Political Headlines April 2, 2012: Sarah Palin to Appear Tuesday on NBC’s Today Facing off Again Against Katie Couric on ABC’s GMA in Morning Television Showdown

POLITICAL HEADLINES

THE HEADLINES….

AP — NBC’s ‘Today’ show is bringing former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (l.) on board as a co-host Tuesday morning, pitting her against Katie Couric on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’.

NBC’s Today Show: http://today.msnbc.msn.com

ABC’s Good Morning America: http://abcnews.go.com/

Katie Couric and Sarah Palin to face off again _ this time in morning television showdown

Source: AP, 4-2-12

Nearly four years after they clashed in a memorable TV interview, Sarah Palin and Katie Couric face off again — this time in a morning-show battle royale.Viewers will cast their votes with their clickers Tuesday.

If you’re a Couric fan who misses those bygone mornings on the “Today” show, then click to “Good Morning America,” where Couric, now an ABC star, is subbing all week for co-host Robin Roberts.

But maybe you love the “mama grizzly” panache of Sarah Palin. And maybe you’re still miffed by how Couric, then anchoring the “CBS Evening News,” went to town on Palin during the 2008 presidential race. Then tune into NBC’s “Today,” where, during the 8 a.m. (EDT) hour, Palin will serve as a guest host at Couric’s old haunt. (Take that, Katie!)

Welcoming the former Alaska governor to Studio 1A is the “Today” show’s brashest counter-move after “GMA,” the scrappy ratings runner-up, announced Couric’s fill-in role last week….READ MORE

Sarah Palin a news show ‘co-host’? Rivalry with Katie Couric casts her as one.

Sarah Palin is appearing on ‘Today,’ pitting her against Katie Couric on ‘GMA.’ The ratings ploy evokes memories of the 2008 interview, but raises questions about the moniker ‘co-host.’

Source: CS Monitor, 4-2-12

As Sarah Palin prepares to go head-to-head with Katie Couric in guest appearances on the NBC and ABC morning news shows Tuesday, a few words are raising eyebrows among news watchers, namely the moniker “co-host” for Ms. Palin.

NBC, promoting the appearance of the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate on its website, said: “Sarah Palin will co-host Tuesday. She’ll reveal a different side of her than you’ve seen before.”

As a ratings ploy, the gambit has already succeeded, garnering buzz about whether the twin appearances will evoke memories of the infamous Couric/Palin interview on CBS during the 2008 presidential campaign, which many saw as the key turning point in which the McCain/Palin ticket began to slide.

But does this move to slot an openly partisan political figure in the host seat cross some sort of important line for a morning show produced by the network news division?

“A host has the opportunity to steer the conversation,” Ed Arke, associate professor of communications at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., says via e-mail.

Palin is being billed as a co-host and her openly partisan views could be problematic, he says. But, the larger issue is whether a news magazine like the “Today” show will begin to mimic or mirror the personality-driven discussion shows of the 24/7 news networks, he adds….READ MORE

Comparing Palin vs. Couric as they prepare for epic (or not so epic) battle on Tuesday morning

Source: AP, 4-2-12

While it’s not quite Ali vs. Frazier, Tuesday’s faceoff between Katie Couric and Sarah Palin on opposing morning shows has some viewers wishing for a war of words. Here’s a look at how the pair measures up.

Career Highlight:
Couric: Her 15-year run as queen of the morning on the “Today” show.
Sarah Palin: Her electrifying speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention marking the national debut of a political powerhouse.
Career Lowlight:
Couric: Her rocky tenure as the first solo female anchor of the “CBS Evening News.”

Palin: Her rocky interview with Couric in fall 2008

READ MORE

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Full Text Obama Presidency April 2, 2012: Three Amigos Summit: President Barack Obama Meets with Canadian PM Stephen Harper & Mexican President Felipe Calderon in One Day North American Leaders’ Summit — Speeches: Joint Statement & Press Conference

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

photo040212_01.jpg

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, US President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon meet at the White House. Photo by Paul Chiasson/CP

U.S., Canada and Mexico to Boost Trade

Source: AP, 4-2-12
President Obama, center, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, right, and Mexican President Felipe Calderon walked to a joint press conference at the White House on Monday.

President Barack Obama says the U.S., Canada and Mexico are launching a new bid to pare back regulation in hopes of boosting trade and creating more jobs.

At a three-way North American summit on Monday with Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón, Mr. Obama said the three will “go through the books” to simplify regulations and eliminate others that aren’t needed.

Three-way trade among the U.S., Canada and Mexico now exceeds $1 trillion, and President Obama says he wants to see that number rise.

The three leaders also discussed immigration and the war on drugs during their one-day summit. Mr. Obama praised Mr. Calderón for “great courage” in standing up to Mexico’s cartels….READ MORE

Boosting Economic Growth Throughout North America

Source: WH, 4-2-12

President Obama today hosted the leaders of Mexico and Canada at the White House for a summit aimed at promoting economic growth and and creating jobs in all three countries.

Last year, U.S. trade with Mexico and Canada exceed $1 trillion for the first time. And finding ways to continue boosting exports was one goal of today’s talks.

At a press conference in the Rose Garden, President Obama was able to point to an initative that will help to accomplish that objective:

I’m pleased to announce that our three nations are launching a new effort to get rid of outdated regulations that stifle job creation. Here in the United States, our efforts to cut red tape and ensure smart regulations will help achieve savings and benefits to businesses, consumers, and our country of more than $100 billion. And we’re already working to streamline and coordinate regulations with Canada and Mexico on a bilateral basis. So now our three nations are going to sit down together, go through the books and simplify and eliminate more regulations that will make our joint economies stronger.

This builds on conversations between the U.S. and Canada that were announced when Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the White House back in December.

In today’s talks, the leaders also discussed security, energy, and efforts to combat drug cartels.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Joint Statement by North American Leaders

Source: WH, 4-2-12

We, the Leaders of North America, met today in Washington, DC to advance the economic well-being, safety, and security of the United States, Mexico, and Canada.  Rooted in deep economic, historical, cultural, environmental, and societal ties, North American cooperation enhances our ability to face global challenges, compete in the international economy, and achieve greater prosperity.  We reaffirm our commitment to further develop our thriving political and economic partnership with a consistent and strategic long-term vision, as progress on our common agenda directly benefits the peoples of our region.

Broad-based, sustainable economic growth and job creation remains our top priority.  For the first time, in 2011 our total trilateral merchandise trade surpassed USD 1 trillion.  Our integration helps maximize our capabilities and makes our economies more innovative and competitive globally. Working together, we strive to ensure that North American economic cooperation fosters gains in productivity for all of our citizens, enhancing our respective national and bilateral efforts to achieve that goal.

To that end, we pledge to introduce timely and tangible regulatory measures to enable innovation and growth while ensuring high standards of public health, safety, and environmental protection.  We will continue to reduce transaction costs and improve the existing business environment.  We have launched the U.S.-Mexico High-Level Regulatory Cooperation Council and the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council during the past two years, pursuing a shared objective that we commit to complement trilaterally in four sectors:  certain vehicle emission standards, railroad safety, the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Workplace Chemicals, and aligning principles of our regulatory approaches to nanomaterials.  This is particularly important to small- and medium-sized businesses, which are the engines of growth.  By eliminating unnecessary regulatory differences, smaller businesses are better equipped to participate in an integrated North American economy.  Success in these efforts opens the way to additional North American regulatory cooperation.

Continued North American competitiveness requires secure supply chains and efficient borders.  We remain committed to achieving this through cooperative approaches.  To this end, the United States and Mexico released the Declaration Concerning Twenty-first Century Border Management in May 2010 and the United States and Canada released the Beyond the Border Action Plan:  A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness in December 2011.  We are committed to the mutually-reinforcing goals of these important initiatives and to their full implementation.  By also supporting the work of multilateral organizations to foster improved collaboration, integration, and standards, we better identify and interdict threats before they reach our borders, as well as expedite the legitimate movement of goods and people throughout North America in a more efficient, secure, and resilient manner.  We also have instructed our trade and commerce ministers to identify sectors where we can deepen our regional cooperation through increased trade and investment.

As leading sources of innovation and creativity, our three countries are committed to the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR).  We commit to promote sound enforcement practices and an effective legal framework for IPR enforcement in the areas of criminal enforcement, enforcement at the border, civil and administrative actions, and distribution of IPR infringing material on the Internet consistent with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which the United States and Canada have recently signed.  Mexico will continue to work on a comprehensive reform to its legal system to achieve the high standards pursued under ACTA.

Energy cooperation reduces the cost of doing business and enhances economic competitiveness in North America.  We recognize the growing regional and federal cooperation in the area of continental energy, including electricity generation and interconnection and welcome increasing North American energy trade.  We commit our governments to work with all stakeholders to deepen such cooperation to enhance our collective energy security, including the safe and efficient exploration and exploitation of resources.  We support coordinated efforts to facilitate seamless energy flows on the interconnected grid and to promote trade and investment in clean energy technologies.

Enhanced electricity interconnection in the Americas would advance the goals of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas to reduce energy poverty and increase the use of renewable sources of energy.  We recognize Mexico’s leadership in supporting inter-connections in Central America and reaffirm our support to bring affordable, reliable, and increasingly renewable power to businesses and homes in Central America and the Caribbean while opening wider markets for clean energy and green technology.

We pledge to continue our efforts to advance a lasting global solution to the challenge of climate change.  We are pleased with the outcome of the climate conference in Durban, with respect to both operationalizing the Cancun agreements and laying the groundwork for a new legal agreement applicable to all Parties from 2020, support the activation of the Green Climate Fund, and underline the importance of climate finance and investment in the context of meaningful mitigation.  We plan to work together, including through the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, to secure a successful outcome at the 18th U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Doha, Qatar.  We continue to advance the transition to a clean energy economy and cooperate to reduce global rates of deforestation and land degradation.   We also intend to deepen our trilateral cooperation and work with other interested partners to accelerate efforts aimed at reducing emissions of “short-lived climate pollutants,” noting the recently launched Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutants in which we are all actively engaged.  Reducing our emissions of these substances, which include methane, black carbon, and many hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), offers significant opportunities to reduce the rate of global warming in the near term, in the context of our broader efforts to address climate change, while also yielding many health, agricultural productivity, and energy security benefits.

As our societies and economies become more reliant on networked technology, we recognize the growing importance of an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet.   We reaffirm the importance of multi-stakeholder governance bodies for the Internet and underscore that fighting cybercrime is essential to promoting economic growth and international security.   We recognize the seminal contribution of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, and believe the Convention should be adopted as widely as possible.  To that end, we look forward to Canada’s ratification and Mexico’s completion of the necessary preparations for its signature of the Convention.

