The Saber and Scroll Historical Journal is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal which welcomes submissions from graduate and undergraduate students, as well as alumni on history or military history topics, book reviews and exhibit/museum reviews.
Current Issue: Volume 9, Number 4 – Spring 2021
Chelsea Tatham Zukoski
From Captain America to Watchmen: Comic Book Superheroes and War in Twentieth Century America
Chelsea Tatham Zukoski
Since their beginnings in the early twentieth century through the post-Cold War era, comic books have entertained readers while also reflecting American cultural ideals amid war and political conflict. Almost every comic book character and superhero ever created in the United States was some sort of reflection of the political or cultural climate in which it was created. It would take volumes to categorize and analyze all the characters’ and superheroes’ war- time influences, but this survey chronicles the major characters that shaped wartime comic books from World War I through the post-Cold War era following decades of constant conflict. Those characters are Superman, Captain America, Wonder Woman, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, The Dark Knight, and Dr. Manhattan. These characters’ stories were not solely about their respective time period’s conflict, but their personalities and heroic missions were deeply entrenched in those era’s fears, hopes, and cultural ideals. Despite the comic book medium only recently being included and analyzed for its historical scholarship value, this research shows comic books as primary sources for a critical understanding of how American society grappled with war through entertainment.
The Skagway Commercial Club
Jennifer L. Williams
The Skagway Commercial Club was formed as a community effort to promote Skagway, Alaska as a travel destination in early 20th century. Using period newspapers and publications, corporate and individual promotional literature, and relevant secondary sources, the article discusses the efforts of the Skagway Commercial Club to promote Skagway as a tourism destination in the first three decades of the twentieth century and evaluates its effectiveness of the Commercial Club in relation to outside advertisements such as cruise ship literature and shop brochures published by individual business owners. While the Club did try to actively promote Skagway during its first two or three years in existence, its efforts were minor compared to the individual efforts by business owners to advertise and promote their own businesses.
Why the British Lost the American Revolution
The reasons behind the British loss of the American colonies during the American Revolution remain a subject of debate among scholars. How could the most powerful maritime empire in the world lose to an underequipped and poorly trained army? The crux of the conundrum for King George III, the Prime Minister, Lord Frederick North, and members of Parliament in London was that they failed to properly grasp the political complexities in the colonies. This drove strategic errors, operational miscalculations, and ultimately, undermined confidence in leadership. This paper reviews six factors that help explain what went wrong in London in North America. Today, the British dilemma in North America would be categorized as a “wicked problem,” or one in which there is no ideal solution, only varying solutions that might create other challenges.
The Doctrines of Imagination: American Foreign Policy & the Images of Puerto Rico, 1898-1968
Carlos A. Santiago
The United States was on the verge of becoming an imperial power in the nineteenth-century. Foreign policy was used as a means to colonize former European outposts like the island of Puerto Rico. While the United States was not powerful enough to enforce foreign policies like the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, it remained hopeful that Europe’s power would diminish in Latin America. The Monroe Doctrine had to evolve several times for it to be an effective imperial tool for the United States. The Roosevelt Corollary, the Good Neighbor Policy, and the Truman Doctrine were iterations of the Monroe Doctrine. With each evolution of this foreign policy, the image of Puerto Rico and its people changed along with it. American foreign policy and Puerto Rico are intertwined, which can be seen in the work of American writers from 1898-1965.
A Division at War - Part II
Dr. Robert Young
During World War II, the U.S. 32nd Infantry Division fought a long line of vicious battles in the Southwest Pacific Area, primarily on the island of New Guinea and in the Philippines. New Guinea was frustrating and costly. The Philippines took it to a whole other level. On Leyte, the 32nd entered after the operation began and though costly it was perhaps their easiest campaign of the war. From Leyte they moved to the main Philippine island of Luzon, where the Division would toil throughout the spring of 1945. The Villa Verde Trail on Luzon became the name synonymous with the 32nd Infantry Division in World War II. They fought with honor and distinction despite achieving little. Such was the nature of the war on Luzon in 1945.
