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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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An Sionnach: A Journal of Literature, Culture, and the Arts

Vol. 5 (2009)

An Sionnach is a journal of Irish Studies featuring scholarly articles, creative work, and reviews that promote active discussion and provide in-depth analysis of developments in Irish writing and Irish Studies in the United States, Ireland, and Europe, from 1958 to the present.

An Sionnach is published by Creighton University Press and distributed by the University of Nebraska Press

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Ancestral Mounds

Vitality and Volatility of Native America

Jay Miller

Ancestral Mounds deconstructs earthen mounds and myths in examining their importance in contemporary Native communities. Two centuries of academic scholarship regarding mounds have examined who, what, where, when, and how, but no serious investigations have addressed the basic question, why? Drawing on ethnographic and archaeological studies, Jay Miller explores the wide-ranging themes and variations of mounds, from those built thousands of years ago to contemporary mounds, focusing on Native southeastern and Oklahoma towns.
 
Native peoples continue to build and refurbish mounds each summer as part of their New Year’s celebrations to honor and give thanks for ripening maize and other crops and to offer public atonement. The mound is the heart of the Native community, which is sustained by song, dance, labor, and prayer. The basic purpose of mounds across North America is the same: to serve as a locus where community effort can be engaged in creating a monument of vitality and a safe haven in the volatile world.

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And the Witnesses Were Silent

The Confessing Church and the Persecution of the Jews

Wolfgang Gerlach

An endlessly perplexing question of the twentieth century is how “decent” people came to allow, and sometimes even participate in, the Final Solution. Fear obviously had its place, as did apathy. But how does one explain the silence of those people who were committed, active, and often fearless opponents of the Nazi regime on other grounds—those who spoke out against Nazi activities in many areas yet whose response to genocide ranged from tepid disquiet to avoidance? One such group was the Confessing Church, Protestants who often risked their own safety to aid Christian victims of Nazi oppression but whose response to pogroms against Jews was ambivalent.

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Andean Tragedy

Fighting the War of the Pacific, 1879-1884

William F. Sater

The year 1879 marked the beginning of one of the longest, bloodiest conflicts of nineteenth-century Latin America. The War of the Pacific pitted Peru and Bolivia against Chile in a struggle initiated over a festering border dispute. The conflict saw Chile’s and Peru’s armored warships vying for control of sea lanes and included one of the first examples of the use of naval torpedoes. On land, large armies using the most modern weapons—breech-loading rifles, Gatling guns, and steel-barreled artillery—clashed in battles that left thousands of men dead on the battlefields. Eventually, the warring parties revamped their respective military establishments, creating much needed, civilian-supported supply, transportation, and medical units. Chile ultimately prevailed. Bolivia lost its seacoast along with valuable nitrate and copper deposits to Chile, and Peru was forced to cede mineral rich Tarapaca and the province of Arica to the victor.
 
Employing the primary and secondary sources of the countries involved, William F. Sater offers the definitive analysis of the conflict's naval and military campaigns. Andean Tragedy not only places the war in a crucial international context, but also explains why this devastating conflict resulted in a Chilean victory.

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Anthropological Linguistics

Vol. 51 (2009) through current issue

Anthropological Linguistics provides a forum for the full range of scholarly study of the languages and cultures of the peoples of the world, especially the native peoples of the Americas. Embracing the field of language and culture broadly defined, the journal includes articles and research reports addressing cultural, historical, and philological aspects of linguistic study, including analyses of texts and discourse; studies of semantic systems and cultural classifications; onomastic studies; ethnohistorical papers that draw significantly on linguistic data; studies of linguistic prehistory and genetic classification, both methodological and substantive; discussions and interpretations of archival material; edited historical documents; and contributions to the history of the field.

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Anthropologists and Their Traditions across National Borders

Regna Darnell

Volume 8 of the Histories of Anthropology Annual series, the premier series published in the history of the discipline, explores national anthropological traditions in Britain, the United States, and Europe and follows them into postnational contexts. Contributors reassess the major theorists in twentieth-century anthropology, including luminaries such as Franz Boas, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Bronisław Malinowski, A. R. Radcliffe-Brown, Marshall Sahlins, and lesser-known but important anthropological work by Berthold Laufer, A. M. Hocart, Kenelm O. L. Burridge, and Robin Ridington, among others.
 
These essays examine myriad themes such as the pedagogical context of the anthropologist as a teller of stories about indigenous storytellers; the colonial context of British anthropological theory and its projects outside the nation state; the legacies of Claude Lévi-Strauss’s structuralism regarding culture specific patterns; cognitive universals reflected in empirical examples of kinship, myth, language, classificatory systems, and supposed universal mental structures; and the career of Marshall Sahlins and his trajectory from neo evolutionism and structuralism toward an epistemological skepticism of cross cultural miscommunication.

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Anthropology Goes to the Fair

The 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition

Nancy J. Parezo

World’s fairs and industrial expositions constituted a phenomenally successful popular culture movement during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In addition to the newest technological innovations, each exposition showcased commercial and cultural exhibits, entertainment concessions, national and corporate displays of wealth, and indigenous peoples from the colonial empires of the host country.
 
As scientists claiming specialized knowledge about indigenous peoples, especially American Indians, anthropologists used expositions to promote their quest for professional status and authority. Anthropology Goes to the Fair takes readers through the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition to see how anthropology, as conceptualized by W J McGee, the first president of the American Anthropological Association, showcased itself through programs, static displays, and living exhibits for millions of people  “to show each half of the world how the other half lives.” More than two thousand Native peoples negotiated and portrayed their own agendas on this world stage. The reader will see how anthropology itself was changed in the process.

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Anti-Judaism, Antisemitism, and Delegitimizing Israel

Robert S. Wistrich

Although early Zionist thinkers perhaps naively believed that anti-Jewish persecution would end with sovereignty, anti-Zionism has become one form of the “new” antisemitism following World War II. Because antisemitism has not been effectively addressed, anti-Jewish rhetoric, activism, and deadly violence have flourished around the world.
               In Anti-Judaism, Antisemitism, and Delegitimizing Israel editor Robert S. Wistrich and an array of notable academics, journalists, and political scientists analyze multiple aspects of the current surge in anti-Jewish and anti-Israel rhetoric and violence. Contributors Ben Cohen, R. Amy Elman, Lesley Klaff, Matthias Küntzel, Nelly Las, Alvin H. Rosenfeld, and Efraim Sicher, among others, examine antisemitism from the perspectives of history, academia, gender, identity, and religion. Offering a variety of viewpoints and insights into disturbing trends worldwide, the contributors provide a basis for further discussion and increased efforts to counter the increasingly vocal and violent hatred of Jews and Israel.
 

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