Journal of American History


From Captives to Slaves: Commodifying Indian Women in the Borderlands

Lipan Apache Indians North of the Rio Grande, c. 1834–1836. Watercolor by Lino Sanchez y Tapia after the original sketch by Jose Maria Sanchez y Tapia. Lipan Apaches were the main victims of both punitive Spanish policies and the ready market for enslaved Indians in French Louisiana.
Image courtesy Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In the early years of contact between Europeans and Indians, women often mediated between cultures. Scholars have examined extraordinary women such as Pocahontas and Sacagawea who acted as cross-cultural emissaries, but this emphasis on women’s agency has obscured the more coercive traffic in women that was central to Indian-European relations. Juliana Barr illuminates this darker side by exploring how some Indian women, exchanged as captives and slaves, became political and economic pawns in relations among Indian, Spanish, and French men in the borderlands of colonial America. She uses the Indian slave trade to explicate geopolitical relations among European and native powers and to expand our vision of Indian women, to portray them as not only negotiators but also victims of change. (pp. 19–46) Read online >

The Edwardsean Tradition and the Antislavery Debate, 1740–1865

This tray (undated and by an unknown artist) depicts Lemuel Haynes (1753–1833), an African American preacher to a white congregation in Vermont—a remarkable occurrence in his era. Influenced by Samuel Hopkins, Haynes opposed colonization and advocated a racially integrated society. Gift of Miss Lucy T. Aldrich.
Image courtesy Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design.

Kenneth P. Minkema and Harry S. Stout show the contradictory ways a theological tradition deriving from Jonathan Edwards entered into the American debate over slavery for nearly a century. Edwards, the mid-eighteenth-century revivalist and philosopher, owned slaves and accepted the institution. But in the era of the American Revolution, younger ministers proclaimed that Edwards’s ideas of “true virtue” and “disinterested benevolence” damned slavery. After the Revolution, the Edwardseans moved away from this radical emancipationist stance and preached that Edwards’s teachings required tolerance of slavery. In this century-long survey, Minkema and Stout highlight the radical and conservative uses of an important theological tradition. (pp. 47–74) Read online >

The New African American Inequality

During the first half of the twentieth century, African Americans remained excluded from most steady, well-paid employment. Pictured above are women working in 1899 in Belton, South Carolina; like them, most black women of their era worked as domestic servants or in agriculture. Photographer unknown.
Courtesy usda.

Using U.S. Census data from the University of Minnesota’s Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (ipums), Michael B. Katz, Mark J. Stern, and Jamie J. Fader show that the nature of black inequality fundamentally changed after World War II. Although most of the pervasive, overt racial exclusion in work, education, and politics that marked the Jim Crow system faded during the late twentieth century, racism and racial inequality did not. What stands out about the new pattern of inequality is internal differentiation. Inequality among African Americans now proceeds through a series of screens that filter them into more or less promising statuses, progressively dividing them by class and gender along lines full of implications for their economic futures. (pp. 75–108) Read online >

Taiwan Expendable? Nixon and Kissinger Go to China

During his February 1972 trip to China, Richard M. Nixon (third from left) 
shares a banquet meal with Chinese premier Zhou Enlai (second from left) after discussions about Taiwan, Japan, the Soviet Union, and other issues.
Courtesy National Archives.

Richard M. Nixon and Henry Kissinger’s effort to normalize U.S. relations with China is often hailed as a brilliant act of diplomacy. Nancy Bernkopf Tucker argues that, although normalization was in the American national interest, Nixon and Kissinger paid an unnecessarily high price. In surrendering Taiwan’s rights and interests without consulting Taipei, they undermined America’s integrity, credibility, and diplomacy. Because they feared Americans would bridle at their concessions, they relied on secrecy to control events and the historical record. Using recently declassified documents and tapes as well as interviews and oral histories, Tucker reveals that when the promises of Nixon and Kissinger could not be kept, both China and Taiwan felt betrayed. (pp. 109–35) Read online >

Special Essay

Heterosexual White Male: Some Recent Inversions in American Cultural History

Daniel Wickberg examines one of the major transformations in American social and cultural historiography over the past thirty years—the shift to writing about the histories of dominant and privileged identity categories such as whiteness, heterosexuality, and masculinity. While the influence of cultural studies and various forms of cultural theory on American historical writing have been widely observed, Wickberg argues that subfield specialization has obscured the broader links between the new social history of the 1970s and the new cultural history that grew out of it. Both an intellectual history of recent historical thinking, and a critical assessment of the coherency of the histories of masculinity, whiteness, and heterosexuality, this essay provides a unified understanding of a wide and diverse body of contemporary historiography. (pp. 136–59) Read online >

Exhibition Reviews

Pictured above is an 1898 Washington, D.C., electric streetcar scene from 
“America on the Move,” an exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Photo by Jeff Tinsley.
Courtesy Smithsonian Institution.
  • “Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America,” by Max Page (pp. 158–63) Read online >
  • “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War,” by Carole Emberton (pp. 163–65) Read online >
  • “Franklin Pierce: Defining Democracy in America,” by W. Jeffrey Bolster (p. 166) Read online >
  • Frazier Historical Arms Museum, by Tim Grove (pp. 167–68) Read online >
  • “Lindbergh,” by Ross Knox Bassett (pp. 169–70) Read online >
  • “America on the Move,” by Kevin L. Borg (pp. 171–74) Read online >
  • “Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945–1970,” by Michael T. Bertrand (pp. 174–177) Read online >

Book Reviews

June 2005, Vol. 92 No. 1

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


Web site Reviews

Web site reviews are available without a subscription.

  • Nature Transformed: The Environment in American History, by Andrew Hurley (p. 323) Read online >
  • California as I Saw It: First-Person Narratives of California’s Early Years, 1849–1900, by Richard Stillson (p. 324) Read online >
  • Disability History Museum, by Laura Umansky (p. 325) Read online >
  • Oral History Online, by Pamela M. Henson (p. 326) Read online >
  • Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project; A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans & the U.S. Constitution; and Life Interrupted: The Japanese American Experience in WWII Arkansas, by Allan W. Austin (p. 326) Read online >

Letters to the Editor


Recent Scholarship

Browse “Recent Scholarship” listing >

Recent Scholarship is available as a searchable database, Recent Scholarship Online >

June 2005 Cover

On the cover:

In their urge to normalize relations with China, Henry Kissinger and Richard M. Nixon were in a rush to get to Beijing. The cartoonist Ranan Lurie took aim at their determination not to let obstacles such as Taiwan (then called Formosa), Democratic party politicians, or the Soviet Union get in their way. Copyright Ranan Lurie, Cartoonews. Reprinted with permission. See Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, “Taiwan Expendable? Nixon and Kissinger Go to China,” p. 109.

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