At the 2009 North American Leaders’ Summit, we committed to build upon our successful coordinated response to the H1N1 pandemic, which stands as a global example of cooperation, to jointly prepare for future animal and pandemic influenza to enhance the health and safety of our citizens.  Today we announce the culmination of that effort—the North American Plan for Animal and Pandemic Influenza (NAPAPI)—which provides a collaborative and multi-sectoral framework to strengthen our response to future animal and pandemic influenza events in North America and commit to its implementation.

All of our citizens are adversely affected by transnational organized crime.  We commit to direct our national efforts and deepen our cooperation against all facets of this common challenge based on the principles of shared responsibility, mutual trust, and respect.  We intend to further share expertise and information and to cooperate in key areas such as countering arms trafficking and money laundering consistent with our laws and constitutions.

We are committed to strengthening security in the Americas through capacity building support.  We intend to enhance our cooperation with our partners in Central America.  In 2012, our governments will launch a consolidated Central America Integration System (SICA)-North America Security Dialogue to deepen regional security coordination and cooperation.   We will remain actively engaged in the ongoing SICA-Group of Friends of Central America collaborative process, to align international assistance and programs supporting the implementation of the Central American Regional Security Strategy.  We also welcome the recent High Level Hemispheric Meeting on Transnational Organized Crime, and recognize the relevance of closer collaboration and information sharing among all relevant national agencies.

We reiterate our commitment to Haiti and call upon Haitian political actors to work together and take concrete steps toward strengthening governance and the rule of law, which are fundamental to increased trade, investment, and long-term development and prosperity.  We note the urgency and importance of parliamentary confirmation of a new government, and for that government to confirm the timeline for Senate and local elections.  We also encourage Haiti to continue to pursue the development of the Haitian National Police so it can take full responsibility for Haiti’s security.

To further strengthen nuclear security on the North American continent, we worked together, along with the International Atomic Energy Agency, to convert the fuel in Mexico’s research reactor to low enriched uranium and provide new low enriched uranium fuel in exchange for the highly enriched uranium fuel, as pledged during the Washington Nuclear Security Summit in 2010 and announced at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit in March 2012.

Our strengthened dialogue on priority issues in the North American agenda is reflected in the frequent formal and informal ministerial and technical meetings across a wide range of issues among our three countries, including the work of the NAFTA Free Trade Commission and the North American Commissions for Environmental Cooperation and for Labor Cooperation to continue to enhance our region’s prosperity, protect the environment, and improve working conditions in North America.  Taking into account our common security and defense challenges, such as transnational criminal organizations, as well as opportunities to strengthen cooperation in the field of disaster relief, we welcome the recent expansion of our ministerial-level dialogue through the North American Defense Ministers Meeting held March 26-27, 2012 in Ottawa.

As partners in the Americas, we are committed to work together within the Inter-American System and in the framework of the VI Summit of the Americas, to be held April 14-15 in Cartagena, Colombia.  We fully support the Summit’s theme of “Connecting the Americas:  Partners for Prosperity.”  The Summit provides an opportunity to leverage the ties that connect the Americas to advance democratic, transparent, accountable governance that promotes inclusive, sustainable, market-based economic growth in the decade ahead.  Deepening our shared interests and values will benefit the people of the Americas and bolster positive global engagement by countries from across the region.  We pledge to work together to ensure the Summit strengthens a shared commitment to work in equal partnership toward these goals.

In light of the importance of the Americas to our collective economic wellbeing, we are committed to working together to advance the principles approved by the Inter-American Competitiveness Network in Santo Domingo and to support the Pathways to Prosperity initiative which underscores the importance of empowering small businesses; facilitating trade; building a modern work force; and developing stronger labor and environmental practices to encourage inclusive economic growth.

We also recognize the value of our common understandings on the major challenges faced by the world today, and acknowledge the importance of promoting growth and of preserving and deepening trade as keys to the global economic recovery.  Canada and the United States support the efforts of the Mexican Presidency of the G-20 this year, and, together with Mexico, we commit ourselves to deepening our shared dialogue on economic governance therein, especially as we work to enhance North American competitiveness and prosperity.   The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) provides an opportunity to further deepen our trade relationship and create jobs.  The United States welcomes Canada’s and Mexico’s interest in joining the TPP as ambitious partners.

President Obama and Prime Minister Harper welcome President Calderon’s offer for Mexico to host the next North American Leaders’ Summit.

Joint Press Conference by President Obama, President Calderon of Mexico, and Prime Minister Harper of Canada

President Obama hosts the leaders of Mexico and Canada at the White House for a summit aimed at promoting economic growth and and creating jobs throughout North America.

President Obama holds a joint press conference
President Obama holds a joint press conference, White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 4/2/12

Rose Garden

1:54 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Please have a seat.  Good afternoon, everybody.  It is my pleasure to welcome two great friends and partners — President Calderón of Mexico and Prime Minister Harper of Canada.

Now, I’ve worked with Stephen and Felipe on many occasions.  We’ve joined our international partners from APEC to the G20.  From our last summit in Guadalajara, we remember Felipe’s hospitality and that of the Mexican people — including some very good mariachi and —

PRESIDENT CALDERÓN:  Mexican food.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  — some tequila, if I’m not mistaken.  (Laughter.)  I can’t reciprocate the music, but, Felipe, Stephen and I are proud to welcome you here today.

PRESIDENT CALDERÓN:  Thank you.

Between us, we represent nearly half-a-billion citizens, from Nunavut in the Canadian north to Chiapas in southern Mexico.  In between, the diversity of our peoples and cultures is extraordinary.  But wherever they live, they wake up every day with similar hopes — to provide for their families, to be safe in their communities, to give their children a better life.  And in each of our countries, the daily lives of our citizens are shaped profoundly by what happens in the other two.  And that’s why we’re here.

Today, we focused on our highest priority — creating jobs and opportunity for our people.  In the United States, our businesses have created nearly four million new jobs; confidence is up and the economy is getting stronger.  But with lots of folks still struggling to find work and pay the bills, we are doing everything we can to speed up the recovery.  And that includes boosting trade with our two largest economic partners.

As President, I’ve made it a priority to increase our exports, and I’m pleased that our exports to Canada and Mexico are growing faster than our exports to the rest of the world.  In fact, last year trade in goods with our two neighbors surpassed $1 trillion — for the first time ever.  This trade supports some 2.5 million American jobs, and I want more trade supporting even more jobs in the future.

So today, Prime Minister Harper led us in a very good discussion about how our three countries can improve our competitiveness.  We agreed to continue making our borders more efficient and more secure so it’s faster and cheaper to travel and trade.  We’re expanding cooperation to create clean energy jobs and combat climate change — an area in which President Calderón and Mexico have been a real leader.

I’m pleased to announce that our three nations are launching a new effort to get rid of outdated regulations that stifle job creation.  Here in the United States, our efforts to cut red tape and ensure smart regulations will help achieve savings and benefits to businesses, consumers, and our country of more than $100 billion.  And we’re already working to streamline and coordinate regulations with Canada and Mexico on a bilateral basis.  So now our three nations are going to sit down together, go through the books and simplify and eliminate more regulations that will make our joint economies stronger.

This is especially important, by the way, for our small and medium-sized businesses, which, when they start exporting, often start with Mexico and Canada.  So this is going to help create jobs, and it’s going to keep us on track to meet my goal of doubling U.S. exports.

More broadly, I reiterated my commitment to comprehensive immigration reform, which would be good for workers and good for business.  I’m pleased that Canada and Mexico have also expressed an interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Consultations with our TPP partners are now underway on how new members can meet the high standards of this trade agreement, which could be a real model for the world.  And I very much appreciated President Calderón updating us on preparations for the next G20 summit, which he will be hosting in June.

Our other major focus today was the security that our citizens deserve.  Criminal gangs and narco-traffickers pose a threat to each of our nations, and each of our nations has a responsibility to meet that threat.  In Mexico, President Calderón has shown great courage in standing up to the traffickers and cartels, and we’ve sped up the delivery of equipment and assistance to support those efforts.

Here in the United States, we’ve increased cooperation on our southern border, and dedicated new resources to reducing the southbound flow of money and guns, and to reduce the demand for drugs in the United States, which helps fuel — helped to fuel this crisis.  And today each of us reaffirmed our commitment to meeting this challenge together — because that’s the only way that we’re going to succeed.

Beyond our borders, these cartels and traffickers pose an extraordinary threat to our Central American neighbors.  So we’re teaming up.  Defense ministers from our three countries met last week as a group — for the first time ever.  And we’re going to be coordinating our efforts more closely than ever, especially when it comes to supporting Central America’s new strategy on citizen security, which will be discussed at the Summit of the Americas in Colombia next week.

So, again, I want to thank Stephen and Felipe for being here.  When I came to office I pledged to seek new partnerships with our friends in the Americas, a relationship of equality and shared responsibility built on mutual interest and mutual respect.  That’s what we’ve done.  And it wouldn’t have been possible without the leadership and sense of purpose that these two outstanding leaders have brought to all our efforts, including our efforts today.  As a result, I believe our nations and our citizens will be more secure, more prosperous and in a better position to give their children the lives that they deserve.

So with that, let me turn it over to President Calderón.

PRESIDENT CALDERÓN:  Thank you, President Obama.  (As interpreted.)  Your Excellency, Mr. Barack Obama, President of the United States of America; Right Honorable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, ladies and gentlemen of the press; Mr. Ambassadors; legislators; friends:  First of all, I would like to thank President Barack Obama for his extraordinary hospitality and that of his government in hosting this Summit of the Leaders of North America.

And briefly, I would also like to express on behalf of the government of Mexico, the people of Mexico, my family and my own behalf, my most sincere sympathies to the family and relatives of former President Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado for his lamentable death yesterday.  Tomorrow we will be rendering homage to him in Mexico.

The reasons for which we are here today at this Summit of North American Leaders with President Barack Obama and the Prime Minister of Canada, we’ve come through a work day that has been very fruitful and fluid with an exchange of opinions and progress to the benefit of our respective citizens.

I’m also very thankful to my two colleagues for the openness with which we have broached some very complex items on our working agenda.  I recognize and value their enormous commitment to our common region.

The leaders of North America share a vision of a strong, solidary, safe, competitive region that is able to successfully face head on the challenges of today.  We agree that our common challenges can only be faced together.  And therein lays the importance of having dialogue, strong dialogue, amongst our three countries.

The data that President Obama has just given us is very important, that our trade has exceeded $1 trillion for the first time.  And I think that that is not separate from a reality that has to be underscored.  In this very complex world full of economic problems and severe crises, Canada, the United States and Mexico are three countries that are growing right now and generating jobs today.

And that growth and those millions of jobs, many of them have to do precisely with the greatest trade exchanges that we have ever seen amongst these great nations.  I would say that the potential of North America tied to these three countries is such that within our own nations we have a great deal to do to make the most of these opportunities for greater exchanges amongst our peoples.

As we’ve mentioned today, we have progressed on various fronts.  For instance, we’ve advanced on the deregulation in our countries — in our own countries, as well as amongst our countries.  We have progressed as well in harmonization of certain standards that facilitate trade.  We’ve also progressed, in our case, on the bilateral relationship in border infrastructure.  And all of this has led, of course, to the benefit of Canadian, Mexican and American families.

