On This Day in History… February 29, 1940: Hattie McDaniel became the first African American woman to win an Oscar

By Bonnie Goodman, HNN, 4-3-10

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. She blogs at History Musings

On this day in history….February 29, 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first African American woman to win an Oscar for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind , which goes on to win 8 Oscars that night.

On February 29, 1940, Gone with the Wind the sweeping cinematic tale of the American Civil War and of the old South made its own history. The film, now considered a classic, was adapted from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name written by Margaret Mitchell. Gone With The Wind won in ten Academy Award categories, and took home eight Oscar statuettes including the Best Supporting Actress category, which was awarded to Hattie McDaniel for her role as “Mammy.” McDaniel’s February 29, 1940 win was historic because she was the first African American to be nominated and win the Academy Award, which was even more exceptional considering the racist overtones in both the book and movie, and Hollywood’s attitude toward African American actors in the industry. In 1940, years before the civil rights movement altered the nation’s perceptions of African Americans, McDaniel’s win was groundbreaking in white Hollywood. However, it would not be enough to shatter the prevalent racial stereotypes.

From the time of its publication, Gone with the Wind angered African Americans and civil rights organizations, predominantly the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). When the news was announced that David O. Selznick was developing the novel into a film, many wanted Selznick to abandon the film, because the negative stereotypes were in a similar vein as D.W Griffith’s racist 1914 film, Birth of a Nation. They argued that it would lead to more discrimination against blacks and reinforce misguided stereotypes about Reconstruction. Daniel J. Leab notes: “As with the Griffith film, many moviegoers accepted David O. Selznick’s 1939 movie as historical and social truth even though Gone with the Wind merely repeated many of the earlier movie’s caricatures in a more up-to-date style — and in Technicolor.” (Leab, 112)

Blacks in both movies were caricatures, but in different ways. Griffith portrayed African Americans as vicious, whereas Mitchell portrayed blacks as faithful, ignorant and servile; as “one character in the film called [them,] ‘the simple-minded darkies.’” (Leab, 112) Mitchell, pro-Confederate, left the impression that black slaves were happy working on plantations. Civil rights leaders feared that the popularity of “Gone with the Wind [was] a barometer of American race relations in the 1930s and 1940s.” (Leff, 1999)

After the movie premiered there was little objection from racial groups such as the NAACP and only tempered responses from the National Negro Congress, because so much had been done during the pre-production stage to make sure the film was less offensive. Crisis, a leading black newspaper, claimed that the film “eliminated practically all the offensive scenes and dialogue so that there is little material directly affecting Negroes as a race, to which objection can be entered.” (Pyron, 145) In the pre-production stages Walter White, the executive secretary of the NAACP, led the crusade to tone done the most derogatory caricatures from the novel. White was blond and blue eyed, but identified himself as African American because of his ancestry. He worked tirelessly to convince Seltznick that the changes were necessary. It was because of his early success in changing the script that the NAACP kept its objections to the film to a minimum. Leab explains, “Given the popularity of the novel and the ineffectiveness of the few protests staged against the film, there was little else that the NAACP and other groups could have accomplished.” (Leab, 112)

Another major point of contention was whether the offensive and racist word “nigger,” which was used in the book, should be used in the script. Selznick wanted to maintain historical accuracy, but at the same time, he claimed he did not want to offend African Americans. African-American leaders and White were not alone in pushing for the word to be omitted. So was the official movie censor, the Hays office. Selznick however, wanted the word to be used when African-American characters were speaking with one another. The blasck press threatened to boycott the film–and every film Selznick made in the future–if he used the words “nigger” and “darkie.” Selznick believed he was being fair with the script, because he already omitted some of the most offensive parts of the novel, including positive references to the Ku Klux Klan. He wrote Sidney Howard, the scriptwriter in 1937: “I, for one, have no desire to produce any anti-Negro film. In our picture I think we have to be awfully careful that the Negroes come out decidedly on the right side of the ledger, which I do not think should be difficult.” (Leff, 1999)

It is uncertain who in the end convinced Selznick not to use the word “nigger” although “darkies” and “inferiors” remained in the screenplay, as well as the stereotypical portrayals. Leonard J. Leff attributes the decision to Victor Shapiro, the studio public-relations director, while Earl Morris, the Pittsburgh Courier columnist believed he was responsible, and Walter White has been heralded as the one who finally convinced Selznick. It is also widely believed that Hattie McDaniel refused to use the word and took matters into her own hands. McDaniel’s role remains uncertain. It is possible McDaniel’s pressure finally forced Selznick to abandon the use of the word. As Jill Watts writes, “Just a few days before Selznick suddenly abandoned his fight, McDaniel had filmed scenes that would have required her to use the term. It was clearly absent in the final cut. Long after the filming of Gone with the Wind was complete, it was widely reported that McDaniel had refused to deliver lines containing the offensive epithet.” (Watts, 160) According to her biographer, Jill Watts, McDaniel’s resistance to the use of the word was unlike her; her career was based on his willingness to play “to white racist expectations.” (Watts, 160) McDaniel herself “never specifically claimed responsibility for changes in Gone with the Wind.” (Watts, 160)

The public’s inability to distinguish between fiction and reality was especially obvious in peoples’ views of Hattie McDaniel. Americans found it almost impossible to separate the actress from the character of Mammy, which she played. People thought she was a “Mammy who worked in Hollywood.” (Sturtevant, 69) Leab describes her character: “The most faithful of faithful souls is Scarlett O’Hara’s ever scolding but ever loyal mammy, who stays with her mistress through good times and bad, through the Civil War and after.” (Leab, 112) In fact, the studios promoted these images, and after McDaniel won the Oscar she became known as Hattie “Mammy” McDaniel for public appearances. As Sturtevant says: “In some sense, Hollywood is always participating in this fiction–the star system, especially during the first half of the twentieth century, fed off of audiences’ willing beliefs that performers were more or less authentically reflected in the roles they played.” (Sturtevant, 70)

Hattie McDaniel was the daughter of plantation slaves and knew very well the role of the servant; the role was one she repeatedly played on the screen and in real life when she was younger and struggling. In the early years of her career, she was a radio vocalist and blues singer. She appeared in forty films from the early 1930s until her death in 1952, and in all of them, she essentially played the same role, a domestic worker. McDaniel felt she had few other options. As she often said, “Hell, I’d rather play a maid than be one.” Hollywood simply didn’t give blacks the opportunity of playing roles that broke with stereotypes. As Sturtevant writes, “This rigid typing was the cause of a downturn which met Hattie McDaniel’s career following her Oscar victory. McDaniel had averaged ten films a year between 1934 and 1938–her roles were so small (and so similar) that she could finish shooting each quickly and move on.” (Sturtevant, 73)

The role of Mammy in Gone with the Wind was different than the usual black roles McDaniel had played. And she took ownership of the part, says Watts. (Watts, 166) Although Louise Beavers, who had co-starred in Imitation of Life, was considered the leading candidate for the role, Hattie McDaniel, auditioning in a full Mammy uniform, impressed Selznick. In an interview with the New York Amsterdam News, the country’s most important black newspaper, McDaniel stated, “When I read the book Gone with the Wind, I was fascinated by the role of “Mammy” and like everyone in the position to give it professional consideration, I naturally felt I could create in it something distinctive and unique.” (Watts, 166) She put her all in the role; the constant script changes allowed for improvising, and McDaniel went as far as directing herself in scenes. She put her experience as a blues singer, actress, and black woman in white America into the role to create a Mammy uniquely her own. As Watts writes: “If her character in Gone with the Wind did succeed in breaking new cinematic ground, as some have argued, then it was due to Hattie McDaniel’s reinterpretation of the role.” (Watts, 166)

McDaniel’s effort paid off. When Selznick reviewed the film in the fall of 1939, he concluded that McDaniel’s performance as Mammy really stood out far more than he had realized earlier and it “astonished him.” (Watts, 167) Although she was a supporting character, her portrayal of Mammy left a powerful impression. She “emerged as one of the film’s strongest characters.” (Watts, 167) Selznick raved about her performance. He sent her a congratulatory telegram and signed McDaniel to a long-term contract. In a telegram to Howard Dietz, his publicity man in New York, Selznick praised McDaniel, writing that she delivered “a performance that, if merit alone rules, would entitle her practically to co-starring.” (Watts, 167) To the vice president of production, Daniel O’Shea, “Selznick predicted that the actress’s contributions would leave a ‘sensational impression’ on film audiences.” (Watts, 167)

The black and white press agreed with Selznick and hailed McDaniel’s performance in their reviews of Gone with the Wind. The word was out that McDaniel’s performance was a highlight, and the sneak preview for the press confirmed it; after one scene featuring Mammy the audience actually applauded. The Chicago Defender wrote: “Hollywood almost cheered her every entrance.” The California Eagle cheered: “Hattie is the happiest person around these parts, for she knows she turned in her very finest performance to date.” McDaniel hoped her performance would allow African Americans to come to terms with the film that they had been so skeptical about. The black press was receptive to her role and the Amsterdam News praised “McDaniel’s ‘coveted’ role of Mammy, to which she brought the ‘dignity and earnestness’ that made her ‘more than a servant.’ She became ‘confidante, counselor, and manager of the O’Hara household.’” (Pyron, 144)

While the movie today is remembered as racist, in the South it was considered problematic. The city of Atlanta refused to allow the African American actors to attend the premiere along with the whites. An image of McDaniel was excluded from from the souvenir program because it gave her equality with her white co-stars.

McDaniel, despite her talent, found that her career options were limited. Columnist and radio personality Jimmie Fidler lamented, says Watts, that “something about all the hoopla bothered him. ‘Where does this Negro artist go from here?’ he asked. ‘Why back to playing incidental comedy maids, of course.’ With the film factory’s rock-solid racial barriers, Hattie McDaniel’s future, he believed, was bleak. Hollywood had no intention of providing her with any real opportunities to use her talents. ‘I don’t think it will be easy for me to laugh at Hattie’s comedy in the future,’ he stated. For I’ll never be able to overlook the tragic fact that a very great artist is being wasted.” (Watts, 174)

After the film’s release, the black press agreed that Hattie McDaniel’s performance was outstanding, but objected to the film’s depiction of African Americans, slavery, and emancipation. Melvin B. Tolson’s review in the Washington Tribune was representative. He commended McDaniel for playing “the nuances of emotion, from tragedy to comedy, with the sincerity and artistry of a great actor.” At the same time, he panned the film as “more dangerous than The Birth of a Nation.” This was because “The Birth of a Nation was such a barefaced lie that a moron could see through it… [but] Gone with the Wind is such a subtle lie that it will be swallowed as truth by millions of whites and blacks alike.” (Watts, 174, 175) Although there was an outcry from the black press, the NAACP declined to denounce the movie. As Watts observes, while the NAACP’s leaders “agreed the production was historically flawed and unflattering to African Americans, they contended that it was not egregious enough to campaign against it.” (Watts, 175) Privately, Walter White forced Selznick into making donations to the NAACP to show he supported the advancement of African Americans. Selznick’s donation: $100. (Janken, 267)

Many in the black press wondered why Hattie McDaniel wanted to be involved with the film and the role and objected to her participation. To that question, she responded: “This [was an] opportunity to glorify Negro womanhood. I am proud that I am a Negro woman because members of that class have given so much.” (Watts, 177)

In February 1940 the black and white press were pushing for McDaniel’s nomination for an Academy Award. McDaniel came to Selznick with clippings from the black press both about the black reaction to the film and support for the nomination. In December, Edwin Shallert from the Los Angeles Times praised McDaniel’s performance calling it a “remarkable achievement” that was “worthy of the Academy supporting awards.” (Watts, 177) Some black journalists asked readers to send letters to Selznick to “place McDaniel in the running for an Oscar.” (Watts, 177) A letter from Sigma Gamma Rho, an African American sorority, lobbied on her behalf, arguing that “without Miss McDaniel, there would be no Gone with the Wind.” After McDaniel won the award, they again wrote Selznick: “We trust that discrimination and prejudice will be wiped away in the selection of the winner of this award.” (Leff, 1999)

The outpouring of support led Selznick to give McDaniel a place on the Best Supporting Actress ballot, although he also put Olivia de Havilland into consideration for her role as Melanie. Also in the running for the award was Geraldine Fitzgerald for Wuthering Heights, Edna Mae Oliver for Drums Along the Mohawk, and Maria Ouspenskaya for Love Affair. In total Gone with the Wind garnered an unprecedented thirteen nominations and was the favorite to win big. Balloting began on February 15, 1940, with the winners announced at a ceremony on February 29. Despite the protests staged at the movie’s Chicago premiere and the hostility of the black press to the movie, almost everybody seemed to want McDaniel to win the award. In the afternoon before the award ceremony, McDaniel attended the Academy Awards banquet. She dined with the white cast and Selznick at the Coconut Grove where the ceremony was later held.

For the Oscar ceremony McDaniel wore an ermine stole over a blue gown and trimmed her hair and dress with gardenias. She entered the Ambassador Hotel with the same fanfare as the other actors; fans both black and white cheered her. The night was magical for both Gone with the Wind and Hattie McDaniel. As Leff writes: “the evening would be as radiant as the Oz of The Wizard of Oz, so magical that nothing could spoil it, not even a small band of demonstrators outside the hotel, protesting against the racism of Gone with the Wind.” (Leff, 1999) Fay Bainter, who won the Best Supporting Actress Award the previous year, was onstage to present this year’s winner. In trying to analyze how McDaniel was feeling in the minutes leading up to the announcement, Jill Watts writes: “Hattie McDaniel must have felt a surge of nerves and excitement. This daughter of ex-slaves, who had struggled with poverty and racial oppression, had finally broken into the highest ranks in Hollywood, ascending further than any African American had in the world of white show business.” (Watts, 179) As Fay Bainter made the announcement, there was silence in the room. “It is with the knowledge that this entire nation will stand and salute the presentation of this plaque, that I present the Academy Award for the best performance of an actress in a supporting role during 1939 to Hattie McDaniel.” (Watts, 179)

The room broke out in applause and as Hattie McDaniel stepped up to the podium to accept the historic award, “Clark Gable shook her hand and Vivien Leigh kissed her.” (Leff, 1999) In her remarks, which she prepared with the assistance of Ruby Berkley Goodwin, she said:

Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, fellow members of the motion picture industry and honored guests: This is one of the happiest moments of my life, and I want to thank each one of you who had a part in selecting for one of the awards, for your kindness. It has made me feel very, very humble; and I shall always hold it as a beacon for anything that I may be able to do in the future. I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race and to the motion picture industry. My heart is too full to tell you just how I feel, and may I say thank you and God bless you. (Jackson, 52)

The reaction of both the white and black press, demonstrated what McDaniel’s historic Oscar win signified in terms of advancement for African Americans. The white media were patronizing; as Victoria Sturtevant says, “they gushed self-consciously over the award and its recipient.” (Sturtevant, 75) Louella Parsons in her nationally syndicated column described the moment when McDaniel won the award: “En masse, the entire audience, stars in every place, stood and cheered their beloved Hattie McDaniel. Tears came to Mammy’s eyes as she made her way to the stage to accept the award.” (Sturtevant, 75) The quote is representative of the condescension. Especially telling were the words “their beloved Hattie McDaniel,” as if the white audience had an invested interest in her win, a comment that would not have been used if Olivia de Havilland had won the award instead. Referring to her McDaniel as “Mammy” was an example of the way in which the white audience blurred the line between the character and the actress. The Atlanta Constitution’s coverage was over the top, “enthusiastic to the point of defensiveness in its coverage of her award,” because the city prevented McDaniel from attending the Gone with the Wind premiere. (Sturtevant, 75)

The black press seemed less impressed with McDaniel’s win, relegating the story to the back pages. Only the Atlanta Daily World devoted its front page to McDaniel’s Oscar win. Some reported the win not as an accomplishment in itself, but rather as a signal of a possible change in the fortunes of black actors in white Hollywood. Clarence Muse wrote in the Chicago Defender that “Some day Hattie may thrill your souls with a modern mother role, glorifying Race youth.” (Sturtevant, 76) Muse was insinuating that McDaniel had not accomplished this. In fact, Hollywood would not allow her to have roles that portrayed African Americans as equals with whites. As Sturtevant explains: “McDaniel was important insofar as she was opening doors for more varied roles for black performers, not insofar as she had given the best supporting performance of 1939 in a glossy Hollywood feature about white people.” (Sturtevant, 76)

The only roles McDaniel would be offered in the years after her Oscar win were the usual stultifying fare for a black person. As Sturtevant states, “despite the Oscar, she was still regarded as a type, not as an actress.” (Sturtevant, 72) The Academy Award should have opened doors for McDaniel, instead she remained stuck in old stereotyped roles. As Sturtevant writes: “The differing responses of black and white audiences to McDaniel’s Oscar shed significant light on the relationships during this volatile period among Hollywood moguls, black performers, and the American public, black and white.” (Sturtevant, 70)

Sources and Further Reading

Carlton Jackson, Hattie: The Life of Hattie McDaniel (Madison Books, 1993).

Kenneth Robert Janken, Walter White: Mr. NAACP (UNC Press, 2006).

Daniel J. Leab, From Sambo to Superspade: The Black Experience in Motion Pictures (Secker & Warburg, 1975).

Leonard J. Leff, “Gone with the Wind and Hollywood’s Racial Politics: Making Gone with the Wind Meant Dealing with Fierce Criticism from Black Newspapers and Public Officials,” Atlantic Monthly (December 1999).

Darden Asbury Pyron, Recasting: Gone with the Wind in American Culture (University Presses of Florida, 1983).

Victoria Sturtevant, “But Things is Changin’ Nowadays An’ Mammy’s Gettin’ Bored: Hattie McDaniel and the Culture of Dissemblance,” Velvet Light Trap (1999), Vol. 44, pp. 68-79.

Jill Watts, Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood (HarperCollins, 2005).

