of much of early American Indian policy.

This study details how state and territorial governments regulated American Indians and brought them into local criminal courts, as well as how Indians contested the actions of states and asserted tribal sovereignty. Assessing the racial conditions of incorporation into the American civic community, Rosen examines the ways in which state legislatures treated Indians as a distinct racial group, explores racial issues arising in state courts, and analyzes shifts in the rhetoric of race, culture, and political status during state constitutional conventions. She also describes the politics of Indian citizenship rights in the states and territories. Rosen concludes that state and territorial governments played an important role in extending direct rule over Indians and in defining the limits and the meaning of citizenship.

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American Indians, the Irish, and Government Schooling

A Comparative Study

Michael C. Coleman

For centuries American Indians and the Irish experienced assaults by powerful, expanding states, along with massive land loss and population collapse. In the early nineteenth century the U.S. government, acting through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), began a systematic campaign to assimilate Indians. Initially dependent on Christian missionary societies, the BIA later built and ran its own day schools and boarding schools for Indian children. At the same time, the British government established a nationwide elementary school system in Ireland, overseen by the commissioners of national education, to assimilate the Irish. By the 1920s, as these campaigns of cultural transformation were ending, roughly similar proportions of Indian and Irish children attended state-regulated schools.
 
In the first full comparison of American and British government attempts to assimilate “problem peoples” through mass elementary education, Michael C. Coleman presents a complex and fascinating portrait of imperialism at work in the two nations. Drawing on autobiographies, government records, elementary school curricula, and other historical documents, as well as photographs and maps, Coleman conveys a rich personal sense of what it was like to have been a pupil at a school where one’s language was not spoken and one’s local culture almost erased. In absolute terms the campaigns failed, yet the schools deeply changed Indian and Irish peoples in ways unpredictable both to them and to their educators.
 
Meticulously researched and engaging, American Indians, the Irish, and Government Schooling sets the agenda for a new era of comparative analyses in global indigenous studies.

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American Lives

A Reader

Edited by Alicia Christensen, Introduction by Tobias Wolff

Memoirs are as varied as human emotion and experience, and those published in the distinguished American Lives Series run the gamut. Excerpted from this series (called “splendid” by Newsweek) and collected here for the first time, these dispatches from American lives take us from China during the Cultural Revolution to the streets of New York in the sixties to a cabin in the backwoods of Idaho. In prose as diverse as the stories they tell, writers such as Floyd Skloot, Ted Kooser, Peggy Shumaker, and Lee Martin, among many others, open windows to their own ordinary and extraordinary experiences. John Skoyles tells how, for his Uncle Fred, a particular “Hard Luck Suit” imparted misfortune. Brenda Serotte describes a Turkish grandmother who made her living reading palms, interpreting cups, and prescribing poultices for the community. In “Son of Mr. Green Jeans,” Dinty W. Moore views fatherhood through the lens of pop culture. Janet Sternburg’s Phantom Limb muses on the dilemmas of a child caring for a parent. Whether evoking moments of death or disease, in family or marriage, history, politics, religion, or culture, these glimpses into singular American lives come together in a richly textured, colorful patchwork quilt of American life.

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American Naval History, 1607-1865

Overcoming the Colonial Legacy

Jonathan R. Dull

For its first eighty-five years, the United States was only a minor naval power. Its fledgling fleet had been virtually annihilated during the War of Independence and was mostly trapped in port by the end of the War of 1812. How this meager presence became the major naval power it remains to this day is the subject of American Naval History, 1607–1865: Overcoming the Colonial Legacy. A wide-ranging yet concise survey of the U.S. Navy from the colonial era through the Civil War, the book draws on American, British, and French history to reveal how navies reflect diplomatic, political, economic, and social developments and to show how the foundation of America’s future naval greatness was laid during the Civil War.

