Debunking conventional wisdom that women had little impact on politics after gaining the vote, Kristi Andersen gives a compelling account of both the accomplishments and disappointments experienced by women in the decade after suffrage. This revisionist history traces how, despite male resistance to women's progress, the entrance of women and of their concerns into the public sphere transformed both the political system and women themselves.
Andersen shows how women's participation was based on a conception of women's citizenship as indirect and disinterested. Gaining the right to vote, campaign, and run for office transformed women's citizenship; at the same time, women's independent partisan stance, their focus on social welfare concerns, and their use of new political techniques such as lobbying all helped to redefine politics.
This fresh, nuanced analysis of women voters, activists, candidates, and officeholders will interest scholars in political science and women's studies.
"In this rich and engaging book, Kristi Anderson presents a convincing argument that woman suffrage deserves greater scrutiny as a social, cultural, and political force in the development of American electoral and party politics."—Jane Junn, Political Science Quarterly
"Anderson's innovation in this book is to change the dominant question asked about American women's suffrage. . . . This book offers a much-needed corrective to the conventional conception that the enfranchisement of women had no significant effect on American society."—Inderjeet Parmar, Political Studies
"Anderson's book is an excellent treatment . . . and a sterling example of the value of using multiple research methods—also steeped within a deep understanding of context, culture, and historic trends—to explain something as complicated and nuanced as the impact of women's votes after suffrage."—Laura R. Woliver, Journal of Politics
The term “community organizer” was deployed repeatedly against Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign as a way to paint him as an inexperienced politician unfit for the presidency. The implication was that the job of a community organizer wasn’t a serious one, and that it certainly wasn’t on the list of credentials needed for a presidential résumé. In reality, community organizers have played key roles in the political lives of American cities for decades, perhaps never more so than during the 1970s in Chicago, where African Americans laid the groundwork for further empowerment as they organized against segregation, discrimination, and lack of equal access to schools, housing, and jobs.
In Crucibles of Black Empowerment, Jeffrey Helgeson recounts the rise of African American political power and activism from the 1930s onward, revealing how it was achieved through community building. His book tells stories of the housewives who organized their neighbors, building tradesmen who used connections with federal officials to create opportunities in a deeply discriminatory employment sector, and the social workers, personnel managers, and journalists who carved out positions in the white-collar workforce. Looking closely at black liberal politics at the neighborhood level in Chicago, Helgeson explains how black Chicagoans built the networks that eventually would overthrow the city’s seemingly invincible political machine.
The Southern Tenant Farmers' Union was founded in eastern Arkansas in 1934 to protest the New Deal's enrichment of Southern cotton barons at the expense of suffering sharecroppers, both black and white. Their courageous struggle, in the face of determined and often violent resistance from their landlords, is the subject of this thorough study from Donald H. Grubbs, which was published to critical acclaim in 1971. Cry from the Cotton was the first full-scale look at the STFU and its leaders. It discloses that, although the union operated under noticeable socialist party sponsorship in its infancy, it drew much more upon the native Southern evangelical and populist traditions, much as the civil rights movement would do twenty-five years later. Grubbs convincingly demonstrates that while the STFU failed to gain immediate social justice for its members, it resulted in the formation of the Farm Security Administration, which even today continues to aid the rural poor, and it played a large part in forcing the formation of the La Follette Civil Liberties Committee, whose spotlight on management terrorism helped the CIO toward success. The volume stands as a classic on labor issues and class struggle and still echoes with the haunting plea of the dispossessed for equity.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, consensus choice as one of three great presidents, led the American people through the two major crises of modern times. This volume analyses that leadership in combating the Great Depression; its successor explains how he became the leader of the Free World as well. The first volume of an epic two-part biography, Franklin D. Roosevelt: Road to the New Deal, 1882-1939 presents FDR from a privileged Hyde Park childhood through his Depression-era presidency to the ominous buildup to global war. Roger Daniels revisits the sources and closely examines Roosevelt's own words and deeds to create a twenty-first century analysis of how Roosevelt forged the modern presidency. Daniels's close analysis yields new insights into the expansion of Roosevelt's economic views; FDR's steady mastery of the complexities of federal administrative practices and possibilities; the ways the press and presidential handlers treated questions surrounding his health; and his genius for channeling the lessons learned from an unprecedented collection of scholars and experts into bold political action.