Another line of ideas, I would also say that the three nations have renewed their decision to strengthen cooperation at the international level, particularly in issues as sensitive as the security of our citizens.  We have reiterated the values upon which our societies were founded:  democracy, liberty, justice, the respect for human rights.  And today the political dialogue amongst us is perhaps stronger than ever.

We have renewed certain principles of our existence and of our challenges:  The principle of shared responsibility, the exchange of information, and especially the strengthening of our institutions that has to be the guide of our cooperation.

Clearly, I expressed to President Obama and to Prime Minister Harper that the fight that Mexico is experiencing for a safer North America also requires a strengthening of national actions, amongst other things, to stop the traffic of weapons, to combat with greater strength money laundering, and, of course, to reduce the demand for drugs that strengthens criminal organizations.  I also expressed to President Obama and to Prime Minister Harper that Mexico recognizes the commitment that they have undertaken to progress along those lines.

It’s also necessary to strengthen the regional security focus, and in order to do this, we need to include our neighbors and Central American partners, who are also facing serious problems and who need our solidarity.  The three countries have agreed to establish a joint dialogue mechanism with the Central American Integration System — SICA — in support of the efforts undertaken by Central American nations to fight organized crime and in favor of regional security that benefits us all.

Of course, in this meeting, we have broached the topic of the regional economy.  The leaders of North America agree that the United States, Canada and Mexico must continue to delve deeper into our successful economic relationship so as to generate more jobs and greater well-being in all three countries.

Our governments recognize that it is absolutely necessary to continue to fully comply with the NAFTA, as well as to explore new means of strengthening regional competitiveness.  And I am convinced that if we work together, we will become much more competitive than many areas of the world that we are competing with today.

Mexico’s position is that the solution to the complex economic situation experienced by the world today is not a return to protectionist practices that only isolate countries, reduce competitiveness of economies, and send investment scurrying, but that part of the problem and part of the investment that we need to see in the world economy is to see a delving deeper into our economies and making the most of our advantages that show our economic complementarity in terms of investment, labor, technologies, natural resources.  And only then will we be able to have success in a world that competes ferociously by regions.

The three countries have renewed our commitment to broaden the productive — the supply chains of the region that will be even more interconnected, supporting especially the small and medium-scale companies.

Mexican exports to the world represent 37 percent of — or have, rather, 37 percent of American content.  In other words, so American exports are American exports, and they generate millions of jobs for the region.  And in that lays the need to work even more in this region on a clear trilateral deregulation, for instance, in nanomaterials and emissions standards for some vehicles.

Today we also agreed to work in a coordinated fashion on actions that we will be adopting to modernize infrastructure and for border management.  After 10 years — the last two years, we’ve seen three new border crossing areas between Mexico and the United States, after 10 years not having seen one new route.  And we continue to work in a coordinated fashion to make our border more dynamic so that it’s a border of opportunities for progress on both sides of that border.

Tomorrow, here in Washington, our ministers of economy and of trade will be meeting within the framework of the Free Trade Commission of the NAFTA so as to continue to work towards achieving these objectives.

Today, we’ve seen that prosperity in the region depends on greater integration with full respect of our sovereignties in all fields.  And in this context, I’d like to reiterate the interest of my country to join forces as soon as possible to the TPP, or the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and its negotiations.  Because we know that Mexicans can contribute to a quick and successful conclusion of this project.  If we join forces in this region where we see the greatest growth in the world, we will be generating benefits for our families, our workers, and also substantially improving the competitiveness of the three countries in this context.

We are convinced that the experience and participation of Mexico will enrich this free trade project of the latest generation that encompasses countries in Asia, Oceania, and America.  Our country has a clear commitment to economic freedom.  We even have the support of the private sector so as to enter into the TPP.  We are a nation that believes in free trade as a true tool to foster growth and development, and we have acted as a result of this.

I would also like to thank the United States and Canada for renewing their support to Mexico and its presidency of G20.  As you know, in June of this year Mexico will host the summit of the leaders of the G20 in Los Cabos.  We are convinced, over and above the topics that we will be dealing with there, that the complex international environment needs to be an opportunity so that the world can redefine its development models with a firm commitment to the well-being of peoples and the care for the environment.

Ladies and gentlemen, in this summit, the representatives of the United States, Canada and Mexico have undertaken an open, constructive dialogue, just as corresponds to countries that share values.  We’ve talked about the enormous challenges facing us so as to work together in a globalized world.  And as a result, we will be working on building a new era that consolidates the right conditions for development in North America on the basis of a successful partnership, as we have seen so far today.

My dear President Obama, thank you for your hospitality.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Mr. Harper.

PRIME MINISTER HARPER:  Well, first of all, I’d like to begin by thanking you, Barack, for so graciously and so warmly  — literally — hosting us here today.  And I’d also like to begin by offering my sincere condolences to you, Felipe, and through you, to the people of Mexico on the passing of former President Miguel de la Madrid, who I gather had much to do with the NAFTA partnership that we enjoy today.

Canada places the highest the value on the friendship and partnership among our three countries.  We form one of the world’s largest free trade zones, which has been of great benefit to all of our nations.  We’re also effective collaborators in the G20, in responding to the challenges of the global recession and instability of these past few years.

As affirmed in our budget last week, our government is focused on creating jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity for all Canadians.

I’m especially pleased that the United States has welcomed Canada’s and Mexico’s interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  We also had useful discussions on continued cooperation in managing our borders, streamlining regulation, securing global supply chains, and advancing clean energy.

In addition, we’ve announced a broadened plan for North American pandemic preparedness, and a new North America-Central America dialogue on security to fight transnational organized crime.

Finally, we discussed the agenda for the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Colombia.  Canada looks forward to continue to working with the United States and Mexico to promote democratic principles, regional stability, and market-based economic growth with our partners in the Western Hemisphere.

And once again, Barack and Felipe, I look forward to continuing our useful discussions in Cartagena.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Outstanding.

All right, I think that we’re going to take a question from each press delegation.  So I’ll start with Julianna.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  After last week’s arguments at the Supreme Court, many experts believe that there could be a majority, a five-member majority, to strike down the individual mandate.  And if that were to happen, if it were to be ruled unconstitutional, how would you still guarantee health care to the uninsured and those Americans who’ve become insured as a result of the law?

And then a President for President Calderón and Prime Minister Harper.  Over the weekend, Governor Mitt Romney said that the U.S. used to promote free enterprise around the world, and he said, “Our President doesn’t have the same feelings about American exceptionalism that we do, and I think over the last three or four years, some people around the world have begun to question that.”  My question to the both of you is whether you think that American influence has declined over the last three to four years.

And, President Obama, if you’d like to respond to that, too.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, on the second part of your question, it’s still primary season for the Republican Party.  They’re going to make a decision about who their candidate will be.

It’s worth noting that I first arrived on the national stage with a speech at the Democratic Convention that was entirely about American exceptionalism, and that my entire career has been a testimony to American exceptionalism.  But I will cut folks some slack for now because they’re still trying to get their nomination.

With respect to health care, I’m actually — continue to be confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the law.  And the reason is because, in accordance with precedent out there, it’s constitutional.  That’s not just my opinion, by the way; that’s the opinion of legal experts across the ideological spectrum, including two very conservative appellate court justices that said this wasn’t even a close case.

I think it’s important — because I watched some of the commentary last week — to remind people that this is not an abstract argument.  People’s lives are affected by the lack of availability of health care, the inaffordability of health care, their inability to get health care because of preexisting conditions.

The law that’s already in place has already given 2.5 million young people health care that wouldn’t otherwise have it.  There are tens of thousands of adults with preexisting conditions who have health care right now because of this law.  Parents don’t have to worry about their children not being able to get health care because they can’t be prevented from getting health care as a consequence of a preexisting condition.  That’s part of this law.

Millions of seniors are paying less for prescription drugs because of this law.  Americans all across the country have greater rights and protections with respect to their insurance companies and are getting preventive care because of this law.

So that’s just the part that’s already been implemented.  That doesn’t even speak to the 30 million people who stand to gain coverage once it’s fully implemented in 2014.

And I think it’s important, and I think the American people understand, and the I think the justices should understand, that in the absence of an individual mandate, you cannot have a mechanism to ensure that people with preexisting conditions can actually get health care.  So there’s not only a economic element to this, and a legal element to this, but there’s a human element to this.  And I hope that’s not forgotten in this political debate.

Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.  And I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint — that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.  Well, this is a good example.  And I’m pretty confident that this Court will recognize that and not take that step.

Q    You say it’s not an abstract conversation.  Do you have contingency plans?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I’m sorry.  As I said, we are confident that this will be over — that this will be upheld.  I’m confident that this will be upheld because it should be upheld.  And, again, that’s not just my opinion; that’s the opinion of a whole lot of constitutional law professors and academics and judges and lawyers who have examined this law, even if they’re not particularly sympathetic to this particular piece of legislation or my presidency.

PRESIDENT CALDERÓN:  (As interpreted.)  Your question was a little local for me, and so I’m glad that the President of the United States answered it.  But I would take advantage of this moment to say that after increasing the budget line for the folk insurance six-fold, and after having built more than 1,000 new clinics in the country, we’re getting close to reaching universal coverage of health care — full, free health care coverage for all people up to 18 years of age, including cancer coverage.  Of the 112 million Mexicans, 106 million will have efficient, effective universal health care coverage.

So I would say that I would hope that one of the greatest economies in the world, such as the United States, could follow our example in achieving this, because it was a great thing.

PRIME MINISTER HARPER:  Well, I don’t think you really expect me to intervene in the U.S. presidential election.  Let me just say this.  For Canada — and this is something that I think transcends governments in Canada or administrations here in the United States — for Canada, the United States is and always will be our closest neighbor, our greatest ally and our best friend.  And I believe that American leadership is at all times great and indispensable for the world.

And I think over the past few years we’ve done great things together in terms of the response both through the G20 and bilaterally on the recession and the recovery.  We had, under your leadership, Barack, that successful intervention in Libya.  Our trade relationship is the biggest in the world and growing.  And so I think it’s been a tremendous partnership.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Somebody from the Mexican press corps.

Q    Good afternoon.  For President Calderón, you were saying — you were referring to weapons.  We’d like to know what President Obama said in terms of what’s going to be done to stop the traffic of weapons.

And, President Obama, I’d like to know what plans your government has in the presidential election process in Mexico.  What was discussed in terms of the interviews with the candidates in Mexico City?  And I’d also like to know, for the government of the United States, there’s a threat for the country in this sense on weapons, Mr. President.  Weapons have come into the country.  Are there military leaks of letting the arms come through?  What’s going to be done?

And for Prime Minister Harper, is the visa requirement going to be removed for Mexicans?  Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  That’s a lot of questions.  (Laughter.)  Go ahead, go first.