Top Young Historians: 86 – Lisa Forman Cody

Top Young Historians

Lisa Forman Cody, 43

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Associate Professor, Department of History, and Associate Dean of the Faculty (as of July 1), Claremont McKenna College
Area of Research: Britain, 1500-1945; France, 1700-1945; Visual Culture; Women, Gender, and Sex Roles; Medicine and Science
Education: Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, History, 1993.
Major Publications: Cody is the author of Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of Eighteenth-Century Britons, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005; paperback, summer 2008). Winner of the Berkshire Conference Best First Book Prize, 2006; the Frances Richardson Keller-Sierra Prize, 2006; the Phi Alpha Theta Best First Book Prize, 2005, shortlist for the Whitfield Prize, the Royal Historical Society, 2006. She is also currently working on Lisa Forman Cody  JPG The Castrato’s Son and other Tales of Intimacy and Intrigue, and Imaginary Values: Health, Wealth, and Human Labor in the British Imperial Imagination
Cody is the editor of Writings on Medicine, 1660-1700, in the series The Early Modern Englishwoman, A Facsimile Library of Essential Works, 1500-1750 (London: Ashgate Press, 2001).
Cody is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “The Secret History of Imagination,” as part of a forum with Rachel Weil, John Smail, Richard Conners, and Michael McKeon on Michael McKeon’s Secret History of Domesticity: Public, Private, and the Division of Knowledge (2008), “Public and Private England, 1600-1800,” Histoire sociale/Social History 40.80 (Nov. 2007); “Living and Dying in Georgian London’s Lying-in Hospitals,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 78.2 (Summer 2004): pp. 309-48. Winner of the Walter D. Love Prize, North American Conference on British Studies, 2005 and the Judith Lee Ridge Article Prize, Western Association of Women Historians, 2005; “‘Every Lane Teems with Instruction, Every Alley is Big with Erudition’: Graffiti in Eighteenth-Century London,” in The Streets of London, 1660-1870, ed. Tim Hitchcock and Heather Shore (London: Rivers Oram Press, 2003), pp. 92-111; “Sex, Civility, and the Self: Eighteenth-Century Conceptions of Gendered, National, and Psychological Identity,” in a Forum on Nina Gelbart’s The King’s Midwife and Gary Kates’s Monsieur d’Eon is a Woman, French Historical Studies, 24:3 (Summer 2001), pp. 379-409; “The Politics of Illegitimacy in an Age of Reform: Gender, Reproduction and Political Economy in England’s New Poor Law of 1834,” Journal of Women’s History 11.4 (Winter 2000), pp. 131-156. Winner of the Judith Lee Ridge Article Prize, Western Association of Women Historians, 2002.
Awards: Cody is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Millicent C. McIntosh Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (2003-05);
Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves Fellowship, top teacher in a west-coast liberal arts college (2000);
Bernadote E. Schmitt Grant, American Historical Association (1999-2000);
Ahmanson-Getty Fellowship, Clark Library and Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies, UCLA (2000), declined;
Clark Library and Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies, UCLA, Short Fellowship (2000);
Benjamin Gould Humanities Center, Claremont McKenna College, Summer Fellowship (2000, 2001, 2003);
Helen L. Bing Fellowship; Mayers Fellowship, Henry E. Huntington Library (1999);
Claremont McKenna College, Dean’s Summer Research Grant (1997-2003);
Whitney Humanities Center Junior Faculty Fellowship, Yale University (1995-96), declined;
Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities, Stanford University (1993-95);
Andrew W. Mellon Research Fellowship, Henry E. Huntington Library (1994);
UC Regents Traveling Fellowship (1990-91);
UC Humanities Graduate Research Grant (1989, 1991);
Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor, UC Berkeley (1990);
George H. Guttridge Prize in British History, UC Berkeley History Department (1989-90);
Beatrice M. Bain Prize for Outstanding Graduate Essay in Gender Studies, UC Berkeley (1989);
UC Berkeley History Department Fellowship (1987-88);
Isobelle Briggs Alumna Fellowship for Graduate Studies, Radcliffe College (1987-88);
John Harvard (1986-87); Harvard College (1984-87); Agassiz Awards (1984-87); Oliver Dabney Fellowship in History (1986-87); Josephine Murray, Radcliffe College Summer Fellowship (1986); Center for European Studies, Harvard, Summer Fellowships (1986).
Additional Info:
Cody formerly was Assistant Professor, Department of History, Denison University, (1995-96), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities, and Visiting Assistant Professor in History, Stanford University, (1993-95). and Instructor in History, Women’s and Interdisciplinary Studies, U.C. Berkeley, (1989-93).

Personal Anecdote

When asked as a girl what I would someday be, I never said a historian. Instead, I first said Frank Lloyd Wright, then around third grade, a suffragette, and then as a teenager, either Mary Cassatt or Elizabeth Blackwell. Given my particular talents, I knew I should want to be a doctor or an illustrator, but I did not yet realize that I could only envision myself in those occupations in the context of another age-the world of Beatrice Potter or Florence Nightingale.

I grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado in the 1970s, but refused to admit that basic fact. My absence was reaffirmed each Sunday at 9 p.m., Mountain Standard Time. My parents were huge Masterpiece Theatre buffs, and so I, the dutiful oldest daughter, watched alongside them imagining myself into the past. In second grade, my friend Margaret and I had feuding crushes on Tom Brown and his nemesis Flashman. After school, we pretended that even though we were girls, we went to Rugby too and rescued poor Tom Brown and Cuthbertson from their miserable School Days.

It should have been obvious where things here were inevitably headed, as I lived through Upstairs, Downstairs, Shoulder to Shoulder, and countless other BBC dramas. But when I went off to Harvard, I made a list of what I would absolutely not major in: physics, engineering, and of course history. I thus decided to kill my core requirement in history immediately with “London and Paris in the Nineteenth Century.” That I sat in the front row eagerly (a.k.a. nerdily) laughing and clapping at the divine Patrice Higgonet and (the late) divine John Clive should have tipped me off right from the first seven minutes. Instead it took two weeks. When Professor Clive read Thomas Gray’s Elegy in a Country Churchyard, I responded as many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century readers had: I wept. (Melodramatic? Yes. Surprising? No. Consider this: in first grade, my best friend Margaret and I had an ongoing debate about what would make either one of us the luckiest girl in the world. Having recently watched The Six Wives of Henry VIII, the answer was obvious: to have Henry VIII’s casketed, dead body in my living room. Sure, this was macabre, but at the time, it seemed hard to imagine that a trip to Disneyland or a pony could top this as the best birthday present ever. I never got the pony either-stuffed or otherwise.)

Gray’s Elegy transported me to mid-eighteenth-century England, which ultimately is where I have lived imaginarily for two decades as I dig through archives at the nearby Huntington Library and when in Britain, and as I now think about the next research project while shuttling my children to school and the dinosaur museum and the grocery store. Yet Gray’s poem also made me appreciate how being a historian can verge on the uncanny act of channeling the dead-which perhaps is what I had been trying to do all along. Clearly, with my childhood desire to keep Tudor corpses in the living room and my adolescent penchant (I confess) for obsessive Ouija board sessions, I had been trying to do so mostly in the dubious spirit of Madame Blavatsky. Thankfully, though, I soon tripped upon the archives instead, which has allowed me to raise the dead in ways that are considered slightly more acceptable, if not as remunerative as reading palms or transfiguring the departed.

I trained at Berkeley with Tom Laqueur and other marvelous scholars at an exciting time in the late 1980s and 1990s when theory was big and invariably had an impact on the nature of my scholarship. Yet despite that training, a perhaps slightly old-fashioned search for spirits haunts much of my research. And no spirit more so than an eighteenth-century midwife, Elizabeth Nihell, who has enjoyed an iconic status among feminists for her exuberant attack on male obstetricians in the 1760s.

Capturing ghosts is notoriously elusive. A summer research trip to Paris, for instance, revealed nothing of Nihell’s life at all, even after plowing through thousands of pages at the Archives de l’Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris in hope of finding her at the Hôtel Dieu where she had had trained as a midwife. I could not find her that summer, but she led me through a rich summer of French research that illuminated unexpected connections between nationalism, religion, and reproduction-insights that fundamentally transformed my book manuscript, Birthing the Nation. A huge analytical payoff, certainly, but I still felt crushed that Nihell herself had no surviving records-and, worst of all, there had been records until the cataclysms of the nineteenth century. I discovered that in 1869, Monsieur Brièle, head of the Hôtel Dieu archives, fastidiously recorded each scrap in his collection, including liasse 1395, a massive file containing every midwife-pupil’s testimonials and birth and marriage certificates for the previous two centuries. Earlier nineteenth-century sources indicated that Nihell was included in this file. In 1870, however, Brièle was forced to choose the saved versus sacrificed as the city fell. He rescued many documents about topics which have since made other historians’ careers-say, on the subject of sewage-but he let liasse 1395 and scores of midwives burn.

In spite of the nineteenth-century flames which licked up her maiden name and much more, I did find a small piece of Mrs. Nihell in the London archives. Another summer, on a hunch, I refused to believe the eighteenth-century parish indices and decided to read through hundreds of files myself, just to double check, just in case. Every weeknight, after the British Library and other archives closed, I crossed Trafalgar Square and walked down Whitehall towards the Westminster City Archives, which stayed open late. It took a summer, pregnant with my first son (i.e. one of my last “real” research trip now that I have three of them), to find my midwife-ghost who had been, it turns out, misfiled for over two centuries. I found her in, of all places, the (poorly alphabetized) affidavits for the St. Martin’s workhouse as a ward of the parish. Her detailed pauper affidavit revealed that she was a Catholic married in Paris in 1740 to an Irish Catholic surgeon around age eighteen who abandoned her in 1775. She never left the workhouse. In May of 1776, she died there and was buried for 2 shillings, 6 pence.

Elizabeth Nihell, a learned, published, proud author, and inspiration to Mary Daly and other modern feminists, was buried in a parish pauper pit. This grave would have been roughly under what is now a Trafalgar Square traffic island with a statue dedicated to a feminist nurse and national martyr of World War One: Edith Cavell. A fittingly ironic monument, to be sure, but a tragic plot for another feminist health practitioner whose 1760 treatise sold for twice the price of her burial. I felt disconcerted as the documents fell together and realized that my historical muse had once been placed six feet under an intersection that I have crossed hundreds of times since the age of eleven when my Masterpiece Theatre obsessed family took a sabbatical to London. I was already fully immersed in the past as I pretended to be a Pankhurst toppling the staid Edwardian world in sixth grade, but I of course had no idea that such an ordinary spot on Charing Cross Road would someday become my imaginary touchstone.

As jubilant as I was to find Nihell, I was also saddened by this enterprise, where so much of what we find hinges on little more than “the short and simple annals of the Poor.” As a historian attracted to theory, analysis, and arguments, Nihell’s ghost reminds me that I nevertheless became a historian thanks to Thomas Gray’s sentimental words and a recognition that I had long felt compelled to channel the dead so as to convey “Their homely joys, and destiny obscure.” Corny, melodramatic, perhaps unsophisticated, but listening to the dead is a precious aspect of our profession, and one that exists in few others.

Quotes

By Lisa Forman Cody

  • “Birthing the Nation explores what relationships existed between corporate and individual identities in the British Isles from the 1660s to the 1830s by examining the emergence of men, rather than midwives, as pre-eminent authorities over sex and birth…Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of the  Eighteenth-Century Britons JPG Male experts transformed what had once been the private, feminine domain of birth and midwifery into topics of public importance and universal interest…. This is the first book to place the eighteenth-century shift… in a larger cultural and political context. It illuminates how eighteenth-century Britons understood and symbolized political, national, and religious affiliation through the experiences of the body, sex, and birth…. Political arguments of the age were not always made on disembodied, rational terms, but instead referenced deep cultural beliefs about gender, reproduction, and the family….

    Through reproductive signs and stories, Britons could describe themselves and others, as individuals, as types, as members of different corporate bodies, including nations, and these comparisons helped to establish the seemingly natural facts of community and otherness.” — Lisa Forman Cody in “Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of the Eighteenth-Century Britons”

    About Lisa Forman Cody

  • “BIRTHING THE NATION brings a fresh perspective to an old feminist problem: the triumph of male doctors over the traditional, female midwife. Unlike previous studies, BIRTHING THE NATION takes a broad view and argues that the ownership of conception and birth, not just midwifery, was the real issue. Georgian England, Cody argues, was obsessed with birth….” “Notable for its extensive use of images and its ability to marry social history with the history of science, BIRTHING THE NATION is a wide-ranging study which gives us insight into the strengthening of patriarchy, the dissemination of natural philosophy, the creation of national identity and the birth of racism. Cody’s most important achievement is to show that birth is a tool for historical analysis, a tool which brings to light struggles over issues as key as gender relations, national identity, racism and the growth of the modern state.” — Committee for the 2005 First Book Prize of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians for “Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of the Eighteenth-Century Britons” (Oxford University Press, 2005)
  • This often engaging, lucidly written study is supported by over fifty black-and-white reproductions of contemporary scientific illustrations, caricatures, and satirical prints, many of which are subjected to close analysis in the narrative. Birthing the Nation offers a convincing account of how an emergent male culture of obstetric practise and reproductive theory informed populist political language and iconography and as such will be of interest not only to medical historians but also a broad range of scholars and students concerned with the language of science as it relates to issues of gender, race, and national identity in post-Restoration and Georgian Britain. — David E. Shuttleton, University of Wales reviewing “Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of the Eighteenth-Century Britons” in Metascience
  • This is an ambitious and exciting work which brings together a plethora of fascinating material, weaves unexpected and provocative connections, and provides us with new insights into issues of gender, race, and nationality as they developed along new pathways during the course of the “long eighteenth century.” It is full of good and astonishing things.” — Lesley A. Hall, Wellcome Library, London reviewing “Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of the Eighteenth-Century Britons” in H-Albion
  • Birthing the Nation breaks ground in its interdisciplinary reach. Jettisoning sweeping notions of gender and power in favor of fresh insight, Cody’s study is the first to account fully for the political and social circumstances that produced male-midwifery as well as for its manifold historical ramifications; the “birth” it gave to defining aspects of British science, nationalism, and a unique sense of the social. The book also excels in its employment of images. Cody highlights the corporality of reproductive knowledge embedded in prints and caricatures and the capacity of visual representations to generate distinct sets of meanings. In a segment that is particularly timely, she shows how men-midwives contributed to the creation of the modern subject position of the fetus by, among other means, commissioning highly sentimental detailed illustrations of the fetus-as-child resting in utero. — Oz Frankel, New School for Social Research reviewing “Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of the Eighteenth-Century Britons” in ILWCH
  • “Birthing the Nation is impressive in its coverage. It succeeds in placing reproduction at the heart of many of the key debates about change, modernity, and the eighteenth century.” — Karen Harvey, University of Sheffield reviewing “Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of the Eighteenth-Century Britons”
  • “In this thoroughly researched, exquisitely illustrated book, historian Cody convincingly demonstrates that matters of sexuality and reproduction were central to the understanding of social, cultural, political, and economic life in 18th-century Britain….Her insightful analyses coalesce to form a remarkably nuanced and highly readable account of the role played by science and reproduction in forging a national identity at this critical juncture in British History. Highly recommended.” — S. L. Hoglund, SUNY at Stony Brook reviewing “Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of the Eighteenth-Century Britons” in CHOICE
  • “I have known Lisa for three years now as a professor, academic advisor, and as an extraordinary historian. It was Professor Cody who first inspired me to become a history major. She fostered my desire to develop, understand and explore my passions about the history of the Catholic Church in England. As an academic advisor, she was always very accessible and approachable and always encouraging, understanding and helpful. As a professor, she pushed me to exceed my expectations and helped me to become a thoughtful, inquisitive and enthusiastic historian. As my thesis reader, she not only bent over backward to help me realize my passions, but she also pushed me forward to realize them in study and writing. She gives each of her students an individual attention that cannot be expected of most professors.Lisa Cody is much more than I could hope for in a professor – she is a friend who shares her interests until her overwhelming enthusiasm makes them your interests. She has contributed so much to my college years; the lessons I have learned from her will stay with me always. She sets high standards for her students and a coach there every step of the way encouraging and aiding their success.

    I am pleased to see that she has been given this award and confident that no one deserves it more. She should be recognized everyday for her accomplishments both as an academic and as a mother. — Annastacia Jimenez, Claremont McKenna College

  • “I have never had the honor of being taught by a professor as knowledgeable and inspiring as professor Cody. She has taught me more than the incredible material she covers in her classes. She changed the way I approached writing, reading and learning. She not only cares about her students but fosters a higher level of education and participation in her students. I only wish I could have her as a professor and advisor for the rest of my academic career. I would be happy to answer any questions or elaborate on the ways professor Cody has changed me as a student. What I have said does not do her justice. I cannot say enough about her knowledge, wisdom and inspiration. She has changed me as a student and advisee for the better and I am grateful for all her academic inspiration and for the privilege of learning from a professor as wise and caring. She continues to bring out the best in me and I have rarely felt a connection as strong as I do with professor Cody. Please feel free to contact me with any further questions or for any other comments about how she has affected me. — Ilana Lustbader
  • “My name is Bouree Kim and I had the pleasure of working closely with Lisa for three years as an undergraduate at Claremont McKenna College (CMC). The fact that I can comfortably refer to her by her first name already shows the type of rapport she creates with her students!Although I was a literature major, Lisa came highly recommended to me by several students and thus I enrolled in her “Women, Family and Social Change” class. The texts were difficult, the discussions challenging. I was grateful for Lisa’s constant enthusiasm for the topic at hand and most importantly, her commitment to engage her students in the learning process. I was always excited to attend her class because I was eager to hear her thoughts about the text we had read. She had the ability to turn a book, perhaps one that I did not particularly enjoy, into one that seemed brilliant because of her insightful comments and perspective. Lisa was available for questions both in and out of the classroom. Responses to emails arrived very quickly and it was easy to set up a time outside of office hours to meet. Her accessibility as a professor showed me that my education was just as important to her as other research and administrative duties for which she was responsible.

    After being more than satisfied with her class, the following semester I enrolled in her “19th Century London and Paris” class. This class ultimately became one of my favorite classes at CMC. Lisa always chose the best texts to read for her classes and discussions about the relationship between sewers, prostitution, and the rise of industrial London in the 19th Century remains a vivid memory even though two years has passed since the class. Lisa always encouraged student feedback about the texts she assigned and promoted student-led discussions. The opportunity to pose analytical questions and learn from my peers proved to be invaluable to my development as a successful student. I learned through Lisa’s history classes how literature (among many subjects) and history intersect constantly. It was clear that though she was a history professor, her knowledge about other subjects (literature, science, art, areas of history outside her primary interest) only enhanced her knowledge about history.

    I had the pleasure of working with Lisa on my senior thesis that focused on Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. It was clear that Lisa’s passion for history was contagious; I had wanted to study a novel that would allow me to learn more about literature while having the opportunity to research one of my favorite historical time periods: 19th Century France. (I also wanted an excuse to work with Lisa so I figured I should choose a book with which she could be of help).

    What excited me the most about Lisa’s classes and working with her on my thesis is that she helped me realize that in order to understand our lives today, it is important to learn history. Lisa taught me that contemporary understandings of topics such as gender, war, and changes in technology are based on historical events that had the power to change nations and social ideas. She taught me the usefulness of knowing, questioning, and learning history, which all led me to think differently about the world we create and live in today.

    I could rave on about Lisa for pages! I envy all the students and faculty that will be able to continue working with her in the future. Her generosity to her students and commitment to teaching are unparalleled. I continue to recommend her classes to students, convincing them that they, too, will think about life differently after every class. I am thrilled that she will be acknowledged as a Top Young Historian. The honor is well deserved. — Bouree Kim

  • “I’m writing to share my enthusiasm for Lisa Cody as a HNN Top Young Historian. Lisa is one of the most engaging professors that I have ever met. She combines a staggering command of the subject matter with humor, accessibility, and a relentless passion for her work and her students. Taking a class from a professor of her caliber was a high point of my academic career.” — Cameron Blevins
  • “I graduated in May from Claremont McKenna College, where Lisa was my professor for two courses last year (a survey of modern British history and a history of London and Paris in the 19th century)and my thesis adviser. I also worked closely with her when applying for a Marshall Scholarship and while serving on faculty search panels for a new ancient history professor and professor of Korean history. As a result of these interactions, I came to know Professor Cody extremely well and she easily became my favorite professor.Professor Cody was able to keep class interesting by varying her method of instruction considerably. Class was always a refreshing blend of lecture, discussion, small group work, and individual presentations. Additionally, the assigned readings were a nice mix of primary sources, secondary scholarship, and salient works of fiction. As a result of this variety, class was never dull and I really felt engaged with the subject matter.

    While Professor Cody’s classes were always enjoyable, I think what really set her apart from other professors was her accessibility outside of classes. She was always so sincerely interested in helping you, that I felt comfortable asking for her advice on a wide range of issues. For example, she provided great support not only for matters relating to class and as my thesis reader, but she also provided great consul as I went through the law school application process. I considered Lisa not only my professor, but also a mentor and a friend.