Hollywood culture has been dismissed as insignificant for so long that film buffs and critics might be forgiven for forgetting that for two decades an unprecedented interaction of social and cultural forces shaped American film. In this probing account of how a generation of industry newcomers attempted to use the modernist art of the cinema to educate the public in anti-Fascist ideals, Saverio Giovacchini traces the profound transformation that took place in the film industry from the 1930's to the 1950's. Rejecting the notion that European emigres and New Yorkers sought a retreat from politics or simply gravitated toward easy money, he contends that Hollywood became their mecca precisely because they wanted a deeper engagement in the project of democratic modernism.
Seeing Hollywood as a forcefield, Giovacchini examines the social networks, working relationships, and political activities of artists, intellectuals, and film workers who flocked to Hollywood from Europe and the eastern United States before and during the second world war. He creates a complex and nuanced portrait of this milieu, adding breadth and depth to the conventional view of the era's film industry as little more than an empire for Jewish moguls or the major studios. In his rendering Hollywood's newcomers joined with its established elite to develop a modernist aesthetic for film that would bridge popular and avant-garde sensibilities; for them, realism was the most effective vehicle for conveying their message and involving a mass audience in the democratic struggle for process.
Mark Wayne Nelson details the efforts of one of America’s most underappreciated public servants. In 1934, Franklin D. Roosevelt invited Marriner S. Eccles, a Mormon from Utah, to join his administration. As a Republican businessman, Eccles seemed an unlikely candidate for the role of leading crusader for a fairer and more economically sound distribution of the nation’s wealth. From his first position in the Treasury Department, though, he emerged as the central mover in revolutionizing the mortgage structure of the private home market in the United States.
After FDR appointed him to head the Federal Reserve, Eccles drafted legislation that restructured that institution as well. Throughout the remainder of the New Deal, he was the most powerful advocate of what came to be called “Keynesian Policy,” which involved direct federal stimulus of the economy. Presenting the first comprehensive and independent analysis of Eccles’s influential career, Jumping the Abyss wrestles with economic issues that remain relevant today.
Finalist for the Utah State Historical Society Best Book Award.
With the New Deal came a dramatic expansion of the American regulatory state. Threatening to undermine many of the traditional roles of the legal system and its actors by establishing a system of administrative law, the new emphasis on federal legislation as a form of social and economic planning ushered in an era of "legal uncertainty." In this study Ronen Shamir explores how elite corporate lawyers and the American Bar Association clashed with academic legal realists over the constitutionality of the New Deal’s legislative program. Applying the insights of Weber and Bourdieu to the sociology of the legal profession, Shamir shows that elite members of the bar had a keen self-interest in blocking the expansion of administrative law. He dismisses as oversimplified the view that elite lawyers were "hired guns" who argued that New Deal legislation was unconstitutional solely because of their duty to represent their capitalist clients. Instead, Shamir suggests, their alignment with the capitalist class was an incidental result of their attempt to articulate their vision of the law as scientific, apolitical, and judicially oriented—and thereby to defend their own position within the law profession. The academic legal realists on the other side of the constitutional debates criticized the rigidity of the traditional judicial process and insisted that flexibility of interpretation and the uncertainty of legal outcomes was at the heart of the legal system. The author argues that many legal realists, encouraged by the experimental nature of the New Deal, seized an opportunity to improve on their marginal status within the legal profession by moving their discussions from academic circles to the national policy agenda.
An important part of the New Deal, the Modernization Credit Plan helped transform urban business districts and small-town commercial strips across 1930s America, but it has since been almost completely forgotten. In Modernizing Main Street, Gabrielle Esperdy uncovers the cultural history of the hundreds of thousands of modernized storefronts that resulted from the little-known federal provision that made billions of dollars available to shop owners who wanted to update their facades.
Esperdy argues that these updated storefronts served a range of complex purposes, such as stimulating public consumption, extending the New Deal’s influence, reviving a stagnant construction industry, and introducing European modernist design to the everyday landscape. She goes on to show that these diverse roles are inseparable, woven together not only by the crisis of the Depression, but also by the pressures of bourgeoning consumerism. As the decade’s two major cultural forces, Esperdy concludes, consumerism and the Depression transformed the storefront from a seemingly insignificant element of the built environment into a potent site for the physical and rhetorical staging of recovery and progress.
Mr. Democrat tells the story of Jim Farley, Franklin D. Roosevelt's campaign manager. As party boss, Farley experienced unprecedented success in the New Deal years. And like his modern counterpart Karl Rove, Farley enjoyed unparalleled access and power. Unlike Rove, however, Farley was instrumental in the creation of an overwhelming new majority in American politics, as the emergence of the New Deal transformed the political landscape of its time.
Mr. Democrat is timely and indispensable not just because Farley was a fascinating and unduly neglected figure, but also because an understanding of his career advances our knowledge of how and why he revolutionized the Democratic Party and American politics in the age of the New Deal.