PRESIDENT CALDERÓN:  (As interpreted.)  My position on this subject is very clear, and I would repeat it here.  Let me broach it from another angle.  It’s been shown that when there is an excessive, quick availability of weapons in any given society, there is an increase in violence and the murders that goes on many years afterwards.

This phenomenon took place in many places of Africa after their civil wars.  We’ve see in El Salvador, Guatemala, in Eastern Europe, in Kosovo, in Bosnia.  It’s happened — it’s taken place in many different areas of the world.  And we sustain that the expiry of the assault weapons ban in the year 2004 coincided almost exactly with the beginning of the harshest period of violence we’ve ever seen.

During my government, we have seized over 140,000 weapons in four years.  And I think that the vast majority have been assault weapons — AK-47s, et cetera.  And many, the vast majority of these weapons were sold in gun shops in the United States.  Along the border of the U.S. and Mexico, there are approximately 8,000 weapons shops.  If we do our accounts, that means that there are approximately nine weapons stores for each Walmart that exists in the United States and Mexico.

So a good deal of our discussion did touch upon this.  But I recognize, at the same time, the administrative effort that’s been undertaken, particularly by President Obama and his administration, so that the agencies for control of illegal actions curb this export of guns and weapons to Mexico.  We’ve seen a much more active effort in this sense than in any other time in the past.

I have a great deal of respect for the U.S. legislation, especially the Second Amendment.  But I know that if we don’t stop the traffic of weapons into Mexico, also if we don’t have mechanisms to forbid the sale of weapons, such as we had in the ‘90s, or for registry of guns, at least for assault weapons, then we are never going to be able to stop the violence in Mexico or stop a future turning of those guns upon the U.S.

So if I am against the traffic of weapons in Mexico, I’m against the traffic of weapons anywhere, be that within any circumstance.  The government of Mexico will never be able to accept anything that has to do with opening this.

President Obama has been very clear on the position of his government.  We understand the work being done by the agencies to stop the criminals.  But this cannot be an obstacle to the cooperation that we have to have amongst Mexico and the United States to stop these criminal activities that underlie this issue, which is one of the greatest obstacles and problems for Mexico.

I understand the internal problems from a political point of view in the United States, and I mentioned this publicly in Congress in the United States, and I said things exactly the way I believe them.  I said them outright.  There’s a great deal of discrepancy between points of view.  It’s a very complex political issue.  But it is very important to underscore it.

And I believe that’s the only part of the question that I can answer, and I would say that what President Obama has already answered was very well done.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Just very briefly, with respect to the presidential elections in Mexico, Vice President Biden met with the candidates to express sentiments that are similar to the ones that Stephen just expressed here with respect to U.S. elections.  And that is that the friendship between our three countries, the partnership between our three countries, extends beyond and is more fundamental than any particular party or any particular election.  And that’s the message we have to send with respect to Mexico.

I’ve had a excellent working relationship with Felipe.  I expect to have an excellent working relationship with the next Mexican President, whoever that candidate may be, because the underlying common interests that we have economically, socially, culturally, the people-to-people relationship that we have, is so important that it transcends partisan politics.

And with respect to the issue of guns, I’ve made very clear in every meeting that I’ve had with Felipe — and we’ve actually put into practice efforts to stop illegal gun trafficking North to South.  It is a difficult task, but it’s one that we have taken very seriously and taken some unprecedented steps.  We will continue to coordinate closely with the Mexican government because we recognize the toll that it’s taken with respect to families and innocent individuals inside of Mexico.

And this is part of our broader comprehensive cooperation in weakening the grip of narco-trafficking within Mexico.  And we recognize that we have a responsibility to reduce demand for drugs, that we have a responsibility to make sure that not only guns, but also bulk cash isn’t flowing into Mexico.  And I — obviously President Calderón takes very seriously his responsibilities to apply effective law enforcement within Mexico.  And I think he’s taken courageous steps to do that.

So we’re going to keep on partnering together in order to continue to make progress on this very important issue.

PRIME MINISTER HARPER:  You asked me about the visa requirement.  The visa requirement is the really only effective means we have in Canada today to deal with large-scale bogus refugee claims under our refugee determination system.

Legislation that is being implemented — and in fact, there’s legislation before parliament to enhance those changes  — that legislation will in the future, in years to come, will give us tools other than visa requirement to deal with that particular problem.  But as of today that remains the only tool at our disposal.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Okay.  And finally from —

PRIME MINISTER HARPER:  Yes.  Mark Kennedy, Postmedia News.

Q    Hello, gentlemen.  I have a couple of questions on two critical issues that you were discussing today — one on trade and one on crime.  On trade, Prime Minister Harper, why is Canada’s position at the negotiating table on the Trans-Pacific Partnership so important to Canada?  And secondly, to get us there, to be a player, are you willing to give up as a precondition our supply management system?

And, President Obama, you said earlier that there needs to be high standards for a country to be there.  I’m wondering whether you think, yet, Canada has met those high standards — whether you want us to drop our traditional supply management system.

And on crime, we in Canada read about the challenges that Mexico has on the drug cartels and the horrible violence that occurs down there.  But perhaps it’s possible that many Canadians, and perhaps even Americans, don’t see it as affecting their lives — perhaps it doesn’t affect their communities.  So on that issue, why do you three gentlemen think that a three-country coordinated approach is necessary to protect our citizens?

And, Prime Minister, I think you being the only person that can speak both English and French, if you can do that, please.

PRIME MINISTER HARPER:  Sure.  First of all, in response to the question on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, this is — our desire to be part of that negotiation is part of Canada’s ambitious trade agenda.  As you know, we are currently in negotiations with over 50 countries around the world, including the European Union and Japan and India.  So this was obviously a logical extension of our desire, the desire of our government to dramatically broaden our free trade relationships around the world.

Canada’s position on Trans-Pacific Partnership is the same as our position in any trade negotiation.  We expect to negotiate and debate all manner of issues, and we seek ambitious outcomes to free trade agreements.  In those negotiations, of course, Canada will attempt to promote and to defend Canada’s interest not just across the economy but in individual sectors as well.

On the question of security, look, the security problems are — the security challenge, particularly around the drug trade, is a serious regional problem throughout our hemisphere that has real impacts — not the kind of governance and security impacts we see maybe in Central America and the Caribbean and elsewhere — but has real, serious impacts on the health and safety of communities in our country as well.  And as these criminal networks are transnational, it’s important that our attempts to fight them be equally transnational.  And that’s why we work together on these initiatives.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, with respect to the TPP, as is true of any process of arriving at a trade agreement, every country that’s participating is going to have to make some modifications.  That’s inherent in the process, because each of our countries have their idiosyncrasies; certain industries that have in the past been protected; certain practices that may be unique to that country but end up creating disadvantages for businesses from other countries.  And so it’s a process of everybody making adjustments.

I don’t think Canada would be unique in that.  Are there areas where we’d like to see some changes in terms of Canadian practices?  Of course.  I assure you that Canada will have some complaints directed at us, and every member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership eventually would have to make some modifications in order to accommodate the larger interest of growing the overall economy and expanding trade and ultimately jobs.  So I don’t anticipate that there’s something unique about Canada that wouldn’t be true for any of the other aspirants to forming this Trans-Pacific Partnership.

With respect to the transnational drug trade, first and foremost, I think we should be concerned about what’s happening in Mexico and Central America because when you have innocent families and women and children who are being gunned down on the streets, that should be everybody’s problem, not just our problem — not just their problem.

There’s a sense of neighborly regard and concern that has to be part of our calculus and our foreign policy.  But more practically, the United States shares a border with Mexico.  If you have this kind of violence and the power of the drug trade as a whole expanding in countries that are so closely affiliated with us — in Central American countries — if you start getting a larger and larger space in which they have control over serious chunks of the economy, if they’re undermining institutions in these countries, that will impact our capacity to do business in these countries.  It could have a spillover effect in terms of our nationals who are living in those countries, tourists that are visiting these countries.  It could have a deteriorating effect overall on the nature of our relationship.  And that’s something that we have to pay attention to.

And, as I said, I think the Mexican government has taken this very seriously at great cost to itself.  We have an obligation to take it just as seriously, in part because we are the ultimate destination for a large chunk of this market.

And that — Stephen and I were trading notes — in places like the United States and Canada, this is not just an issue of — that traditionally was very urban.  This is disseminated across our communities.  And you go into rural communities and you’ve got methamphetamine sales that are devastating young and old alike, and some of that is originally sourced in Mexico.  And so even in the remotest, most isolated parts of Canada or the United States, they’re being impacted by this drug trade, and we’ve got to work cooperatively in order to deal with it.

PRESIDENT CALDERÓN:  (As interpreted.)  And I’d like to look at it from another standpoint.  The security of North America is absolutely tied to each of its member states.  There cannot be full security in this country or in Canada or in Mexico if we do not have a system that actually enables the cooperation mechanisms to act in facing threats that have no borders, that are transnational by their very nature.  And these are threats that are not just tied into drug trafficking, which is transnational of course.

And I’ll give you two examples of success stories that I was mentioning this morning.  One, the attempt to take to Mexico one of the children of Qaddafi — one of Qaddafi’s children.  This implied an international and very North American operation because it was headed up by a Canadian businesswoman who hired an American company, which hired, in turn, Mexican pilots and counterfeiters.  And this multinational operation could have been — would not have been avoided without the international security mechanisms that we didn’t have before, but that now we have.

Also, being able to avoid the assassination of the Saudi ambassador here in Washington would not have been possible without the mechanisms and cooperation that we have today.

So thinking that what happens in Mexico doesn’t have anything to do with the security of the citizens of this country or of any other citizen of North America is a mistake.  We have to understand that we are all tied to one another.

Now, security, understood in the regional sense — in order to understand that, we have to understand where the greatest threats to security actually lay.  The United States has a clear idea of its threat, of its security priorities, its threats of terrorism, of international terrorism, terrible attacks on the U.S. people.  Another threat clearly is in the power of transnational organized crime, which I insist is not crime or organizations that are strictly Mexican in nature.  They don’t have a nationality, and they don’t operate in just one country.  They’re probably operating right here in this city.

In Washington, for instance, the number of homicides per 100,000 inhabitants is higher by 10 — more than 10 or 20 than the largest number in any of the big cities in Mexico.  These are international organizations that have a growing destructive capacity, that act well beyond borders and threaten anyone, anywhere.

It is true, the efforts that we undertake clearly make it possible to contain that threat and to prevent it from acting in society — not just in the United States or Canada, but even in Mexico.  And that explains why, for instance, despite the perception of my country, last year 23 million tourists came to our country by plane, plus another 7 million in cruise ships, plus another 50 million who crossed the border, the land borders.

So that’s also why there are 2 million Mexicans living comfortably in Mexico, and many more living also here who came to visit us here and wanted to see us in the White House.  And that’s also why 1.6 million Canadians come to Mexico every year.  So that’s 5 percent of the Canadian population that travels to Mexico every year.