    I’m so happy that she is being recognized for being the great historian that she is.” — Ryan Fant, Stanford Law School, Class of 2010

  • “Lisa Cody is a wonderful professor and advisor. She is an incredibly inspirational and creative thinker, always pushing her students to take their arguments to the next level. I owe my decision to become a history major to her, which is why I also had to have her as my thesis advisor. She’s wonderful at presenting alternative understandings of gender and social history, and always encourages her students to speak their opinions and discuss their ideas. I’m so glad that she’s being recognized for her outstanding work; she is truly one of the most intelligent and interesting people I have ever met.” — Annelise Reynolds
  • “Lisa changed and bettered my entire college experience. I took her intro to british history class in the beginning of my sophomore year and I immediately switched my literature major to a history major because of her class. Her enthusiasm, passion, and intelligence surrounding issues of gender greatly intrigued me and in turn I then added a Gender Studies minor. I took three classes with Lisa and she was also my thesis reader. not only did she influence my areas of concentration throughout my college career, but she impacted the way I look at and perceive the world. She is an amazing thinker, writer, and teacher. I have been incredibly fortunate to have been able to learn some of what she has to teach. — Allison Pratt
  • Posted on Monday, February 25, 2008 at 10:47 PM

    History Buzz: February 2008

    History Buzz

    By Bonnie K. Goodman

    Ms. Goodman is the Editor/Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

    February 25, 2008

    CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

    PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

    • Primary Season Election Results – NYT
    • Do Voices Give Candidates Presidential Timbre? – NPR, 2-23-08
    • Robert Dallek: Path from Senate to Presidency Not Easy – NPR, 2-19-08
    • Harvard Sitkoff: Barack Obama’s Place In History U.S. News & World Report: Senator’s Campaign Called by Sitkoff “An Important Moment In American Political History”: And even while emphasizing the racial significance of the Obama phenomenon, Sitkoff says that it is also about “getting beyond the identity politics, the rabid partisanship that we’ve seen for the last 15 years, expressed in the intense animus against both [Bill] Clinton and [George W.] Bush.” – CBS News, 2-20-08
    BIGGEST STORIES: Black History Month

    BIGGEST STORIES: Black History Month:

    • Ira Berlin: Students to Study University of Maryland’s Ties To Slavery – Diverse, VA, 2-19-08
    • Deric Gilliard on “MLK’s ‘Ground Crew’ still quietly making a difference”: “It is almost a travesty of justice that most Americans don’t have a clue of who these people are,” said historian Deric Gilliard, the author of “Living in the Shadows of a Legend: Unsung Heroes and ‘Sheroes’ who Marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” “That is why I am committed to running around the country educating people about the role they played.” Gilliard, who has interviewed dozens of them, said they didn’t care who got credit for any of the movement’s accomplishments. “They had a purity of purpose and effected change in a phenomenal way,” he said. – Atlanta Journal Constitution, 2-22-08
    • Historians lament absence of commemorations of the end of the slave trade – http://www.pittsburghcitypaper, 2-21-08
    • Plans Underway to Publish Kentucky’s Black Heritage Second Edition – WNKY.net, KY, 1-22-08
    • ‘Banished’ Recounts History of Forced Segregation – NPR, 2-19-08
    • History of Black History Month often overlooked – Muncie Star Press, IN , 2-11-08
    • Perfect books to read for Black History month – Owen Sound Sun Times, 2-15-08
    • Detroit Black History Events – Dtroit Free Press, 2-14-08
    • MID-MICHIGAN EVENTS HONORING BLACK HISTORY MONTH – Lansing State Journal, 2-10-08
    • Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Interviewed in Newsweek about AANB – Newsweek, 2-9-08
    • Carter G. Woodson: This year’s celebration of black history month focuses on his role in creating black history month – www.hattiesburgamerican.com, 2-5-08
    • Feb. 29, 2008: A historian, educator and author will present a plenary address at the fifth annual Midwest Black History Conference on Feb. 29 at Luther College – WCF Courier, IA, 1-30-08
    • Museum of Black History Celebration events – Evansville Courier Press, 1-10-08
    HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

    HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

    THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

      THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

    • 25/02/1793 – 1st cabinet meeting (At George Washington’s home)
    • 25/02/1804 – Jefferson nominated for president at Democratic-Republican caucus
    • 25/02/1862 – Paper currency (greenbacks) introduced in US by Pres Abraham Lincoln
    • 25/02/1870 – Hiram Revels, is sworn in as 1st black member of Congress (Sen-R-MS)
    • 25/02/1919 – League of Nations set up by Paris Treaty
    • 25/02/1941 – February strike against persecution of Jews, in Amsterdam
    • 26/02/1732 – 1st mass celebrated in 1st American Catholic church, Philadelphia
    • 26/02/1848 – Marx and Engels publish “Communist Manifesto”
    • 26/02/1869 – 15th Amendment guaranteeing right to vote sent to states
    • 26/02/1870 – 1st NYC subway line opens (pneumatic powered)
    • 26/02/1933 – Golden Gate Bridge ground-breaking ceremony held at Crissy Field
    • 26/02/1962 – US Supreme court disallows race separation on public transportation
    • 27/02/1670 – Jews expelled from Austria by order of Leopold I
    • 27/02/1801 – Washington DC placed under Congressional jurisdiction
    • 27/02/1827 – 1st Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans
    • 27/02/1864 – 6th and last day of battle at Dalton, Georgia (about 600 casualties)
    • 27/02/1864 – Near Andersonville GA, rebels open a new POW camp “Camp Sumpter”
    • 27/02/1869 – John Menard is 1st black to make a speech in Congress
    • 27/02/1872 – Charlotte Ray, 1st Black woman lawyer, graduated Harvard U
    • 27/02/1877 – US Electoral College declares R Hayes winner presidential election
    • 27/02/1900 – Boer General Cronj‚ surrenders to English in Pardenberg, South-Africa
    • 27/02/1922 – Supreme Court unanimously upheld 19th amend woman’s right to vote
    • 27/02/1942 – 1st transport of French Jews to nazi-Germany
    • 27/02/1949 – Chaim Weizmann becomes 1st Israeli president
    • 27/02/1950 – General Chiang Kai-shek elected president of Nationalist China
    • 27/02/1951 – 22nd amendment ratified, limiting president to 2 terms
    • 27/02/1972 – Pres Nixon and Chinese Premier Chou En-lai issued Shanghai Communique
    • 27/02/1998 – Britain’s House of Lords agree’s to end 1,000 years of male preference by giving a monarch’s first-born daughter the same claim to the throne as any first born son
    • 28/02/1692 – Salem witch hunt begins
    • 28/02/1704 – Indians attack Deerfield, Mass, kill 40, kidnap 100
    • 28/02/1708 – Slave revolt, Newton, Long Island NY, 11 die
    • 28/02/1778 – Rhode Island General Assembly authorizes enlistment of slaves
    • 28/02/1847 – US defeats Mexico in battle of Sacramento
    • 28/02/1854 – Republican Party formally organized at Ripon, Wisc
    • 28/02/1879 – “Exodus of 1879″ southern blacks flee political/economic exploitation
    • 28/02/1961 – JFK names Henry Kissinger special advisor
    • 28/02/1972 – Pres Richard Nixon ends historic week-long visit to China
    • 29/02/1504 – Columbus uses a lunar eclipse to frighten hostile Jamaican Indians
    • 29/02/1692 – Sarah Good and Tituba, an Indian servant, accused of witchcraft, Salem
    • 29/02/1796 – Jay’s Treaty proclaimed, settles some differences with England
    • 29/02/1904 – Theodore Roosevelt, appoints 7 man committee to study Panama Canal
    • 29/02/1936 – FDR signs 2nd neutrality act
    • 29/02/1940 – Hattie McDaniel becomes 1st black woman to win an Oscar, “Gone with the Wind,” wins 8 Oscars
    • 29/02/1956 – Pres Eisenhower announces he would seek a 2nd term
    • 29/02/1960 – JFK makes “missile gap” the presidential campaign issue
    • 29/02/1984 – Canadian PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau announced he is stepping down
    • 01/03/1562 – Blood bath at Vassy: Gen de Guise allows 1200 huguenots murder
    • 01/03/1692 – Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba arrest for witchcraft (Salem, MA)
    • 01/03/1780 – Penn becomes 1st US state to abolish slavery (for new-borns only)
    • 01/03/1781 – Continental Congress adopts Articles of Confederation
    • 01/03/1845 – President Tyler signs a resolution annexing the Republic of Texas
    • 01/03/1864 – Rebecca Lee (US) becomes 1st black woman to receive a medical degree
    • 01/03/1875 – Congress passes Civil Rights Act; invalidated by Supreme Ct, 1883
    • 01/03/1932 – Charles Lindbergh Jr (20 months), kidnapped in NJ; found dead May 12
    • 01/03/1940 – 12th Academy Awards – “Gone with the Wind,” R Donat and V Leigh win
    • 01/03/1945 – FDR announces success of Yalta Conference
    • 01/03/1961 – President Kennedy establishes the Peace Corp
    • 01/03/1974 – Watergate grand jury indicts 7 presidential aides
    • 02/03/1776 – Americans begin shelling British troops in Boston
    • 02/03/1807 – Congress bans slave trade effective January 1, 1808
    • 02/03/1836 – Republic of Texas declares independence from Mexico
    • 02/03/1853 – Territory of Washington organized after separating from Oregon Ter
    • 02/03/1855 – Aleksandr Romanov becomes tsar of Russia
    • 02/03/1865 – Freedman’s Bureau founded for Black Education, 1865
    • 02/03/1867 – Congress passed the 1st Reconstruction Act
    • 02/03/1877 – Rutherford B Hayes (R) declared president despite Samuel J Tilden (D) winning the popular vote, but is 1 electoral vote shy of victory
    • 02/03/1915 – Vladmir Jabotinsky forms a Jewish military force to fight in Palestine
    • 02/03/1923 – Time magazine debuts
    • 02/03/1974 – Grand jury concludes Pres Nixon is involved in Watergate cover-up
    • 02/03/1991 – UN votes in favor of US resolutions for cease fire with Iraq
    • 03/03/1801 – 1st US Jewish governor, David Emanuel, takes office in Georgia
    • 03/03/1803 – 1st impeachment trial of a federal judge, John Pickering, begins
    • 03/03/1805 – Louisiana-Missouri Territory forms
    • 03/03/1817 – Mississippi Territory is divided into Alabama Territory and Mississippi
    • 03/03/1820 – Missouri Compromise passes, allowing slavery in Missouri
    • 03/03/1837 – US president Andrew Jackson and Congress recognizes Republic of Texas
    • 03/03/1845 – 1st time, US Senate overrides presidential (Tyler) veto
    • 03/03/1849 – Territory of Minnesota organizes
    • 03/03/1862 – Battle of New Madrid MO-captured by Union forces
    • 03/03/1865 – Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands established
    • 03/03/1869 – University of South Carolina opens to all races
    • 03/03/1871 – Congress changes Indian tribes status from independent to dependent
    • 03/03/1877 – Rutherford B Hayes is sworn in as the 19th president
    • 03/03/1885 – Congress passes Indian Appropriations Act (Indians wards of fed govt)
    • 03/03/1887 – Anne Sullivan begins teaching 6 year old blind-deaf Helen Keller
    • 03/03/1911 – 1st US federal cemetery with Union and Rebel graves opens, Missouri
    • 03/03/1913 – Ida B Wells-Barnett demonstrates for female suffrage in Washington DC
    • 03/03/1918 – Treaty of Brest-Litovsk: Germany, Austria and Russia sign
    • 03/03/1923 – US Senate rejects membership in Intl Court of Justice, The Hague
    • 03/03/1931 – “Star Spangled Banner” officially becomes US national anthem
    • 03/03/1972 – Sculpted figures of Jefferson Davis, Robert E Lee, and Stonewall Jackson are completed at Stone Mountain Georgia
    • 03/03/1992 – Pres Bush apologizes for raising taxes after pledging not to
    IN THE NEWS:

    IN THE NEWS:

    REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

    REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

    • Drew Gilpin Faust: AMERICAN HISTORY | THE CIVIL WAR A Prayer for the Dying How Americans absorbed the loss of 620,000 lives during the Civil War THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING Death and the American Civil WarWaPo, 2-24-08
    • W. Ralph Eubanks on Scott E. Casper: George Washington’s Slaves Why the flags at Mount Vernon flew at half mast on Sarah Johnson’s death. SARAH JOHNSON’S MOUNT VERNON The Forgotten History of an American Shrine WaPo, 2-24-08
    • Bevin Alexander: Lost Cause HOW THE SOUTH COULD HAVE WON THE CIVIL WAR The Fatal Errors That Led To Confederate Defeat - WaPo, 2-24-08
    • Paul Freedman: GASTRONOMIC AFFAIRS TheStar.com | entertainment | A groaning board laden with spice, poison, citrus and lore A groaning board laden with spice, poison, citrus and lore The study of food – what we eat, how we eat it, the means we use to get it – is the story of social evolution – Toronto Star, 2-24-08
    • Bruce Chilton: RELIGIOUS HISTORY Blessings and blood ABRAHAM’S CURSE The Roots of Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and IslamGlobe and Mail, CA, 2-23-08
    • Shere Hite: Why do women let jealousy get in the way of friendship? Shere Hite talks about the need for 21st-century girl power not one-upmanship – Sunday Times, UK, 2-24-08
    OP-EDs:

    OP-EDs:

    • Richard Thompson Ford: Play the race card at your peril Politicians help shape public attitudes – and they can make racism worse – Dallas Morning News, TX, 2-24-08
    PROFILED:

    PROFILED:

    FEATURES:

    FEATURES:

    INTERVIEWS:

    INTERVIEWS:

    QUOTED:

    QUOTED:

    • Jose Gabriel Vazeilles on “Castro’s legacy: A changed Latin America”: “For Latin America, the steps taken by the Cuban Revolution were a clear example that change was possible,” said Jose Gabriel Vazeilles, a Buenos Aires historian. – LAT, 2-23-08
    • John Prados on “Memories of a C.I.A. Officer Resonate in a New Era”: “I think there’s an eerie and disturbing correlation between that era and this one,” said John Prados, an intelligence historian and the author of “Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the C.I.A.” He said the threat of terrorism now, like the threat of communism then, was used to justify extreme measures that “later become controversial legally, morally and politically.” Mr. Prados said the historical record supported Mr. Devlin’s account of his actions, which he described last year in an autobiography, “Chief of Station, Congo: Fighting the Cold War in a Hot Zone.” “I believe there’s no reason to doubt that Mr. Devlin conspired to defuse the orders to kill Lumumba,” he said. – NYT, 2-24-08
    • David Tal: Says Israeli historian’s role is making sense of “chaos” – NJ Jewish News, 2-21-08
    • Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says his history degree was great preparation: “History helps me to understand not only what the situation is, but why it is. The fact that I was a history major with a mind like this trained [me] to try to understand the genesis of any problem that has confronted me. What could I have taken that gave me a better education?” – http://www.dailycardinal.com, 2-19-08
    HONORED / AWARDED / APPOINTED:

    HONORED, AWARDED, APPOINTED:

    • S.C. honors inventor, historian Professor, ‘heroine’ inducted into Hall of Fame – Myrtle Beach Sun News, SC, 2-20-08
    • Historian Charles L. Sullivan’s intense post-Katrina efforts to preserve artifacts and memorabilia, including two historic photographic collections, has landed him the coveted Mississippi Humanities Council Director’s Award for Preservation of Mississippi Culture – Sun Herald, 2-23-08
    • Jean Allman named the Hexter professor in the humanities – Washington University Record, MO, 2-21-08
    • Drew Faust: Academia’s big hit – Boston Globe, 2-18-08
    SPOTTED:

    SPOTTED:

    CALENDAR:

    CALENDAR:

    • Feb. 28, 2008: Historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard University will speak at Arkansas State University on Feb. 28. Gates will present a lecture — “Bridging the Digital Divide: W. E. B. DuBois and the Encarta Americana” — at 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall, Reng Student Services Center / Student Union, 101 N. Caraway Road, in Jonesboro. – Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 2-10-08
    • Mar. 5, 2008: Peabody Award-winning documentary film producer David C. Taylor will come to the DePauw University campus on Wednesday, March 5, to participate in a conversation with Ken Bode, Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism. The event begins at 4:15 p.m. in the auditorium of the Richard E. Peeler Art Center and is free and open to the public – DePauw University, IN, 2-24-08
    • May-September 2008: Elizabeth Brand Monroe, Deborah A. Lee, Lectures Showcase Leesburg’s History for 250th Anniversary – WaPo, 1-18-08
    • David Zabecki: Hooks up with Stephen Ambrose Tours / Zabecki will lead the 14-day tour to visit historic World War II sites in Gdansk, Krakow, Warsaw and Berlin from May 16-30, 2008.- Press Release–Stephen Ambrose Tours, 1-10-08
    ON TV:

      ON TV: History Listings This Week

    • C-Span2, BookTV: History Jason Emerson, “The Madness of Mary Lincoln” Author: Jason Emerson – Monday, February 25 @ 2:15am ET – C-Span2, BookTV
    • PBS: American Experience: “Buffalo Bill,” Monday, February 25 @ 8pm ET
    • History Channel: “Lost Worlds :The Real Dracula,” Monday, February 25, @ 6pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :Viking Underground,” Monday, February 25, @ 9pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “USS Constellation: Battling for Freedom,” Tuesday, February 26, @ 2pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Deep Sea Detectives :Slave Ship Uncovered!,” Tuesday, February 26, @ 4pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Titanic’s Tragic Sister,” Tuesday, February 26, @ 5pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Modern Marvels :Pirate Tech,” Tuesday, February 26, @ 7pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed,” Wednesday, February 27, @ 2pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “How William Shatner Changed the World,” Wednesday, February 27, @ 4pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “A Global Warning?,” Thursday, February 28, @ 2pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “History Rocks :The ’80s,” Thursday, February 28, @ 6pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “A Distant Shore: African Americans of D-Day” Friday, February 29, @ 2pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “First to Fight: The Black Tankers of WWII,” Friday, February 29, @ 3pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Modern Marvels :Titanic Tech,” Friday, February 29, @ 7pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Titanic’s Achilles Heel,” Saturday, March 1, @ 5pm ET/PT
    • History Channel: “Wyatt Earp,” Saturday, March 1, @ 8pm ET/PT
    SELLING BIG (NYT):

    SELLING BIG (NYT):

    • Jonah Goldberg: LIBERAL FASCISM #7 — 6 weeks on list – 3-2-08
    • Tom Brokaw: BOOM! #12 — 11 weeks on list – 2-24-08
    • Drew Gilpin Faust: THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING #9 — 4 weeks on list – 2-24-08
    • Laton McCartney: THE TEAPOT DOME SCANDAL #22 – 2-24-08
    FUTURE RELEASES:

    FUTURE RELEASES:

    • Nick Taylor: American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work, February 26, 2008.
    • Howard Taylor: Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, February 28, 2008.
    • H. David Stone: Vital Rails, February 28, 2008.
    • John Fea: The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America ( U of Pennsylvania Press), February 29, 2008
    • Joseph Balkoski: From Beachhead to Brittany, March 10, 2008
    • Susan Nagel: Marie-Therese, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette’s Daughter, March 18, 2008
    • James Donovan: A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn – the Last Great Battle of the American West (REV), March 24, 2008.
    • Scott McClellan: What Happened, April 28, 2008
    DEPARTED:

    DEPARTED:

    Posted on Sunday, February 24, 2008 at 11:18 PM

    February 18, 2008

    CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

    PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

    • Primary Season Election Results – NYT
    • Gil Troy, a history professor at McGill University, said Obama is able to mix style and substance with ease like former U.S. president Ronald Reagan. “This kind of ease cannot be invented or replicated – you either have it or you don’t. Bill Clinton has it, Bob Dole – who has other talents – didn’t,” Troy said. “Ronald Reagan had it (and) Walter Mondale, his opponent in 1984, didn’t.” – Canada.com, 2-16-08
    • Douglas Brinkley and Ted Widmer on “Been there, failed at that “For all three of them, their Senate careers are not what people are looking at,” Brinkley said, noting that “workhorse” senators Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Sam Brownback dropped out of the race early.
      Each of the candidates is unique in U.S. history — Clinton because she is a woman, Obama because he is black and McCain because of his experience as a prisoner of war — and there are no easy predictions about how they will perform in office, Widmer said. “It’s a fascinating, volatile moment and no one knows what’s going to happen next,” he said. “And that’s good for democracy, too.” – 2-11-08
    • Gerald Gamm on “Clinton-Obama: perils of a long Democratic battle”: “Right now, the traditional Democratic coalition is split exactly between them,” says Gerald Gamm, an associate professor of political science and history at the University of Rochester in New York. – The Christian Science Monitor, 2-11-08
    CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

    BIGGEST STORIES: PRESIDENT’S DAY:

    BIGGEST STORIES: Black History Month

    BIGGEST STORIES: Black History Month:

    HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

    HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

    THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

      THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

    • 18/02/1503 – Henry Tudor created Prince of Wales (later Henry VIII)
    • 18/02/1688 – Quakers conduct 1st formal protest of slavery in Germantown, Pa
    • 18/02/1861 – Confederate President Jefferson Davis inaugurated at Montgomery Ala
    • 18/02/1865 – Union troops force Confederates to abandon Ft Anderson, NC
    • 18/02/1865 – Evacuation of Charleston, SC; Sherman’s troops burn city
    • 18/02/1927 – US and Canada begin diplomatic relations
    • 18/02/1970 – US president Nixon launches “Nixon-doctrine”
    • 18/02/1988 – Anthony M Kennedy, sworn in as Supreme Court Justice
    • 19/02/1807 – VP Aaron Burr arrested in Alabama for treason; later found innocent
    • 19/02/1878 – Thomas Alva Edison patents gramophone (phonograph)
    • 19/02/1881 – Kansas becomes 1st state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages
    • 19/02/1919 – Pan-African Congress, organized by W E B Du Bois (Paris)
    • 19/02/1941 – Nazi raid Amsterdam and round up 429 young Jews for deportation
    • 19/02/1942 – FDR orders detention and internment of all west-coast Japanese-Americans
    • 19/02/1945 – US 5th Fleet launches invasion of Iwo Jima against the Japanese
    • 19/02/1963 – USSR informs JFK it’s withdrawing several thousand troops from Cuba
    • 19/02/1986 – US Senate ratifies UN’s anti-genocide convention 37 years later
    • 20/02/1547 – King Edward VI of England was enthroned following death of Henry VIII
    • 20/02/1792 – US postal service created; postage 6›-12«›, depending on distance
    • 20/02/1809 – Supreme Court rules federal govt power greater than any state
    • 20/02/1839 – Congress prohibits dueling in District of Columbia
    • 20/02/1861 – Dept of Navy of Confederacy forms
    • 20/02/1869 – Tenn Gov W C Brownlow declares martial law in Ku Klux Klan crisis
    • 20/02/1933 – House of Reps completes congressional action to repeal Prohibition
    • 20/02/1941 – 1st transport of Jews to concentration camps leave Plotsk Poland
    • 20/02/1953 – US Court of Appeals rules that Organized Baseball is a sport and not a business, affirming the 25-year-old Supreme Court ruling
    • 20/02/1962 – John Glenn is 1st American to orbit Earth (Friendship 7)
    • 21/02/1764 – John Wilkes thrown out of Engl House of Commons for “Essay on Women”
    • 21/02/1792 – Congress passes Pres Succession Act
    • 21/02/1804 – 1st locomotive, Richard Trevithick’s, runs for 1st time, in Wales
    • 21/02/1857 – Congress outlaws foreign currency as legal tender in US
    • 21/02/1862 – Confederate Constitution and presidency are declared permanent
    • 21/02/1862 – Texas Rangers win Confederate victory at Battle of Val Verde, NM
    • 21/02/1874 – Benjamin Disraeli replaces William Gladstone as English premier
    • 21/02/1885 – Washington Monument dedicated (Wash DC)
    • 21/02/1895 – NC Legislature, adjourns for day to mark death of Frederick Douglass
    • 21/02/1916 – Battle of Verdun in WW I begins (1 million casualties)
    • 21/02/1943 – Dutch RC bishops protest against persecution of Jews
    • 21/02/1965 – Black nationalist leader Malcolm X is assassinated.
    • 21/02/1972 – Richard Nixon becomes 1st US president to visit China
    • 22/02/1495 – French King Charles VIII enters Naples to claim crown
    • 22/02/1630 – Indians introduce pilgrims to popcorn, at Thanksgiving
    • 22/02/1819 – Spain renounces claims to Oregon Country, Florida (Adams-On¡s Treaty)
    • 22/02/1821 – Spain sells (east) Florida to United States for $5 million
    • 22/02/1854 – 1st meeting of Republican Party (Michigan)
    • 22/02/1856 – 1st national meeting of Republican Party (Pittsburgh)
    • 22/02/1861 – On a bet Edward Weston leaves Boston to walk to Lincoln’s inauguration
    • 22/02/1864 – -27] Battle at Dalton Georgia
    • 22/02/1889 – Pres Cleveland signs bill to admit Dakotas, Montana and Washington state
    • 22/02/1900 – Hawaii became a US territory
    • 22/02/1924 – 1st presidential radio address (Calvin Coolidge)
    • 22/02/1967 – 25,000 US and S Vietnamese troops launched Operation Junction City, offensive to smash Viet Cong stronghold near Cambodian border
    • 23/02/1455 – Johannes Gutenberg prints 1st book, Bible (estimated date)
    • 23/02/1836 – Alamo besieged by Santa Anna; entire garrison eventually killed
    • 23/02/1861 – Pres-elect Lincoln arrives secretly in Wash DC to take office
    • 23/02/1861 – By popular referendum, Texas becomes 7th state to secede from US
    • 23/02/1883 – Alabama becomes 1st US state to enact an antitrust law
    • 23/02/1945 – US Marines raise flag on Iwo Jima, famous photo and statue
    • 23/02/1947 – Gen Eisenhower opens drive to raise $170M in aid for European Jews
    • 23/02/1967 – US troops begin largest offensive of Vietnam War
    • 23/02/1997 – Scientists in Scotland announced they succeeded in cloning an adult mammal, producing a lamb named “Dolly”
    • 24/02/1803 – Supreme Court 1st rules a law unconstitutional (Marbury v Madison)
    • 24/02/1836 – 3,000 Mexicans attack 182 Texans at Alamo, lasts 13 days
    • 24/02/1848 – King Louis-Philippe abdicates, 2nd French republic declared
    • 24/02/1864 – -Feb 25] Battle of Tunnel Hill, GA (Buzzard’s Roost)
    • 24/02/1868 – 1st US parade with floats (Mardi Gras-Mobile Alabama)
    • 24/02/1868 – House of Reps vote 126 to 47, to impeach President Andrew Johnson
    • 24/02/1944 – Argentina coup by Juan Peron minister of war
    • 24/02/1949 – Israel and Egypt sign an armistice agreement
    • 24/02/1991 – US and allies begin a ground war assault on Iraqi troops
    • 25/02/1793 – 1st cabinet meeting (At George Washington’s home)
    • 25/02/1804 – Jefferson nominated for president at Democratic-Republican caucus
    • 25/02/1862 – Paper currency (greenbacks) introduced in US by Pres Abraham Lincoln
    • 25/02/1870 – Hiram Revels, is sworn in as 1st black member of Congress (Sen-R-MS)
    • 25/02/1919 – League of Nations set up by Paris Treaty
    • 25/02/1941 – February strike against persecution of Jews, in Amsterdam
    IN THE NEWS:

    IN THE NEWS:

    REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

    REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

    • Maureen N. McLane on Daniel Walker Howe: Re-collecting the past A historian puts together a fascinating, richly detailed portrait of America in the early 1800s What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848Chicago Tribune, 2-17-08
    • Randi Storch: Radical heritage An engaging look at the final years of Chicago’s reign as the left-wing capital of America Red Chicago: American Communism and Its Grassroots, 1928-35Chicago Tribune, 2-16-08
    • Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore: The power of radicals Historian examines the activists who first took on racism Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights 1919-1950News & Observer, 2-17-08
    • Allen C. Guelzo, William Lee Miller: HISTORY UNITED STATES They Don’t Make Debates Like This Anymore Lincoln may have won the debates, but he lost his campaign for the Senate. The Debates that Defined America, PRESIDENT LINCOLN The Duty of A StatesmanWaPo, 2-17-08
    • Vladislav Zubok on Orlando Figes: HISTORY | SOVIET UNION The Destruction of Memory Preserving the testimony of the generation that lived under Stalin THE WHISPERERS Private Life in Stalin’s RussiaWaPo, 2-17-08
    • Brian McGinty: Parlous Times How one president finessed the law of the land LINCOLN AND THE COURTWaPo, 2-14-08
    • Laton McCartney: There Will Be Scandal: An Oil Stain on the Jazz Age THE TEAPOT DOME SCANDAL How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and Tried to Steal the CountryNYT,
    OP-EDs:

    OP-EDs:

    BLOGS:

    BLOGS:

    PROFILED:

    PROFILED:

    FEATURES:

    FEATURES:

    INTERVIEWS:

    INTERVIEWS:

    QUOTED:

    QUOTED:

    • Stephen Hess on “Been there, failed at that History shows experience does not guarantee success in the White House”: “It’s not just how much experience they had, but where and how they got that experience,” said Stephen Hess, a senior fellow emeritus at the Brookings Institution and an expert in presidential history.
      Former vice presidents come into office with the best understanding of the executive branch but struggle to create their own legacy, Hess said. Military leaders have the most experience running a large bureaucracy, he said, citing Dwight D. Eisenhower as an example. – 2-11-08
    • Jean Harvey Baker on “Been there, failed at that History shows experience does not guarantee success in the White House”: Lincoln “[He] was just really superb at understanding the crisis of the time and understanding how to get along with people,” Goucher College history professor Jean Harvey Baker said.
      Franklin Roosevelt: “As a human being, his struggle against his infirmity is just as important as his experience in politics,” Baker said. – 2-11-08
    • Ted Widmer on “Been there, failed at that History shows experience does not guarantee success in the White House”: “Lincoln was “a towering genius who could have never made it during a normal election,” said Brown University historian Ted Widmer, adding that he “came at exactly the moment we needed him.” Although other presidents with thin resumes proved to be capable leaders, Lincoln is an extreme example. As Widmer says: “I don’t think it’s so realistic to think there are a lot of Abraham Lincolns floating around out there.”
      Herbery Hoover: “It’s kind of the opposite of the Lincoln argument,” Widmer said. “An outsider came in and was a very unsuccessful president.”
      “Governors are more used to being the executive. Even if they’re from a smaller state, they know how to delegate well, hire and fire, stay within budgets,” Widmer said. “Senators are more used to working within the system, which can be a good thing.” – 2-11-08
    • Douglas Brinkley on “Been there, failed at that History shows experience does not guarantee success in the White House”: “This may look like a lack of political experience, but he learned a lot by being on the ground,” said Rice University history professor Douglas Brinkley, adding that [Theodore] Roosevelt’s time in the West and fighting in the war helped him make wise decisions about land preservation and the military. – 2-11-08
    HONORED / AWARDED / APPOINTED:

    HONORED, AWARDED, APPOINTED:

    SPOTTED:

    SPOTTED:

    SPOTTED:

    SPOTTED:

    EXHIBITS:

    EXHIBITS:

      CALENDAR:

      CALENDAR:

      • Feb. 28, 2008: Historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard University will speak at Arkansas State University on Feb. 28. Gates will present a lecture — “Bridging the Digital Divide: W. E. B. DuBois and the Encarta Americana” — at 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall, Reng Student Services Center / Student Union, 101 N. Caraway Road, in Jonesboro. – Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 2-10-08
      • May-September 2008: Elizabeth Brand Monroe, Deborah A. Lee, Lectures Showcase Leesburg’s History for 250th Anniversary – WaPo, 1-18-08
      • David Zabecki: Hooks up with Stephen Ambrose Tours / Zabecki will lead the 14-day tour to visit historic World War II sites in Gdansk, Krakow, Warsaw and Berlin from May 16-30, 2008.- Press Release–Stephen Ambrose Tours, 1-10-08
      ON TV:

        ON TV: History Listings This Week

      • C-Span2, BookTV: President Day Specials on Presidential History, Monday, February 18, @ 1am – Tuesday, February19 @ 7am ET – C-Span2, BookTV
      • History Channel: “Life After People,” Sunday, February 17, @ 8pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “The Presidents,” Marathon Monday, February 18, @ 4-8pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “History of the Joke,” Monday, February 18, @ 9pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “The Kennedy Assassination: Beyond Conspiracy,” Tuesday, February 19, @ 2pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Mega Disasters :New York Earthquake,” Tuesday, February 12, @ 10pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “The Lincoln Assassination : The Lincoln Assassination,” Wednesday, February 20, @ 2pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Mysteries of the Freemasons :America,” Wednesday, February 20, @ 4pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Decoding The Past :Presidential Prophecies,” Wednesday, February 20, @ 5pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Shootout :Wild West,” Wednesday, February 20, @ 6pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Rumrunners, Moonshiners and Bootleggers,” Thursday, February 21, @ 2pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “History’s Mysteries :Ship of Gold,” Thursday, February 21, @ 7pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :A-Bomb Underground,” Thursday, February 21, @ 10pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Dogfights :Tuskegee Airmen,” Thursday, February 21, @ 11pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Mega Disasters,” Marathon Friday, February 22, @ 4-7pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Prostitution: Sex in the City” Friday, February 22, @ 11pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Andrew Jackson,” Saturday, February 23, @ 10pm ET/PT
      SELLING BIG (NYT):

      SELLING BIG (NYT):

      • Jonah Goldberg: LIBERAL FASCISM #7 — 5 weeks on list – 2-24-08
      • Tom Brokaw: BOOM! #12 — 11 weeks on list – 2-24-08
      • Drew Gilpin Faust: THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING #13 — 3 weeks on list – 2-24-08
      • Jacob Weisberg: THE BUSH TRAGEDY #27 – 2-24-08
      • Diane Ackerman: THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE #27 – 2-24-08
      FUTURE RELEASES:

      FUTURE RELEASES:

      • Matthew Dennison: The Last Princess: The Devoted Life of Queen Victoria’s Youngest Daughter, February 19, 2008
      • Nick Taylor: American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work, February 26, 2008.
      • Howard Taylor: Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, February 28, 2008.
      • H. David Stone: Vital Rails, February 28, 2008.
      • John Fea: The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America ( U of Pennsylvania Press), February 29, 2008
      • Joseph Balkoski: From Beachhead to Brittany, March 10, 2008
      • Susan Nagel: Marie-Therese, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette’s Daughter, March 18, 2008
      • James Donovan: A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn – the Last Great Battle of the American West (REV), March 24, 2008.
      • Scott McClellan: What Happened, April 28, 2008
      DEPARTED:

      DEPARTED:

      Posted on Sunday, February 17, 2008 at 10:56 PM

      February 11, 2008

      CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

      PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

      • Primary Season Election Results – NYT
      • Historians Join New York Feminists For Peace and Barack Obama – Press Release–New York Feminists for Peace and Barack Obama!, 2-4-08
      • Richard Bushman on “Romney Bid Was a Crucible for Mormons”: “It is prejudice,” said Richard Bushman, an emeritus professor at Columbia University, who is a leading historian and devout Mormon. “Underlying all these questions is that these beliefs are basically crazy so you’ve got to explain them to us.” – AP, 2-9-08
      BIGGEST STORIES: Black History Month

      BIGGEST STORIES: Black History Month:

      HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

      HNN STATS THIS WEEK:

      THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

        THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

      • 11/02/1531 – Henry VIII recognized as supreme head of Church in England
      • 11/02/1752 – Pennsylvania Hospital, the 1st hospital in the US, opened
      • 11/02/1768 – Samuel Adams letter, circulates around American colonies, opposing Townshend Act taxes
      • 11/02/1790 – Society of Friends petitions Congress for abolition of slavery
      • 11/02/1811 – Pres Madison prohibits trade with Britain for 3rd time in 4 years
      • 11/02/1861 – US House unanimously passes resolution guaranteeing noninterference with slavery in any state
      • 11/02/1861 – President-elect Lincoln takes train from Spingfield IL to Wash DC
      • 11/02/1945 – Yalta agreement signed by FDR, Churchill and Stalin
      • 11/02/1953 – Pres Eisenhower refuses clemency appeal for Rosenberg couple
      • 12/02/1733 – Georgia founded by James Oglethorpe, at site of Savannah
      • 12/02/1793 – 1st US fugitive slave law passed; requires return of escaped slaves
      • 12/02/1825 – Creek Indian treaty signed. Tribal chiefs agree to turn over all their land in Georgia to the government and migrate west by Sept 1, 1826
      • 12/02/1865 – Henry Highland Garnet, is 1st black to speak in US House of Reps
      • 12/02/1873 – Congress abolishes bimetallism and authorizes $1 and $3 gold coins
      • 12/02/1909 – National Assn for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) forms
      • 12/02/1915 – Cornerstone laid for Lincoln Memorial in Wash DC
      • 12/02/1924 – President Calvin Coolidge makes 1st presidential radio speech
      • 12/02/1950 – Sen Joe McCarthy claims to have list of 205 communist govt employees
      • 12/02/1962 – Bus boycott starts in Macon, Georgia
      • 13/02/1566 – St Augustine, Florida founded
      • 13/02/1635 – Oldest US public institution, Boston Latin School founded
      • 13/02/1861 – Abraham Lincoln declared president
      • 13/02/1864 – Miridian Campaign fighting at Chunky Creek and Wyatt, Mississippi
      • 13/02/1895 – Moving picture projector patented
      • 13/02/1907 – English suffragettes storm British Parliament and 60 women are arrested
      • 13/02/1957 – Southern Christian Leadership Conference organizes in New Orleans
      • 13/02/1968 – US sends 10,500 additional soldiers to Vietnam
      • 14/02/1130 – Jewish Cardinal Pietro Pierleone elected as anti-pope Anacletus II
      • 14/02/1689 – English parliament places Mary Stuart/Prince Willem III on the throne
      • 14/02/1848 – James K Polk became 1st pres photographed in office (Matthew Brady)
      • 14/02/1876 – A G Bell and Elisha Gray apply separately for telephone patents Supreme Court eventually rules Bell rightful inventor
      • 14/02/1896 – Theodor Herzl publishes “Der Judenstaat”
      • 14/02/1949 – 1st session of Knesset (Jerusalem Israel)
      • 14/02/1962 – 1st lady Jacqueline Kennedy conducts White House tour on TV
      • 14/02/1971 – Richard Nixon installs secret taping system in White House
      • 15/02/1851 – Black abolitionists invade Boston courtroom rescueing a fugitive slave
      • 15/02/1861 – Ft Point completed and garrisoned (but has never fired cannon in anger)
      • 15/02/1862 – Grant’s major assault on Ft Donelson, Tennessee
      • 15/02/1879 – Congress authorizes women lawyers to practice before Supreme Ct
      • 15/02/1903 – 1st Teddy Bear introduced in America, made by Morris and Rose Michtom
      • 15/02/1918 – 1st WW I US army troop ship torpedoed and sunk by Germany, off Ireland
      • 15/02/1929 – St Valentine’s Day massacre (Chicago)
      • 15/02/1933 – Pres-elect Franklin Roosevelt survives assassination attempt
      • 15/02/1965 – Canada replaces Union Jack flag with Maple Leaf
      • 16/02/1741 – Benjamin Franklin’s General Magazine (2nd US Mag) begins publishing
      • 16/02/1760 – Native American hostages killed in Ft Prince George SC
      • 16/02/1864 – Battle of Mobile, AL – operations by Union Army
      • 16/02/1914 – 1st airplane flight (LA to SF)
      • 16/02/1917 – 1st synagogue in 425 years opens in Madrid
      • 16/02/1959 – Fidel Castro named himself Cuba’s premier after overthrowing Batista
      • 17/02/1621 – Miles Standish appointed 1st commander of Plymouth colony
      • 17/02/1801 – House breaks electoral college tie, chooses Jefferson pres over Burr
      • 17/02/1865 – -18] Battle of Charleston SC
      • 17/02/1865 – Columbia SC burns down during Civil War
      • 17/02/1870 – Mississippi becomes 9th state readmitted to US after Civil War
      • 17/02/1915 – Edward Stone, 1st US combatant to die in WW I, is mortally wounded
      • 17/02/1933 – US Senate accept Blaine Act: ending prohibition
      • 17/02/1933 – 1st issue of “Newsweek” magazine published
      • 17/02/1938 – 1st public experimental demonstration of Baird color TV (London)
      • 17/02/1943 – Dutch churches protest at Seyss-Inquart against persecution of Jews
      • 17/02/1949 – Chaim Weitzman elected 1st president of Israel
      • 17/02/1964 – US House of Reps accept Law on the civil rights
      • 17/02/1969 – Golda Meir sworn in as Israel’s 1st female prime minister
      • 17/02/1972 – President Nixon leaves Washington DC for China
      • 18/02/1503 – Henry Tudor created Prince of Wales (later Henry VIII)
      • 18/02/1688 – Quakers conduct 1st formal protest of slavery in Germantown, Pa
      • 18/02/1861 – Confederate President Jefferson Davis inaugurated at Montgomery Ala
      • 18/02/1865 – Union troops force Confederates to abandon Ft Anderson, NC
      • 18/02/1865 – Evacuation of Charleston, SC; Sherman’s troops burn city
      • 18/02/1927 – US and Canada begin diplomatic relations
      • 18/02/1970 – US president Nixon launches “Nixon-doctrine”
      • 18/02/1988 – Anthony M Kennedy, sworn in as Supreme Court Justice
      IN THE NEWS:

