Journal of the Early Republic

Journal of the Early Republic
Volume 26, Number 2, Summer 2006

CONTENTS

Articles

    Luskey, Brian P.
  • Jumping Counters in White Collars: Manliness, Respectability, and Work in the Antebellum City
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    Subject Headings:
    • Clerks -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
    • Social classes -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
    • Social mobility -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
    • Sex role -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
    • Retail trade -- Social aspects -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
    Abstract:
      Antebellum business clerks embodied the economic dreams of an optimistic era. According to the republic's cultural logic, they would eventually become merchants, sliding into positions of proprietorship or partnership that connoted independent manhood. Yet the booms and busts endemic to the period's economy challenged these expectations, making for uncertain advancement in the competitive commercial sphere. As mercantile firms specialized, clerks' work tasks expanded to include porters' duties and selling goods to female consumers. This shift was accompanied by a profound disjuncture between the ways that clerks and their contemporaries conceived of "white-collar" work. Clerks feared that moving goods alongside Irish and African American porters threatened their paths to proprietorship or partnership. Their contemporaries emphasized their interactions with women shoppers, relationships that were doubly fraught with peril. Clerks were a threat to women because they had mastered the art of commercial and sexual seduction. On the other hand, their masculinity was endangered by their proximity to women's goods and failure to work with their hands. Americans in the urban northeast were ultimately unable to reconcile the experiences of clerks' labor with competing and shifting notions of manliness and respectability. While clerks exposed disturbing contradictions about class and gender identity for all white, middle-class men, as an occupational group they were ultimately cast from the ranks of the refined and the masculine in the antebellum era.
    Keywords:
      clerks, counter jumpers, shoppers, respectability, middle class, manliness, white-collar work, porters, specialization, dry goods stores
    Cayton, Mary Kupiec.
  • The Expanding World of Jacob Norton: Reading, Revivalism, and the Construction of a "Second Great Awakening" in New England, 1787–1804
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    Subject Headings:
    • Norton, Jacob, 1764-1858 -- Books and reading.
    • Congregational churches -- Massachusetts -- History.
    • Evangelicalism -- Congregationalists -- History.
    • Second Great Awakening.
    Abstract:
      In 1787, Jacob Norton became pastor of a somewhat moribund Congregational parish in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Like other parishes of the region in the postrevolutionary era, it lacked for new members. By 1804, Norton and his parishioners found themselves awash in revival activity that produced an abundance of new members. This essay uses Norton's situation in Weymouth during these years, as well as his reading diaries, to examine how the print revolution of the 1790s in New England related to the shift in sensibility scholars have come to call "the Second Great Awakening." I argue that the expansion of the world of print that Norton and those like him experienced had a direct impact on their willingness to see local events as part of a much larger spiritual and political movement. The wide dissemination of new types of printed materials, especially regionally published periodicals, created a shared sensibility among New England evangelicals led to the construction of a shared "social imaginary." Norton and his Weymouth parish provide a case study in the role print played in the initial reconstruction of the ideological world of the earliest cohort of Congregational evangelicals, whose efforts within a generation gave rise to the Benevolent Empire.
    Keywords:
      Jacob Norton, Second Great Awakening, New England, revivalism, reading, print, revolution, diaries, Congregationalism, evangelical, ministers, Weymouth, Massachusetts, periodical press
    Kachun, Mitchell A. (Mitchell Alan)
  • Antebellum African Americans, Public Commemoration, and the Haitian Revolution: A Problem of Historical Mythmaking
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    Subject Headings:
    • African Americans -- Anniversaries, etc.
    • Haiti -- History -- Revolution, 1791-1804 -- Anniversaries, etc.
    • Haiti -- History -- Revolution, 1791-1804 -- Foreign public opinion, American.
    • United States -- Race relations -- History -- 1783-1865.
    • African Americans -- Historiography.
    Abstract:
      The slave uprising and revolution in the French colony of Saint Domingue between 1791 and 1804 created the modern era's first black republic and sent shock waves through the Atlantic World. Haiti's example of self-liberation and independent governance inspired African Americans seeking their own freedom, and the event and its heroes were widely admired and written about by antebellum black activists. Of the various events antebellum black Americans publicly commemorated, however, the absence of any public demonstrations commemorating the Haitian Revolution is conspicuous, if not surprising. Given the horror with which white Americans viewed events on Saint Domingue, black Americans realized that publicly identifying with the bloody slave revolution would both alienate the very people whose support they needed, and exacerbate white violence against black public celebrations and black communities.

      Nonetheless, numerous scholars have asserted the existence of antebellum African American commemorations of the Haitian Revolution without ever documenting an actual observance publicly commemorating that event. This essay reviews the secondary historical literature that has promulgated the inaccurate claim that black Americans commemorated the Haitian Revolution, traces the evidentiary trail relating to the ostensible celebrations, and discusses the issue's implications for historical practice. Like other recent scholarly debates in antebellum African American history regarding documentation and reliability of sources, this case cautions researchers against the hasty embrace of interpretations that validate one's affective attachments to historical subjects, and argues for more skeptical and critical readings of both primary and secondary sources.