And that also explains why, despite the fact that a state such as Texas recommends that none of its young people should travel to anywhere in Mexico, that’s why there are hundreds of thousands of young Texans who go to Mexico, enjoy it, and why we haven’t seen one single incident with U.S. spring-breakers in Mexico this past spring, for instance.

Great concern, because these are multinational criminal organizations and the mechanisms, of course, to face them, to defeat them, have to be multinational.  In addition to the solidarity — expressions of solidarity of President Obama, who says that he cannot stand aside from the expressions of threat that is facing a neighbor of his, vulnerability from an institutional point of view in Mexico and Central America is an issue that also impacts and jeopardizes all of the citizens of North America.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you very much, everyone.

END
2:44 P.M. EDT

History Buzz April 4, 2012: Paul S. Boyer: History Doyen & Professor Studied Atomic Bomb & Salem Witch Trials dies at 76

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Paul S. Boyer, 76, Dies; Historian Studied A-Bomb and Witches

Source: NYT, 4-2-12

 

Prof. Paul S. Boyer

Paul Boyer, an intellectual historian who wrote groundbreaking studies of the Salem witch trials, the history of apocalyptic movements and the response of the U.S. public to the nuclear annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, died March 17 in Madison, Wis. He was 76.

The cause was cancer, said his wife, Ann.

Boyer, a professor of U.S. history at the University of Wisconsin from 1980 until his retirement in 2002, was known for his research on the religious underpinnings of American culture, and especially for his interest in how Americans respond to perceived existential threats.

He first received wide notice in 1974 with “Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft,” which suggested that social envy motivated many of the accusers in the 17th-century witch trials.

That book, written with Stephen Nissenbaum, made innovative use of historic land records and tax receipts to show that in many cases the accused were members of Salem’s social establishment, if only peripherally, while their accusers were lower-ranking citizens who had tangled with the victims over financial matters.

The book so radically changed the previous historical understanding of the episode, said a reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement of London, “that virtually all the previous treatment can be consigned to the historical lumber room.”

In 1978, his “Urban Masses and Moral Order in America, 1820-1920” explored the way U.S. leaders and immigrants came to grips with what they saw as the loosening of behavioral norms caused by immigrants’ loss of traditional ties to institutions like church and family. Critics across the political spectrum praised the book, although their interpretations of Boyer’s nuanced findings varied widely.

Writing in The New York Times, the neoconservative urban affairs writer Roger Starr saw the book as Boyer’s endorsement of the need for “traditional values and modes of behavior” in modern urban life. In the left-leaning magazine The Nation, the cultural historian Thomas Bender described it as an account of the well-meaning but largely unsuccessful efforts of reformers to provide immigrants with a moral order “that was receding irretrievably into the past.”

In 1992, Boyer’s “When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture” was somewhat ahead of the pack in identifying the growing power of fundamentalist religious groups in the United States, and explaining how their millennial views were becoming incorporated into mainstream political views about international affairs.

Helped spark the anti-nuke movement

Boyer, a lifelong pacifist raised in the Brethren in Christ Church, an offshoot of the Mennonites, was probably best known for two books about the long-term cultural impact of the United States’ decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan in 1945, at the end of World War II.

“By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age” (1985) and “Fallout” (1998), a collection of a half-century of his essays, described the bomb’s impact on the American psyche, culture and politics. Among the threads Boyer traced was how the bomb impelled a generation of scientists to political activism, which helped spark the broad-based anti-nuclear movement of the 1950s and indirectly paved the way for activism against the war in Vietnam in the 1960s….READ MORE

HISTORY DOYEN PROFILE

Source: Bonnie K. Goodman, HNN, 9-3-2007

What They’re Famous For

Paul Boyer, a U.S. cultural and intellectual historian (Ph.D., Harvard University, 1966) is Merle Curti Professor of History Emeritus and former director (1993-2001) of the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has held visiting professorships at UCLA, Northwestern University, and William & Mary; has received Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships; and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society of American Paul S. Boyer JPG Historians, and the American Antiquarian Society. Before coming to Wisconsin in 1980, he taught at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (1967-1980).

He has lectured at some 90 colleges and universities in the United States, Western Europe, and Israel. He has appeared on programs on the Public Broadcasting System, National Public Radio, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, the BBC, Canadian Broadcasting System, and others.

His publications include: Purity in Print: Book Censorship in America from the Gilded Age to the Computer Age (1968; 2nd edition with two new chapters, 2002); He was the Asst. editor of Notable American Women, 1600-1950 (3 vols., 1971); co-authored with Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft (1974); Urban Masses and Moral Order in America, 1820-1920 (1978); By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age (1985); When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture (1992); Fallout: A Historian Reflects on America’s Half-Century Encounter With Nuclear Weapons (1998). He was the editor-in-chief of The Oxford Companion to United States History (2001).

Salem Possessed won the John H. Dunning Prize of the American Historical Association and was nominated for a National Book Award. When Time Shall Be No More received the Banta Award of the Wisconsin Library Association for literary achievement by a Wisconsin author. The Oxford Companion to United States History was a main selection of History Book Club.

Boyer is the author or co-author of two college-level U.S. history textbooks, The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People (6th edition, 2007); and Promises to Keep: The United States Since 1945 (3rd edn., 2004), and a high-school U.S. history textbook: The American Nation (4nd edn., 2002). His scholarly articles have appeared in the Journal of American History, American Quarterly, American Literary History, The History Teacher, Virginia Quarterly Review, William & Mary Quarterly, and others. He has contributed numerous chapters to scholarly collections and encyclopedia entries, and lectured widely at colleges and universities in the United States and Europe. His articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, Book World, the New Republic, The Nation, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Wisconsin Academy Review, Harvard Divinity School Bulletin, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Tikkun, Policy Review, and other publications.

Active in the Organization of American Historians, he has chaired its Program Committee (1987-88); served on its Nominating Council (1992-94) and Executive Board (1995-98) and on the editorial board of the Journal of American History (1980-83). He served on the national advisory board of the public television series The American Experience and edits the Studies in American Thought and Culture series for the University of Wisconsin Press (1984-94, 2002–). His service on prize committees includes the John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association, the Phi Beta Kappa Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize, and the ABC-Clio Award Committee of the Organization of American Historians.

Boyer chaired the Wisconsin Humanities Council in 2004-06. Biographical entries appear in Who’s Who in American Education and Contemporary Authors.

Personal Anecdote

Family stories were my first introduction to history-not articles or books, but lived experience: a great-uncle killed at Antietam; grandmothers’ tales of late-nineteenth-century Ohio farm life; my father’s account of losing his job during World War I for refusing to salute the flag when co-workers demanded that he do so. My paternal grandfather was a great repository of stories about the past, including his boyhood memories of President Garfield’s assassination in 1881.

Paul S Boyer JPG

Paul Boyer is seated in the front row, second from left, next to his grandfather.

My future perspective as a historian was influenced, too, by my very conservative religious upbringing. The Brethren in Christ church, an offshoot of the Mennonite church, took seriously the biblical injunction”Be not conformed to this world.” The members did not vote, generally refused military service, and dressed very plainly-no neckties for the men; head coverings, cape dresses, and dark stockings for the women. They avoided the movies and other worldly amusements, and viewed the secular power of the state with profound skepticism. I’m no longer a part of that subculture (which in any event is very different today), but its influence has shaped my life and work.

A grade-school teacher in Dayton, Ohio taught me that history is something people can feel passionate about. A southerner, she informed us in no uncertain terms:”If you get nothing else out of this class, just remember that slavery was NOT the cause of the Civil War.” But I can’t claim that the study of history initially gripped me very deeply. My copy of David Saville Muzzey’s A History of Our Country, assigned in a high-school class, is full of my scribbled drawings and witticisms (e.g.,”In Case of Fire, throw this in”). The teacher called him”Fuzzy Muzzey,” signaling us that even textbook writers need not be viewed with total reverence. Now a textbook author myself, I appreciate Muzzey a little more. He writes in his preface:”Boys and girls have sometimes said to me that they have ‘had’ American history, as if it were measles or chicken pox, which they could have and get over and be henceforth immune from. … Do not for a moment think that you are `going over’ American history again in high school in order to add a few more dates and names to your memory. You are studying a new and fresh subject, not because American history has changed, but because you have changed. … You are getting new outlooks on life,–new ambitions, new enthusiasms, new judgments of people and events. Life broadens and deepens for you. So history, which is the record of former people’s ambitions and enthusiasms, comes to have a new meaning for you.”

After high school I enrolled at Upland College in California, a small denominational school that has since closed. Wendell Harmon, who had written his Ph.D. thesis at UCLA on the Prohibition movement in California, taught U.S. history at Upland. Wendell had a skeptical turn of mind and a dry sense of humor. His classes, including a seminar on American Transcendentalism, jolted me into realizing that studying history could be intellectually engaging, even fun. In June 1955, preparing to leave for two years of voluntary service in Europe with the Mennonite Central Committee, I asked Wendell for reading suggestions. His list included Richard Hofstadter’s The American Political Tradition (1948). I devoured the book, writing on the flyleaf words that were new to me (salient, milieu, inchoate, sinecure, ubiquitous). Hofstadter’s cool-eyed revisionist look at America’s political heroes was eye-opening. There is no canonical version of history-all is up for grabs! My copy of this 95-cent Vintage paperback, now falling apart, is still in my library.

Paul S Boyer JPG

My two years in Europe-mostly spent in Paris on loan from the Mennonite Central Committee to an NGO at UNESCO–ended with a world trip via ships, trains, buses, and bicycles. On a train in India I met Gloria Steinem, just out of Smith College, also on a Wanderjahr. A comment she later made about how the trip affected her summed up my reactions as well: Eisenhower’s America, rich and complacent, she said, seemed like a sugary cupcake perched atop a suffering world where most people struggle merely to survive. Practicing my writing skills, I wrote a series of travel essays for the Evangelical Visitor, the Brethren in Christ denominational paper. The editorial board voted me an honorarium of fifty dollars. Another eye-opener: writing could actually produce income!

Those two and a half years abroad proved transformative. In 1955 I had expected to go into my father’s religious-supply business. By 1958, when I entered Harvard as a transfer student, I knew I was not cut out for business. Journalism and teaching seemed appealing, but in a fairly inchoate way. What to major in? I considered English, but History soon won out. The department had a tutorial system for majors, and in 1958-59 I took both the sophomore and junior tutorials. My sophomore tutor, Stanley Katz, was a terrific mentor. We discussed and wrote papers on historians from Herodotus to Marc Bloch, executed by the Gestapo in 1944. Rereading those papers, I’m impressed again by Stan’s blend of encouragement and shrewd criticism. My junior tutor, Manfred Jonas, although busy writing his Ph.D. thesis on American isolationism in the 1930s, carefully read my weekly essays on U.S. historical topics, offering perceptive comments. William R. Taylor’s stimulating course in American historiography introduced me to Prescott, Parkman, and other classic historians and prose stylists.