The Jewishness of the Babatha Archives
Mary Jo Davies
In the 1960s, in a cave at Nahal Hever near the western bank of the Dead Sea, archaeologist Yigael Yadin discovered the bones of many bodies belonging to men, women, and children, along with copious amounts of papyri stowed away in a crevice of the cave. This discovery dates back to the second-century AD. This study will examine the significance of one of the archives that belonged to a woman named Babatha and which provides a rich array of evidence regarding the life of Jewish women under Roman rule in second-century Arabia Petraea. More significantly it will reveal that Jews living in this Roman occupied region were not as romanized as some historians claim.
Wild West Shows: An Unlikely Vehicle for the Survival of the Native American Culture in the Late Nineteenth Century
This essay discusses how Wild West shows, such as Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, were places where Native Americans could safely practice their cultural and spiritual customs and traditions in the late nineteenth century. When the Bureau of Indian Affairs forced Native Americans to abandon their entire cultural system for an American one, Native Americans, like the Lakota Sioux, actively sought to participate in Wild West shows, despite being portrayed as savages and as the enemy of white settlers.
Brian McAllister Linn's The Philippine War: 1899 - 1902
Lewis A. Taylor II
The United States has been involved in many wars considered “forgotten” by historians, the one most mentioned being the Korean Conflict. However, there is one war that even fewer people are aware of, and that is the Philippine War of 1899 to 1902. Military historian Brian McAllister Linn, in The Philippine War: 1899– 1902, attempts to rectify this by crafting a comprehensive book on military operations in the Philippines.
Peter Wallenstein’s Blue Laws and Black Codes: Conflicts, Courts and Change in Twentieth-Century Virginia
Per Wallenstein, an Associate Professor of History at Virginia Tech, has combined several of his essays about topics in Virginia history into a collection called Blue Laws and Black Codes: Conflict, Courts and Change in Twentieth-Century Virginia. Because of the nature of the text, each essay can be read independently of the others. Doing so, while acceptable, would severely limit one’s ability to grasp Wallenstein’s overall argument about the history of Virginia, the idea that traditions change because individuals sought to challenge them.
Lindsay M. Chervinsky’s The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution
Lindsay M. Chervinsky, a White House historian at the White House Historical Association, has written a very readable, scholarly, and interesting book on George Washington and how he created the Cabinet as we know it. She artfully illustrates how Washington’s military experiences provided lessons he brought into his presidency, how he used these lessons to manage his staff as president, and how he gradually—despite his initial reluctance—created the Cabinet.
Volume 9, Number 3 – Winter 2020
Allied Amphibious Doctrine, the Landing Craft Shortage of 1943-1944, and Operation OVERLORD
William F. Lawson
The Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944 is rightly considered a touchstone event of the Second World War. The Allies’ success marked the beginning of the war’s final phase in Western Europe. Without the Normandy operation, it is difficult to see how the Allies could have achieved final victory in the West. Most accounts of the Normandy invasion deal with the assault troops, seaborne and airborne, but rarely do the means of transporting those troops to the objective receive more than passing mention. The story of those landing craft, and their critical contribution to the Allies’ capability to launch such an operation, is as important as the training and deployment of the troops they carried onto those hos- tile shores. The design, manufacture, and deployment of suitable amphibious landing craft and their availability ultimately proved to be a deciding factor in the final operational plan as well as the overall Allied strategic picture in Europe in 1944.
Afghanistan: America’s Forever War
Within weeks of the attack of September 11, 2001, the United States began a campaign to eradicate Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. This campaign would shift from a campaign of “clear and hold” to a focus of rebuilding that nation within two years after the initial American presence. More than eighteen years, several billion dollars, and roughly twenty-four hundred US casualties later,1 the US military still maintains a significant presence in Afghanistan, not significantly closer to exiting than they were in the early days of 2002. The United States’ failure to officially end the war in Afghanistan is founded principally upon the United States’ lack of both sound counterinsurgency (COIN) applications and inconsistent objectives prior to the 9/11 attack on New York’s Twin Towers.
This paper explores the years prior to 9/11, the United States’ failure to apply sound COIN concepts, and the inconsistent objectives related to the United States’ failure to officially end the war in Afghanistan.
