The Nebraska-Kansas Act of 1854 turns upside down the traditional way of thinking about one of the most important laws ever passed in American history. The act that created Nebraska and Kansas also, in effect, abolished the Missouri Compromise, which had prohibited slavery in the region since 1820. This bow to local control outraged the nation and led to vicious confrontations, including Kansas' subsequent mini-civil war. At the 150th anniversary of the Kansas-Nebraska Act these scholars reexamine the political, social, and personal contexts of this act and its effect on the course of American history.
In the dramatic narratives that comprise The Republic of Nature, Mark Fiege reframes the canonical account of American history based on the simple but radical premise that nothing in the nation's past can be considered apart from the natural circumstances in which it occurred. Revisiting historical icons so familiar that schoolchildren learn to take them for granted, he makes surprising connections that enable readers to see old stories in a new light. Among the historical moments revisited here, a revolutionary nation arises from its environment and struggles to reconcile the diversity of its people with the claim that nature is the source of liberty. Abraham Lincoln, an unlettered citizen from the countryside, steers the Union through a moment of extreme peril, guided by his clear-eyed vision of nature's capacity for improvement. In Topeka, Kansas, transformations of land and life prompt a lawsuit that culminates in the momentous civil rights case of Brown v. Board of Education. By focusing on materials and processes intrinsic to all things and by highlighting the nature of the United States, Fiege recovers the forgotten and overlooked ground on which so much history has unfolded. In these pages, the nation's birth and development, pain and sorrow, ideals and enduring promise come to life as never before, making a once-familiar past seem new. The Republic of Nature points to a startlingly different version of history that calls on readers to reconnect with fundamental forces that shaped the American experience. For more information, visit the author's website: http://republicofnature.com/
Author: Donald R. Hickey,Susan A. Wunder,John R. Wunder
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
An account of defining Nebraska moments, including: surviving the Oregon and Mormon trails; completing the Union Pacific Railroad; and winning national football championships, Nobel and Pulitzer prices, and presidential nominations.
Countless studies of the American West have been written from the viewpoint of history, psychology, sociology, and anthropology. But the West has seldom been written about with the reflective pen of a philosopher. Offering more than a fresh retelling, in thoroughly human terms, of the major historical events of the nineteenth-century West, Gerald Kreyche also leads the reader in a search for the spirit of the West itself. That spirit was one with the American Dream, which offered freedom, individualism, and self-sufficiency to those strong enough and gutsy enough to heed the call of Manifest Destiny. Although the West was and is the most American part of America itself, its natural wonders, its spacious grandeur, its myths and mystique have captured the hearts and imaginations of people the world over. We have all experienced the quickened pulse at the mention of things indelibly western -- tumbleweed, mountain men, high plains, cowboys and Indians, sod houses, coyotes, and grizzlies. And who doesn't react to such bigger-than-life figures as Jim Bridger, Buffalo Bill, George Armstrong Custer, Sitting Bull, and Crazy Horse? The personal humdrum of our times rapidly disappears when, through the magic of western films, TV shows, and books, we vicariously lose ourselves and then find ourselves in the American West of a bygone time. The West, then, produced a quasi-separate culture. And, as each culture must, it gave birth to its own ethos, its own special character, its own tone and set of guiding beliefs. Kreyche contends that in the process of "westering," the veneer of the sophisticated easterner was sloughed off, leaving in sharp outline the frontiersman and the pioneer. In their own manner, these men and women produced a new species of homo americanus.
Of all the interactions between American Indians and Euro-Americans, none was as fundamental as the acquisition of the indigenous peoples’ lands. To Euro-Americans this takeover of lands was seen as a natural right, an evolution to a higher use; to American Indians the loss of homelands was a tragedy involving also a loss of subsistence, a loss of history, and a loss of identity. Historical geographer David J. Wishart tells the story of the dispossession process as it affected the Nebraska Indians—Otoe-Missouria, Ponca, Omaha, and Pawnee—over the course of the nineteenth century. Working from primary documents, and including American Indian voices, Wishart analyzes the spatial and ecological repercussions of dispossession. Maps give the spatial context of dispossession, showing how Indian societies were restricted to ever smaller territories where American policies of social control were applied with increasing intensity. Graphs of population loss serve as reference lines for the narrative, charting the declining standards of living over the century of dispossession. Care is taken to support conclusions with empirical evidence, including, for example, specific details of how much the Indians were paid for their lands. The story is told in a language that is free from jargon and is accessible to a general audience.