Award-winning author Jonathan R. Dull documents the remarkable transformation of the U.S. Navy between 1861 and 1865, thanks largely to brilliant naval officers like David Farragut, David D. Porter, and Andrew Foote; visionary politicians like Abraham Lincoln and Gideon Welles; and progressive industrialists like James Eads and John Ericsson. But only by understanding the failings of the antebellum navy can the accomplishments of Lincoln’s navy be fully appreciated. Exploring such topics as delays in American naval development, differences between the U.S. and European fleets, and the effect that the country’s colonial past had on its naval policies, Dull offers a new perspective on both American naval history and the history of the developing republic.

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American Shooter

A Personal History of Gun Culture in the United States

GERRY SOUTER

Gun ownership has long been a hot-button topic in the United States, and the National Rifle Association has the reputation of being an organization of primarily politically conservative members. American Shooter provides a unique look at gun ownership, handgun bans, shooting sports, and the controversy over how to interpret the Second Amendment from the point of view of a liberal gun owner and enthusiast. Gerry Souter examines the history of firearms in the United States, from the settlers who carried matchlock muskets ashore at Jamestown to the citizens who purchase guns in record numbers today. Recent Supreme Court decisions that uphold the right to bear arms have galvanized citizens on both sides of the debate, making the gun issue hotter than ever. To provide a personal view, Souter weaves in tales of his own experiences with guns, including sport shooting as a young man, hunting and bonding with his father, and facing the smoking end of a muzzle as an international photojournalist. American Shooter is both a history and a personal journey that traces the path of American gun ownership culture from the Revolution to today. It recounts how the country has lived with guns from the flintlock hung over the fireplace to the concealed-carry, laser-sighted Glock semiautomatic pistol tucked away in the hidden pocket of a mom’s purse.

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American Silence

Zeese Papanikolas

In American Silence, a complement to his previous study Trickster in the Land of Dreams, Zeese Papanikolas investigates a number of significant American cultural artifacts and the lives of their makers. For Papanikolas, both the private failures and public successes of Clarence King, Henry Adams, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Chandler, and Hank Williams resonate with silences. These silences—absences and omissions—put them in opposition to the American mythology of success and express the essential solitude Alexis de Tocqueville found at the heart of the American soul. The painters George Caleb Bingham and Jackson Pollock and the New Orleans photographer E. J. Bellocq extend the theme of erotic loss and the redemptive possibilities of art beyond it into the realm of the visual.
 
On a deeper level, the lives and works of these writers, thinkers, artists, and public figures connect them to more disturbing questions of American crimes of race and despoliation. Their silences and reticences contain a lingering pathos rooted in a consciousness of utopian possibility just missed and to an unspoiled nature almost within living memory.

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An American Soldier in World War I

George Browne

George “Brownie” Browne was a twenty-three-year-old civil engineer in Waterbury, Connecticut, when the United States entered the Great War in 1917. He enlisted almost immediately and served in the American Expeditionary Forces until his discharge in 1919. An American Soldier in World War I is an edited collection of more than one hundred letters that Browne wrote to his fiancée, Martha “Marty” Johnson, describing his experiences during World War I as part of the famed 42nd, or Rainbow, Division. From September 1917 until he was wounded in the Meuse-Argonne offensive in late October 1918, Browne served side by side with his comrades in the 117th Engineering Regiment. He participated in several defensive actions and in offensives on the Marne, at Saint-Mihiel, and in the Meuse-Argonne.

This extraordinary collection of Brownie’s letters reveals the day-to-day life of an American soldier in the European theater. The difficulties of training, transportation to France, dangers of combat, and the ultimate strain on George and Marty’s relationship are all captured in these pages. David L. Snead weaves the Browne correspondence into a wider narrative about combat, hope, and service among the American troops. By providing a description of the experiences of an average American soldier serving in the American Expeditionary Forces in France, this study makes a valuable contribution to the history and historiography of American participation in World War I.