They Gave Their All: The Sullivan Brothers and the Tragic Loss of the USS Juneau
The loss of the Juneau near Guadalcanal in the British Solomon Islands on Friday the Thirteenth (November 1942) was a seminal event in the United States’ World War II experience. The death of the five brothers, in the most ferocious naval battle of the Pacific War, created a windfall of patriotism, which the US government leveraged to boost war bond sales and increase war material production. The siblings’ deaths had both immediate and far-reaching consequences on the military’s prosecution of the Second World War and the deployment of its troops in the nation’s future conflicts. Finally, this tragedy left an imprint on American popular culture, renewed by the discovery of the Juneau’s wreck on St. Patrick’s Day 2018.
Why Washington Matters: How General George Washington Saved the American Revolution
On January 6, 1783, three senior officers, then stationed at Newburgh, New York, arrived in Philadelphia with a dire warning for the Continental Congress. The officers were General Alexander McDougal from New York, Colonel Matthias Ogden from New Jersey, and Colonel John Brooks from Massachusetts. Their warning to the members of Congress was that the Continental Army at Newburgh was on the verge of mutiny. Congress did not immediately understand how this could have happened, but America’s newfound independence was in danger of being lost after eight long years of warfare. In dealing with this event, General George Washington faced the greatest threat to the American Revolution: a disgruntled army and some of the senior officers plotting against the Continental Congress.
Forging the Vision: Nathanael Greene
The American Revolution was a time when ordinary men were often put in positions to accomplish extraordinary things. Major-General Nathanael Greene was no exception; however, his accomplishments far surpassed many of his contemporaries. A journey that began in his youth, Greene crafted a vision throughout his life that often defied the laws of tradition. As a result, Greene’s methods were oftentimes unorthodox, which led to a certain degree of criticism. His circumstances were often unfavorable; there- fore, he believed that success must be achieved through non-traditional means. He developed his understanding of success through his studies and the culmination of his life events, developing and executing bold yet unconventional strategies with a great degree of success. The following explores Nathanael Greene’s evolution as a visionary leader from his humble Quaker beginnings through the apex of his accomplishments during the Southern Campaign.
America at War: The Common Cup
“The Common Cup” is an approximately four-thousand-word discussion of the importance of coffee in the Union armies during the American Civil War. The history of Civil War coffee is traced, including the lack of coffee in the Confederacy due to the blockade of Southern ports. Several letters and diaries are quoted concerning the importance of coffee to a soldier’s daily routine, and how distressed a soldier became when there was no opportunity for even the briefest coffee break.
The Christian Commission’s “Coffee Wagon” is noted as one of the ways volunteer citizen groups could provide comfort to their fighting men in the field and in hospitals. The story of the Sharps Carbine “Coffee Grinder” Rifle is told; exposing it as a hoax, although there was no proof it was perpetrated intentionally.
Finally, the importance of coffee to group cohesion and task orientation is noted. Coffee was more than just a beverage. An “Afterward” presents several links to video offerings concerning Civil War coffee. This is included because of the quality of the videos and the belief of the author that video offerings such as these are a vital part of the changes in the way history will be presented in the twenty-first century.
The Continental Navy's Shakedown Cruise
Eight ships of the recently established Continental Navy set sail from Philadelphia in February 1776. They were under orders from the Continental Congress to clear the Southern states’ waters of marauding British naval forces, such as those organized by Lord Dunmore of Virginia. Instead, Commodore Esek Hopkins led his squadron to New Providence in the Bahamas, where they captured desperately needed military stores. On the return trip, the Conti- nental crews contended with outbreaks of smallpox and tropical fever aboard ship. Approaching New England, the squadron captured two small British vessels and chased the 20-gun HMS Glasgow into port. Despite Hopkins’ casual disregard of orders, Congress and the general public hailed the expedition as a great success upon the squadron’s return in April 1776. The ships of the Continental Navy had gathered valuable experience at sea and in combat that would serve the infant service well in the years to come.
Into the Maelstrom: America and Vietnam, 1945 – 1956
In 1945, the United States began its involvement in Vietnam -- an involvement that spanned thirty years and ended up causing the deaths of over 55,000 American servicemen and women, as well as many as 2,000,000 Vietnamese. This involvement was tragic and avoidable. Beginning with the Administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt and continuing through the administrations of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, the United States labored under the misguided impression that the suppression of Communism in Southeast Asia was vitally important to the security of the United States. Was the war in Vietnam a civil war, or a proxy war between the United States, Russia, and China? Or was it the Vietnamese people’s determination to rid themselves of foreign domination?