Daniel Scroop is Lecturer in American History, University of Liverpool School of History.
In studying the effect of New Deal on urban political machines, Bruce M. Stave challenges the traditional view of declining bossism in America from the 1930s through the 1950s. Using Pittsburgh as his case study, he demonstrates how political power was transferred from a once-invincible Republican machine to the Democratic Party led by David L. Lawrence. Stave traces the consolidation of patronage control and grassroots voting support with a special emphasis on the interplay between politics and federal work relief during the depression decade.
In Only One Place of Redress David E. Bernstein offers a bold reinterpretation of American legal history: he argues that American labor and occupational laws, enacted by state and federal governments after the Civil War and into the twentieth century, benefited dominant groups in society to the detriment of those who lacked political power. Both intentionally and incidentally, claims Bernstein, these laws restricted in particular the job mobility and economic opportunity of blacks. A pioneer in applying the insights of public choice theory to legal history, Bernstein contends that the much-maligned jurisprudence of the Lochner era—with its emphasis on freedom of contract and private market ordering—actually discouraged discrimination and assisted groups with little political clout. To support this thesis he examines the motivation behind and practical impact of laws restricting interstate labor recruitment, occupational licensing laws, railroad labor laws, minimum wage statutes, the Davis-Bacon Act, and New Deal collective bargaining. He concludes that the ultimate failure of Lochnerism—and the triumph of the regulatory state—not only strengthened racially exclusive labor unions but contributed to a massive loss of employment opportunities for African Americans, the effects of which continue to this day. Scholars and students interested in race relations, labor law, and legal or constitutional history will be fascinated by Bernstein’s daring—and controversial—argument.
In 1933 the United States Office of Indian Affairs began a major reform of Indian policy, organizing tribal governments under the provisions of the Indian Reorganization Act and turning over the administration of reservations to these new bodies. Organizing the Lakota considers the implementation of this act among the Lakota (Western Sioux or Teton Dakota) from 1933 through 1945.
Biolsi pays particular attention to the administrative means by which the OIA retained the power to design and implement tribal "self-government" as well as the power to control the flow of critical resources—rations, relief employment, credit—to the reservations. He also shows how this imbalance of power between the tribes and the federal bureaucracy influenced politics on the reservations, and argues that the crisis of authority faced by the Lakota tribal governments among their own would-be constituents—most dramatically demonstrated by the 1973 Wounded Knee occupation—is a direct result of their disempowerment by the United States.
During his winning presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to counter rising economic inequality and revitalize America's middle-class through a series of wide-ranging reforms. His transformational agenda sought to ensure affordable healthcare; reform the nation's schools and make college more affordable; promote clean and renewable energy; reform labor laws and immigration; and redistribute the tax burden from the middle class to wealthier citizens. The Wall Street crisis and economic downturn that erupted as Obama took office also put U.S. financial regulation on the agenda. By the middle of President Obama's first term in office, he had succeeded in advancing major reforms by legislative and administrative means. But a sluggish economic recovery from the deep recession of 2009, accompanied by polarized politics and governmental deadlock in Washington, DC, have raised questions about how far Obama's promised transformations can go. Reaching for a New Deal analyzes both the ambitious domestic policy of Obama's first two years and the consequent political backlash—up to and including the 2010 midterm elections. Reaching for a New Deal opens by assessing how the Obama administration overcame intense partisan struggles to achieve legislative victories in three areas—health care reform, federal higher education loans and grants, and financial regulation. Lawrence Jacobs and Theda Skocpol examine the landmark health care bill, signed into law in spring 2010, which extended affordable health benefits to millions of uninsured Americans after nearly 100 years of failed legislative attempts to do so. Suzanne Mettler explains how Obama succeeded in reorienting higher education policy by shifting loan administration from lenders to the federal government and extending generous tax tuition credits. Reaching for a New Deal also examines the domains in which Obama has used administrative action to further reforms in schools and labor law. The book concludes with examinations of three areas—energy, immigration, and taxes—where Obama's efforts at legislative compromises made little headway. Reaching for a New Deal combines probing analyses of Obama's domestic policy achievements with a big picture look at his change-oriented presidency. The book uses struggles over policy changes as a window into the larger dynamics of American politics and situates the current political era in relation to earlier pivotal junctures in U.S. government and public policy. It offers invaluable lessons about unfolding political transformations in the United States.