      IN THE NEWS:

      REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

      REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:

      • Keith Windschuttle: Stolen Generations report attacked BRINGING Them Home, the landmark report that found indigenous children were systematically taken from their parents to “breed out” Aboriginality, was built on the “misrepresentations and misinterpretations” of professional historians, according to Keith Windschuttle. – news.com.au, 2-9-08
      • Charles Nicholl: New book opens a window onto Jacobean London and Shakespeare – NYT, 2-8-08
      • Drew Gilpin Faust: Harvard Leader Drew Faust Breaks New Ground Studying the Past – WaPo, 2-7-08
      • Charles Freeman: Says Christianity made the West close-minded – Times (UK), 2-3-08
      OP-EDs:

      OP-EDs:

      PROFILED:

      PROFILED:

      • Walter Johnson: Exploring tangled legacy of slavery Scholar’s goal is understanding both the cruelty and humanity of antebellum period – Harvard University Gazette, 2-7-08
      • Raymond “Vic” Vickers: Crusading historian Vickers is still battling his detractors – Herald Tribune, 2-10-08
      FEATURES:

      FEATURES:

      INTERVIEWS:

      INTERVIEWS:

      QUOTED:

      QUOTED:

      • Jay Winter on “The War We ForgotWorld War I has no national monument. No iconic images. And only one soldier is still alive.”: “It’s all fake. Nobody filmed a single battle,” says Jay Winter, a professor of history at Yale University, whose Emmy-winning television documentary “The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century” supplemented newsreels with staged scenes. – Newsweek, 2-10-08
      • Niall Ferguson on “The War We Forgot World War I has no national monument. No iconic images. And only one soldier is still alive.”: “Most of the problems we’re grappling with in the Middle East are legacies of the great military binge of 1914–1918,” says Niall Ferguson, a revisionist British historian and author of several studies of war. He adds that the British also faced an insurgency when they invaded Baghdad and declared themselves liberators in 1917. “The American case in Iraq is one of historical ignorance,” he says. – Newsweek, 2-10-08
      • Michael Beschloss: Says presidents who served in the military helped them be better presidents – Newsweek, 2-2-08
      • Tristram Hunt: UK students need to be taught history, not pc or patriotic narrative – politics.co.uk, 2-1-08
      HONORED / AWARDED / APPOINTED:

      HONORED, AWARDED, APPOINTED:

      SPOTTED:

      SPOTTED:

      EXHIBITs:

      EXHIBITs:

      • Following money trail of early history of Texas Exhibit puts unique spin on story of republic – Houston Chronicle, 2-6-08
      CALENDAR:

      CALENDAR:

      • Feb. 12, 2008: Peter S. Carmichael, the Eberly Family Professor of Civil War Studies at West Virginia University, will speak at the Cultural Center at the State Capitol on Tuesday evening – Charleston Gazette, 2-10-08
      • Historians and scholars from the United States, United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, Belgium, Sweden and Spain will gather on the Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus on Friday, Feb. 15, and Saturday, Feb. 16, for an academic symposium marking 100 years of boy and girl Scouting around the world and exploring in depth Scouting’s impact on world youth and culture. – AScribe Newswire, 2-7-08
      • Feb. 28, 2008: Historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard University will speak at Arkansas State University on Feb. 28. Gates will present a lecture — “Bridging the Digital Divide: W. E. B. DuBois and the Encarta Americana” — at 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall, Reng Student Services Center / Student Union, 101 N. Caraway Road, in Jonesboro. – Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 2-10-08
      • May-September 2008: Elizabeth Brand Monroe, Deborah A. Lee, Lectures Showcase Leesburg’s History for 250th Anniversary – WaPo, 1-18-08
      • David Zabecki: Hooks up with Stephen Ambrose Tours / Zabecki will lead the 14-day tour to visit historic World War II sites in Gdansk, Krakow, Warsaw and Berlin from May 16-30, 2008.- Press Release–Stephen Ambrose Tours, 1-10-08
      ON TV:

        ON TV: History Listings This Week

      • C-Span2, BookTV: History A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom Author: David Blight, Saturday, February 9, @ 1& 10pm ET – C-Span2, BookTV
      • C-Span2, BookTV: After Words: Michael Long, editor of “First Class Citizenship: The Civil Rights Letters of Jackie Robinson” interviewed by Kevin Merida, associate editor of The Washington Post, Saturday, February 9, @ 9pm ET & Sunday, February 10, @ 9pm ET- C-Span2, BookTV
      • History Channel: “The True Story of Killing Pablo,” Monday, February 11, @ 2pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :A-Bomb Underground,” Monday, February 11, @ 9pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Inside the Volcano,” Tuesday, February 12, @ 2pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Mega Disasters :New York Earthquake,” Tuesday, February 12, @ 10pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Slave Catchers, Slave Resisters,” Wednesday, February 13, @ 2pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Battlefield Detectives :Custer at Little Big Horn,” Wednesday, February 13, @ 4pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Sherman’s March,” Thursday, February 14, @ 2pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre,” Thursday, February 14, @ 10pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Little Ice Age: Big Chill,” Friday, February 15, @ 2pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “The Wrath Of God :Blizzards: Whiteout!” Friday, February 15, @ 4pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld,” Marathon Saturday, February 16, @ 2-5pm ET/PT
      SELLING BIG (NYT):

      SELLING BIG (NYT):

      • Jonah Goldberg: LIBERAL FASCISM #6 — 4 weeks on list – 2-17-08
      • Drew Gilpin Faust: THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING #7 — 2 weeks on list – 2-17-08
      • Jacob Weisberg: THE BUSH TRAGEDY #19 – 2-17-08
      • Tom Brokaw: BOOM! #22 2-17-08
      FUTURE RELEASES:

      FUTURE RELEASES:

      • Brian McGinty: Lincoln and the Court, February 15, 2008.
      • Matthew Dennison: The Last Princess: The Devoted Life of Queen Victoria’s Youngest Daughter, February 19, 2008
      • Nick Taylor: American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work, February 26, 2008.
      • Howard Taylor: Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, February 28, 2008.
      • H. David Stone: Vital Rails, February 28, 2008.
      • John Fea: The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America ( U of Pennsylvania Press), February 29, 2008
      • Joseph Balkoski: From Beachhead to Brittany, March 10, 2008
      • Susan Nagel: Marie-Therese, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette’s Daughter, March 18, 2008
      • James Donovan: A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn – the Last Great Battle of the American West (REV), March 24, 2008.
      • Scott McClellan: What Happened, April 28, 2008

      Posted on Sunday, February 10, 2008 at 11:26 PM

      SUPER TUESDAY SPECIAL: Historians’ Comments

      SUPER TUESDAY SPECIAL: Historians’ Comments
        SUPER TUESDAY SPECIAL: Historians’ Comments

        Stats

      • Primary Season Election Results – NYTDemocrats # of Delegates
      • Hillary Clinton 845
      • Barack Obama 765Republicans # of Delegates
      • John McCain 613
      • Mitt Romney 269
      • Mike Huckabee 190

        Historians’ Comments

      • Allan J. Lichtman on “Democrat battle continues as GOP leader emerges” (Video) – CTV, Canada AM, 2-6-08
      • Gil Troy on “Democrat battle continues as GOP leader emerges” (Video) – CTV, Canada AM, 2-6-08
      • Allan J. Lichtman: “McCain has won the nomination, but he has not yet won the love of conservatives,” Allan J. Lichtman, a presidential historian at American University, told Canada AM on Wednesday. “That was clearly indicated by Huckabee’s surprising strength in the South … and Romney’s strength in the West. John McCain has a lot of work to do to knit this party together.” Powerful conservative voices like talk radio host Rush Limbaugh and James Dobson of Focus on the Family “have been vitriolic in their denunciations of McCain,” Lichtman said.
        “It just shows how little endorsements count for in American politics,” Lichtman said. “It shows a lot of working-class people in Massachusetts thought Hillary Clinton had a better plan for their future than Barack Obama.” In Georgia, eight of 10 African-Americans supported Obama, he said.
        Lichtman said the battle among the Democratic heavyweights goes on — and could continue for months. “This is trench warfare,” he declared. “Remember, the Democrats don’t have winner-take-all primaries, so it’s going to be very difficult to break this logjam.” Ultimately, the race could conceivably come down to who the approximately 800 “super delegates” — elected politicians and party officials — decide to support, he said. There could also be a fight over whether to seat delegates from Michigan and Florida. Those delegates were disqualified when the states moved up their primaries without permission, Lichtman said. “It’s absolutely unpredictable, and both Obama and Clinton have their very enthusiastic supporters. Both have a very strong claim on being powerful candidates.”
        Whatever happens, Lichtman said this election could be historic, and not just because a black man or white woman could become president. “This is a turning-point election. This is the end of the Bush era, and it could be the end of the conservative era that began with Ronald Reagan,” he said. – CTV, Canada AM, 2-6-08
      • Doug Wead: Huckabee Rises – News Max, 2-6-08
      • Julian Zelizer on “Romney’s White House bid in doubt after losses”: “He can’t be the conservative candidate of the Republican Party and not win in any big states. It’s hard to see why he would go on for too much longer.” – Reuters, 2-6-08
      • Julian Zelizer: “Once again, Hillary Clinton has held her ground and scored important wins. This one will go down to the wire.” – Bloomberg, 2-6-08
      • William Jelani Cobb on “Huckabee pulls off Georgia win; Obama trounces Clinton”: “What we’re seeing is a groundswell of support and a number of people willing to break with the old traditions,” said , a history professor at Spelman College and an Obama supporter. – AP, 2-6-08
      • Brooks Simpson: “He will represent himself as a very powerful and informed person when it comes to foreign policy. I don’t think that’s any secret,” said Brooks Simpson, an Arizona State University history professor, who has studied and written on the presidency. McCain will let voters know he is comfortable and determined to exercise American forces abroad, but in a manner starkly different from the current administration. “He would make it very clear that the way the United States would conduct itself in international affairs, especially military operations, would reflect American values. That’s one of the keys to his positions on torture, for example,” Simpson said. – East Valley Tribune, AZ, 2-6-08
      • Allan Lichtman: “These Democratic contests were fought almost to a dead heat. Neither Obama nor Clinton emerged tonight with the sort of decisive lead that puts pressure on one another to withdraw or prompts the Democratic establishment to tell one of them to get out.” – Red Orbit, TX, 2-6-08
      • Historians Reflect on Super Tuesday’s Evolving Role The American presidential nomination process has taken many twists and turns in the nation’s history, and this year’s prominence of the Feb. 5 voting contests represents its latest turn. Historians discuss Super Tuesday’s origins and its implications for the presidency. – NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 2-5-08
      • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: Well, by the 1980s, Democrats were worried that there weren’t enough things that represented African-Americans in the process, so they thought one way of doing this is to have a Super Tuesday with a lot of southern states, black voters within the Democratic Party. But the other impulse was very different. The Democratic establishment worried that these Democratic nominations were going to insurgents like George McGovern, Jimmy Carter. So why not have a big Super Tuesday with a lot of states on one day that would favor someone who was well-financed, nationally known, well-organized? Of course, it hasn’t always worked out that way….
        Absolutely, and so as a way of sort of getting some geographical balance in the process. But, you know, the irony is that things don’t always turn out the way that you expect them to. And looking at it this year, this was something that was almost perfectly designed for a Hillary Clinton, assuming that no one could raise money or organize on the scale that she has been able to do. Of course, that was forgetting the possibility that you could have a Barack Obama. – NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 2-5-08
      • RICHARD NORTON SMITH: If you look at 1988, which most people regard as the first Super Tuesday, he’s absolutely right. The desire was to include not only African-Americans, but also white southerners at a time — remember, Ronald Reagan’s popularity was at its peak. The Democrats have lost two elections, so offset, dilute the sort of liberal leanings of the early states. So who did they nominate that year? Who won on Super Tuesday? Michael Dukakis. On the other hand, four years later, it worked perfectly. We forget today that Bill Clinton really didn’t compete in Iowa, and he came in second in New Hampshire. And yet he really recovered on Super Tuesday. And that really was the making of his candidacy. So whatever you expect as a result of careful, calibrated reasoning, the odds are you may very well get the opposite….
        In ’88, that’s a good point, because Dole had come roaring out of Iowa. For about four days, he thought he was going to be president of the United States, lost in New Hampshire and then, of course, went on to Super Tuesday. And that’s where the first George Bush nailed it down. – NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 2-5-08
      • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Because they make money off the process. So, therefore, if you’ve got something like Super Tuesday, with 22, 24 states, that’s basically TV, money spent on TV, organization, all sorts of other things. Consultants, professional politicians benefit from that. And the downside of this is that when you have essentially sort of a semi-national primary, you’re screening out almost anyone who cannot raise $100 million before the election year. That may not be the best thing for choosing a president. – NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 2-5-08
      • BEVERLY GAGE: Well, the thing about the primary system is that nobody actually set out and said, “OK, let’s design a system that’s going to be totally rational. And we’re going to, you know, sit down, figure this all out ahead of time.” It sort of gets cobbled together each time. And so what you’ve seen more and more is this race for influence, the push by different states, right? You have Iowa and New Hampshire. Southern states feel left out. They make their move, as they did in the 1980s, to have some more influence. Then you see, “OK, well, why should the big states be left out?” Big states make their move to come in, as well. And then what happens to our regional diversity? So western states and others come in, as well. And so I think you’ve got really a competitive process at work that is almost impossible to stop in its tracks unless, you know, there’s a convention and the process itself is changed almost from the top down. – NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 2-5-08
      • RICHARD NORTON SMITH: One prediction, and that is I don’t know whether people will take a second look at Super Tuesday after this. One thing I suspect the Democrats may take a look at, though, is proportional representation, which is another reform they wrote into the books in the 1970s and, up until now, it’s worked. It’s never burned them. But because of the fact that you can get 40 percent of the vote, 41 percent, I guess, in most states, and get a significant number of delegates, that tends to prolong the campaign and with all the divisiveness and everything else that this whole system was set up to eliminate. – NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 2-5-08
      • RICHARD NORTON SMITH: You go back to 1968, when they had this tumultuous convention on national television, and the party tore itself apart. And coming out of the ’60s when the country tore itself apart, a whole lot of people were brought in from the margins, people who’d been left out of the political process. And so the McGovern Commission was created so that the rules were rewritten to make the Democratic process democratic, to make it more representative, more inclusive, and ultimately a certain element of chaos. – NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 2-5-08
      • McGill University professor Gil Troy told Newsnet that the polls find Obama to be surging, “but the polls have been consistently wrong in this campaign, so you have to be careful about that.” Today, Clinton has a bare lead in California and New Jersey, where she had double-digit leads only two weeks ago, he said. Troy said he’ll be particularly interested in California’s results and how the two candidates do with the important Hispanic community. – CTV, 2-5-08
      • Some “Super Tuesday” thoughts from a Gerald Gamm, Associate Professor of Political Science and History. – 13WHAM-TV, NY, 2-5-08
      • Stephen Wayne: Super Tuesday: Voters Head to Polls in Biggest-Ever One-Day White House Nominating Contest – Democracy Now, 2-5-08
      • Linda Gordon on “US voter faces race-gender dilemma”: “It is terribly difficult still in the US and in most countries for a Woman to be a political leader. In the public eye she has to be strong and at the same time not unfeminine to the conservative. Hillary has done extremely well walking that tightrope.” – NDTV.com, India, 2-5-08
      • Alan Epstein, a historian and the vice president of Democrats Abroad in Rome said he was expecting a high turnout (Democrats Outside U.S. Savor New Political Clout): “I’m seeing tremendous excitement. So far we’ve seen unprecedented primary participation in the U.S. and there’s even more excitement here.” He said the reaction was understandable: “Americans who live abroad feel the sting of U.S. policies that have been viewed unfavorably in the rest of the world.” – RedOrbit, TX, 2-5-08
      • Historian Allan Lichtman says, Super Tuesday can make or break a candidate’s campaign, as they’re fighting battles from coast to coast of the country: “You need a lot of money to compete on Super Tuesday, you can’t campaign personally in 22 states and you have a real strong on the ground operation all over the country. It makes it real challenging, particularly on the democratic side, where we have such a hard-fought, closely contested campaign.” – Euro News, 2-5-08
      • Presidential historian Allan Lichtman said: “This is the most exciting Super Tuesday, certainly on the Democratic side. Rarely do you have two candidates, so strong, so different, so evenly matched, and with the outcome uncertain.” – WWAY TV3, ABC, 2-4-08
      • Julian E. Zelizer: Sure, an ex-senator would take hard-won alliances and friendships with him or her to the White House, points out Julian E. Zelizer, congressional historian at Princeton. But so too would he or she take built-up animosities. McCain and Clinton in particular should not expect a honeymoon. “The personal back-and-forth would start right away,” Zelizer said. “I think senators would be very comfortable testing these people in the White House.” – Kasas City Star, 2-4-08
      • On Super Tuesday, Presidential Candidates Aim for a Huge Prize Twenty-four states will be awarding delegates toward the Democratic and Republican nominations. A look at the campaign, the candidates and the system – VOA, 2-3-08

