Before the Civil War, slaveholders made themselves into the most powerful, most deeply rooted, and best organized private interest group within the United States. Not only did slavery represent the national economy's second largest capital investment, exceeded only by investment in real estate, but guarantees of its perpetuation were studded throughout the U.S. Constitution. The vast majority of white Americans, in North and South, accepted the institution, and pro-slavery presidents and congressmen consistently promoted its interests. In Abolitionist Politics and the Coming of the Civil War, James Brewer Stewart explains how a small group of radical activists, the abolitionist movement, played a pivotal role in turning American politics against this formidable system. He examines what influence the movement had in creating the political crises that led to civil war and evaluates the extent to which a small number of zealous reformers made a truly significant political difference when demanding that their nation face up to its most excruciating moral problem. In making these assessments, Stewart addresses a series of more specific questions: What were the abolitionists actually up against when seeking the overthrow of slavery and white supremacy? What motivated and sustained them during their long and difficult struggles? What larger historical contexts (religious, social, economic, cultural, and political) influenced their choices and determined their behavior? What roles did extraordinary leaders play in shaping the movement, and what were the contributions of abolitionism's unheralded “foot soldiers”? What factors ultimately determined, for better or worse, the abolitionists' impact on American politics and the realization of their equalitarian goals?
How can the set of rights that underpin the notion of the “right to the city” be advanced? In seeking answers to this question over several decades, social mobilizations have been assembled and new political and legal frameworks promoted. New interpretations and political articulations of the right to the city, especially those that have emerged since the end of the 2000s, encourage us to view it through the lens of identity politics. They propose that attention should be given to the diversity of the social groups that live in urban environments, whose voice and agency must be recognized in the construction of the city in the interests of equality and social justice.
Addressing these issues not only involves recognizing and valuing the subjects that have historically been marginalized in the construction of urban space, both physical and symbolic. It also means bearing in mind that the city materializes and is experienced in a different way by the different groups that inhabit it through their practices, uses of it and, in short, how their daily life takes shape. Advancing Urban Rights will help both concerned citizens and policy makers identify and analyze redistribution and recognition policies, institutional change, and social production of the city in an increasingly urban world.
Are Thomas Piketty’s analyses of inequality on target? Where should researchers go from here in exploring the ideas he pushed to the forefront of global conversation? In After Piketty, a cast of economists and other social scientists tackle these questions in dialogue with Piketty, in what is sure to be a much-debated book in its own right.
The problems of capitalism have been studied from Karl Marx to Thomas Piketty. The latter has recently confirmed that the system of capital is deeply bound up in ever-growing inequality without challenging the continuance of that system. Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century presents a diversity of analyses and visions opposed to the idea that capital should have yet another century to govern human and non-human resources in the interest of profit and accumulation. The editors and contributors to this timely volume present alternatives to the whole liberal litany of administered economies, tax policy recommendations, and half-measures. They undermine and reject the logic of capital, and the foregone conclusion that the twenty-first century should be given over to capital just as the previous two centuries were.
Providing a deep critique of capitalism, based on assessment from a wide range of cultural, social, political, and ecological thinking, Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century insists that transformative, revolutionary, and abolitionist responses to capital are even more necessary in the twenty-first century than they ever were.
Alongside unprecedented improvements in longevity and material well-being, the twentieth century saw the rise of fascism and communism and a second world war followed by a cold war. Governments with market economies won the battle against these competing systems by combining growth and efficiency with greater equality of opportunity and outcome.
In Ailing in Place, Michele Morrone explores the relationship between environmental conditions in Appalachia and health outcomes that are too often ascribed to individual choices only. She applies quantitative data to observations from environmental health professionals to frame the ways in which the environment, as a social determinant of health, leads to health disparities in Appalachian communities. These examples—these stories of place—trace the impacts of water quality, waste disposal, and natural resource extraction on the health and quality of life of Appalachian people.
Public Health is inextricably linked to place. Environmental conditions such as contaminated water, unsafe food, and polluted air are as important as culture, community, and landscape in characterizing a place and determining the health outcomes of the people who live there. In some places, the state of the environment is a consequence of historical activities related to natural resources and cultural practices. In others, political decisions to achieve short-term economic objectives are made with little consideration of long-term public health consequences.
