In 1792, nearly 1,200 freed American slaves crossed the Atlantic and established themselves in Freetown, West Africa, a community dedicated to anti-slavery and opposed to the African chieftain hierarchy that was tied to slavery. Thus began an unprecedented movement with critical long-term effects on the evolution of social, religious, and political institutions in modern Africa.Lamin Sanneh's engrossing book narrates the story of freed slaves who led efforts to abolish the slave trade by attacking its base operation: the capture and sale of people by African chiefs. Sanneh's protagonists set out to establish in West Africa colonies founded on equal rights and opportunity for personal enterprise, communities that would be havens for ex-slaves and an example to the rest of Africa. Among the most striking of these leaders is the Nigerian Samuel Ajayi Crowther, a recaptured slave who joined a colony in Sierra Leone and subsequently established satellite communities in Nigeria. The ex-slave repatriates brought with them an evangelical Christianity that encouraged individual spirituality--a revolutionary vision in a land where European missionaries had long assumed they could Christianize the whole society by converting chiefs and rulers.Tracking this potent African American anti-slavery and democratizing movement through the nineteenth century, Lamin Sanneh draws a clear picture of the religious grounding of its conflict with the traditional chieftain authorities. His study recounts a crucial development in the history of West Africa.
The existence of two Chinese states—one controlling mainland China, the other controlling the island of Taiwan—is often understood as a seemingly inevitable outcome of the Chinese civil war. Defeated by Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists fled to Taiwan to establish a rival state, thereby creating the “Two Chinas” dilemma that vexes international diplomacy to this day. Accidental State challenges this conventional narrative to offer a new perspective on the founding of modern Taiwan.Hsiao-ting Lin marshals extensive research in recently declassified archives to show that the creation of a Taiwanese state in the early 1950s owed more to serendipity than careful geostrategic planning. It was the cumulative outcome of ad hoc half-measures and imperfect compromises, particularly when it came to the Nationalists’ often contentious relationship with the United States.Taiwan’s political status was fraught from the start. The island had been formally ceded to Japan after the First Sino-Japanese War, and during World War II the Allies promised Chiang that Taiwan would revert to Chinese rule after Japan’s defeat. But as the Chinese civil war turned against the Nationalists, U.S. policymakers reassessed the wisdom of backing Chiang. The idea of placing Taiwan under United Nations trusteeship gained traction. Cold War realities, and the fear of Taiwan falling into Communist hands, led Washington to recalibrate U.S. policy. Yet American support of a Taiwan-based Republic of China remained ambivalent, and Taiwan had to eke out a place for itself in international affairs as a de facto, if not fully sovereign, state.
Steven G. Kellman brings Ravage's story to life again in this new edition, providing a brief biography and introduction that place the memoir within historical and literary contexts. An American in the Making contributes to a broader understanding of the global notion of "America" and remains timely, especially in an era when massive immigration, now from Latin America and Asia, challenges ideas of national identity.
For most Americans, the Revolution’s main achievement is summed up by the phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Yet far from a straightforward attempt to be free of Old World laws and customs, the American founding was also a bid for inclusion in the community of nations as it existed in 1776. America aspired to diplomatic recognition under international law and the authority to become a colonizing power itself.As Eliga Gould shows in this reappraisal of American history, the Revolution was an international transformation of the first importance. To conform to the public law of Europe’s imperial powers, Americans crafted a union nearly as centralized as the one they had overthrown, endured taxes heavier than any they had faced as British colonists, and remained entangled with European Atlantic empires long after the Revolution ended.No factor weighed more heavily on Americans than the legally plural Atlantic where they hoped to build their empire. Gould follows the region’s transfiguration from a fluid periphery with its own rules and norms to a place where people of all descriptions were expected to abide by the laws of Western Europe—“civilized” laws that precluded neither slavery nor the dispossession of Native Americans.