At its peak the Federal Music Project (FMP) employed nearly 16,000 people who reached millions of Americans through performances, composing, teaching, and folksong collection and transcription. In Sounds of the New Deal, Peter Gough explores how the FMP's activities in the West shaped a new national appreciation for the diversity of American musical expression.
From the onset, administrators and artists debated whether to represent highbrow, popular, or folk music in FMP activities. Though the administration privileged using "good" music to educate the public, in the West local preferences regularly trumped national priorities and allowed diverse vernacular musics to be heard. African American and Hispanic music found unprecedented popularity while the cultural mosaic illuminated by American folksong exemplified the spirit of the Popular Front movement. These new musical expressions combined the radical sensibilities of an invigorated Left with nationalistic impulses. At the same time, they blended traditional patriotic themes with an awareness of the country's varied ethnic musical heritage and vast--but endangered--store of grassroots music.
At its peak, the Federal Music Project (FMP) employed nearly 16,000 people who reached millions of Americans through performances, composing, teaching, and folksong collection and transcription. In Sounds of the New Deal , Peter Gough explores how the FMP's activities in the West shaped a new national appreciation for the diversity of American musical expression. From the onset, administrators and artists debated whether to represent highbrow, popular, or folk music in FMP activities. Though the administration privileged using "good" music to educate the public, in the West local preferences regularly trumped national priorities and allowed diverse vernacular musics to be heard. African American and Hispanic music found unprecedented popularity while the cultural mosaic illuminated by American folksong exemplified the spirit of the Popular Front movement. These new musical expressions combined the radical sensibilities of an invigorated Left with nationalistic impulses. At the same time, they blended traditional patriotic themes with an awareness of the country's varied ethnic musical heritage and vast--but endangered--store of grassroots music.
In the 1930s and 1940s, as the United States moved from a rural to an urban nation, the pull of the city was irrepressible. It was so strong that even a photographic mission designed to record the essence of rural America could not help but capture the energy of urbanization too. To the City showcases over 100 photographs from the Farm Security Administration (FSA) project along with extracts from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) guidebooks and oral histories, to convey the detail and dimensions of that transformation.
This artfully grouped collection of photographs includes magnificent images by notable photographers Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and Gordon Parks, among many others. Foulkes organizes this history of Americana into five themes: Intersection; Traffic; High Life and Low Life; The City in the Country; and Citizens to illuminate the changes in habits, landscapes, and aspirations that the march to cities encompassed.
As the rural past holds symbolic sway and the suburb presents demographic force, the urban portion of our history—why and how cities have been a destination for hope—recedes from view. To the City is a thoughtful, engaging reminder.
Toward a National Power Policy offers a comprehensive analysis of the conflict between Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and the electric utility industry. Philip J. Funigiello outlines the origins and evolution of the privately owned industry, and the growth of an anti-monopoly movement in the 1920s. He details the four major areas of conflict between public and private interests: the Holding Company Act, the Rural Electrification Administration, the Bonneville Power Administration, and power planning for the second World War. Funigiello reveals the complexities of top-level policymaking and the networks of interpersonal relationships that led to both conflict and compromise, and concludes that the failure of the Roosevelt administration to develop a well-defined philosophy prevented the development of a national power policy.
“This book will make a real contribution to the history of McCarthyism, the history of Tennessee, and the history of TVA.” —Russell B. Olwell, At Work in the Atomic City: A Labor and Social History of Oak Ridge, Tennessee
They came from all corners of the country-fifteen young, idealistic, educated men and women drawn to Knoxville, Tennessee, to work for the Tennessee Valley Authority, one of the first of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal projects. Mostly holding entry-level jobs, these young people became friends and lovers, connecting to one another at work and through other social and political networks..
What the fifteen failed to realize was that these activities-union organizing and, for most, membership in the Communist Party-would plunge them into a maelstrom that would endanger, and for some, destroy their livelihoods, social standing, and careers. White Collar Radicals follows their lives from New Deal activism in the 1930s through the 1940s and 1950s government investigations into what were perceived as subversive deeds.
Aaron D. Purcell shows how this small group of TVA idealists was unwillingly thrust from obscurity into the national spotlight, victims and participants of the second? [not sure is it is needed] Red Scare in the years following World War II. The author brings into sharp focus the determination of the government to target and expose alleged radicals of the 1930s during the early Cold War period. The book also demonstrates how the national hysteria affected individual lives.
White Collar Radicals is both a historical study and a cautionary tale. The Knoxville Fifteen, who endured the dark days of the McCarthy Era, now have their story told for the first time-a story that offers modern-day lessons on freedom, civil liberties, and the authority of the government.
Aaron D. Purcell is an associate professor and director of special collections at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg