Journal of American History


Rape without Women: Print Culture and the Politicization of Rape, 1765–1815

By early American standards, only women could be raped. Yet print discourse featured the erasure of raped women, focusing instead on men’s protection of women’s virtue and the affront to men when their sisters, daughters, or wives were raped. Rape came under public discussion only as a battle between male combatants. Sharon Block explores how revolutionary-era rhetoric deployed such gendered constructions of rape to depict the British Empire as an attacker and America as a victim. Remaining popular in the early republic, rape narratives represented masculine conflicts over power and mirrored the limits on women’s participation in public life. (pp. 849–868) Read online >

“Public Sentiment Is Everything”: The Union’s Public Communications Strategy and the Bogus Proclamation of 1864

Abraham Lincoln, shown here drafting the Emancipation Proclamation at the War Department telegraph office, penned a proclamation on the night of May 17, 1864, calling up fresh troops for service in the Wilderness campaign.
Courtesy Library of Congress.

Menahem Blondheim explores the Lincoln administration’s management of public communications in the Civil War. With the cooperation of the New York Associated Press, the dominant national news wire service, the administration quietly exploited the telegraphic centralization of news collection and dissemination to control the first impression events made on the public mind. Only with the May 1864 bogus proclamation affair, at a critical juncture of the Civil War, did the Lincoln administration move aggressively to restrict press freedom and consolidate control over the North’s telegraphic network and wire services. Blondheim explains why. (pp. 869–921) Read online >

“The Art of Killing by Electricity”: The Sublime and the Electric Chair

 Like various other inventions powered by electricity, such as a motor-run sewing machine, a fire engine, or medical instruments, the execution machine pictured here was supposed to illustrate the advanced technology of the late nineteenth century.
Image reprinted from Harper’s Weekly, Feb. 25, 1888.

In the late nineteenth century, many Americans hailed electricity as awe-inspiring and almost supernatural, that is, sublime. The ability to control it betokened both human genius and a superior civilization progressing toward perfection. In the essay that won the David Thelen Prize for 2002, Jürgen Martschukat shows how even executions by electricity inspired pride and awe. The electric chair would turn the barbaric business of hanging into a sublime demonstration of cultural capability. Examining the first electric execution, that of William Kemmler in New York in August 1890, Martschukat explores the way Americans of the era linked technology, progress, the sublime, and the death penalty. (pp. 900–22) Read online >

Delegitimizing Democracy: “Civic Slackers,” the Cultural Turn, and the Possibilities of Politics

A gentleman lounges at home instead of voting in Gale’s 1924 cartoon, “The Most Dangerous Man in America.” Get-Out-the-Vote groups routinely depicted nonvoters as white men who were middle-class or wealthy, although such men had the highest rate of voter turnout.
Courtesy Los Angeles Times.

Liette Gidlow reimagines the study of power through an exploration of the 1920s Get-Out-the-Vote (GOTV) campaigns. Led by businessmen and reforming women, achieved through flashy ad campaigns and sober programs of civic education, GOTV efforts attempted not only to boost voter turnout but also to reestablish civic hierarchies that had been flattened by universal suffrage. Analyzing the campaigns’ work in three ways—as the politics of discourse, the politics of the everyday, and formal politics—Gidlow suggests methods that cultural historians, cultural studies scholars, social historians, and political historians might use to connect their diverse investigations of a shared question: How has power been deployed, resisted, and legitimated? (pp. 922–58) Read online >

Constructing G.I. Joe Louis: Cultural Solutions to the “Negro Problem” during World War II

 This poster featuring Joe Louis was one of the few—and consequently one of the most famous—images of a black man in World War II propaganda.
Courtesy National Archives.