Winner, Frederick Jackson Turner Award, Organization Of American Historians, 1988
American Historical Association, Pacific Branch Book Award, 1989
Texas Institute of Letters Friends Of The Dallas Public Library Award, 1987
Texas Historical Commission T. R. Fehrenbach Award, Best Ethnic, Minority, And Women's History Publication, 1987
The Constitution of the United States is the product of a revolution in political thought as momentous as the winning of American independence. This profusely illustrated volume is a magnificent tribute to the oldest surviving charter of a federal republic. In a felicitous blend of words and pictures, Richard B. Bernstein retells the entire story of this revolution: the problems under the Articles of Confederation; the intense, often vituperative debate between Americans and Europeans over the brave new republican experiment; the arguing, reasoning, and reconciliation of interests before, during, and after the Federal Convention in 1787; the often bitter struggle for ratification in the thirteen states and the critical importance of The Federalist in the accompanying propaganda war; the beginnings of government under the Constitution; and the states' adoption of the Bill of Rights.The delegates to the Federal Convention were the foremost men of their states and regions—bookish but not reclusive, activist but not undisciplined, principled but not rigid. Bernstein's colorful description of the intellectual and political ferment they first created and then controlled brings to life their heroic effort. Along with these lost chapters of our history, he shows how experiments in government were a critical part of Americans' attempts to define their identity as a nation and a people.The Constitution was the result of no miracle; the outcome was never foreordained. A blend of theory and practicality, it was to be understood by all, not just by experts, and was no talisman against evils or unyielding to new experiences. As it bound up the founding generation, it was to be a guide to their successors. Illuminating his discussion—and our understanding—of the Constitution is a huge array of rare, in some cases unique, documents assembled by The New York Public Library for its exhibition commemorating the bicentennial of the Constitution.
Art can be a powerful avenue of resistance to oppressive governments. During the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile, some of the country’s least powerful citizens—impoverished women living in Santiago’s shantytowns—spotlighted the government’s failings and use of violence by creating and selling arpilleras, appliquéd pictures in cloth that portrayed the unemployment, poverty, and repression that they endured, their work to make ends meet, and their varied forms of protest. Smuggled out of Chile by human rights organizations, the arpilleras raised international awareness of the Pinochet regime’s abuses while providing income for the arpillera makers and creating a network of solidarity between the people of Chile and sympathizers throughout the world.
Using the Chilean arpilleras as a case study, this book explores how dissident art can be produced under dictatorship, when freedom of expression is absent and repression rife, and the consequences of its production for the resistance and for the artists. Taking a sociological approach based on interviews, participant observation, archival research, and analysis of a visual database, Jacqueline Adams examines the emergence of the arpilleras and then traces their journey from the workshops and homes in which they were made, to the human rights organizations that exported them, and on to sellers and buyers abroad, as well as in Chile. She then presents the perspectives of the arpillera makers and human rights organization staff, who discuss how the arpilleras strengthened the resistance and empowered the women who made them.
A lively account of how dinosaurs became a symbol of American power and prosperity and gripped the popular imagination during the Gilded Age, when their fossil remains were collected and displayed in museums financed by North America’s wealthiest business tycoons.Although dinosaur fossils were first found in England, a series of dramatic discoveries during the late 1800s turned North America into a world center for vertebrate paleontology. At the same time, the United States emerged as the world’s largest industrial economy, and creatures like Tyrannosaurus, Brontosaurus, and Triceratops became emblems of American capitalism. Large, fierce, and spectacular, American dinosaurs dominated the popular imagination, making front-page headlines and appearing in feature films.Assembling the Dinosaur follows dinosaur fossils from the field to the museum and into the commercial culture of North America’s Gilded Age. Business tycoons like Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan made common cause with vertebrate paleontologists to capitalize on the widespread appeal of dinosaurs, using them to project American exceptionalism back into prehistory. Learning from the show-stopping techniques of P. T. Barnum, museums exhibited dinosaurs to attract, entertain, and educate the public. By assembling the skeletons of dinosaurs into eye-catching displays, wealthy industrialists sought to cement their own reputations as generous benefactors of science, showing that modern capitalism could produce public goods in addition to profits. Behind the scenes, museums adopted corporate management practices to control the movement of dinosaur bones, restricting their circulation to influence their meaning and value in popular culture.Tracing the entwined relationship of dinosaurs, capitalism, and culture during the Gilded Age, Lukas Rieppel reveals the outsized role these giant reptiles played during one of the most consequential periods in American history.
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