Chosin Reservoir: The Battle that Stalled a War
Phillip J. Greer
The onset of the Korean War was indicative of the superpowers’ quest for ideological supremacy, with multiple factors setting the stage for massive confrontation. North Korean forces were able to quickly overwhelm those of South Korea. The United States entered the conflict and was able to reverse the North Korean gains and drive them to their border with China. Unknown to NATO forces, the Chinese Army was mobilized to intercept the allied forces at the Chosin Reservoir. Despite having superior numbers, US forces were able retreat and save the majority of their personnel in North Korean territory. The combined North Korean and Chinese armies won a pyrrhic victory that shocked both sides into a stalemate.
A Division at War - Part I
Often forgotten in the discussions of the ground war in the Pacific during the Second World War are the contributions of several prominent US Army infantry divisions. The 32nd Infantry Division was one such unit. They spent more days in combat in the Pacific than any other US Army unit. The 32nd had its baptism of fire on the southeastern coast of New Guinea at Buna in November 1942. A brutal two-month campaign saw an unprepared, inexperienced 32nd victorious. The division returned to combat on New Guinea’s northern coast in 1944 at Aitape before another grueling campaign along the Driniumor River. Although victorious, the 32nd Infantry Division left New Guinea in the fall of 1944 for the Philippines tired and depleted.
Roy E. Appleman’s East of Chosin: Entrapment and Breakout in Korea, 1950
Lynne Marie Marx
Roy E. Appleman was an army combat historian, a World War II and Korean War veteran, a National Park historian, and the author of several Korean War historical works including East of Chosin: Entrapment and Breakout in Korea, 1950. With Korea known as “The Forgotten War,” Appleman elected to investigate the 31st Regiment Combat Team’s (RCT) experience at the Chosin Reservoir near Manchuria, China. East of Chosin is a vital entry in Korean War historiography since, previous to its publication, the Battle of Chosin Reservoir received very little documentation or research. Appleman combed through documents, written interviews, and oral histories to piece together the story of the 31st RCT. Therefore, East of Chosin is a critical book for any historian to examine to see if Appleman’s theories have stood the test of time.
Patrick J. Sloyan’s When Reagan Sent in the Marines: The Invasion of Lebanon
In the long annals of American military operations, the deployment of U.S. troops to Beirut in 1982 to stabilize a war-torn city is one typically under-reported or studied. In Patrick J. Sloyan’s new book, When Reagan Sent in the Marines: The Invasion of Lebanon, the author redresses this oversight with an extremely harsh analysis of the events leading up to America’s befuddled involvement, which ultimately climaxed with the horrific death of 241 U.S. Marines in the worst terrorist at- tack upon Americans until the events 9/11, 18 years later.
Michael Palmer’s Stoddert’s War: Naval Operations during the Quasi-War with France, 1798-1801
Michael A. Palmer served in the US Navy, worked for the Naval Historical Center, and worked for many years in the history department at East Carolina University. His books on history cover material on land and at sea from the sixteenth century to beyond the first Gulf War. Originally published in 1987 by the University of South Carolina Press and rereleased as one of the US Naval Institute’s Classics of Naval Literature in 2000, Michael Palmer’s first book, Stoddert’s War, is currently accessible only through libraries and used booksellers. This is a problem that needs rectifying, as Palmer’s examination of the nascent US Navy at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries offers surprisingly relevant lessons to the present day.
Bruce L. Brager’s Grant's Victory: How Ulysses S. Grant Won the Civil War
Bruce L. Brager is a writer of the US Civil War, having previously published titles including Here He Stands: The Story of Stonewall Jack- son, Petersburg, and Monitor vs. Merrimack. In Grant’s Victory: How Ulysses S. Grant Won The Civil War, Brager demonstrates the major differences between the Chancellorsville and Wilderness campaigns, specifically the change in leadership from General Joseph Hooker to General Ulysses S. Grant. Brager dedicates most of this work to a synopsis of the campaigns in the Civil War’s Eastern Theater, with an emphasis on leadership deficiencies in the Army of the Potomac. It does leave the reader at times in its early pages wondering when Grant will enter the discussion, as Grant is not really mentioned until the Chancellorsville chapter, and then only because he was squeezing Vicksburg at the same time.