In the essay that won the Louis Pelzer Award for 2002, Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff examines how the federal government used the black heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis as a cultural icon during World War II. Shunning concrete civil rights measures that might cause political conflict, the state developed cultural programs. Officials hoped publicity about Louis would defuse racial tensions and boost black morale. The War Department and the Office of War Information purposely depoliticized their programs to downplay racial discrimination in the military. Yet in symbolizing black advancement, Louis inspired subtle responses that went beyond the sanitized patriotism white officials had intended. (pp. 958–83) Read online >

Exhibition Reviews

Hochschild, Kohn & Co. was one of Baltimore’s major downtown department stores, a shopping destination for generations of Baltimoreans. This 1927 shopping memorandum gave shoppers a place to take notes and a handy reminder of the store’s phone number.
Courtesy The Jewish Museum of Maryland.
  • “Stony the Road They Trod: Forced Migration of African Americans in the Slave South, 1790–1865,” by Bruce E. Baker (pp. 984–85) Read online >
  • Battle of Olustee, annual reenactment and downtown festival, by Sean H. McMahon (pp. 986–8) Read online >
  • “Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America,” by Grace Elizabeth Hale (pp. 989–93) Read online >
  • Museum of Mobile, by Clarence L. Mohr (pp. 994–98) Read online >
  • “Enterprising Emporiums: The Jewish Department Stores of Downtown Baltimore,” by Jessica Elfenbein (pp. 999–1001) Read online >
  • “Joseph McCarthy: A Modern Tragedy,” by Stephen E. Kercher (pp. 1002–1005) Read online >
  • Oklahoma City National Memorial Center Museum, by Carolyn Garrett Pool (pp. 1005–1007) Read online >
  • “New York September 11 by Magnum Photographers”; “Here Is New York: A Democracy of Photographs”; and “The September 11 Photo Project,” by Jeffrey Shandler (pp. 1008–1014) Read online >
  • Museums and Communities after September 11, by Margo Bloom (pp. 1014–16) Read online >

Book Reviews

Dec. 2002, Vol. 89 No. 3

Alphabetical by the last name of the book's first author or editor.

