Journal of American History


The Northern United States and the Genesis of Racial Lynching: The Lynching of African Americans in the Civil War Era

While scholars have composed a rich body of work on the lynching of African Americans in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century South, Michael J. Pfeifer argues that the study of racial lynching in the North in the early 1860s helps redress key gaps in the historiography of lynching. Examining wartime racial lynchings in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1861 and Newburgh, New York, in 1863, Pfeifer explores how Irish Catholic ethnic solidarity in these communities was as pivotal as a developing concept of “whiteness.” Despite important differences in contexts, the practice and ideology of Northern Irish paralleled, and indeed slightly anticipated, that of white Southerners who later seized upon lynching as a means of rejecting the Reconstruction state’s insistence on color-blind law. (pp. 621–35) Read online >

“Those by Whose Side We Have Labored”: American Jewish Women and the Peace Movement between the Wars

Participating enthusiastically in American public life was one of the ways that turn-of- the-century American Jewish women achieved a measure of integration. Melissa R. Klapper traces the understudied social activism of American Jewish women in the peace movement between the world wars, exploring the multiple motivations for their participation and analyzing its impact on the early twentieth-century women’s movement. Klapper argues that despite Jewish women’s investment in the movement, Nazism and anti-Semitism at home and abroad before World War II and the apparent silence of their colleagues in the peace movement led even the most passionate female Jewish peace activists to reconsider their commitments. In the face of these challenges, Klapper explains, these female activists ultimately redirected their political ideals toward Jewish identity and survival rather than sisterhood or universal peace. (pp. 636–58) Read online >

From Monopoly to Intellectual Property: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright, 1909—1971

Courtesy Music Library and Sound Recordings Archive, Bowling Green State University.

Since the 1970s critics have decried the expansion of intellectual property rights, while supporters of copyright and patent reform have argued that the protection of “information” is vital for the U.S. economy. Alex S. Cummings explores the reasons for this tension, showing how struggles over music piracy paved the way for stronger regulation of intellectual property. Lawmakers in the Progressive Era denied copyright protection for sound recordings, leaving pirates to challenge American sensibilities about monopoly, music, and the public interest. Through legal and legislative battles, a new conception gradually emerged of copyright as a safeguard for capital investment rather than an incentive for artist creation, buttressing claims about the economic needs of an “information society” in the late twentieth century. (pp. 659–81) Read online >

“That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be”: Baby Boomers, 1970s Singer-Songwriters, and Romantic Relationships

A series of “revolutions” rocked American society during the 1960s, but Judy Kutulas argues that it was only during the 1970s that these changes really found their way into Americans’ daily lives. The sexual revolution, the counterculture, and the women’s movement altered American attitudes about love, romance, and marriage. Along with undermining social values, sixties revolutions also undermined traditional authority sources. Consequently, young Americans turned to their peers and their popular culture as they began shaping their adult lives. Kutulas explores the ways a particular kind of popular music spoke to youthful trendsetters about marriage, commitment, sexuality, and monogamy and, in particular, helped legitimate relationships, rather than marriage, as the goal of heterosexual interactions. (pp. 682–702) Read online >

Why Mass Incarceration Matters: Rethinking Crisis, Decline, and Transformation in Postwar American History

© Bettman/Corbis.

By the close of the twentieth century the United States had incarcerated more people than any other country in the world, and the nation’s social, economic, and political institutions had become inexorably intertwined with the practice of punishment. Historians, however, have not yet considered what impact the rise of a massive carceral state might have had on the evolution of the later postwar period. Heather Ann Thompson argues that such an examination of the later twentieth century is crucial if scholars are to understand fully the dramatic transformations that occurred after the civil rights sixties, including the origins of urban crisis, the decline of the American labor movement, and the rise of the Right. (pp. 703–58) Read online >

Listen to an interview with Heather Ann Thompson about this article in the JAH Podcast.

Exhibition Reviews

Photo by John Strader. Courtesy Montpelier.
  • “Introduction”, by Benjamin Filene and Brian Horrigan (pp. 735) Read online >
  • The African Burial Ground National Monument, by Brian Purnell (pp. 736) Read online >
  • Montpelier, by Phylliss K. Leffler (pp. 740) Read online >
  • Coming to California, by Gray Brechin (pp. 746) Read online >
  • “Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America through Galveston Island”, by Carlos Kevin Blanton (pp. 750) Read online >
  • International Civil Rights Center and Museum, by Blair L. M. Kelley (pp. 752) Read online >
  • “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation,” by Kevin P. Murphy (pp. 757) Read online >

Book Reviews

Dec. 2010, Vol. 97 No. 3

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


Movie Reviews

  • The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, by Paul S. Sutter (pp. 892—97) Read online >
  • The Pacific, by Douglas A. Cunningham (pp. 897—900) Read online >
  • Into the Deep: America, Whaling, and the World, by Dane A. Morrison (pp. 900—03) Read online >
  • Dolley Madison, by Jane Kamensky (pp. 903—04) Read online >
  • The Bombing of Germany, by Richard B. Frank (pp. 904–06) Read online >
  • Power for the Parkinsons; and The Parkinsons, by James I. Deutsch (pp. 906–07) Read online >
  • Studio One Anthology, by Kathy M. Newman (pp. 907–09) Read online >
  • My Lai, by Susan Carruthers (pp. 909–11) Read online >
  • Black Wave—The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez, by Richard P. Horwitz (pp. 911–15) Read online >

Web Site Reviews

Web Site reviews are available without a subscription.

Courtesy Spokesman-Review.
  • Northern Visions of Race, Region, and Reform in the Press and Letters of Freedmen and Freedmen’s Treachers in the Civil War Era, by Lyde Cullen Sizer (pp. 915–16) Read online >
  • Digital Harlem: Everyday Life, 1915’1930; and Henry Hudson 400: Celebrating the History of Hudson, Amsterdam, and New York, by Todd Presner (pp. 916–18) Read online >
  • Voices of Civil Rights; and Civil Rights Oral History Interviews: Spokane, Washington, by Jason Sokol (pp. 918–21) Read online >

Letters to the Editor


Recent Scholarship

View “Recent Scholarship” listing online >

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

cover image

On the cover:

This bootleg compilation, Benny Goodman and His Quartet, volume two, was released in the early 1950s by the New Jersey–based Jolly Roger label, a name wryly suggestive the label’s pirating activities. Courtesy Music Library and Sound Recording Archive, Bowling Green State University. Alex S. Cummings, “From Monopoly to Intellectual Property: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright, 1909–1971,” p. 659.

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