      Posted on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 at 11:16 PM

      February 4, 2008

      CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:
      • Allan J. Lichtman on “McCain Surge Has Jewish Dems Worried McCain Up, Giuliani Out As Super Tuesday Looms”: “His strategy was absolutely baffling. He did everything possible to take himself out of it.” Lichtman, like some Jewish Republicans, said Giuliani’s early lead was misleading. Giuliani, who supported abortion and gay rights as mayor of New York and whose personal life troubled many in the party’s Evangelical base, “was never right for the Republicans,” he said. “But his numbers were high at first because the Republican field was seen as weak.” Giuliani also polled high early in the race when international threats were top issues for voters. McCain’s resurgence, Lichtman said, the growing strength of Romney and the sudden shift away from foreign policy concerns and toward economic worries neutralized that initial advantage. Giuliani’s collapse means a big boost for McCain among Jewish Republicans, Lichtman said, “because of his national security experience and his strong stands on the Middle East. People know him, he has a record.” – New York Jewish Week, 1-30-08
      • Stephen Hess on “Relative Power We Elect Our Leaders, and Dynasties Are Few, but Sometimes Ascension Looks Like an Inheritance”: “Initially it was a question of who is best prepared to serve. Then over time it be comes a question of branding.” The nation’s first leaders were chosen from “the creme de le creme of the country.” – WaPo, 2-3-08
      BIGGEST STORIES: Black History Month
      • America Still Draws Lessons from an Era when Humans Were Property As Americans observe Black History Month this February, considerable attention is being focused on a single stroke of a pen, 200 years ago. 2008 marks the bicentennial of a law that banned future U.S. participation in the international slave trade. VOA’s Ted Landphair reports, that historic measure was the topic of a day-long symposium at the National Archives in Washington. – VOA, 2-4-08
      • Feb. 29, 2008: A historian, educator and author will present a plenary address at the fifth annual Midwest Black History Conference on Feb. 29 at Luther College – WCF Courier, IA, 1-30-08
      • MID-MICHIGAN EVENTS HONORING BLACK HISTORY MONTH – Lansing State Journal, 2-4-08
      • Detroit Black History Events – Dtroit Free Press, 2-3-08
      • The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Defending the right to organize Employees, unions struggle for justice in a climate that favors business over people – Commercial Appeal, 2-3-08
      • Revealing a truth history had hidden Black re-enactors being called on to tell the story of slavery in the region – Albant Times-Union, 2-3-08
      • Henry Louis Gates Jr.: Project Includes Famous and Obscure Black Americans ‘African American National Biography’ tells the stories of 4,000 historical figures – The Ledger, 2-1-08
      • Barrington Walker: Why we need Black History Month February’s designation reminds Canada of its multiracial origins, work remaining to be done – Queens Journal, 2-1-08
      • Slave ties to British revealed – Bucks County Courier Times, 2-1-08
      • Black historical figures get their due The African American National Biography shines light on the famous, overlooked – WaPo, LAT, 1-28-08
      • Museum of Black History Celebration events – Evansville Courier Press, 1-10-08
      HNN STATS THIS WEEK:
      THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: This Week in History:

      • New Feature: On This Day in History…
      • 04/02/1586 – Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, becomes governor of Neth
      • 04/02/1787 – Shays’ Rebellion (of debt-ridden Massachusetts farmers) fails
      • 04/02/1789 – 1st electoral college chooses Washington and Adams as Pres and VP
      • 04/02/1822 – Free American Blacks settle Liberia, West Africa
      • 04/02/1847 – 1st US telegraph co established in Maryland
      • 04/02/1854 – Alvan Bovay proposes name “Republican Party,” Ripon, Wisc
      • 04/02/1855 – Soldiers shoot Jewish families in Coro, Venezuela
      • 04/02/1861 – Confederate constitutional convention meets for 1st time, Montgomery Ala, Ga, Fla, La, Miss and SC elect Jefferson Davis pres of Confederacy
      • 04/02/1864 – 24th Amendment abolishes Poll tax
      • 04/02/1887 – Interstate Commerce Act authorizes federal regulation of railroads
      • 04/02/1914 – US Congress approves Burnett-anti-immigration law
      • 04/02/1942 – Clinton Pierce becomes 1st US general wounded in action in WW II
      • 04/02/1945 – FDR, Churchill and Stalin meet at Yalta
      • 04/02/1997 – Sec of State Margaret Albright announces she just discovered that her grandparents were Jewish
      • 05/02/1649 – Prince of Wales becomes king Charles II
      • 05/02/1778 – Articles of Confederation ratified by 1st state, South Carolina
      • 05/02/1861 – Louisiana delegation except Mr Bouligny withdraws from Congress
      • 05/02/1865 – Battle of Hatcher’s Run, VA (Armstrong’s Mill, Dabney’s Mill)
      • 05/02/1930 – 5th Aliyah to Israel begins
      • 05/02/1937 – FDR proposes enlarging Supreme Court, “court packing” plan failed
      • 05/02/1969 – US population reaches 200 million
      • 06/02/1862 – Gen Ulysses S Grant captures Fort Henry in Tennessee
      • 06/02/1862 – Ulysses S Grant begins military campaign in Mississippi
      • 06/02/1865 – Robert E Lee appointed Confederate General in Chief
      • 06/02/1899 – Spanish-American War ends, peace treaty ratified by Senate
      • 06/02/1918 – Britain grants women (30 and over) vote
      • 06/02/1933 – 20th Amendment goes into effect: Pres term begins in Jan not March
      • 06/02/1956 – U of Alabama refuses admission to Autherine Lucy (because he’s black)
      • 06/02/1974 – US House of Reps begins determining grounds for impeachment of Nixon
      • 06/02/1978 – Muriel, wife of late Hubert Humphrey (Sen-D-Minn) takes his office
      • 07/02/1569 – King Philip II forms inquistion in South America
      • 07/02/1795 – 11th Amendment to US Constitution ratified, affirms power of states
      • 07/02/1839 – Henry Clay declares in Senate “I had rather be right than president”
      • 07/02/1862 – Federal fleet attack on Roanoke Island NC
      • 07/02/1864 – Federal troops occupy Jacksonville, Florida
      • 07/02/1950 – Sen Joe McCarthy finds “communists” in US Ministry of Foreign Affairs
      • 07/02/1956 – Autherine Lucy, 1st black admitted to U of Alabama, is expelled
      • 07/02/1962 – President Kennedy begins blockade of Cuba
      • 07/02/1964 – Beatles land at NY’s JFK airport, for 1st US tour
      • 07/02/1973 – Senate creates Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities
      • 07/02/1983 – 1st female secretary of transportation sworn-in (Elizabeth Dole)
      • 08/02/1622 – King James I disbands the English parliament
      • 08/02/1690 – French and Indian troops set Schenectady settlement NY on fire
      • 08/02/1837 – 1st VP chosen by Senate, Richard Johnson (Van Buren admin)
      • 08/02/1861 – Confederate States of America organizes in Montgomery, Ala
      • 08/02/1865 – 1st black major in US army, Martin Robinson Delany
      • 08/02/1887 – Dawes Act passed (indians living apart from tribe granted citizenship)
      • 08/02/1894 – Enforcement Act repealed, making it easier to disenfranchise blacks
      • 08/02/1904 – Russo-Japanese War begins
      • 08/02/1915 – “Birth of a Nation” opens at Clune’s Auditorium in LA
      • 08/02/1940 – Lodtz, 1st large ghetto established by Nazis in Poland
      • 08/02/1942 – Congress advises FDR that, Americans of Japanese descent should be locked up en masse so they wouldn’t oppose the US war effort
      • 08/02/1944 – 1st black reporter accredited to White House, Harry McAlpin
      • 08/02/1969 – Last edition of Saturday Evening Post
      • 08/02/1971 – South Vietnamese troops invade Laos
      • 08/02/1973 – Senate names 7 members to investigate Watergate scandal
      • 09/02/1775 – English Parliament declares Mass colony is in rebellion
      • 09/02/1825 – House of Representatives elects John Quincy Adams 6th US president
      • 09/02/1861 – Tennessee votes against secession
      • 09/02/1861 – Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens elected president and VP of CSA
      • 09/02/1942 – Daylight Savings War Time goes into effect in US
      • 09/02/1943 – FDR orders minimal 48 hour work week in war industry
      • 09/02/1950 – Sen Joseph McCarthy charges State Dept infested with 205 communists
      • 09/02/1964 – 1st appearance of Beatles on “Ed Sullivan Show” (73.7 million viewers)
      • 10/02/1676 – Wampanoag Indians under King Philip kill all men in Lancaster Mass
      • 10/02/1763 – Treaty of Paris ends French-Indian War, surrendering Canada to England
      • 10/02/1840 – British queen Victoria marries her cousin Albert von Saksen-Coburg
      • 10/02/1855 – US citizenship laws amended all children of US parents born abroad granted US citizenship
      • 10/02/1890 – Around 11M acres, ceded to US by Sioux Indians opens for settlement
      • 10/02/1934 – 1st Jewish immigrant ship to break the English blockade in Palestine
      • 10/02/1954 – Eisenhower warns against US intervention in Vietnam
      • 10/02/1967 – 25th Amendment (Presidential Disability and Succession) in effect
      • 10/02/1989 – Ron Brown chosen 1st black chairman of a major US party (Democrats)
      • 11/02/1531 – Henry VIII recognized as supreme head of Church in England
      • 11/02/1752 – Pennsylvania Hospital, the 1st hospital in the US, opened
      • 11/02/1768 – Samuel Adams letter, circulates around American colonies, opposing Townshend Act taxes
      • 11/02/1790 – Society of Friends petitions Congress for abolition of slavery
      • 11/02/1811 – Pres Madison prohibits trade with Britain for 3rd time in 4 years
      • 11/02/1861 – US House unanimously passes resolution guaranteeing noninterference with slavery in any state
      • 11/02/1861 – President-elect Lincoln takes train from Spingfield IL to Wash DC
      • 11/02/1945 – Yalta agreement signed by FDR, Churchill and Stalin
      • 11/02/1953 – Pres Eisenhower refuses clemency appeal for Rosenberg couple
      IN THE NEWS:
      REVIEWED AND FIRST CHAPTERS:
      • Sally McMillen: Seneca Falls: The story of the women who changed the world A historian looks at the early women’s rights movement and the reformers America has forgotten – Christian Science Monitor, 2-5-08
      • Jacob Weisberg: Who’s Your Daddy? THE BUSH TRAGEDYNYT, 2-1-08
      • Jacob Weisberg: THE BUSH TRAGEDY, First Chapter – NYT, 2-1-08
      • Ethan Rarick: DESPERATE PASSAGE The Donner Party’s Perilous Journey WestNYT, 2-3-08
      • Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore: BOOK REVIEW ‘Defying Dixie:’ by Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore The origins of the U.S. civil rights movement from 1919 to 1950 Defying Dixie The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950LAT, 2-3-08
      • Alan Pell Crawford: Thomas Jefferson, Reexamined An account of his later years depicts him as a hypocrite and possibly a swindler TWILIGHT AT MONTICELLO The Final Years of Thomas JeffersonWaPo, 1-31-08
      • Jonah Goldberg: Sticks and Stones Who has more affinity with fascism — liberals or conservatives? LIBERAL FASCISM The Secret History of the American Left From Mussolini to the Politics of MeaningWaPo, 2-3-08
      • Seth Shulman: Telephone Tag Did a great inventor claim credit for the telephone after peeking at someone else’s work? THE TELEPHONE GAMBIT Chasing Alexander Graham Bell’s SecretWaPo, 2-3-08
      • Hugh Wilford: The spooks who ruled the States Hugh Wilford’s masterful study of the CIA, The Mighty Wurlitzer, points up its unparalleled influence on American affairs, says Peter Preston The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played AmericaGuardian UK, 2-3-08
      • Margaret Tennant: New book traces history of welfare in New Zealand The Fabric of Welfare: Voluntary Organisations, Government and Welfare in New Zealand, 1840-2005Massey University News, 2-4-08
      • Russell L. Peterson: Scholar argues that late-night comedians, by offering political cynicism instead of satire, foster electoral apathy – Chronicle of Higher Ed, 2-1-08
      • Mark E. Neely Jr.: His new book given a blistering review by James McPherson – James McPherson in the NY Review of Books (subscription only), 2-14-08
      • David Oshinsky: In the Heart of the Heart of Conspiracy Disses the new book on Joe McCarthy – NYT Book Review, 1-27-08
      OP-EDS:
      PROFILED:
      FEATURES:
      INTERVIEWS:
      • Gregory Wilson: History teacher’s specialty is 1968 U of Akron professor concludes America’s major issues reached apex that year – Beacon Journal, 2-4-08
      • Eric Weitz: Historian Says Weimar Republic Holds Potent Lessons for Today – Deutsche Welle, 1-30-08
      QUOTED:
      HONORED / AWARDED / APPOINTED:
      NEW SITES / BLOGS:
      CALENDAR:
      • Feb. 5, 2008: 6:30 P.M. Jesse J. Holland, a congressional reporter for the Associated Press, presents a lecture, “The Hidden History of Washington, D.C.: The African-American Presence in the Capitol, the White House and the National Mall,” drawn from his recent book Black Men Built the Capitol: Discovering African-American History In and Around Washington, D.C., at the Cleveland Park Branch Library, Connecticut Ave. & Macomb St. NW, 202-282-3080. – WaPo, 2-3-08
      • Feb. 6, 2008: Omer Bartov, Distinguished Professor of European History, Brown University, Erased: Vanishing Traces of Jewish Galicia in Present-Day Ukraine (Princeton University Press, 2007), Jewish Heritage Museum – Jewish Heritage Museum
      • Feb. 6, 2008: Holocaust historian and interim director for the Carolyn and Leonard Miller Center for Holocaust Studies, Francis R. Nicosia, will lecture on “Hachschara and Haavara: Jewish Sources and Nazi Emigration Policy Before the Final Solution” at the University of Vermont on Wednesday, February 6 at 3 p.m. in John Dewey Lounge, Old Mill – This Week @ UVM, 2-4-08
      • Feb. 7, 2008: Historian and scholar David Blight will be at Wilton Public Library, CT on Thursday, Feb. 7 to discuss his new book “A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Narratives of Emancipation” (Harcourt, 2007) – Wilton Villager, 1-4-08
      • Feb. 9, 2008: Eric Arnesen, University of Illinois-Chicago professor of history and African-American studies, will give a free presentation on what roles African-Americans played in the railroad industry titled, “Black Railroaders and the Making of a Civil Rights Movement,” @ 2 p.m. at the National Railroad Museum’s Fuller Hall Theater – Green Bay Press Gazette, 1-20-08
      • May-September 2008: Elizabeth Brand Monroe, Deborah A. Lee, Lectures Showcase Leesburg’s History for 250th Anniversary – WaPo, 1-18-08
      • David Zabecki: Hooks up with Stephen Ambrose Tours / Zabecki will lead the 14-day tour to visit historic World War II sites in Gdansk, Krakow, Warsaw and Berlin from May 16-30, 2008.- Press Release–Stephen Ambrose Tours, 1-10-08
      ON TV: History Listings This Week:

      • History Channel: “Decoding The Past : Mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle,” Tuesday, February 5, @ 2pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “History’s Mysteries,” Tuesday, February 5, @ 4pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “History’s Mysteries :The Mysteries of Devil’s Triangles,” Tuesday, February 5, @ 5pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Lost Worlds :The Pagans,” Tuesday, February 5, @ 6pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Modern Marvels :Gold Mines,” Tuesday, February 5, @ 7pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “An Alien History of Planet Earth,” Wednesday, February 6, @ 2pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “UFO Files :The Pacific Bermuda Triangle,” Wednesday, February 6, @ 4pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “UFO Files :The Pacific Bermuda Triangle,” Wednesday, February 6, @ 10pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Stalking Jihad,” Thursday, February 7, @ 2pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :Vietnam,” Thursday, February 7, @ 10pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Cities Of The Underworld :02 – City of Caves,” Thursday, February 7, @ 11pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Return of the Pirates” Friday, February 8, @ 2pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “History’s Mysteries :Secret Plunder: GI Looters” Friday, February 8, @ 4pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Modern Marvels :Silver Mines,” Friday, February 8, @ 7pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Caligula: Reign of Madness,” Friday, February 8, @ 9pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Band Of Brothers,” Marathon Saturday, February 9, @ 2-5pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Alaska: Big America,” Saturday, February 9, @ 9pm ET/PT
      • History Channel: “Little Ice Age: Big Chill,” Saturday, February 9, @ 10pm ET/PT
      • C-Span2, BookTV: History A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom Author: David Blight, Saturday, February 9, @ 1& 10pm ET – C-Span2, BookTV
      • C-Span2, BookTV: After Words: Michael Long, editor of “First Class Citizenship: The Civil Rights Letters of Jackie Robinson” interviewed by Kevin Merida, associate editor of The Washington Post, Saturday, February 9, @ 9pm ET & Sunday, February 10, @ 9pm ET- C-Span2, BookTV
      SELLING BIG (NYT):
      • Jonah Goldberg: LIBERAL FASCISM #6 — 3 weeks on list – 2-10-08
      • Drew Gilpin Faust: THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING #15 — 1 week on list – 2-10-08
      • Tom Brokaw: BOOM! #17 2-10-08
      • Mark Booth: THE SECRET HISTORY OF WORLD #26 – 2-10-08
      • Jacob Weisberg: THE BUSH TRAGEDY #31 – 2-10-08
      FUTURE RELEASES:
      • Mark Puls: Henry Knox: Visionary General of the American Revolution, February 5, 2008.
      • Fidel Castro: Fidel Castro: My Life: A Spoken Autobiography, February 5, 2008.
      • Brian McGinty: Lincoln and the Court, February 15, 2008.
      • Matthew Dennison: The Last Princess: The Devoted Life of Queen Victoria’s Youngest Daughter, February 19, 2008
      • Nick Taylor: American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work, February 26, 2008.
      • Howard Taylor: Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, February 28, 2008.
      • H. David Stone: Vital Rails, February 28, 2008.
      • John Fea: The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America ( U of Pennsylvania Press), February 29, 2008
      • Joseph Balkoski: From Beachhead to Brittany, March 10, 2008
      • Susan Nagel: Marie-Therese, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette’s Daughter, March 18, 2008
      • James Donovan: A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn – the Last Great Battle of the American West (REV), March 24, 2008.
      • Scott McClellan: What Happened, April 28, 2008
      DEPARTED:

      Posted on Monday, February 4, 2008 at 10:54 PM

      Top Young Historians: 85 – Jeffrey Sklansky

      Top Young Historians

      Jeffrey Sklansky, 41

      Basic Facts

      Teaching Position: Associate Professor, Department of History, Oregon State University, 2003-
      Area of Research: American intellectual and cultural history, particularly the history of political and economic thought.
      Education: Ph.D., History, Columbia University, 1996
      Major Publications: Sklansky is the author of The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920, (University of North Carolina Press, 2002), winner of the 2004 Cheiron Book Prize, Cheiron, the International  Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
      Sklansky is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “Corporate Property and Social Psychology: Thomas M. Cooley, Charles H. Cooley, and the Ideological Origins of the Social Self,” Radical History Review 76 (Winter 2000): 90-114
      “Pauperism and Poverty: Henry George, William Graham Sumner, and the Ideological Origins of Modern American Social Science,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 35:2 (Spring 1999): 111-138; “Rock, Reservation and Prison: The Native American Occupation of Alcatraz Island,” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 13:2 (1989): 29-68; “Das Gilded Age als Reifeprüfung: G. Stanley Halls Psychologie der Industrialisierung” (“The Gilded Coming-of-Age: G. Stanley Hall’s Psychology of Industrialization”) in Philipp Löser and Christoph Strupp, eds., Universität der Gelehrten-Universität der Experten: Adaptionen Deutscher Wissenschaft in den USA des Neunzehnten Jahrhunderts (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2005; Transatlantische Historische Studien, Bd. 24): 89-103.
      Sklansky is currently working on The Money Question: Currency in American Political Thought, 1700-1900. Book project on the rise and fall of the 200-year struggle over what should serve as money, who should control its creation and circulation, and according to what rules.
      Awards: Sklansky is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
      American Council of Learned Societies Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars, American Antiquarian Society, 2006-2007;
      Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History Fellowship, Harvard University, 2005- 2006;
      Cheiron Book Prize, for The Soul’s Economy, awarded by Cheiron, the International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences, 2004 (for an outstanding monograph in the history of the social/behavioral/human sciences published between Jan. 1, 2000, and Dec. 31, 2003);
      National Endowment for the Humanities-Newberry Library Fellowship, Chicago, 2003-2004;
      Researcher of the Year, College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, 2003;
      Research Office Released Time Grant, Oregon State University, 2002;
      L. L. Stewart Faculty Development Award, Oregon State University, 2000;
      Research Office Released Time Grant, Oregon State University, 1999;
      Humanities Resident Research Fellowship, Center for the Humanities, Oregon State University, 1998-1999;
      Frederic Bancroft Dissertation Award, Columbia University, 1998 (for an outstanding dissertation in American history);
      Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Columbia University, 1996-1998 (Declined);
      Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Science, Northwestern University, 1996-1997;
      Nominated for the Allan Nevins Dissertation Prize of the Society of American Historians, Columbia University, 1996;
      Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Fellowship in the Humanities, Columbia University, 1995-1996;
      Richard Hofstadter Fellowship in History, Columbia University, 1989-1994;
      Highest Distinction in General Scholarship, University of California at Berkeley, 1988;
      Phi Beta Kappa, University of California at Berkeley, 1987.
      Additional Info:
      Sklansky is the Series Editor for the book series “New Studies in American Intellectual and Cultural History,” Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007-.
      Sklansky was also a Postdoctoral Fellow, Science in Human Culture Program, Northwestern University, 1996-1997, and an Instructor in the Department of History at Columbia University during 1993-1994.