  • Alexander, Jazz Age Jews, by David J. Goldberg
  • Anderson, Deep River: Music and Memory in Harlem Renaissance Thought, by Burton W. Peretti
  • Appy, ed., Cold War Constructions: The Political Culture of United States Imperialism, 1945–1966, by William O. Walker III
  • Arthur, Invisible Sojourners: African Immigrant Diaspora in the United States, by Andrew F. Clark
  • Baer, Biomedicine and Alternative Healing Systems in America: Issues of Class, Race, Ethnicity, and Gender, by Roger Cooter
  • Ball, Army Regulars on the Western Frontier, 1848–1861, by Robert Carriker
  • Bauerlein, Negrophobia: A Race Riot in Atlanta, 1906, by Gregory Mixon
  • Bean, Big Government and Affirmative Action: The Scandalous History of the Small Business Administration, by Theodore P. Kovaleff
  • Bednarek, America’s Airports: Airfield Development, 1918–1947, by Marc Dierikx
  • Bernstein, A Perilous Progress: Economists and Public Purpose in Twentieth-Century America, by Thomas K. McCraw
  • Biolsi, “Deadliest Enemies”: Law and the Making of Race Relations on and off Rosebud Reservation, by Brian W. Dippie
  • Bledstein and Johnston, eds., The Middling Sorts: Explorations in the History of the American Middle Class, by Daniel J. Walkowitz
  • Bleser and Gordon, eds., Intimate Strategies of the Civil War: Military Commanders and Their Wives, by Janet L. Coryell
  • Bloom, Suburban Alchemy: 1960s New Towns and the Transformation of the American Dream, by Paul H. Mattingly
  • Boyle and Bunie, Paul Robeson: The Years of Promise and Achievement, by Kenneth R. Janken
  • Branson, These Fiery Frenchified Dames: Women and Political Culture in Early National Philadelphia, by Rosemarie Zagarri
  • Brumwell, Redcoats: The British Soldier and War in the Americas, 1755–1763, by Don Higginbotham
  • Bude and Greiner, eds., Westbindungen: Amerika in der Bundesrepublik (West-relationships: America in the Federal Republic of Germany), by Klaus Larres
  • Butler, An Undergrowth of Folly: Public Order, Race Anxiety, and the 1903 Evansville, Indiana, Riot, by William Cohen
  • Bynum, The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War, by Wayne K. Durrill
  • Clifford, “A Truthful Impression of the Country”: British and American Travel Writing in China, 1880–1949, by Madeline Y. Hsu
  • Cocks, Doing the Town: The Rise of Urban Tourism in the United States, 1850–1915, by Philip J. Ethington
  • Cohen-Solal, trans. by Hurwitz-Attias, Painting American: The Rise of American Artists, Paris 1867–New York 1948, by Sarah Burns
  • Conforti, Imagining New England: Explorations of Regional Identity from the Pilgrims to the Mid-Twentieth Century, by Tamara Plakins Thornton
  • Cook, The Arts of Deception: Playing with Fraud in the Age of Barnum, by Gary S. Cross
  • Corrigan, Business of the Heart: Religion and Emotion in the Nineteenth Century, by Amanda Porterfield
  • Cox, Ikenberry, and Inoguchi, eds., American Democracy Promotion: Impulses, Strategies, and Impacts, by David Clinton
  • Crawford, Ashe County’s Civil War: Community and Society in the Appalachian South, by Robert Tracy McKenzie
  • Dale, The Rule of Justice: The People of Chicago versus Zephyr Davis, by Richard F. Hamm
  • Daynes, More Wives than One: Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840–1910, by Norman H. Murdoch
  • DeConde, Gun Violence in America: The Struggle for Control, by Joel Best
  • Dougherty, Collective Action under the Articles of Confederation, by Jonathan M. Chu
  • Ellis, Race, War, and Surveillance: African Americans and the United States Government during World War I, by Christopher Capozzola
  • Evans, The Conquest of Labor: Daniel Pratt and Southern Industrialization, by John Majewski
  • Fenn, Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775–82, by Joyce E. Chaplin
  • Fogarty, Commonwealth Catholicism: A History of the Catholic Church in Virginia, by Mary J. Oates
  • Fogelson, Downtown: Its Rise and Fall, 1880–1950, by William Issel
  • Ford, Americans All!: Foreign-Born Soldiers in World War I, by Frederick C. Luebke
  • Frezza, Il leader, la folla, la democrazia nel discorso pubblico americano, 1880–1941 (The leader, the crowd, and democracy in American public discourse, 1880–1941), by José Luis Orozco
  • Frost, “An Interracial Movement of the Poor”: Community Organizing and the New Left in the 1960s, by Robert Fisher
  • Fujitani, White, and Yoneyama, eds., Perilous Memories: The Asia-Pacific War(s), by Jeffery C. Livingston
  • Gemelli, ed., The “Unacceptables”: American Foundations and Refugee Scholars between the Two Wars and After, by Sylvia W. McGrath
  • Gerteis, Civil War St. Louis, by Randall M. Miller
  • Geschwind, California Earthquakes: Science, Risk, & the Politics of Hazard Mitigation, by Ted Steinberg
  • Gillespie, The Life and Times of Martha Laurens Ramsay, 1759–1811, by Johanna Miller Lewis
  • Glaude, Exodus!: Religion, Race, and Nation in Early Nineteenth-Century Black America, by Lamin Sanneh
  • Gleijeses, Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959–1976, by James H. Meriwether
  • Gordon, The Mormon Question: Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America, by Nancy A. Hewitt
  • Gracia and De Greiff, eds., Hispanics/Latinos in the United States: Ethnicity, Race, and Rights, by José M. Alamillo