The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s seemed to mark a historical turning point in advancing the American dream of equal opportunity for all citizens, regardless of race. Yet 50 years on, racial inequality remains a troubling fact of life in American society and its causes are highly contested. In The American Non-Dilemma, sociologist Nancy DiTomaso convincingly argues that America's enduring racial divide is sustained more by whites' preferential treatment of members of their own social networks than by overt racial discrimination. Drawing on research from sociology, political science, history, and psychology, as well as her own interviews with a cross-section of non-Hispanic whites, DiTomaso provides a comprehensive examination of the persistence of racial inequality in the post-Civil Rights era and how it plays out in today's economic and political context. Taking Gunnar Myrdal's classic work on America's racial divide, The American Dilemma, as her departure point, DiTomaso focuses on "the white side of the race line." To do so, she interviewed a sample of working, middle, and upper-class whites about their life histories, political views, and general outlook on racial inequality in America. While the vast majority of whites profess strong support for civil rights and equal opportunity regardless of race, they continue to pursue their own group-based advantage, especially in the labor market where whites tend to favor other whites in securing jobs protected from market competition. This "opportunity hoarding" leads to substantially improved life outcomes for whites due to their greater access to social resources from family, schools, churches, and other institutions with which they are engaged. DiTomaso also examines how whites understand the persistence of racial inequality in a society where whites are, on average, the advantaged racial group. Most whites see themselves as part of the solution rather than part of the problem with regard to racial inequality. Yet they continue to harbor strong reservations about public policies—such as affirmative action—intended to ameliorate racial inequality. In effect, they accept the principles of civil rights but not the implementation of policies that would bring about greater racial equality. DiTomaso shows that the political engagement of different groups of whites is affected by their views of how civil rights policies impact their ability to provide advantages to family and friends. This tension between civil and labor rights is evident in Republicans' use of anti-civil rights platforms to attract white voters, and in the efforts of Democrats to bridge race and class issues, or civil and labor rights broadly defined. As a result, DiTomaso finds that whites are, at best, uncertain allies in the fight for racial equality. Weaving together research on both race and class, along with the life experiences of DiTomaso's interview subjects, The American Non-Dilemma provides a compelling exploration of how racial inequality is reproduced in today's society, how people come to terms with the issue in their day-to-day experiences, and what these trends may signify in the contemporary political landscape.
American Tax Resisters
Romain D. Huret Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress HJ2362.H87 2014 | Dewey Decimal 336.200973
American Tax Resisters gives a history of the anti-tax movement that, for the past 150 years, has pursued limited taxes on wealth and battled efforts to secure social justice through income redistribution. It explains how a once-marginal ideology became mainstream, elevating individual entrepreneurialism over sacrifice and solidarity.
America's Inequality Trap
Nathan J. Kelly University of Chicago Press, 2020 Library of Congress HC110.I5K45 2019 | Dewey Decimal 339.220973
The gap between the rich and the poor has grown dramatically in the United States and is now at its widest since at least the early 1900s. While by most measures the economy has been improving, soaring cost of living and stagnant wages have done little to assuage economic anxieties. Conditions like these seem designed to produce a generation-defining intervention to balance the economic scales and enhance opportunities for those at the middle and bottom of the country’s economic ladder—but we have seen nothing of the sort.
Nathan J. Kelly argues that a key reason for this is that rising concentrations of wealth create a politics that makes reducing economic inequality more difficult. Kelly convincingly shows that, when a small fraction of the people control most of the economic resources, they also hold a disproportionate amount of political power, hurtling us toward a self-perpetuating plutocracy, or an “inequality trap.” Among other things, the rich support a broad political campaign that convinces voters that policies to reduce inequality are unwise and not in the average voter’s interest, regardless of the real economic impact. They also take advantage of interest groups they generously support to influence Congress and the president, as well as state governments, in ways that stop or slow down reform. One of the key implications of this book is that social policies designed to combat inequality should work hand-in-hand with political reforms that enhance democratic governance and efforts to fight racism, and a coordinated effort on all of these fronts will be needed to reverse the decades-long trend.
Animals and Inequality in the Ancient World explores the current trends in the social archaeology of human-animal relationships, focusing on the ways in which animals are used to structure, create, support, and even deconstruct social inequalities.