      Personal Anecdote

      At the heart of my first book is the relationship between the personal and the political, or between the intimate ways in which we come to think, feel, and relate to one another and the societal structure of power and property, rights and resources. Looking back, I think that underlying question, derived from the New Left, brought me to the historical profession in the first place.

      When I was in middle school, my mother went into private practice as a psychotherapist. We had a growing library of professional and popular psychology at home, and we talked a lot about our feelings, which was a blessing even if I didn’t always appreciate it. Around the same time, I got interested in politics; I became an avid reader of The Progressive magazine, wrote a politically oriented column for the school paper, and volunteered for Barry Commoner’s presidential campaign. Proposition 13, Three Mile Island, SALT II, Camp David, the Iranian revolution- the political tumult of the late ’70s made a deep and lasting impression on me.

      In high school, I joined the debate team and advocated things like school busing, marijuana legalization, and an end to U.S. aid for the occupation of East Timor. My political interests supplied an antidote to alienation, as did part-time reporting for the local weekly and daily newspapers. Much of the appeal was that the politics and journalism were about something bigger and more compelling than my own adolescent angst. They allowed me to define what I was about in terms of something other than personal anxieties, aptitudes, and ambitions, something irreducible to my need or desire for it, as high-flown as that may sound.

      Journalism and politics came together for me more powerfully at U.C. Berkeley, where I covered rent control issues, urban development, and the burgeoning anti-apartheid/divestment movement on campus for the Daily Cal. I straddled the line between participant and observer, drawn to political action but rarely joining in fully. Maybe more comfortable in the classroom, I was enthralled by the heady mixture of political engagement and intellectual depth and breadth I encountered in my history teachers and texts. For $1,200 a year in tuition, I gained an incalculable state-funded inheritance-much as my father, from a very poor family, had received a first-rate public education at CCNY, a life-changing legacy of the New Deal order.

      My love of history and politics drew me to graduate school shortly after college, hardly realizing how fragile and contingent was the political promise of higher education itself. Having worked some more as a newspaper reporter, I was struck by the widening divide between the academic culture of the liberal arts and the neoconservative discourse of the drug war, homelessness, and the dismantling of the welfare state in the early ’90s. On the one hand, I struggled to make sense of my own experience in the impersonal language of class and capitalism I learned from social history-”Do you feel oppressed?” one skeptical professor asked me. On the other hand, I was troubled by the psychological rhetoric of addiction and dependency that framed public discussion of social issues-”Who can better help our city recover than someone who has gone through recovery?” as Marion Barry said while running for mayor of Washington, D.C. Such concerns framed my dissertation on what I came to see as the ascendance of modern “social psychology” over classical “political economy,” which became my first book.

      Quotes

      By Jeffrey Sklansky

    • Since the Revolutionary War, democratic thinkers had commonly identified republican rule with a broad distribution of the means of subsistence. . . . But as the corporation finally replaced the household as the The Soul's Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American  Thought, 1820-1920 JPG main owner of productive resources, a rising generation of Progressive social scientists declared the once revolutionary ideals of self-ownership and self-rule retrograde if not obsolete. Born of the new research university, the modern disciplines of psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, and economics together reconceived market society as a fast-moving mainstream of culturally created desires, habits, and mores . . . [R]eformist academics happily hailed the death of “economic man” and the birth of a new “social self” in his place. Their vision of an increasingly “interdependent” society, in which each shared in the rising prosperity of all while the means of production remained under corporate control, provided the point of departure for later generations of progressive thinkers from the New Deal to the Great Society. — Jeffrey Sklansky in “The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920″
    • About Jeffrey Sklansky

    • “The Soul’s Economy is an important contribution to both American intellectual history and our understanding of the ideological roots of the modern social sciences. Deeply researched, imaginatively structured, and superbly argued, Sklansky’s book is noteworthy for the timeliness of its subject matter but even more so for the sensitive and innovative way it intertwines the history of the social/behavioral/human sciences with cultural, political, and labor history.” — From the 2004 Cheiron Book Prize Citation from Cheiron, The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences
    • “In this spirited and ambitious book, Jeffrey Sklansky argues that the American thinkers who traded class analysis for social psychology made possible a cultural accommodation with capitalism that resulted in grinding poverty for the many and unprecedented wealth for a few. Even readers put off by Sklansky’s forthright embrace of class analysis will be rewarded by his subtle arguments, fine prose, and meticulous scholarship.” — James T. Kloppenberg, Journal of American History reviewing “The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920″
    • “[T]his is a path-breaking contribution to the new history of social science.” — Mary O. Furner, Florida Historical Quarterly reviewing “The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920″
    • “Jeffrey Sklansky has produced a learned and carefully crafted work that . . . carries a sting in its elegant tail.”– Dennis Smith, American Journal of Sociology reviewing “The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920″
    • “We tend to associate the soul with higher-order matters of the spirit, the economy with baser needs and strategies. In an age of Enron and tax cuts for the wealthy, one might well wonder how the two could possibly mix company in the same monograph. Jeffrey Sklansky’s marvelous accomplishment in this fine book is not only to make clear the links between souls and economies-or at least ideals of personhood and the material structures within which they are expressed-but also to historicize the very division of these two realms in American social thought.” — Sarah E. Igo, Reviews in American History reviewing “The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920″
    • “Jeffrey Sklansky has written an ambitious, tightly argued, sometimes dense, but finally rich and rewarding book about how social scientists and other intellectuals rethought the nature of selfhood and the self’s relation to society during the hundred-year rise and consolidation of industrial capitalism.” — Mark Pittenger, Business History Review reviewing “The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920″
    • “Jeffrey Sklansky’s The Soul’s Economy persuasively documents a shift in American social science from political economy’s sovereign individual, his will grounded in reason and labor, to social psychology’s socialized self, a product of instinct, habit, and desire. Along the way, Sklansky gives us illuminating rereadings of many major figures in a century of social thought. This is an original and important book, with implications for both the history of American social science and the welfare-state liberalism it helped to sustain.” — Dorothy Ross, Johns Hopkins University reviewing “The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920″
    • “Did twentieth-century notions of ‘social selfhood’ represent an unambiguous improvement upon the ‘outdated ideals’ of the nineteenth century? In this exemplary study, Sklansky provides us a fresh perspective on this familiar theme. His book is a valuable act of historical recovery which will also greatly enrich our present- day debates about self and society.” — Wilfred M. McClay, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga reviewing “The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920″

      Posted on Sunday, February 17, 2008 at 10:39 PM

      Top Young Historians: 84 – Joseph Crespino

      Top Young Historians

      Joseph Crespino, 35

      Basic Facts

      Teaching Position: Assistant Professor, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 2003-present
      Area of Research: Political culture of twentieth century America, in particular, the American South in the second half of the century.
      Education: Ph.D., Department of History, Stanford University, 2002
      Major Publications: Crespino is the author of In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution, (Princeton University Press, 2007). He is currently working on The End of Southern History? (edited with Matthew Lassiter). An edited collection of essays by a range of modern American historians Joseph  Crespino JPG that seeks to integrate the histories of the modern South and the nation. He is also working on the manuscript American Kulturkampf: Private Schools and Modern Conservatism This book will examine conflicts over private school education since the Brown decision as a way of framing a broad and diverse set of debates over race, religion and citizenship in modern America.
      Crespino is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “Civil Rights Versus the Religious Right: Desegregation, Christians Schools, and Religious Freedom in the 1970s” in Julian Zelizer and Bruce Schulman, eds., Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s, (Harvard University Press, Spring 2008); “Civility and Civil Rights In Mississippi,” in Ted Ownby, ed., Manners and Southern History, (University Press of Mississippi, 2007); “The Best Defense Is A Good Offense: The Stennis Amendment and the Fracturing of Liberal School Desegregation Policy, 1964-1972,” The Journal of Policy History 18, no. 3 (2006): 304-25; “The Strange Career of Atticus Finch,” Southern Cultures 6, no. 2 (Summer 2000): 9-29 “Ronald Reagan’s South: The Tangled Roots of Modern Southern Conservatism,” in Vincent Cannato and Gil Troy, eds., The 1980s: Gilded Age or Golden Age (forthcoming, Oxford University Press). He is also working on the book chapter “Mississippi as Metaphor: State, Region and Nation in the Historical Imagination,” in Joseph Crespino and Matthew Lassiter, eds., The End of Southern History?.
      Awards: Crespino is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
      National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation 2006-2007;
      Postdoctoral Fellowship J.N.G. Finley Postdoctoral Fellow in American History, 2002-2003 George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia;
      Dissertation Award, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, 2003 Richmond University;
      Dissertation Fellowship, Miller Center of Public Affairs, 2001-2002 University of Virginia;
      Theodore C. Sorenson Research Fellowship, 2001 John F. Kennedy Library Foundation;
      Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 2000-2001 Stanford University;
      Research grant, Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation 2000;
      Stanford University Department of History Full Fellowship 1996-2000;
      S.T.A.R. Teacher Award, Mississippi Economic Council, 1996 Gentry High School;
      Phi Beta Kappa, Northwestern University 1994.
      Additional Info:
      Crespin’s reviews or editorials have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post Book World, Commonweal, and also the Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.).
      He was formerly Social Studies Teacher, Gentry High School, Indianola 1994-1996, School District, Indianola, Mississippi.

      Personal Anecdote

      It’s a bit of a cliché I know, but my first book had a lot to do with where I grew up.

      I’m from a tiny town in Mississippi, where my mother’s side of the family has lived since the 1830s. It was a place where the vestiges of Jim Crow segregation were very real. Local politics were intensely divided along racial lines. All the white children in the area attended a white-flight private academy. In a town where over sixty percent of the population was African American, I had incredibly little contact with black folks-at least African American children my age. Pickup basketball games in my driveway that happened to include a few black kids who wandered by were enough for neighbors to complain to my mother.

      I was lucky to be able to attend high school and college outside of Mississippi, where I gained perspective on the unique aspects of my hometown and my childhood. My undergraduate years were critical in leading me to study history. I had great teachers who inspired me, but the most important experience came outside of the classroom. I went to Northwestern, where I got involved in a community organizing project in the Henry Horner Homes in Chicago. There I met so many residents who were part of the historic migration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North. Volunteering in the Henry Horner Homes and seeing the intense poverty of residents and the neighborhood segregation in Chicago cast my childhood experiences in a new light.

      I had always thought that the isolation, distrust and misunderstanding between blacks and whites in my hometown was part of Mississippi’s unique history. What I came to realize, of course, was that my own experience was just one part of a larger story.

      That realization shaped the approach I took in my first book, which examines segregationist politics in Mississippi. Too often histories of civil rights struggles in the South treat white southerners as exceptional from other white Americans; their racism is seen as being different in both kind and degree from that of other white Americans. My personal experience and my research both confirmed and contradicted these accounts.

      Certainly there were differences in the racism of whites in Mississippi and Chicago. Those Henry Horner residents who fled Jim Crow towns in Mississippi knew that better than anyone. And Mississippi really was the “belly of the beast” for civil rights activists who had the courage to confront the racial authoritarianism that existed in my home state.

      Yet it is easy to overstate the differences between white Mississippians and other white Americans in a way that warps our understanding of racism in modern America. This is true in many different ways, but an important one is this: emphasizing the uniqueness of southern racism obscures how white southerners were able to reframe their opposition to the civil rights movement in ways that resonated with white Americans in other parts of the country.

      That’s the heart of my first book-how white Mississippians contributed to a modern conservative countermovement against the historic changes of the 1960s. It’s a subject I learned a lot about in college and graduate school, but the most basic lesson I discovered in my own journey from Mississippi to Chicago.

      Quotes

      By Joseph Crespino

    • This book shows how, despite segregationists’ popular pledges that they would never submit to racial integration, white leaders in the state initiated a subtle and strategic accommodation to the demands of civil rights activists and the federal government, one In Search of  Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution  JPG that helped preserved the priorities of white elites and that put white Mississippians in a position to contribute to a broad conservative countermovement against the liberal triumphs of the 1960s. Whites in Mississippi rearticulated their resentment of the liberal social policies that allowed for black advancement in ways that would come to resonate with white Americans far outside of the Deep South. They conceived of their struggle against civil rights activists and federal officials not merely as a regional fight to preserve white supremacy, but as a national battle to preserve fundamental American freedoms. In doing so, they made common cause with a variety of conservative constituencies: with Cold Warriors concerned about an expansive federal state; with fundamentalist and evangelical Christians worried about liberalism “infecting” Protestant churches; and with parents opposed to federal school desegregation efforts, who wanted to determine where and with whom their children went to school. — Joseph Crespino in “In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution”
    • About Joseph Crespino

    • “In his study of Mississippi, Crespino provides a challenging, comprehensive examination of white southerners confronting the modern Civil Rights Movement. While focusing on the actions, strategies, and beliefs from the Brown v. Board of Education decision to the rise of Ronald Reagan in 1980, Crespino successfully reevaluates the perspective of southern whites beyond the Ku Klux Klan and those espousing virulent racism.” — J. Michael Bitzer, Choice reviewing “In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution”
    • “In Search of Another Country is so rich in facts and details . . . that it immediately should become a cornerstone volume in understanding Mississippi’s convoluted political history.” — Bill Minor, Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.) reviewing “In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution”
    • In Search of Another Country represents a major advance in our understanding of the conservative counterrevolution that remade the American political landscape after the sixties. This book is the best retort to those who still see the civil rights movement in triumphalist terms. Elegantly written and meticulously researched, it could only have been written by someone with enormous respect for the complexity of the people of Mississippi, irrespective of where they stood in the fray.” — Charles Payne, Duke University reviewing “In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution”
    • “This is the most thoroughly researched and incisively interpreted account of one of the most complex social and political transitions ever to take place in any American state. No one is better equipped to write this book than this brilliant young historian, who out of his own personal observations growing up in Mississippi has captured with remarkable intuition and understanding the nuances of life in his native state. This is a must- read for anyone seeking a clearer understanding of the bitter struggles of the civil-rights movement and the political evolution that has followed.” — William Winter, former Governor of Mississippi reviewing “In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution”
    • “Crespino’s study of the transformation of white Mississippi politics will instantly become the standard work in southern history and American political history in the late twentieth century because it does what many prominent southern historians have been calling for: it takes white opposition to the civil-rights movement seriously. Rather than viewing white Mississippians as an undifferentiated mass, Crespino shows divisions among segregationists based around competing strategies for preserving the racial order. For political historians who have sought to understand the rise of conservative Republicanism in the South, this book provides a thoroughly researched exploration of how the civil-rights struggle led whites to develop a nonracist discourse that sought to salvage what they could of white supremacy.” — Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University reviewing “In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution”
    • “Joe Crespino’s marvelous book asks how white southerners responded to the moral and political challenges of the civil-rights movement. It traces the successful accommodation conservative white Mississippians made to the new world precipitated by the campaign for black civil rights, and then shows how that accommodation affected conservative politics in the region and in the nation. Crespino helps define a recent arc of scholarship dedicated to understanding, and not simply vilifying, civil-rights opponents. This is an important book and Mississippi is the right place to anchor this story.” — Jane Dailey, coeditor of “Jumpin’ Jim Crow: Southern Politics from Civil War to Civil Rights” reviewing “In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution”
    • “In this bold and thoughtful study, Joseph Crespino explains how the race-based Republican ‘southern strategy’ became part of a broader, truly ‘American’ appeal that swept across the nation in the aftermath of the civil rights movement.” — James C. Cobb, author of “Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity” reviewing “In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution”
    • “I have had many professors since I came to Emory, but Professor Crespino is the best professor I have had so far. He cares about his students and it shows.”… “I looked forward to coming to this class every day. It was the best American history course I’ve taken at Emory.”… “I took [the class] to fill a GER and get it out of the way, but it ended up being my favorite class. I enjoyed the books a lot and the classes were interesting and easy to follow.” — Anonymous Students
    • Posted on Sunday, February 10, 2008 at 10:02 PM

      On This Day in History… February 7, 1839: Henry Clay declares “I had rather be right than president.”

      February 7, 1839: Henry Clay declares “I had rather be right than president.”

      By Bonnie K. Goodman

      Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

      HNN, Monday, February 4, 2008

      On this day in history…. February 7, 1839 Henry Clay declares in the United States Senate “I had rather be right than president.”

      The venerable politician and statesman Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky believed his time to win the Presidency would finally be ripe in 1840. There were many obstacles to his winning the Whig Party’s nomination. One of the most contentious issues in the country in the antebellum period was slavery. Clay tried to take a centrist position, but accusations flew in both the North and the South that he favored extremes. In the North he was accused of “being ultra” in favor of Southern slaveholders. In the South he was accused of being an abolitionist who plotted secretly to abolish slavery. (Remini, 525) As the historian Robert Remini explains, “It may have occurred to Clay that his apparent middle-of- the-road position invited attacks from both sides of the slavery question.” (Remini, 525) Clay felt the charges that he was an abolitionist were detrimental to his chances for the presidency, and he needed to clarify his views on the slavery question. But he intended to stick to his views regardless of the political consequences. As he famously said, “I had rather be right than president.”