“A masterwork [by] the preeminent historian of the Civil War era.”—Boston Globe Selected as a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, this landmark work gives us a definitive account of Lincoln's lifelong engagement with the nation's critical issue: American slavery. A master historian, Eric Foner draws Lincoln and the broader history of the period into perfect balance. We see Lincoln, a pragmatic politician grounded in principle, deftly navigating the dynamic politics of antislavery, secession, and civil war. Lincoln's greatness emerges from his capacity for moral and political growth.
The Civil War is one of the most defining eras of American history, and much has been written on every aspect of the war. The volume of material available is daunting, especially when a student is trying to grasp the overall themes of the period. Jonathan Wells has distilled the war down into understandable, easy-to-read sections, with plenty of maps and illustrations, to help make sense of the battles and social, political, and cultural changes of the era. Presented here is information on: the home front the battles, both in the East and the West the status of slaves women’s role in the war and its aftermath literature and public life international aspects of the war and much more! Students will also find helpful study aids on the companion website for the book. A House Divided provides a short, readable survey of the Civil War and the Reconstruction period afterward, focusing not only on the battles, but on how Americans lived during a time of great upheaval in the country’s history, and what that legacy has meant to the country today.
First published in 1979, this volume offers students and teachers a unique view of American history prior to the Civil War. Distinguished historian David Brion Davis has chosen a diverse array of primary sources that show the actual concerns, hopes, fears, and understandings of ordinary antebellum Americans. He places these sources within a clear interpretive narrative that brings the documents to life and highlights themes that social and cultural historians have brought to our attention in recent years. Beginning with the family and the issue of socialization and influence, the units move on to struggles over access to wealth and power; the plight of &"outsiders&" in an &"open&" society; and ideals of progress, perfection, and mission. The reader of this volume hears a great diversity of voices but also grasps the unities that survived even the Civil War.
The Journal of Mollie Dorsey Sanford in Nebraska and Colorado Territories, 1857-1866
Author: Mollie Dorsey Sanford
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Mollie is a vivid, high-spirited, and intensely feminine account of city people homesteading in the raw, new land west of the Missouri. More particularly, it is the story of Mollie herself ?øjust turned eighteen when the Dorseys left Indianapolis for Nebraska Territory ? of her reaction to the transplantation and to her new life which included rattlesnakes, blizzards, Indians, and the hardships of pioneer life. ø Mollie describes her nearly three-year engagement to Byron Sanford, during which time she worked as a seamstress, teacher, and cook. Following her wedding Mollie?s life took a new turn. Catching ?Pike?s Peak Fever,? the Sanfords crossed the plains to Colorado to join others digging for gold. In mining camps and later, after the outbreak of the Civil War, in forts and army posts, Mollie?s strength and endurance were tried to the uttermost, but she reports her trials and tribulations with the same gaiety, courage, and common sense that she displayed in living through them. Lillian Schlissel?s introduction discusses the Sanfords? courtship, marriage, and their steadfast loyalty to each other.
Author: James C. Olson,Ronald C. Naugle,John J. Montag
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
History of Nebraska was originally created to mark the territorial centennial of Nebraska and then revised to coincide with the statehood centennial. This one-volume history quickly became the standard text for the college student and reference for the general reader, unmatched for generations as the only comprehensive history of the state. This fourth edition, revised and updated, preserves the spirit and intelligence of the original. Incorporating the results of years of scholarship and research, this edition gives fuller attention to such topics as the Native American experience in Nebraska and the accomplishments and circumstances of the state’s women and minorities. It also provides a historical analysis of the state’s dramatic changes in the past two decades.