The authors provide a global range of case studies from both New and Old World archaeology—a royal Aztec dog burial, the monumental horse tombs of Central Asia, and the ceremonial macaw cages of ancient Mexico among them. They explore the complex relationships between people and animals in social, economic, political, and ritual contexts, incorporating animal remains from archaeological sites with artifacts, texts, and iconography to develop their interpretations.
Animals and Inequality in the Ancient World presents new data and interpretations that reveal the role of animals, their products, and their symbolism in structuring social inequalities in the ancient world. The volume will be of interest to archaeologists, especially zooarchaeologists, and classical scholars of pre-modern civilizations and societies.
The first biographical account of the life of James Gillespie Birney in more than fifty years, this fabulously insightful history illuminates and elevates an all-but-forgotten figure whose political career contributed mightily to the American political fabric. Birney was a southern-born politician at the heart of the antislavery movement, with two southern-born sons who were major generals involved in key Union Army activities, including the leadership of the black troops. The interaction of the Birneys with historical figures (Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Henry Clay) highlights the significance of the family’s activities in politics and war. D. Laurence Rogers offers a unique historiography of the abolition movement, the Civil War, and Reconstruction through the experiences of one family navigating momentous developments from the founding of the Republic until the late 19th century.
David L. Sjoquist Russell Sage Foundation, 2000 Library of Congress HN80.A8A86 2000 | Dewey Decimal 305.8009758231
Despite the rapid creation of jobs in the greater Atlanta region, poverty in the city itself remains surprisingly high, and Atlanta's economic boom has yet to play a significant role in narrowing the gap between the suburban rich and the city poor. This book investigates the key factors underlying this paradox. The authors show that the legacy of past residential segregation as well as the more recent phenomenon of urban sprawl both work against inner city blacks. Many remain concentrated near traditional black neighborhoods south of the city center and face prohibitive commuting distances now that jobs have migrated to outlying northern suburbs. The book also presents some promising signs. Few whites still hold overt negative stereotypes of blacks, and both whites and blacks would prefer to live in more integrated neighborhoods. The emergence of a dynamic, black middle class and the success of many black-owned businesses in the area also give the authors reason to hope that racial inequality will not remain entrenched in a city where so much else has changed. A Volume in the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality
When Karl Lutze arrived in Oklahoma in 1945, he stepped into another world. A newly ordained clergyman born in Wisconsin, he was a young white man assigned to minister among Muskogee’s African American community. He soon found that in the South, crosses were as likely to be burned as revered. His recollections of postwar Oklahoma provide a compelling testament to the era’s racial conflict and some steps taken toward its resolution.
Awakening to Equality offers a unique perspective on an often-violent era that witnessed the gradual dismantling of segregation. Serving congregations in Muskogee and Tulsa, Lutze encountered a cross section of both communities—from the white and black power brokers to the most disempowered black and biracial families—and a stratified society buttressed by intimidation, cross burnings, and bombs. His activism in the Urban League and other local civil rights organizations gave him firsthand experience with forces moving toward change, as well as with the more entrenched forces resisting it.
Blending personal anecdotes and recollections of key players in this unfolding drama, Lutze puts a human face on historical and journalistic accounts of social change during the crucial early years of the civil rights movement. He takes readers back to small-town and urban Oklahoma in a time when African Americans were beginning to challenge segregation in Muskogee’s public transportation and a handful of liberal whites were trying to move their communities toward desegregation. Throughout this rich memoir, we meet actual people creating a future—one that involved the very redefinition of America.
More than a view of an earnest young clergyman trying to grow beyond the racial and social limitations of the church of his day, Awakening to Equality also depicts the struggles of Lutze’s own denomination to overcome its earlier accommodation of racism. Lutze’s success in his ministries made his achievements a model for mission work among African Americans and led to his appointment in 1959 first as field secretary and then shortly thereafter as executive director of the Lutheran Human Relations Association, a pioneering civil rights organization. Simultaneously, he taught classes as Associate Professor of Theology at Valparaiso University.
Lutze not only witnessed important events but also participated in them and found that his entire career was shaped by the experience. Awakening to Equality is a moving story that captures the real-life education of a prominent clergyman during a critical period in American life.