      In order eventually to capture the nomination he needed support from Southern Whigs, but at the same time, he needed support from the Northern Quakers who were passive abolitionists. The most important aspect was to distinguish himself from the most extreme abolitionists, the “ultras” which he did in a Senate speech on February 7, 1839. Clay’s speech, “Petitions for the Abolition of Slavery,” supposedly addressed a petition by Washington DC’s residents to abolish slavery in the district. Clay actually wrote the petition himself.

      The speech was Clay at his worse, which his supporters lamented. As Carl Schurz writes, “It was an apology for his better self. Formerly he had spoken as a born anti-slavery man, who to his profound regret found himself compelled to make concessions to slavery. Now he appeared as one inclined to deplore the attacks on slavery no less, if not more, than the existence of slavery itself.” (Schurz, 164)

      In the speech, Clay claimed the only thing he had in common with the abolitionists was “abhorrence of slavery,” but their positions were entirely different, and in no way did he identify with them. Clay hoped this would put the speculation to rest that he harbored secret abolitionist desires. He laid out in the speech the history of the “peculiar institution,” the constitutional and legal questions surrounding it, and the course of action that should be taken to resolve slavery. It was here that he distinguished himself most from the abolitionists while attacking their solution to the slavery problem.

      As Remini writes, Clay charged that abolitionists were “setting back emancipation half a century” by their agitation. (Remini, 526) Still, he believed that emancipation was not the answer. Clay claimed he did not believe that blacks and whites could live in racial harmony, as abolitionists claimed. As Thomas Brown writes, Clay believed that the “Freed slaves would flood the North, compete with white laborers, and drive down their wages, or the country, would be convulsed by interracial warfare as blacks and whites sought to preserve the purity and separateness of the races.” (Brown, 144) Clay was concerned that a power struggle would lead to a war between the races, especially since the slaves outnumbered whites in some Southern states. Clay believed that this power struggle would lead to Civil War, and suggested that the status quo was the best approach to take to the slavery question. “It is not better for both parties that the existing state of things should be preserved, instead of exposing them to the horrible strifes and contests which would inevitably attend immediate abolition.” (Remini, 526)

      According to Clay “time” was the solution that would eventually end slavery, stating, “Providence will cure all-abolition nothing. It may ruin all; it can save none.” (Remini, 526) He then proceeded to make a plea to the ultra-abolitionists to cease their crusade for the sake of the country. “I beseech the abolitionists themselves, solemnly to pause in their mad and fatal course,” he stated. Clay continued: “Amid the infinite variety objects of humanity and benevolence which invite the employment of their energies, let them select some one more harmless, that does not threaten to deluge our country in blood.” (Remini, 526)

      The reactions to Clay’s speech were far ranging. For the most part the speech boosted Southerners’ opinion of Clay. As Shurz writes, “Clay received his reward — or punishment — immediately.” (Shurz, 166) After he finished speaking Senator John C. Calhoun, from South Carolina, lauded Clay, praising him for understanding the dangers of the abolitionist movement. Carl Schurz in his biography of Clay believed Calhoun stood up “as if to accept his surrender.” However, Remini describes Cahoun’s enthusiasm as “So spontaneous, so sincere, so fervent … that some wondered if another political alliance between northern money and southern cotton had been struck.” (Remini, 526) This alluded to the “corrupt bargain” of 1825, which handed John Quincy Adams the Presidency despite the fact that Andrew Jackson won the popular vote.

      Calhoun proclaimed, “I heard the Senator from Kentucky with pleasure. His speech will have a happy effect, and will do much to consummate what had already been so happily begun and successfully carried on to a completion.” (Shurz, 167) Clay wanted the nomination so much that he had to take Calhoun’s humiliating words without saying anything. As Schurz explains, “Calhoun assigned to him a place in his church on the bench of the penitents, and the candidate for the presidency took the insult without wincing.” (Shurz, 168)

      The speech offended the abolitionists, giving Clay the results he was looking for, distancing himself from them. Clay hoped his speech would increase his support among those he needed to help him garner the nomination. Still it was a turn off to many Northerners. Clay supporters like James G. Birney and John Greenleaf Whittier, who “once idolized Clay, now cast him off as something loathsomely hypocritical.” (Remini, 526) Clay claimed he wasn’t surprised by the response. “My abolition Speech was made after full deliberation,” he told a friend. “I expected it would enrage the Ultra’s more than ever against me, and I have not been disappointed.” (Remini, 527)

      Clay should not have been surprised by the negative reaction or the long-term consequences. Before he delivered it, he read it to Senator William C. Preston of South Carolina, and several of his friends and colleagues to get their opinion. They believed that “The speech bears all the marks of that careful weighing of words characteristic of a candidate ‘defining his position’ on a delicate subject.” (Schurz, 164) One of the men believed it could have a negative impact on his presidential prospects, offending both the abolitionists and the pro-slavery factions. Upon hearing this Clay proclaimed the classic phrase he is most remembered for: “I trust the sentiments and opinions are correct, I HAD RATHER BE RIGHT THAN BE PRESIDENT.” Remini describes it as “the immortal utterance, the classic rejoinder, one that quickly entered the lexicon of American politics and was always associated with Clay’s name.” (Remini, 527)

      Senator Preston repeated these words in a speech to a Whig rally in Philadelphia the following month announcing the phrase to the public. Then almost immediately Clay’s words were the talk of the nation, the newspapers reprinted his speech, and citizens found it to “noble and patriotic” and appropriate, while critics and “hard-nosed” politicians laughed upon hearing it. (Remini, 527) Clay may have wanted to be right, but he also wanted the Presidency, and his chances were slipping from him.

      Soon after the speech, Clay felt the backlash. First Daniel Webster charged that Clay caused the Whigs to lose the 1838 election in Maine, and that the party should instead support a candidate who had more appeal, such as General William Henry Harrison. Webster was deliberately mounting a campaign against Clay, even going as far as to blame him for losing Harrison’s state, Ohio, in the 1838 election. To cap off this crusade, at the Anti-Mason National Convention in November 1839, the group nominated Harrison for President and Webster for Vice-President.

      Politicians in the North, Abolitionists, and anti-Masons preferred Harrison as a presidential candidate to Clay. Another candidate who drew support was General Winfield Scott, whose military record was akin to Andrew Jackson’s. Fortunately for Clay, Webster took himself out of the running for the Whig nomination when he departed for England in 1839. Still Clay believed the nomination was his. As he wrote, “Moderation, conciliation, and decision, but above all firmness and decision should be our course. May it be guided by wisdom and lead to victory.” (Remini, 531)

      Even before the Whig Convention Clay lost New York. Thurlow Weed, as Brown explains, thought “Clay had gone too far in his attacks [on abolitionists].” (Brown, 145) Both Weed and Thaddeus Stevens were Anti-Mason leaders, and wanted anybody but Clay as the nominee; they devised a plan to strip Clay of his 254-delegate majority.

      A friend of Webster’s, Peleg Sprague, introduced a motion that changed the voting. Each state would choose three delegates to a committee, the committee in turn would ask their state which candidate they preferred. A vote would be held in private, and when there was a state consensus, the delegates would report it to the full convention. Clay’s supporters could not stop the motion even through it was obviously designed to strip Clay of the nomination, and soon Clay’s majority melted. Stevens and Weed preferred Harrison to Scott or Clay, but Scott’s candidacy seemed to benefit from their maneuvering. To counter this, Stevens released to the delegates a letter Scott wrote to Francis Granger that appeared favorable to the abolitionists. This was enough to damage Scott’s propsects and give Harrison–the least controversial choice–the nomination. Clay’s chance to capture the Presidency had ended.

      Anti-Masons and abolitionists, the two groups Clay alienated with his February 7, 1839 speech, controlled the Whig Party. But Clay, says Remini, “also had a hand in engineering his [own] defeat. His Senate speech on February 7, 1839, against the abolitionists, more than any other single factor, undoubtedly prevented him from gaining a single northern state at the convention ‘except glorious Rhode Island.’ ‘I had rather be right than President,’ Clay had announced. So be it, responded the delegates.” (Remini, 554) Henry Clay would live to regret his words on the Senate floor, because ultimately they caused him to lose the nomination he wanted more than anything.

      As we are now reaching a defining moment in the 2008 campaign with Super Tuesday around the corner, another candidate has been compared to Clay. Hillary Clinton has been haunted by her Senate vote for the Iraq war, but has refused to apologize for it, though her position on the war has evolved. In a February 2007 Christian Science Monitor article Daniel Schorr wrote, “Whether that will appease her supporters remains to be seen. What they apparently will not get from her are those three little words. ‘I am sorry.’ What her lack of contrition will cost her, that also remains to be seen…. She may take comfort from the ‘great compromiser,’ Sen. Henry Clay of Kentucky, who on the Senate floor in 1839 declared, ‘I had rather be right than president.’”

      Sources and further reading:

      Thomas Brown, Politics and Statesmanship: Essays on the American Whig Party, Columbia University Press, 1985.

      Henry Clay, The Works of Henry Clay, Barnes & Burr, 1863.

      Robert Vincent Remini, Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union, W. W. Norton & Company, 1991.

      Daniel Schorr, “Will voters accept Hillary Clinton’s nonapology? Her vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq might cost her the presidency,” Christian Science Monitor, February 23, 2007.

      Carl Schurz, Life of Henry Clay: American Statesmen, Volume: 2, Houghton Mifflin, 1899.

      Top Young Historians: 83 – Rhonda Y. Williams

      Top Young Historians

      Rhonda Y. Williams, 40

      Basic Facts

      Teaching Position: Associate Professor, Department of History, Case Western Reserve University, 2004-present.
      Area of Research: African-American history, Black Women’s history, Urban history.
      Education: Ph.D., History, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, May 1998.
      Major Publications: Williams is the author of The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles Against Urban Inequality (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004). Inaugural book in interdisciplinary series, Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities, with special co-editors Cathy Cohen and Fred Harris. She is the co-editor of Teaching the American Civil Rights Movement: Freedom’s Bittersweet Song with Julie Armstrong, Susan Hult, Houston Roberson (New York: Routledge), September 2002. Williams is also the co-editor with Rhonda Y.  Williams JPG Karen Sotiropoulos of Women, Transnationalism and Human Rights, Special Issue of the Radical History Review 101 (forthcoming, Spring 2008). Williams is currently working on the book manuscripts The Dope Wars: Street-Level Hustling and the Culture of Drugs in Post-1940s Urban America
      Williams is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “Nonviolence and Long Hot Summers: Welfare Rights Struggles in the 1960s,” Nonviolent Relationality: Rethinking Gandhi in the World for Orient Longman’s new series on “Gandhi Studies” (forthcoming); “Race, Dismantling the “Ghetto,” and Housing Mobility: Considering the Polikoff Proposal,” Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy, Vol. 1, Issue 1, Summer 2006; “Black Women, Urban Politics, and Engendering Black Power,” The Black Power Movement: Rethinking the Civil Rights-Black Power Era, edited by Peniel E. Joseph (New York, Routledge, 2006); “Nonviolence and Long Hot Summers: Welfare Rights Struggles in the 1960s” for Borderlands E-Journal, Vol 4, No. 3, 2005; “Raising the Curtain: Performance, History, and Pedagogy,” Teaching the American Civil Rights Movement; “We’re Tired of Being Treated Like Dogs: Poor Women and Power Politics,” The Black Scholar, Special Edition on Black Power Studies: A New Scholarship, Fall/Winter 2001, 31-41.
      Awards: Williams is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
      Student Government’s Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award for the Arts and Humanities, CWRU, 2004;
      Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship, American Association of University Women American Educational Foundation, July 2002-June 2003;
      Nominee for the Carl F. Wittke Award, University-wide Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award, Case Western Reserve University, Spring 2001 & Spring 2000;
      W.P. Jones Presidential Faculty Development Fund Award, CWRU, supported research and travel, Fall 2000;
      Nominee for the Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award, Undergraduate Student Government, CWRU, Spring 1999;
      Selected to appear in the Undergraduate Viewbook, featuring faculty and students. (Outstanding undergraduates nominated faculty members.) Undergraduate Admissions Office, CWRU, Summer 1999. Have appeared in each subsequent publication through 2002;
      Glennan Teaching Fellowship, University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education (UCITE), CWRU, 1999-2000;
      Fellow, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University: National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute, “Teaching the Southern Civil Rights Movement, 1865-1965,” Summer 1998. Invitation Accepted;
      Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, 1996-1997;
      Fontaine Fellowship, 1992-1996;
      Graduate/Professional Student Outstanding Achievement Award, Women of Color Day, 1995;
      Malcolm X Outstanding Service to the African-American Community, Black Graduate and Professional Student Association (BGAPSA), 1994;
      Paul Robeson Academic Excellence and Leadership, BGAPSA, 1994;
      Graduation Commencement Speaker, UMCP, First black speaker in the University’s history, 1989.
      Additional Info:
      Williams is also Program Faculty, Ethnic Studies Program, 2003-present, Steering Committee Member, 2003-2005, and Program Faculty, Women Studies, 2000 – present at Case Western University.

      Personal Anecdote

      In 1985, I headed off to college at the University of Maryland College Park without any idea that I would eventually earn a PhD. The daughter of federal government employees, I would be the first person in my immediate family to earn a bachelor’s degree. After my freshman year I knew I wanted to be a writer and somehow make a living doing it, and was fortunate to earn an internship at the Baltimore Evening Sun. I was supposed to be primarily an editor’s gopher, but thankfully I met newspaper reporters who mentored me. One gave me one of my first in-the-field assignments: I had to cover a story about a community program in the “projects” – residential places in inner cities held in disdain and fear. When I think back on that moment, I sometimes wonder whether I showed trepidation, or had the reporter simply felt the need to assure me (a young, green journalism student) that I would both be safe and do fine. Once we arrived at the public housing complex, I met black mothers, including teen parents, who were raising families with limited resources and navigating austere and neglected neighborhoods. This assignment eventually led to my visiting, and writing about, a neighborhood and church-based parenting enrichment program that served primarily black teen mothers and a few teen fathers.

      Two more newspaper internships (including one with the New York Times) and three years later, I graduated UMCP as the first black undergraduate to receive its highest honor of salutatorian and commencement speaker in its 187-year history. That same year, 1989, I began my career as a night-time general assignment reporter. But I soon discovered, that overall, the daily new events I was assigned (including dog shows and numerous weather stories, not on the Hurricane Katrina level of importance) failed to elicit my excitement or fulfill my vision of engaging in useful intellectual inquiry. I had promised myself that in five years maximum I would go back to school, or if I did not like my job in two to three years. So in 1991 at the two-year mark, I decided to seek a PhD in History. After a couple years as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania and always a native daughter of Baltimore, I resolved to focus my research on housing policy and marginalized people’s struggles in my hometown, particularly those of poor African American women.

      My first book, The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality, and many of my subsequent articles, owe themselves to that moment in 1986 – alongside, of course, other intervening experiences (for as historians know there are always multiple shaping influences) – that launched me on a compelling journey. It was, and still is, a historical (and, for me, professional and personal) journey that has exposed decades of entrenched and systemic race, gender, and economic inequality; institutional intransigence; misanthropy and societal disgust; human impotence, pain, and fortitude; and intense struggle and magnificent gumption. Listen to Goldie Baker, a public housing and welfare rights activist who died in 2006 after over 40 years of social struggle. She took seriously challenging those in power – no matter their race. And because of that “they thought I was one crazy nigger. They wasn’t used to that [laughs]. Oh, believe me, they wasn’t used to no nigger talking to them … like that”!

      My next book project on street-level hustling, illicit narcotics, and urban culture after World War II is taking me on another overlapping journey – one where men and women found money, escape, pleasure, death, ‘freedom,’ and misery in a society that policed the boundaries of opportunity, morality, and belonging, in a society constituted by hierarchies and dreams of possibility. I don’t know where this particular scholarly journey ultimately will land me, but I do know (and am still discovering) the numerous places that the illicit (and licit) high has landed the many people that I’ve known personally and am now meeting historically.

      Quotes

      By Rhonda Y. Williams

    • Within a couple decades of moving into Lafayette Courts on December 10, 1955, Shirley Wise had married and separated from her children’s father, held several jobs, attended Cortez Peters Business School,  and become a beautician. Possessing a sense of community belonging, she became active in the Parents-Teachers Association and Lafayette Courts Mothers’ Club. But Shirley Wise avoided controversy and “leadership” roles….Between 1955 and 1970, Shirley Wise shed her timidity as she learned more about her rights: her civil rights, legal rights, tenants’ rights. By the early 1970s, the petite Wise had made an unpaid career of advocating for the poor in her housing complex and citywide. Before her political awakening Shirley Wise often said, “[L]et somebody else take care of that…. Anything that was really rocking the boat, I wasn’t into that until I found out I had the legal right to do that – rock the boat.” Shirley Wise’s transformation—her heightened consciousness of power relations, inequality, and rights—mirrored that of other poor black women living in cities. As black freedom movements and anti-poverty programs grew in northern cities, rights, struggle, power, control, respect, and dignity became popular words – and goals. — Rhonda Williams in “The Politics of Public Housing Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”About Rhonda Y. Williams
    • “Well-researched, well-written…. Highly recommended.” — Choice review of “The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”
    • “There are far too few books from the perspective of poor black women, even fewer that give them the credit they deserve for pushing local, state, and federal governments to fulfill the promises of the New Deal and the War on Poverty. Rhonda Williams’ beautifully written and sweeping narrative makes fresh and important contributions to urban history, African-American women’s history, and the history of poverty policy in this country.” — Annelise Orleck reviewing “The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”
    • “A remarkable piece of work, doing for Baltimore what Making the Second Ghetto did for Chicago. Williams brings welcome new light to bear on the struggle of poor black women for respectability and inclusion, inclusion on their own terms. Drawing on a rich data set covering forty year, Williams renders vivid portraits of individuals while also conveying a clear conception of the changing societal trends and public policies with which they had to contend.” — Charles Payne reviewing “The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”
    • The Politics of Public Housing presents a new face and place of civil rights struggle—poor women in the Baltimore `projects’ and their mobilization for adequate housing, income, education, and dignity. Rhonda Williams has written an illuminating and provocative study of black women who waged their own war on poverty in the 1950s and 1960s.” — Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham reviewing “The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”
    • “An innovative study of the history of the activist work of low-income black women. Deeply researched and eloquently rendered, this book provides a new model for understanding urban political history – not from the bottom up, but from the inside out.” — Barbara Dianne Savage reviewing “The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”
    • “Moving from the New Deal and World War II through the War on Poverty and the new social movements of the 1970s, The Politics of Public Housing illuminates the grassroots activism of poor black women for decent shelter and adequate income in fresh and surprising ways. After Williams, scholars will have to consider housing as a major domain of the welfare state. Hers is a most important study.” — Eileen Boris reviewing “The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”
    • “Williams has exquisitely and mercifully corrected the deeply etched image of public housing as an utter failure. Her carefully researched, well-written, and critically balanced study of public housing forces housers, historians, political scientists, and sociologists alike to reconsider the pall of negativism that at least since 1957 has beclouded all conversation about public housing and about the enduring need for government support for decent, low-income housing.” — Journal of American History review of “The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”
    • “Her carefully researched volume chronicles the personal lives and political activism of the low-income women who voiced their claims for ‘rights, respect, and representation’ in public housing and beyond. Using personal histories culled from more than 50 interviews, Williams vividly demonstrates these women’s setbacks and triumphs…. this is a valuable look at social welfare policy.” — Publishers Weekly review of “The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”
    • “I have never learned as much as I have from this course [Introduction to American History]. The teacher, she is inspiring.”… “Dr. Williams is the most passionate scholar in the History Department whom I have worked with.” — Anonymous Students
    • Posted on Sunday, February 3, 2008 at 10:56 PM

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