My senior-thesis advisor, Roger Brown, steered me to a fascinating topic: the Federalist party’s reaction to the Louisiana Purchase. Research at the Massachusetts and Connecticut historical societies gave me a first taste of using primary sources in a milieu redolent of the past. (One elderly lady at the Connecticut Historical Society asked where I was from. When I told her Ohio, she replied,”Oh yes, Western Reserve country.”) To my great excitement, Roger Brown mentioned my thesis in a footnote in his 1964 book The Republic in Peril: 1812.

Finishing college in 1960, I entered Harvard’s graduate history program that fall. In Frank Freidel’s seminar on the 1920s, I choose book censorship in Boston as my research topic. That in turn, led to my first published article (American Quarterly, spring 1963); my Ph.D. thesis on book censorship in America (with Freidel as advisor); and my first book, Purity in Print. Freidel returned my thesis draft with a few stylistic suggestions on the first few pages.”You see the kinds of changes I’m suggesting,” he breezily told me;”You can apply them to the rest of the thesis.” I’m fairly sure he never read beyond those early pages. (On one page, he had marked a sentence to be cut and then changed his mind, scribbling”stet” in the margin: a printer’s term meaning”restore this copy.” In dismay I misread it as”shit,” concluding that my dissertation director considered my work beneath contempt.)

Inviting the seminar to his home for our last meeting, Freidel offered us career advice. Our first job would probably be at some obscure school, he told us, and our sole objective must be to move to ever-more prestigious institutions through our publications.”Your students will want your attention, and your wife will ask you to do things with the family,” he warned,”but you must ignore all that and concentrate on publishing.”

In Arthur Schlesinger Jr.’s course in American intellectual history, Schlesinger read his lectures from what appeared to be page proofs, pausing occasionally to correct a typo. When he departed for Washington after the 1960 election, newly-hired Donald Fleming inherited the course, delivering erudite, beautifully crafted lectures. (My paper on Andrew Carnegie in that course became a lecture that remained in my own intellectual-history course until I retired.) I later graded for Fleming, reading blue books far into the night.

The European intellectual historian H. Stuart Hughes strongly supported SANE, the nuclear-test-ban organization. When I took his course in fall 1962, he was running as an independent for the U.S. Senate on a nuclear-disarmament platform. (Ted Kennedy won.) Sitting in Hughes’ class on October 24, as the U.S. blockade of Soviet vessels bound for Cuba went into effect, we all eyed the clock nervously. Hughes’ example as a politically engaged academic probably influenced my own later small-scale participation in Vietnam War protests and the early-1980s’ nuclear- weapons freeze campaign.

We graduate students flocked to Bernard Bailyn’s lecture course and seminar in American colonial history. At the first seminar meeting, Bailyn proposed a list of research topics. By chance, I got the last choice: a 1754 Massachusetts excise-tax controversy. It seemed unpromising, but actually proved engrossing, particularly the pamphlets describing how lecherous tax collectors would ravish the wives and daughters of virtuous yeomen. The pamphleteers also made ubiquitous references to a 1733 excise-tax controversy in England. When I reported this to Bailyn, he responded with a chuckle that he, too, had noticed that connection, and had put his notes aside for future attention. That seminar paper became my second published article (William and Mary Quarterly, July 1964). Years later, after I had published three or four books, I encountered Bailyn at a convention and he greeted me with:”You know, I see citations to that William and Mary Quarterly article of yours all the time.”

Especially salient among these formative influences were Edward and Janet James, the editor and associate editor of a biographical reference work on American women launched in 1955 at the impetus of Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. (Today the positions would likely be reversed, with Janet as editor, but this was the 1950s.) Ed was a very methodical editor, and by 1961 a large back-log of essays had built up. Ed hired history grad students as fact-checkers, and I became one of his minions. I enjoyed roaming Widener Library in quest of elusive facts, in the process learning about the history of women in America-a subject mostly ignored in my undergraduate and graduate training. As I drafted revisions to correct errors or incorporate new information, and sometimes even ventured to rewrite an entire essay, Ed expanded my duties and gave me a desk in his office. Here I edited hundreds of essays (typing and retyping them in that pre-computer era) and wrote twenty-one myself, from Helena Blavatsky to Frances Wright. Ed and Janet generously appointed me assistant editor, so when Harvard University Press published Notable American Women in three volumes in 1971, my name appeared on the title page along with theirs. This editing and writing experience, immersion in women’s history, and exposure to Ed James’s meticulous attention to detail made my time at Notable American Women an important part-perhaps the most important part-of my graduate training.

By 1967, with Ph.D. in hand, it was time to find a teaching job. Notable American Women was fun, but obviously no lifetime sinecure. I had married Ann Talbot, then a student at Radcliffe College, in 1962, and now our first child was on the way. We hoped to stay in New England, so on a map I drew a semicircle around Boston with a radius of about a hundred miles and sent letters to history departments where I thought I might have a shot. Soon after, Howard Quint, the head of the History Department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, phoned and invited me out. Howard rounded up a few department members and I gave a”job talk” that consisted of summarizing my Ph.D. thesis. He took me to meet the dean, and after they chatted briefly, Howard offered me a job at the munificent salary of $10,000 a year. That’s how things worked in those days.

Paul S Boyer JPG

Antiwar protests and a factionalized department made those early years of teaching the most intense of my career. With campus strikes, moratoria, and marches on Washington, every spring semester from 1967 to 1970 ended with classes disrupted or cancelled entirely. Rashly signing up to give a workshop on Vietnamese history, I crammed the evening before from a book by Bernard B. Fall (killed in Vietnam in 1967). I expected ten or twelve people; the hall was packed. Another evening, several of us led a teach-in on the war in a campus dormitory. As the discussion went on, a young woman said tearfully:”My brother was just killed in Vietnam. Are you telling us this war is wrong?” Again I was reminded that”history” is not just something that we write about. History happens to people.

Just as I was becoming resigned to a life of departmental feuding, cancelled classes, and campus protests, the activism suddenly ended in the fall of 1970. The departmental conflict subsided as well, and my remaining years at UMass brought much satisfaction, with great colleagues, interesting research (including a collaboration with Steve Nissenbaum on Salem Possessed), and rewarding teaching. My graduate training had included no classroom experience and indeed no attention to pedagogy at all, so these years involved a lot of on-the-job training. Fortunately, I found that I loved teaching, whether lecture courses, seminars, or one-on-one meetings with students. (Grading blue books I could have done without.)

New experiences, new projects, and many changes lay ahead, but a course had been set, and I’ve never regretted how it all turned out. I can’t imagine a more satisfying life, and seeing one’s students set sail on their own, in history or other fields, is perhaps the greatest reward of all.

Quotes

By Paul Samuel Boyer

  • If a scholar a thousand years from now had no evidence about what had happened in the United States between 1945 and 1985 except the books produced by the cultural and intellectual historians of that era, he or she would hardly guess that such a thing as nuclear weapons had existed. … We have somehow managed to avert our attention from the pervasive impact of the bomb on … our collective experience….[P]eculiarities in my background … might plausibly be seen as having particularly ‘sensitized’ me to issues of war and peace. Reared in the pacifist beliefs of the Brethren in Christ Church …, I had early heard stories from my father of the harassment and even physical abuse he had experienced as a war resister in 1917-18…. Yet … I suspect it is not my particular upbringing, but experiences that I share with most Americans of the postwar generation, that are relevant here. Even a few random probes of my nuclear consciousness have made clear to me how significantly my life has been influenced by the ever-present reality of the bomb: … [T]he afternoon of August 6, 1945, when I read aloud the ominous-looking newspaper headline, mispronouncing the new word as”a-tome,” since I had never heard anyone say it; … Standing in a darkened room early in 1947, squinting into my atomic-viewer ring, straining to see the”swirling atoms” the Kix Cereal people had assure me would be visible; … Coming out of a Times Square movie theater at midnight on New Year’s Eve, 1959, having just seen the end of the world in On the Beach, overwhelmed by the sheer aliveness of the raucous celebrators; … Feeling the knot tighten in my stomach as President Kennedy, in that staccato voice, tells us we must all build fallout shelters as quickly as possible; … Watching the clock in Emerson Hall creep up toward 11 A.M. on October 25, 1962—Kennedy’s deadline to the Russians during the Cuban missile crisis—half expecting a cataclysmic flash when the hour struck; … Overhearing my daughter’s friend recently telling how her little sister hid under the bed when searchlights probed the sky a few nights earlier(a supermarket was having a grand opening), convinced that the missiles were about to fall. ….

    Even my sense of ancestral rootedness is now interwoven with images of nuclear menace and danger. In the summer of 1978, my brother Bill and I, finding ourselves together in Pennsylvania, took a little excursion to find the cemetery where some of our forebears who had migrated from [Switzerland] in the 1750s were buried. As we drove southward from Harrisburg along the Susquehanna, the looming concrete bulk of a nuclear power plant—Three Mile Island—suddenly hove into view. Almost literally in the shadows of those squat, hideous—and soon to be famous—towers, we found the small burial plot we were seeking. …

    I have been repeatedly struck … at how uncannily familiar much of the early response to the bomb seems: the visions of atomic devastation, the earnest efforts to rouse people to resist such a fate, the voices seeking to soothe or deflect these fears, the insistence that security lay in greater technical expertise and in more and bigger weaponry. I gradually realized that what I was uncovering was, in fact, the earliest version of the themes that still dominate our nuclear discourse today. All the major elements of our contemporary engagement with the nuclear reality took shape literally within days of Hiroshima. … By the Bomb’s Early Light, then, is an effort to go back to the earliest stages of our long engagement with nuclear weapons. Unless we recover this lost segment of our cultural history, we cannot fully understand the world in which we live, nor be as well equipped as we might to change it. …

    As is appropriate, this book will be read and judged by my professional peers as a piece of scholarship like any other. I hope it will not seem presumptuous to say that it is also intended as a contribution, however flawed, to the process by which we are again, at long last, trying to confront, emotionally as well as intellectually, the supreme menace of our age. Henry Adams once wrote,”No honest historian can take part with—or against—the forces he has to study. To him, even the extinction of the human race should merely be a fact to be grouped with other vital statistics.” I readily confess that I have not achieved Adams’s austere standard of professional objectivity. This book is a product of experiences outside the library as well as inside, and it is not the work of a person who can view the prospect of human extinction with scholarly detachment. —
    Paul S. Boyer from the introduction to”By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age” (1985)

“By Paul S. Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum

  • If the large concepts with which historians conventionally deal are to have any meaning, it is only as they can be made manifest in individual cases like these. The problems which confronted Salem Village in fact encompassed some of the central issues of New England society in the late seventeenth century: the resistance of back-country farmers to the pressures of commercial capitalism and the social style that accompanied it; the breaking away of outlying areas from parent towns; difficulties between ministers and their congregations; the crowding of third- generation sons from family lands; the shifting locus of authority within individual communities and society as a whole; the very quality of life in an unsettled age. But for men like Samuel Parris and Thomas Putnam, Jr., these issues where not abstractions. They emerged as upsetting personal encounters with people like Israel Porter and Daniel Andrew, and as unfavorable decisions handed down in places like Boston and Salem Town. JPG It was in 1692 that these men for the first time attempted (just as we are attempting in this book) to piece together the shards of their experience, to shape their malaise into some broader theoretical pattern, and to comprehend the full dimensions of thoses forces which they vaguely sensed were shaping their private destinies. Oddly enough, it has been through our sense of” collaborating” with Parris and the Putnams in their effort to delineate the larger contours of their world, and our sympathy, at least on the level of metaphor, with certain of their perceptions, that we have come to feel a curious bond with the”witch hunters” of 1692.