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American Technology Policy

Evolving Strategic Interests after the Cold War

J. D. KENNETH BOUTIN

Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. policymakers have faced the challenge of addressing the technological requirements of both economic competitiveness and national security. Promoting the technological objectives of competitiveness and security poses a daunting task, as these objectives can differ significantly in terms of autonomy, the private sector’s role, and the time frame involved. The difficulties inherent in meeting these competing needs for technological investment and resources are exacerbated by growing technological globalization. American Technology Policy analyzes the ongoing efforts of politicians, legislators, policymakers, and industry leaders to balance their often-conflicting technological requirements. J. D. Kenneth Boutin examines recent trends and developments in American technology policy as it strives to support high-technology firms without undermining national security. He then considers issues of autonomy, relations between the federal government and industry, and the time frame involved in formulating and implementing policy initiatives, all in the context of globalization. Though satisfying the ambitious American technological agenda is difficult, it is impossible for authorities to avoid making the effort, given the high stakes involved. Boutin’s analysis is intended to inform those who are charged with prioritizing and balancing the technological needs of national defense and economic growth. Although the post–Cold War technology policy of the United States has been characterized by efforts to achieve a balance between these two competing priorities, the dominant focus remains on national security. Boutin explains the ways in which American authorities seek to limit the extent of compromise necessary by working with local and foreign actors and by encouraging structural changes in the environment for technological development, application, and diffusion.

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Amiable Scoundrel

Simon Cameron, Lincoln's Scandalous Secretary of War

Paul Kahan

From abject poverty to undisputed political boss of Pennsylvania, Lincoln’s secretary of war, senator, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a founder of the Republican Party, Simon Cameron (1799–1889) was one of the nineteenth century’s most prominent political figures. In his wake, however, he left a series of questionable political and business dealings and, at the age of eighty, even a sex scandal.

Far more than a biography of Cameron, Amiable Scoundrel is also a portrait of an era that allowed—indeed, encouraged—a man such as Cameron to seize political control. The political changes of the early nineteenth century enabled him not only to improve his status but also to exert real political authority. The changes caused by the Civil War, in turn, allowed Cameron to consolidate his political authority into a successful, well-oiled political machine. A key figure in designing and implementing the Union’s military strategy during the Civil War’s crucial first year, Cameron played an essential role in pushing Abraham Lincoln to permit the enlistment of African Americans into the U.S. Army, a stance that eventually led to his forced resignation. Yet his legacy has languished, nearly forgotten save for the fact that his name has become shorthand for corruption, even though no evidence has ever been presented to prove that Cameron was corrupt.

Amiable Scoundrel puts Cameron’s actions into a larger historical context by demonstrating that many politicians of the time, including Abraham Lincoln, used similar tactics to win elections and advance their careers. This study is the fascinating story of Cameron’s life and an illuminating portrait of his times.
 


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Amid a Warring World

American Foreign Relations, 1775–1815

ROBERT SMITH

The period between 1775 and 1815 could be called the “critical period” of American foreign relations. At no time in American history was the existence of the republic in greater physical peril. Questions of foreign policy dominated American public life in a way unequalled until World War II. From the American Revolution through the War of 1812, the United States was a small power confronted by great powers hostile to each other and to the United States. Furthermore, the era was dominated by two great revolutions that reshaped the Atlantic world. The problem for American diplomats and foreign policymakers was to preserve the United States, both as an independent nation and as a republic, in a decidedly unequal contest with the great powers.

According to Robert W. Smith, the question of American power lay at the heart of the debate over independence. The radicals believed that the American spirit and market were enough, and favored rapid independence and an aggressive promotion of neutral rights. The moderates doubted American power, and were inclined to move slowly and only with assured French assistance. By the end of the American Revolution, the moderates had won the debate. But their victory masked the defects of the confederation, until the diplomatic humiliations of the 1780s forced the United States to create a government that could properly harness American economic and military power. The debate over the power of the United States to reshape a hostile world remains as central today as in 1776.

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