  • Graham, Framing the South: Hollywood, Television, and Race during the Civil Rights Struggle, by John A. Silk
  • Gray, Southern Aberrations: Writers of the American South and the Problems of Regionalism, by Barbara Ladd
  • Gray, The Business of Captivity: Elmira and Its Civil War Prison, by James O. Breeden
  • Grover, The Fugitive’s Gibraltar: Escaping Slaves and Abolitionism in New Bedford, Massachusetts, by John R. McKivigan
  • Gustafson, Women and the Republican Party, 1854–1924, by Elizabeth R. Varon
  • Guterl, The Color of Race in America, 1900–1940, by David W. Stowe
  • Halper, Invisible Stars: A Social History of Women in American Broadcasting, by Sandra Haarsager
  • Haynes, Red Lines, Black Spaces: The Politics of Race and Space in a Black Middle-Class Suburb, by Andrew Wiese
  • Hein, Noble Powell and the Episcopal Establishment in the Twentieth Century, by David E. Sumner
  • Holt, Indian Orphanages, by Lisa E. Emmerich
  • Huggard and Gómez, eds., Forests under Fire: A Century of Ecosystem Mismanagement in the Southwest, by Thomas R. Cox
  • Igler, Industrial Cowboys: Miller & Lux and the Transformation of the Far West, 1850–1920, by Gunther Peck
  • Inscoe and Kenzer, eds., Enemies of the Country: New Perspectives on Unionists in the Civil War South, by Wayne K. Durrill
  • Jeffrey, Machines in Our Hearts: The Cardiac Pacemaker, the Implantable Defibrillator, and American Health Care, by Hamilton Cravens
  • Johansen, Family Men: Middle-Class Fatherhood in Early Industrializing America, by Brian Roberts
  • Johnson, Wingless Eagle: U.S. Army Aviation through World War I, by John Carver Edwards
  • Kadlec, Mosaic Modernism: Anarchism, Pragmatism, Culture, by John Pettegrew
  • Katerberg, Modernity and the Dilemma of North American Anglican Identities, 1880–1950, by J. Robert Wright
  • Kauffman, Patriotism and Fraternalism in the Knights of Columbus: A History of the Fourth Degree, by Robert Emmett Curran
  • Keene, Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America, by G. Kurt Piehler
  • Kirk, Collecting Nature: The American Environmental Movement and the Conservation Library, by Char Miller
  • Kitch, The Girl on the Magazine Cover: The Origins of Visual Stereotypes in American Mass Media, by Susan J. Douglas
  • Krawczynski, William Henry Drayton: South Carolina Revolutionary Patriot, by Robert Olwell
  • Kuhn, Contesting the New South Order: The 1914–1915 Strike at Atlanta’s Fulton Mills, by Alex Lichtenstein
  • Lee, Crowds and Soldiers in Revolutionary North Carolina: The Culture of Violence in Riot and War, by Sally E. Hadden
  • Leventhal and Quinault, eds., Anglo-American Attitudes: From Revolution to Partnership, by Jamie Bronstein
  • Lewis, Hollywood v. Hard Core: How the Struggle over Censorship Saved the Modern Film Industry, by William Paul
  • Linenthal, The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City in American Memory, by Marita Sturken
  • Lipset and Marks, It Didn’t Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States, by Nelson Lichtenstein
  • Madison, A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in America, by Glenn Feldman
  • McBride, Impossible Witnesses: Truth, Abolitionism, and Slave Testimony, by Diane Batts Morrow
  • McCaslin, Lee in the Shadow of Washington, by Kenneth W. Noe
  • McFarland, Inside Greenwich Village: A New York City Neighborhood, 1898–1918, by Barbara M. Kelly
  • McKeown, Chinese Migrant Networks and Cultural Change: Peru, Chicago, Hawaii, 1900–1936, by Yong Chen
  • McMillen, To Raise Up the South: Sunday Schools in Black and White Churches, 1865–1915, by Beth Barton Schweiger
  • Mead, Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World, by Jerald A. Combs
  • Melton, Between War and Peace: Woodrow Wilson and the American Expeditionary Force in Siberia, 1918–1921, by Betty Miller Unterberger
  • Menand, The Metaphysical Club, by Jackson Lears
  • Menjívar, Fragmented Ties: Salvadoran Immigrant Networks in America, by David P. Lindstrom
  • Mercier, Anaconda: Labor, Community, and Culture in Montana’s Smelter City, by David Igler
  • Meyerson, Nature’s Army: When Soldiers Fought for Yosemite, by Marguerite S. Shaffer
  • Miller, ed., On the Border: An Environmental History of San Antonio, by Anthony N. Penna
  • Miller, Visions of Place: The City, Neighborhoods, Suburbs, and Cincinnati’s Clifton, 1850–2000, by Thomas M. Spencer
  • Minchin, The Color of Work: The Struggle for Civil Rights in the Southern Paper Industry, 1945–1980, by Nan Elizabeth Woodruff
  • Moen, Race, Color, and Partial Blindness: Affirmative Action under the Law, by Raymond Wolters
  • Moore and Troen, eds., Divergent Jewish Cultures: Israel and America, by Steven Rosenthal
  • Nelson, A Blessed Company: Parishes, Parsons, and Parishioners in Anglican Virginia, 1690–1776, by E. Brooks Holifield
  • Nelson, Say Little, Do Much: Nurses, Nuns, and Hospitals in the Nineteenth Century, by Kathleen M. Joyce
  • Newman, White Women’s Rights: The Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States, by Melanie Gustafson
  • Newmyer, John Marshall and the Heroic Age of the Supreme Court, by Michael P. Zuckert
  • Noe, Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle, by Benjamin Franklin Cooling
  • Okihiro, Common Ground: Reimagining American History, by Louise Michele Newman