    But one advantage we as outsiders have had over the people off Salem Village is that we can afford to recognize the degree to which the menace they were fighting off had taken root within each of them almost as deeply as it had in Salem Town or along the Ipswich Road. It is at this level, indeed, that we have most clearly come to recognize the implications of their travail for our understanding of what might be called the Puritan temper during the final, often intense, and occasionally lurid efflorescence which signaled the end of its century-long history. For Samuel Parrish and Thomas Putnam, Jr., were part of a vast company, on both sides of the Atlantic, who were trying to expunge the lure of the new order from their own souls by doing battle with it in the real world. While this company of Puritans were not purveyors of the spirit of capitalism that historians once made them out to be, neither were they simple peasants clinging blindly to the imagined security of a receding medieval culture. What seems above all to characterize them, and even help define their identity as”Puritans” is the precarious way in which they managed to inhabit both these worlds at once.

    The inner tensions that shaped the Puritan temper were inherent in it from the very start, but rarely did they emerge with such raw force as in 1692, in little Salem Village. For here was a community in which these tensions were exacerbated by a tangle of external circumstances: a community so situated geographically that its inhabitants experienced two different economic systems, two different ways of life, at unavoidably close range; and so structured politically that it was next to impossible to locate, either within the Village or outside it, a dependable and unambiguous center of authority which might hold in check the effects of these accidents of geography.

    The spark which finally set off this volatile mix came with the unlikely convergence of a set of chance factors in the early 1690’s: the arrival of a new minister who brought with him a slave acquainted with West Indian voodoo lore; the heightened interest throughout New England in fortune telling and the occult, taken up in Salem Village by an intense group of adolescent girls related by blood and faction to the master of that slave; the coming of age Joseph Putnam, who bore the name of one of Salem Village’s two controlling families while owing his allegiance to the other; the political and legal developments in Boston and London which hamstrung provincial authorities for several crucial months in 1692.

    But beyond these proximate causes lie the deeper and more inexorable ones we have already discussed. For in the witchcraft outburst in Salem Village, perhaps the most exceptional event in American colonial history, certainly the most bizarre, one finds laid bare the central concerns of the era.
    Paul S. Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum in”Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft”

About Paul Samuel Boyer

  • Salem Possessed is a provocative book. Drawing upon an impressive range of unpublished local sources, Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum provide a challenging new interpretation of the outbreak of witchcraft in Salem Village. The authors argue that previous historians erroneously divorced the tragic events of 1692 from the long-term development of the village and therefore failed to realize that the witch trials were simply one particularly violent chapter in a series of local controversies dating back to the 1660s. In their reconstruction of the socio-economic conditions that contributed to the intense factionalism in Salem Village, Boyer and Nissenbaum have made a major contribution to the social history of colonial New England….
    Boyer and Nissenbaum have provided us with a first-rate discussion of factionalism in a seventeenth-century New England community. Their handling of economic, familial, and spatial relationships within Salem Village is both sophisticated and imaginative. But the dynamics of witchcraft, not only in Salem Village but also in other Massachusetts towns affected by the outbreak of 1692, still remain a mystery. — T. H. Breen, Northwestern University in”The William and Mary Quarterly,” reviewing”Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft”
  • Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum have made great contributions to our better understanding of the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692. Their first book, Salem Village Witchcraft: A Documentary Record of Local Conflict in Colonial New England (1972). brought together diverse materials dealing with the outbreak of witchcraft and the trials; Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft (1974). was an attempt to place the events of 1692 within the larger context of Salem’s social, economic, and political history. This study relied primarily upon community records and family documents, including wills, deeds, and inventories. The Salem Witchcraft Papers is the most recent and most valuable product of Boyer’s and Nissenbaum’s collaborative research in this important episode of New England history….
    The Salem Witchcraft Papers is an important addition to the growing body of primary and secondary material dealing with the Salem witchcraft scare. Boyer and Nissenbaum have done a great service to all students of early New England history by publishing an important collection that has lain dormant for more than forty years. The ultimate value of the work, however, will be its use as a source book by future historians who seek a better understanding of the Salem witchcraft episode. — Paula A. Treckel in”The New England Quarterly” reviewing”The Salem Witchcraft Papers: Verbatim Transcripts of the Legal Documents of the Salem Witchcraft Outbreak of 1692″
  • “that witchcraft charges . . . were brought principally by members and friends of the tribe with cause for envy, and directed principally against minor members or peripheral connections of the enviable group…. the recent history and practical circumstances which permitted such action are explored, and the whole approach to the Salem disaster is canny, rewarding, and sure to fascinate readers interested in that aberrant affair.” — Phoebe Adams in”Atlantic” reviewing”Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft”
  • “offers an illuminating and imaginative interpretation . . . of the social and moral state of Salem Village in 1692 . . . . It has the extra recommendation of telling a gripping story which builds up to a horrifying climax.” — Keith Thomas in the”New York Review of Books” reviewing”Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft”
  • “The authors have produced an explanatory scheme which accounts fully for the events of 1692, renders them significant in a much wider context of social and economic change, and yet allows room for the operation of personalities and accidental influences. . . . Salem Possessed reinterprets a world-famous episode so completely and convincingly that virtually all the previous treatment can be consigned to the historical lumberroom.” — Robin Briggs in”Times Literary Supplement” reviewing”Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft”
  • “In their book”Salem Possessed, The Social Origins of Witchcraft,” Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum present convincing evidence that Salem village, the backwoods adjunct to Salem town in which the accusers lived, was ridden with fear and hatred of the social changes being wrought by mercantile capitalism in the town and especially in Boston. At first, three social outcasts were accused; then some people in the eastern part of the village nearest to and most involved in the new commercialism. Then more and more prominent merchants and politicians were accused in the town, in Boston and eventually in all of Massachusetts. The authors show that on a number of occasions young girls in other Massachusetts communities had bouts of hysteria and that adults turned the affair into religious revivals. Only in Salem, where the adults were themselves paranoiac about the new commercialism, was adolescent hysteria turned – by adults – into a witch hunt, in which the”witches” were, by no accident, prominent”mercantile capitalists.” — ROGER HILSMAN in the New York Times on”Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft”
  • “Paul Boyer, a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, describes all this with care and nuance and includes much that is less well known: appeals for world government; religious protests; dreams of atomic-powered technology; visions of Utopia and its opposite; advice from the professions; literary, cinematic and musical commentary. The sheer volume of the material is astounding. In this five-year period, education journals alone ran 260 articles relating to the bomb. The problem, Mr. Boyer writes, was”deciding when to turn off the tap”….. As careful as he is with the evidence, Mr. Boyer is clear about where he stands. He tells of his own pacifist origins and readily confesses his inability to follow Henry Adams’s dictum that to the honest historian”even the extinction of the human race should merely be a fact to be grouped with other vital statistics.” His depth of concern comes through in sharp prose….
    A wide-ranging historian who has written important studies of both the Salem witch trials (with Stephen Nissenbaum) and 19th-century urban reform, Mr. Boyer has closely studied the responses earlier Americans made to perceived threats to their well-being. And he does not omit pointing out”how the early discussions of the bomb’s implications often moved in well-worn grooves.” Among these grooves was the fear of concentrations of power (Who will control atomic energy?), worry about mass leisure (What will the masses do when the atom does all the work?), hostility to the city (Ruralization is the answer to atomic threats) and warnings of apocalypse (Repent before the fire consumes us all)….
    In an epilogue, Mr. Boyer brings the story up to date. When the fallout from atmospheric nuclear testing became apparent in the mid-1950’s, it brought about a new round of public concern. This faded away in the wake of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and the 1963 test-ban treaty only to reappear in recent years in the form of hostility to nuclear power, and distress at the Reagan Administration’s lack of enthusiasm for arms control. The current nuclear debate, Mr. Boyer writes, afflicts him with a”sense of deja vu.” Virtually”every theme and image by which we express our nuclear fear today has its counterpart in the immediate post-Hiroshima period,” he writes. It is a depressing thought, for why should what proved ineffectual before not prove ineffectual again? But perhaps the old themes and images are the best we can summon. They may not succeed in removing the threat of nuclear war, but at least they tell us something about who we are. — New York Times Review of”By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age”
  • “If you believed you knew the essentials about the dawn of the atomic age, this book will change your mind. Based on an impressive number of contemporary sources – including newspaper articles, cartoons, press ads, poems, pictures, letters and opinion polls -Boyer outlines the bomb’s sociological and cultural impact on American society from 1945 to the early fifties. Indeed, some strange and surprising connections are revealed, as between the Bikini tests and Hollywood-star Rita Hayworth. His main accomplishment, though, is to show the mixed cultural heritage of the Hiroshima/ Nagasaki incidents; how they created both hopes and fears, selfconfidence and anger, cynicism and guilt. His account of the Atomic Scientists’ Movement is skilled and wellbalanced, as is his unpassionate discourse on the continuing cycles of anti-nuclear activism and apathy. In short, By the Bomb’s Early Light shows the art of socio-intellectual history from its most perceptive and powerful side.” — Olav Njølstad in”Journal of Peace Research”, reviewing”By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age”
  • Of the many books inspired by the 40-year anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, this certainly is one of the best. Boyer, an adept cultural historian, unravels the diverse reactions to the advent of the nuclear era between 1945 and 1950. The enormity of what had occurred caused disorientation among intellectuals and the general public alike. Basic beliefs wavered, contradictions emerged, and attitudes changed in a short period of time. Boyer traces scientific, literary, philosophical, and religious implications of the new weapon, revealing his own wit and commitment as well as historical skill. His neglect of the emergence of Abstract Expressionism as a major cultural response to the bomb stands as one of the few shortcomings in this fine, readable book. Highly recommended — Charles K. Piehl, Director of Grants Management, Mankato State Univ., Minn. in Library Journal reviewing”By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age”
  • “In this thoroughly documented and richly illustrated study Boyer has traced the confusions, the ironies and the sometimes humorous and sometimes tragic effects of American efforts to cope with the question of what is permissible and what is taboo in the public morality and in the printed word. Beginning with a brief but penetrating discussion of the state of these matters at the present time, Boyer goes back to the early 1800s and traces the problem and its self-appointed solvers up to the 1930s. Anthony Comstock and John S. Sumner are given full treatment, as are such defenders of a liberal and enlightened attitude as Mencken and Morris Ernst. Boyer makes frequent mention of the psychological factors which motivated the”purifyers” but his approach is principally historical and sociological. Although there have been many other books and articles written on this basic aspect of American culture, this is certainly the definitive study of the subject.” — GEORGE K. SMART, University of Miami reviewing”Purity in Print: The Vice Society Movement and Book Censorship in America” in”American Quarterly,”
  • “It is less this solid but conventional framework which insures Boyer’s study its excellence than the fairmindedness that allows Boyer on every page to rectify old errors, add new insights, and back or qualify recent scholarly conclusions. He makes his reader look in unexpected places for causes and effects, and always to good purpose Deftly disposing of the tired cliches about devious clerical power-plays masked as evangelical reform, he sympathetically charts the demise of active religious and ecclesiastical influence in the city, he shows, nonetheless, its legacy of moral enthusiasm to be the central one in urban reform until the 1920s…. While discovering and sorting the facts of the urban reform movement, Boyer is alert to the language and psychology of the reformers. Again and again, he documents what he perceptively calls”the familiar urban moralcontrol cycle, from initial enthusiasm to baffled discouragement” This is a book which all serious students of the American city and of the nineteenth century will want to read and keep for perusal and reference. — Ann Douglas, Columbia University in”The Journal of American History” reviewing”Urban Masses and Moral Order in America, 1820-1920″