    Keywords:
      African American, Haitian Revolution, commemorations, research, methodology, historical accuracy
    Harper, Steven Craig, 1970-
  • "Dictated by Christ": Joseph Smith and the Politics of Revelation
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    Subject Headings:
    • Smith, Joseph, 1805-1844.
    • Mormon Church -- History -- 19th century.
    • Revelation (Mormon theology) -- Political aspects -- United States.
    • Church and state -- Mormon Church.
    Abstract:
      A few months after Alexis de Tocqueville was born in Paris in July 1805, Joseph Smith was born in the Vermont hills. Twenty-five years later Tocqueville toured America while Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon and received direct revelations that steadily attracted thousands of followers. Harper examines the location of authority in the culture Tocqueville observed compared with the authority assumed by Smith's revelations, emphasizing the controversial political potential of revelation in a culture that locates authority in the people. Harper argues that democratization fostered hostility against Smith's uniquely "dialogic" revelations. Americans who were concerned with the impotence of democratized authority regarding ultimate questions accepted Smith's revelations. Rejecting socioeconomic explanations, Harper draws instead on close, contextual reading of Smith's revelations and a profound recent study of the Book of Mormon by Terryl Givens. Harper asserts that American democracy necessarily distanced itself from direct revelation and that Joseph Smith emerged in that context and offered an alternative authority grounded in an accessible but undemocratic God. At the height of his political power, Joseph Smith was lynched in 1844. The potential of his prophetic authority could not be countenanced by the democratizing culture Tocqueville observed in America.
    Keywords:
      Joseph Smith, Mormonism, revelation, dialogic revelation, Jackson County, Missouri, Kirtland, Ohio, Nauvoo, Illinois, democracy, democratization, democracy in America, Doctrine and Covenants, Book of Mormon, authority, anthropomorphism

Editor's Page

Reviews

    Kastor, Peter J.
  • Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1800, and: Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819 (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • American Antiquarian Society. Early American imprints. Series I, Evans (1639-1800) [web site]
    • American Antiquarian Society. Early American imprints. Series II, Shaw-Shoemaker (1801-1819) [web site]
    • United States -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775.
    • United States -- History -- 1783-1815.
    Matson, Cathy D., 1951-
  • Trade Secrets: Intellectual Piracy and the Origins of American Industrial Power (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ben-Atar, Doron S. Trade secrets: intellectual piracy and the origins of American industrial power.
    • Business intelligence -- United States -- History.
    Farley, James J., 1942-
  • A Call to the Sea: Captain Charles Stewart of the USS Constitution (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Berube, Claude G., 1966- Call to the sea: Captain Charles Stewart of the USS Constitution.
    • Rodgaard, John A., 1948-
    • Stewart, Charles, 1778-1869.
    Stevens, Kenneth R., 1946-
  • Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791, Vol. 15: Correspondence: First Session, March–May 1789, and: Vol. 16: Correspondence: First Session, June-August 1789, and: Vol. 17: Correspondence: First Session, September–November 1789 (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Bickford, Charlene Bangs, ed. Documentary history of the First Federal Congress: correspondence: first session. Vol. 15, March-May 1789.
    • Bickford, Charlene Bangs, ed. Documentary history of the First Federal Congress: correspondence: first session. Vol. 16, June-August 1789.
    • Bickford, Charlene Bangs, ed. Documentary history of the First Federal Congress: correspondence: first session. Vol. 17, September-November 1789.
    • United States. Congress (1st: 1789-1791) -- Sources.
    Bixel, Patricia Bellis, 1956-
  • Black Life on the Mississippi: Slaves, Free Blacks, and the Western Steamboat World (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Buchanan, Thomas C., 1967- Black life on the Mississippi: slaves, free Blacks, and the western steamboat world.
    • African Americans -- Mississippi River Valley -- History -- 19th century.
    Jaede, Mark G.
  • Manifest Manhood and the Antebellum American Empire (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Greenberg, Amy S., 1968- Manifest manhood and the Antebellum American empire.
    • United States -- Territorial expansion.
    Jabour, Anya.
  • Seduced, Abandoned, and Reborn: Visions of Youth in Middle-Class America, 1780-1850 (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Hessinger, Rodney. Seduced, abandoned, and reborn: visions of youth in middle-class America, 1780-1850.
    • Youth -- United States -- History -- 18th century.
    Neem, Johann N.
  • One Nation Under Law: America's Early National Struggles to Separate Church and State, and: The Founders on God and Government (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • McGarvie, Mark D. (Mark Douglas), 1956- One nation under law: America's early national struggles to separate church and state.
    • Dreisbach, Daniel L., ed. Founders on God and government.
    • Hall, Mark David, 1966-, ed.
    • Morrison, Jeffry H., 1961-, ed.
    • Church and state -- United States -- History.
    • Christianity and politics -- United States -- History -- 18th century.
    Parkinson, Robert G.
  • The Unknown American Revolution: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Nash, Gary B. Unknown American Revolution: the unruly birth of democracy and the struggle to create America.
    • United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783.
    Henderson, Dwight F., 1937-
  • Fries's Rebellion: The Enduring Struggle for the American Revolution (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Newman, Paul Douglas. Fries's Rebellion: the enduring struggle for the American Revolution.
    • Fries Rebellion, 1798-1799.
    Schoen, Brian.
  • Conjectures of Order: Intellectual Life and the American South, 1810-1860 (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • O'Brien, Michael, 1948- Conjectures of order: intellectual life and the American South, 1810-1860.
    • Southern States -- Intellectual life.
    O'Brien, Greg, 1966-
  • Choctaw Women in a Chaotic World: The Clash of Cultures in the Colonial Southeast (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Pesantubbee, Michelene E., 1953- Choctaw women in a chaotic world: the clash of cultures in the colonial Southeast.
    • Choctaw women -- History.
    Riordan, Liam.
  • Rebecca's Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Sensbach, Jon F. Rebecca's revival: creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic world.
    • Protten, Rebecca, 1718-



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