Russell Crandall's Gunboat Democracy: U.S. Interventions in the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Panama
Lt. Chris Booth, United States Coast Guard
Gunboat Democracy: U.S. Interventions in the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Panama by Russell Cranall. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2006. ISBN 978-0742550483. Pp 256. Paperback $41.The military actions of the United States during the Cold War have been well researched and documented, and while not as regularly dis- cussed as wars from other periods such as World War II or the Civil War, its military efforts during the latter half of the 20th Century were still incredibly impactful to American foreign policy and the global power struggle. One piece of solid literature based on American military operations during the Cold War is Russel Crandall’s Gunboat Democracy: U.S. Interventions in the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Panama, an engaging and thought-provoking book that focuses on three of the least discussed military actions in American history. Overall, the book is well researched and strikes a fair balance of giving credit where it is due for the various successes of each military intervention, while also exacting sharp criticisms when warranted for leadership errors or miscalculations. However, the book is not without its flaws. The author’s choice to focus solely on the strategic and operational levels of war while ignoring almost completely the tactical level of decision making is an omission that leaves the book with a lack of depth and context, otherwise easily achieved with even a token observation of ground-level military action.
Virtual Battlefield Tour
Bloody Ridge National Peace Park
On 4 July 1942, an Allied recon- naissance plane photographed Japanese airfield construction on Guadalcanal in the British Solomon Islands. When completed, Japanese twin-engine bombers could fly deep into the Coral Sea and threaten the United States and Australia’s vital lifeline.
Volume 9, Number 2 – Fall 2020
Letters to the Editor
Chris Schloemer, Senior Editor
Mair Thomas: Life at Bletchley Park
Breaking the German Enigma Codes by Britain’s intelligence team at Bletchley Park (BP) was considered to be one of World War II’s best-kept secrets. Better than the secret itself is the fantastic feat of nearly ten thousand people keeping that secret for decades from friends and family, both during and following the war. In recent years, women have begun to gain recognition for their part in the codebreaking operation at BP. Less recognized are the women who tirelessly listened to radio transmissions at Y Stations across the globe, waiting for enemy communication. Women made up about 75 percent of BP’s workforce and were the backbone of the cryptology team that broke Germany’s so-called unbreakable codes. Nearly eight thousand women are listed on the Honour Roll at the installation, who kept silent for decades. The contributions of women at BP are too numerous to detail; therefore, this paper highlights memories of a few who were interviewed by various authors and focus primarily on one woman’s experience and life at BP, Mair Eluned Russell-Jones (née Thomas).
Lincoln and the Constitution
During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln’s primary goal was to preserve the Union, even when doing so may have exceeded his constitutional powers. Finding that the Constitution gave little guidance for emergency situations, Lincoln sought support for his actions retroactively from Congress and, when that was not forth- coming, trusting the voters to re-elect him. These actions included a declaration of war, although without using those exact words, enlarging the army, instituting a naval blockade, suspending habeas corpus, instituting martial law, and freeing Confederate slaves. Lincoln did not entirely ignore the courts—he carefully wrote the Emancipation Proclamation so it would fall under his war powers—but sticking to the letter of the law was clearly a secondary concern.
America’s Forgotten Patriot: Mercy Otis Warren and the Writings that Fanned the Flames of Revolution
The following is a study of the life and writings of Mercy Otis War- ren. Warren was not only a revolutionary, but also a writer and political thinker. As a satirist, poet, and historian who watched the sparks of insurrection grow into the flames of a full-blown revolution, she used her writings to help arouse the passions of the citizenry and fan the flames of revolution. Because she was a confidante to many of the central characters of the American revolutionary period, she became a leading advocate of colonial independence in a period where women, for the most part, were not politically active. Through her satirical plays, poetry, voluminous correspondence, and three-volume history of the Revolution, we can observe the patriot movement from the viewpoint of someone who lived during the period, and just as importantly, through the eyes of a woman—a republican woman.