Basic Facts

Teaching Positions:

University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Asst. Prof. to Professor of History, 1967-1980; department chair, 1978-80
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Professor of History, 1980-85; Merle Curti Professor of History, 1985-2002; Emeritus, 2002 –
Paul S Boyer JPGConcurrent Position at the University of Wisconsin: Senior Member, Institute for Research in the Humanities, 1989-2002; Director, 1993-2001.

Visiting Appointments:
University of California-Los Angeles, Visiting Professor of History, 1987-1988;
Northwestern University, Henry Luce Visiting Professor of American Culture, 1988-1989;
State University of New York-Plattsburgh, September 1992, Distinguished Visiting Professor Northwestern University, Visiting Professor, Fall 1995;
College of William and Mary, James Pinckney Harrison Professor of History, 2002-03;

Other positions included Coordination Committee for International Voluntary Work Camps, UNESCO, Paris. Staff member, 1955-1957;
Notable American Women, Harvard University, Assistant Editor, 1964-1967;

Area of Research:

American cultural and intellectual history; American religious history; Prophetic and apocalyptic belief in America; Censorship and First Amendment Issues; nuclear weapons in American culture, Salem witchcraft.

Education:

Harvard University, A.B. (magna cum laude), 1960, M.A., 1961, Ph.D., 1966.

Major Publications:

  • Purity in Print: The Vice-Society Movement and Book Censorship in America, Scribner (New York City), 1968.
  • (With Stephen Nissenbaum) Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1974, Italian edition includes introduction by Carlo Ginzburg, published as La Citta Indemoniate, Einaudi (Turino), 1986, published as Salem Possessed, MJF (New York City), 1997.
  • Urban Masses and Moral Order in America, 1820-1920, Harvard University Press, 1978, reprinted, 1992.
  • (With others) Women in American Religion, edited by Janet Wilson, University of Pennsylvania Press (Philadelphia), 1978.
  • By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age, Pantheon (New York City), 1985, second edition, contains a new preface by Boyer, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill), 1994.
  • Mission on Taylor Street: The Founding and Early Years of the Dayton Brethren in Christ Mission, Brethren in Christ Historical Society (Grantham, PA), 1987.
  • (Coauthor) The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People, Volume 1: To 1877, Volume 2: From 1865, Heath (Lexington), 1989, second edition, 1993, interactive CD-ROM editions, developed by Bryten, 1993 and 1996, third edition, 1996, essentials edition, includes text and CD-ROM, Houghton Mifflin (Boston), 1999, fourth edition, Houghton Mifflin, 1999, chapters 22-33 of third edition also published separately as The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People, 1890s to the Present, Heath, 1996.
  • When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, Harvard University Press, 1992.
  • Promises to Keep: The United States since 1945 (textbook), Heath, 1994, second edition, Houghton Mifflin, 1999.
  • Todd and Curti’s American Nation (textbook), Holt (Austin), 1994, annotated teacher’s edition published as Boyer’s American Nation, 1998.
  • (With Sterling Stuckey) The American Nation in the Twentieth Century (textbook), Holt, 1995, annotated teacher’s edition, 1996.
  • Fallout: A Historian Reflects on America’s Half Century Encounter with Nuclear Weapons (collection of previously published writings), Ohio State University Press (Columbus), 1998.

Byer’s upcoming projects include an article on nuclear themes in the work of the poets and writers of the Beat Movement, with Professor William Lawlor, and revisions of college and high-school American history textbooks (ongoing).

Editor, Contributor, Joint Author:

  • (Assistant editor, with Edward T. James and Janet W. James) Notable American Women: 1607-1950, three volumes, Harvard University Press, 1971.
  • (With Nissenbaum; and author of introduction and index, with Nissenbaum) The Salem Witchcraft Papers: Verbatim Transcripts of the Legal Documents of the Salem Witchcraft Outbreak of 1692, compiled and transcribed in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration, under the supervision of Archie N. Frost, Da Capo (New York City), 1977.
  • (With Nissenbaum; and author of introduction, with Nissenbaum) Salem Village Witchcraft: A Documentary Record of Local Conflict in Colonial New England, Wadsworth (Belmont, CA), 1972, reprinted with new preface by Boyer and Nissenbaum, Northeastern University Press (Boston), 1993.
  • (Editor and author of commentary) Reagan as President: Contemporary Views of the Man, His Politics, and His Policies, Ivan R. Dee (Chicago), 1990.
  • (Editor-in-chief) Oxford Companion to United States History, Oxford University Press, 2001.

Also, general editor of the”History of American Thought and Culture” series, University of Wisconsin Press, 1984-94.

Contributor to reference works and collaborative projects, among them Encyclopedia of American History, essay on Bernard Baruch, Frank Kellogg, and Henry Stimpson, Dushkin, 1974; Notable American Women,Supplement 1: The Modern Era, essay on Dorothy Thompson and Blanche Knopf, Harvard University Press, 1980; Encyclopedia Americana, essays on Carrie Chapman Catt, Henry Blackwell, and Antoinette Blackwell; Dictionary of American Biography, Scribner’s, Supplement III, essays on John Macrae and John Woolsey, 1973, Supplement IV, essays on Frank Buck, Frank Crowninshield, Paul Harris, James McGraw, Barney Oldfield, Charles M. Sheldon, Harry Thaw, and Charles Towne, 1974, Supplement IV, essay on Franklin D’Olier, 1977, and Supplement VI, essay on Duncan Hines, 1980; Dictionary of American History, Scribner’s, 1976; Encyclopedia of American Political History, Volume 1, edited by Jack P. Greene, Scribner’s, 1984; Encyclopedia of American Social History, Volume 1, edited by Mary R. Cayton, Elliott J. Gorn, and Peter W. Williams, Scribner’s, 1993; A Companion to American Thought, edited by Richard W. Fox and James T. Kloppenberg, Blackwell (Cambridge, MA), 1995; History of the United States, Volume 5, edited by Donald T. Critchlow and Andrzej Bartnicki, Polish Academic Press (Warsaw), 1996; Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism, Volume 3, edited by Stephen J. Stein, Continuum (New York City), 1997; A History of the Book in America, Volume 4, edited by Carl Kaestle and Janice Radway, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming; as well as World Book Encyclopedia,American National Biography, and Oxford Companion to American Military History.

Contributor of numerous chapters in coauthored works, scholarly articles, book reviews, and review essays to periodicals, among them American Historical Review, American Quarterly, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Diplomatic History, Historian, History Teacher, Houston Review, Journal of American History, Journal of the American Medical Association, New Republic, Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research in History, Reviews in American History, Virginia Quarterly Review, and William and Mary Quarterly. Also contributor of essays and commentary to periodicals, including Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Chronicle of Higher Education, Cleveland Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine, Harvard Divinity School Bulletin, Messenger Magazine, Nation, New Republic, New York Times Newsday Books, Policy Review, Tikkun, Washington Post Magazine, and Wisconsin Academy Review.

Awards:

National Book Award nomination in History, 1975 (for Salem Possessed);
John Dunning Prize, American Historical Association, 1974 (for Salem Possessed);
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, 1973-74;
Distinguished Alumnus Award, Messiah College, 1979;
Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowship, 1982-83;
American Antiquarian Society, Elected to membership, 1984;
Society of American Historians, Elected to membership, 1990;
Wisconsin Institute for Study of War, Peace and Global Cooperation, Faculty Award, 1992;
Banta Award for literary achievement by a Wisconsin author, Wisconsin Library Assn., 1993 (for When Time Shall Be No More);
“Notable Wisconsin Author” Award, Wisconsin Library Association, 1999;
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Elected to membership, 1997;
Massachusetts Historical Society, Elected to membership, 1997;
Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Humanities Scholarship, Wisconsin, 2003;
Listed in Contemporary Authors, Who’s Who in American Education.

Additional Info:

Boyer has made numerous television appearances on nationally broadcast programs including:”The Menace of Nuclear Weapons,” History Channel”20th Century with Mike Wallace”
“Apocalypse,” PBS”Frontline” program, Nov. 22, 1999;
“Monkey Trial” [The 1925 Scopes Trial], PBS,”The American Experience” series, February 2002;
“Revelation,” Discovery Channel, Jan. 7, 2004; BBC-TV, Apr. 25, 2004;
“Witch Hunt” [Salem witchcraft], History Channel, September 31, 2004;
“Countdown to Armageddon,” History Channel, December 26, 2004;
“Antichrist,” History Channel, Dec. 26, 2005;
“The Rapture,” Discovery Times Channel, Jan. 31, 2006 and rebroadcasts;
“Secrets of Revelation: National Geographic Channel, July 16, 2006 and rebroadcasts;
“The Doomsday Code,” Channel 4 (Great Britain). Sept. 16, 2006;
“U.S. Strategic Nuclear Policy: An Oral History” (4 DVD set, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM, 2005). He has also had national radio interviews on : PBS, CBC, BBC, etc.; and numerous interviews on various topics on local radio stations and TV channels; Wisconsin Public Radio; Wisconsin Public Television.

Legal Buzz April 2, 2012: US Supreme Court Ruling Allows Strip-Searches for Any Offenses including Minor Offenses

LEGAL BUZZ

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS:

Supreme Court Ruling Allows Strip-Searches for Any Offense

Source: NYT, 4-2-12

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband…. READ MORE

Full Text Supreme Court Opinion Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington

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