A broad, definitive history of the profound relationship between religion and movements for social change in America Though in recent years the religious right has been a powerful political force, making “religion” and “conservatism” synonymous in the minds of many, the United States has always had an active, vibrant, and influential religious Left. In every period of our history, people of faith have envisioned a society of peace and justice, and their tireless efforts have made an indelible mark on our nation’s history. In Prophetic Encounters, Dan McKanan challenges simple distinctions between “religious” and “secular” activism, showing that religious beliefs and practices have been integral to every movement promoting liberty, equality, and solidarity. From Frederick Douglass, John Brown, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in the nineteenth century to Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr., and Starhawk in the twentieth, American radicals have maintained a deep faith in the human capacity to transform the world. This radical faith has always been intertwined with the religious practices of Christians and Jews, pagans and Buddhists, orthodox believers and humanist heretics. Their vision and energies powered the social movements that have defined America’s progress: the abolition of slavery, feminism, the New Deal, civil rights, and others. In this groundbreaking, definitive work, McKanan treats the histories of religion and the Left as a single history, showing that American radicalism is a continuous tradition rather than a collection of disparate movements. Emphasizing the power of encounter—encounters between whites and former slaves, between the middle classes and the immigrant masses, and among activists themselves—McKanan shows that the coming together of people of different perspectives and beliefs has been transformative for centuries, uniting those whose faith is a source of activist commitment with those whose activism is a source of faith. Offering a history of the diverse religious dimensions of radical movements from the American Revolution to the present day, Prophetic Encounters invites contemporary activists to stand proudly in a tradition of prophetic power. From the Hardcover edition.
This collection of columns by historian Bruce G. Kauffmann is must reading whether you are a history buff or not. Unlike most historians Kauffmann writes in a style that is entertaining as well as educational, and because his columns are short just 450 words they arent a huge commitment in time. Read one each day, or as many as you like. A recurring theme in the correspondence Kauffmann gets from readers is how much they wish history had been taught in school the way he writes it in his column. As reader Cynthia Scarlett wrote, Mr. Kauffmann, I truly enjoy your columns! How I wish someone with your flair could have been around when I was in high school. I would have been a lot smarter than I am now. I think you are a real asset to learning and I hope someone in the academic arena understands that and helps spread your fascinating columns throughout the country, or world." Even teachers are fans, and countless numbers of them use his column in their classroom. Regardless of your age, or past interest in history, you will enjoy this book.
From Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War through the disputed election of George W. Bush and beyond, the Republican Party has been at the dramatic center of American politics for 150 years. In Grand Old Party, the first comprehensive history of the Republicans in 40 years, Lewis L. Gould traces the evolution of the Grand Old Party from its emergence as an antislavery coalition in the 1850s to its current role as the champion of political and social conservatism. Here, Gould brings to life the major figures of Republican history - Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush-and uncovers a wealth of fascinating anecdotes about Republicans, from "the Plumed Knight," James G. Blaine, in the 1880s, to Barry Goldwater in the 1960s, to Newt Gingrich in the 1990s. Gould also uncovers the historical forces and issues that have made the Republicans what they are: the crusade against slavery, the rise of big business, the Cold War, and opposition to the power of the federal government. Based on Gould's research in the papers of leading Republicans and his wide reading in the party's history, Grand Old Party is a book that will outlast the noisy tumult of today's partisan debates and endure as a definitive treatment of how the Republicans have shaped the way Americans live together in a democracy. Written with balance and keen insight, Grand Old Party is required reading for anyone interested in American politics, especially as Americans gear up for the 2012 presidential election. Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike will find their understanding of national politics deepened and enriched by this invaluable guide to the unfolding saga of American politics.
Having been born and raised on the Missouri River at Atchison, Kansas, and having the ghosts of the Civil War about me constantly, I have been passionately interested in the Civil War as long as I can remember. The Victorian and antebellum homes with servant quarters still behind them, the wooded bluffs and caves where escaped slaves were hidden, and the mystique of the Missouri River area itself have maintained this feeling of the war for me. My mothers immediate family was from the Missouri River bottoms on the Missouri side and my fathers immediate family was from rural Atchison on the Kansas side. From my incomplete and somewhat misinformed family and formal history education, I assumed for most of my life that my mothers family was Confederate in its leanings and that my fathers family was Union. I was unaware that the town and countys namesake, Sen. David Rice Atchison, was from Missouri and had much Pro-Slavery activity. No effort has ever been made to change the towns name since the war. No Confederate tie to him was taught in any of my classes in school.