Johan Thuri: A Voice for the Sami, the Indigenous People of Northern Scandinavia
Johan Thuri (1854–1936) wrote An Account of the Sami, the first book written in the Sami language and translated into multiple lan- guages. It gave him an international platform to speak about Sami issues. During his lifetime, he witnessed firsthand the impacts of rapid modernization on the Sami. The railroad connected Sweden, allowing mining operations and inviting tourists to the area, but it also disrupted the annual reindeer migration of the Sami. Settlers and tourists viewed the Sami as a primitive, backwards people. Thuri understood that the process of modernization was irreversible, but it did not mean that the Sami had to suffer. He used his writings and status to give a voice to the Sami, humanizing them. They were a people with unique culture, traditions, and history. Throughout his life, he remained in the international spotlight, so newspaper articles were used to piece his story together.
Mamie Till Mobley: The Unsung Hero of the Civil Rights Movement
It has been argued that the death of Emmett Till was the catalyst to the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1950s through the late 1960s. Despite the numerous times the lynching of Emmett Till has been analyzed and evaluated, there is little information that points to the importance of the actions of his mother, Mamie Till Mobley. This research aims to prove that although Emmett Till’s murder was an important push towards the Civil Rights Movement, it was in fact the actions of his mother following his death that led the country toward a reckoning with their brutal treatment of African Americans, especially in the Deep South.
The Making of the Modern Woman: British Suffragettes in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century
The British suffragettes built upon the societal changes that took place in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The increased literacy and access to education started to level the playing field in terms of engagement in the political process. As laws regarding women owning property changed, women began to fight to exercise their political will directly. At the turn of the twentieth century, women in the United Kingdom began to picket, rally, and protest for universal suffrage. In the years leading up to the First World War, the suffragettes became more violent and aggressive in their protests, leading to multiple arrests, hunger strikes, and at the Epsom Derby in 1913, Emily Wilding Davison was trampled to death by the king’s racehorse. With the outbreak of the war, nationalism took precedence over individualism, and during the conflict years, the suffragettes were less active. Universal suffrage for the Unit- ed Kingdom was finally accomplished in 1928 with the passing of Equal Franchise Act, which allowed both men and women over the age of twenty-one to vote, regardless of whether or not they were property owners.
Admiral James Stavridis’s Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character
Author Admiral James Stavridis served in the United States Navy for over thirty years. From his modest beginnings as a midshipman at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis to his final tour of duty as a four-star admiral and Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, he has had a lot of time to reflect on leadership and character and has seen many examples of both first-hand. Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character offers biographical sketches of prominent naval figures from Ancient Greece to the present-day United States, with Admiral Stavridis’s interpretation on what made them leaders of great character.
Woody Holton’s Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia
Students throughout the United States spend several years of their elementary and secondary education studying American history. Much attention in these classes is given to the American Revolution. The traditional narrative describes how Americans rose up against the English to protest unjust taxes and excessive abuses by Great Britain. Author Woody Holton is currently the McCausland Professor of History at the University of South Carolina, where he specializes in early American history with a focus on underrepresented populations like women, Native Americans, and African Americans. In this text, Holton seeks to add to the story of the Revolution by presenting a different perspective, that of the non-elites. He argues that while the stories of taxation and abuses contributed to the Revolution as previously acknowledged, it was the actions of the non-elite groups in Virginia, the largest American colony, that pushed the gentry of the colony to seek independence.
Tom Clavin’s Tombstone: The Earp Brothers, Doc Holliday, and the Vendetta Ride from Hell
The American Wild West is for- ever symbolized by the iconic image of the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday facing down the Clantons and McLaurys at the O.K. Corral in the windswept town of Tombstone, Arizona, in October 1881. It is a well-tread story that never seems to lose its fascinating appeal in its simple American charms: the good guys take on the bad guys, and the bad guys take it on the chin. With thirty shots in just as many seconds, the showdown signaled something far more significant than a grudge match between surly cowboys and testy lawmen, according to a new book.