  • Palmer, Engagement with the Past: The Lives and Works of the World War II Generation of Historians, by Neil Jumonville
  • Peeler, The Illuminating Mind in American Photography: Stieglitz, Strand, Weston, Adams, by Melissa A. McEuen
  • Perlmann and Margo, Women’s Work?: American Schoolteachers, 1650–1920, by Kathleen C. Berkeley
  • Plummer, Lincoln’s Rail-Splitter: Governor Richard J. Oglesby, by Stephen L. Hansen
  • Puskás, trans. by Ludwig, Ties That Bind, Ties That Divide: 100 Years of Hungarian Experience in the United States, by N. F. Dreisziger
  • Putney, Muscular Christianity: Manhood and Sports in Protestant America, 1880–1920, by Ted Ownby
  • Rasmussen, Nexica, Klinenberg, and Wray, eds., The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness, by Julian Carter
  • Rauchway, The Refuge of Affections: Family and American Reform Politics, 1900–1920, by K. Walter Hickel
  • Reiss, The Showman and the Slave: Race, Death, and Memory in Barnum’s America, by Gary S. Cross
  • Reynolds, ed. by Bronner, Plain Women: Gender and Ritual in the Old Order River Brethren, by Kimberly Schmidt
  • Richardson, The Death of Reconstruction: Race, Labor, and Politics in the Post–Civil War North, 1865–1901, by Stephen Kantrowitz
  • Richelson, The Wizards of Langley: Inside the cia’s Directorate of Science and Technology, by Walter L. Hixson
  • Richter, Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America, by Eric Hinderaker
  • Robinson, By Order of the President: fdr and the Internment of Japanese Americans, by Charlotte Brooks
  • Rose, Beloved Strangers: Interfaith Families in Nineteenth-Century America, by Emily S. Bingham
  • Rubio, A History of Affirmative Action, 1619–2000, by Thomas J. Davis
  • Ryerson, ed., John Adams and the Founding of the Republic, by Van Beck Hall
  • Sandweiss, St. Louis: The Evolution of an American Urban Landscape, by Michael Holleran
  • Satterthwaite, Going Shopping: Consumer Choices and Community Consequences, by Stephanie Dyer
  • Schäfer, American Progressives and German Social Reform, 1875–1920: Social Ethics, Moral Control, and the Regulatory State in a Transatlantic Context, by Jeffrey Sklansky
  • Schmitz, White Robe’s Dilemma: Tribal History in American Literature, by Raymond J. DeMallie Jr.
  • Schulten, The Geographical Imagination in America, 1880–1950, by Jonathan M. Smith
  • Scranton, ed., The Second Wave: Southern Industrialization from the 1940s to the 1970s, by Kenneth Lipartito
  • Scully, Bargaining with the State from Afar: American Citizenship in Treaty Port China, 1844–1942, by Michael Schaller
  • Shaffer, See America First: Tourism and National Identity, 1880–1940, by Anne F. Hyde
  • Shah, Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown, by Erika Lee
  • Shepherd, Avenues of Faith: Shaping the Urban Religious Culture of Richmond, Virginia, 1900–1929, by James Duane Bolin
  • Shoch, Trading Blows: Party Competition and U.S. Trade Policy in a Globalizing Era, by Alfred E. Eckes
  • Siskind, Rum and Axes: The Rise of a Connecticut Merchant Family, 1795–1850, by Mark S. Schantz
  • Smith, Listening to Nineteenth-Century America, by Edward E. Baptist
  • Sparks, Religion in Mississippi, by Frederick A. Bode
  • Spigel, Welcome to the Dreamhouse: Popular Media and Postwar Suburbs, by James W. Carey
  • Swinth, Painting Professionals: Women Artists & the Development of Modern American Art, 1870–1930, by Melissa Dabakis
  • Taiz, Hallelujah Lads & Lasses: Remaking the Salvation Army in America, 1880–1930, by Lynne Marks
  • Taylor, American Colonies, by James A. Henretta
  • Taylor and Hill, eds., Historical Roots of the Urban Crisis: African Americans in the Industrial City, 1900–1950, by Karen Ferguson
  • Townsend, World War II and the American Indian, by Richard N. Ellis
  • Tuunainen, The Role of Presidential Advisory Systems in US Foreign Policy-Making: The Case of the National Security Council and Vietnam, 1953–1961, by David L. Snead
  • Vorenberg, Final Freedom: The Civil War, the Abolition of Slavery, and the Thirteenth Amendment, by Louis S. Gerteis
  • Watts, Mae West: An Icon in Black and White, by Leslie Fishbein
  • Weddle, The Wreck of the Belle, the Ruin of La Salle, by James Pritchard
  • Weir, An Ocean in Common: American Naval Officers, Scientists, and the Ocean Environment, by Joel Davidson
  • Wexler, Tender Violence: Domestic Visions in an Age of U.S. Imperialism, by Shirley Teresa Wajda
  • Willoughby, Remaking the Conquering Heroes: The Social and Geopolitical Impact of the Post-War American Occupation of Germany, by Ronald J. Granieri
  • Wolin, Tocqueville between Two Worlds: The Making of a Political and Theoretical Life, by Matthew Mancini
  • Wood, Gender, Race, and Rank in a Revolutionary Age: The Georgia Lowcountry, 1750–1820, by Aaron Fogleman
  • Woodworth, While God Is Marching On: The Religious World of Civil War Soldiers, by Carl J. Guarneri
  • Woodworth, ed., Grant’s Lieutenants: From Cairo to Vicksburg, by James A. Ramage
  • Yaeger, Dirt and Desire: Reconstructing Southern Women’s Writing, 1930–1990, by Barbara Ladd
  • York, Fiction as Fact: The Horse Soldiers and Popular Memory, by James E. Davis
  • Young, Henry Adams: The Historian as Political Theorist, by Gillis John Harp
  • Zanjani, Sarah Winnemucca, by David W. Adams
  • Zelinsky, The Enigma of Ethnicity: Another American Dilemma, by Philip Gleason