Tom Chaffin’s Pathfinder: John Charles Frémont and the Course of American Empire
Pathfinder is popular historian Tom Chaffin’s well-researched biography of John Charles Frémont (1813–1890). Many biogra phies of Frémont tend to concentrate on his far-flung expeditions across the western territories (1838–1854), for which he was famously dubbed “The Pathfinder.” Besides the expeditions, this biography also details Frémont’s life leading up to them; other non-expeditionary events during his travels, such as his confusing role in California’s Bear Flag Revolt (1846); and post-expedition exploits, including his brief tenure as territorial governor of Arizona, unsuccessful presidential bid, work as an abolitionist, generalship during the Civil War, and questionable entrepreneurial efforts during his waning years.
The History Galleries of The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC
The idea for a museum dedicated to the contributions made by African Americans was born over a century before the opening of the National Museum of African Ameri- can History and Culture (NMAAHC). In 1915, African American Civil War veterans proposed the idea of building something dedicated to those African Americans who served in wars through- out US history. For decades, officials de- bated the idea, but it never materialized. Finally, in 2003, Congress passed the National Museum of African American History and Culture Act. This placed the museum under the umbrella of the Smithsonian Institution.
Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia
Until I began working at Colonial Williamsburg as an interpreter nine years ago, I was unaware as to just how extensive this living history museum really was. After nearly a century of work, Colonial Williamsburg is approximately one mile long and a half-mile wide, close to the size of the original town circa 1770. Williamsburg was established in 1699 to replace Jamestown as the capital city of Virginia. Built on the site of a previous settlement called Middle Plantation, Williamsburg boasted healthy water and proximity to the recently established College of William and Mary and was a more convenient meeting place for representatives coming from throughout the colony. It was in Williamsburg that the Virginia House of Burgesses organized the colony’s resistance to the Stamp Act and Townshend Duties, and such figures as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry got their first legislative experience. Much of the American Revolution was fought with Williams- burg of the capital of Virginia. In 1780, the capital moved to Richmond where it remains today. Visitors as well, although separate from Colonial Williamsburg. Further information, including the current programming schedule, is available at www.colonialwilliamsburg.org.
Volume 9, Number 1 – Summer 2020
Letters to the Editor
Chris Schloemer, Senior Editor
Slavery in New York: Through the Lens of James Fenimore Cooper’s Written Works
In this article, I propose to analyze James Fenimore Cooper’s written works, including The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish and “A Defense of Slave-Owning America,” in terms of the ways that these works, and others, represent Cooper’s attitude and the attitude of Americans toward slavery and the black community during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly those residing in the state of New York.
Identity in a Teacup: Tea’s Influence Over the Lives of British Women in the Nineteenth Century
This paper studies the link between the development of the social aspect of the tea table and the roles it allowed upper-class English women to play within the set framework of nineteenth century British society. Literature of the period clearly indicates that the tea table provided wealthy English women with an identity in society. Worsening political relations between China and Britain restricted the availability of Chinese tea, which led to the development and marketing of Indian tea. Advertising for newly developed Indian teas, which primarily targeted housewives and upper-class women, demonstrates the significance of the authority that English women held over home purchases. In studying the culture surrounding tea as both a social activity and political message, there comes a greater understanding of women and their positions in nineteenth century British upper-class society.
Unintentional History Makers: Evolution of Feminist Historiography
What is now considered the early feminist movement initially began in simplicity as women’s endeavour to gain social, political, and educational equality. Slowly emerging into Western civilization during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the movement birthed new ideas regarding American society, which ultimately perpetuated continual change throughout history. Women such as Abigail Adams, Mary Wollstonecraft, Lucy Aikin, Maria Edgeworth, Harriet Martineau, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Virginia Woolf produced literature that transversed the gender limitations of their times, endeavoring to achieve equality in varying aspects of American culture. Their documentation requires acknowledgement of women’s roles throughout history, their contributions to it, and their evolution of change within historiography itself.
Not Fit to Breed: Eugenics in Sweden, 1900 to Present
In the 1930s, the Swedish government enacted eugenic policies that permitted the forced sterilization of individuals the government deemed unfit to reproduce, often targeting them with accusations of mental illness. When officials passed the Sterilization Acts, they kept socioeconomic benefits in mind, but the eugenics movement in Sweden had deep roots in race-based science. Charles Darwin and his famous works on evolution inspired Swedish scholars to promote social hygiene within their own population, and they used political parties and the elite to push their agenda into social policy. Officials implemented sterilization laws that were intended to improve the gene pool of the Swedish population as a way to ensure the affordability of their welfare system. In the 1950s, the Swedish government started to prioritize the rights and wants of the individual, instead of making them second to the wellbeing of society.
Australian and American Relations in the Southwest Pacific Theater of World War II
While both the Australians and Americans fought the Japanese during World War II, leadership and cultural differences became apparent when they fought together in New Guinea. While Australia and the United States were and still are great allies, even the best of allies have different cultures, training, and leadership methods, often resulting in difficulties when they are put into combat roles together.
The Morality of Genocide: The Holocaust Revisited
Subjective labels such as “evil” or “immoral” cannot effectively be evaluated, bringing little understanding to a phenomenon of human behavior called genocide. History clearly shows that the Holocaust was merely a single chapter in the ongoing saga of human prejudice-based mass destruction. The Bosnian genocide and the massacre of Jewish families by their fellow Polish townspeople in Jedwabne in 1941, for example, illustrate that this latent human impulse can be activated when three conditions are present: opportunity, impunity (perceived or actual), and moral basis.
Revisiting the Slaughter House Cases (1873)
Fear of yet another cholera epidemic plagued New Orleans in 1869. Attributing the cause of cholera to the pollution of the water supply, of which slaughterhouse waste dumping was a chief component, the Louisiana State Legislature passed a law regulating slaughterhouses. Opposition to this law by butchers eventually led to an 1873 Supreme Court ruling, which became a landmark decision in Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence, as the butchers had sought relief under that amendment. The conventional modern opinion of Justice Samuel Freeman Miller’s majority ruling in the Slaughter-House Cases, which denied the butchers’ claim, is that it was an anti-Reconstruction ruling that gutted the “privileges or immunities” clause in the amendment, forcing future courts to rely on “substantive due process” to justify their decisions. However, relatively recently, several historians and legal scholars have offered a revisionist view that looks more favorably upon Miller’s opinion, asserting that it was misinterpreted. This paper analyzes the majority and dissenting opinions in that case and related cases, reports on the congressional debate on the Fourteenth Amendment, and considers the historiography of the case, both conventional and revisionist. It concludes that Justice Miller, a Lincoln appointee and physician with a long-standing interest in public health, wrote a decision defending the actions of the biracial Louisiana Reconstruction legislature against white supremacists, defending it against laissez-faire economics, and defending the concept of federalism in general.
Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields
Wendy Lower is a Holocaust and genocide professor at Claremont McKenna College. Her research for Hitler’s Furies began in 1992 when she visited Ukraine. The Soviet archives had recently opened for access, and Lower stationed herself near Heinrich Himmler’s headquarters in Zhitomir. While there, she found multiple German records of the Nazi-occupied Eastern territory during World War II listing thousands of women that transferred to the eastern front beginning as early as 1941. While examining the newly released documents, she noticed women had served in multiple positions both civilian and conscripted. She compared them to the pioneers of the American West, as they were pioneers for Germany opening the new frontiers for extended living space.
Kevin Gutzman’s Virginia's American Revolution: From Dominion to Republic, 1776 1840
In the late eighteenth century, the American British colonies developed a revolutionary fever caused by various conflicts and disagreements with the British crown. It was this excitement that drove the colonies to break with their mother country and seek their own destinies. One of those colonies, Virginia, the largest and most populous colony, is the center of Kevin Gutzman’s Virginia’s American Revolution. In his text, Gutzman explores the political and legal background to Virginia’s desire for independence and seeks to explain how the attitude of Virginians affected the Commonwealth’s development in the decade following independence.
Samegården Sami Museum; Kiruna, Sweden
Every year, thousands of tourists travel through Kiruna, Sweden to Abisko National Park to chase the Northern Lights or enjoy outdoor activities, such as dogsledding or wildlife safaris. Kiruna offers tourists an opportunity to learn about the little- known Sami, the Indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia, through the Samegården Sami Museum.
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