Movie Reviews

In 1939 Patricia Donnelly of Michigan won the Miss America pageant.
Courtesy American Experience/Miss America Organization.

Web site Reviews

Web site reviews are available without a subscription.

  • History Wired: A Few of Our Favorite Things, by Ellen K. Rothman (pp. 1179–80) Read online >
  • David Rumsey Map Collection, by Joseph S. Wood (pp. 1180–81 Read online >
  • The Red Hot Jazz Archive: A History of Jazz before 1930, by Burton W. Peretti (p. 1181) Read online >
  • River of Song, by Karl Hagstrom Miller (pp. 1181–82) Read online >
  • Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive, by Steven F. Lawson (pp. 1182–83) Read online >
  • Making the Macintosh: Technology and Culture in Silicon Valley, by Daniel J. Cohen (pp. 1183–84) Read online >

Letters to the Editor


Recent Scholarship

“Recent Scholarship” is available online, Read online >

thumbnail of cover

On the cover:

New Yorkers crowd around a newspaper’s bulletin board on Broadway in 1861. War conditions created a demand for ever more and ever faster “hard” news reports. Courtesy Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-112561. See Menahem Blondheim, “‘Public Sentiment Is Everything’: The Union’s Public Communications Strategy and the Bogus Proclamation of 1864,” p. 869.

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