Introduction  

On September 24, 2011, Michael Kazin published an important essay in the New York Times, “Whatever Happened to the American Left?” In it he examined the “populist left’s” historic role in shaping politics and policy discussions in the United States, …



Iron Horse and Gilded Age  

Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America by Richard White W. W. Norton and Company, 2011, 634 pp. FOR A generation now, historians have been reluctant to write about capitalism. Cultural history has been the rage, even as …









Pluralism and the War on Terror  

In the last one hundred years, war-induced worries about unity and loyalty have led to fears of foreigners in our midst and campaigns to restrict their rights and opportunities. This has been especially true at times, such as the 1910s …



Standard-Bearer of the Right  

Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus by Rick Perlstein Hill and Wang, 2001 671 pp $30 No political movement in America these last twenty-five years has rivaled conservatism in appeal or influence. Everywhere one …



Strands of Reform  

The veneration that surrounds the name of Franklin D. Roosevelt causes us to forget that, in his time, not everybody loved the man. To some of his opponents, he was downright evil. It was bad enough that this country squire …



A Major History of American Labor  

Since the early years of the twentieth century, historians have characterized the American Federation of Labor (AFL), the preeminent organization of American trade unionists from the 1890s through the early 1930s, as craft-dominated, procapitalist, and politically tame. America’s pioneer labor …



The Politics of Patriotism  

Patriotism, in conservative periods like our own, is a tool used by the right to bludgeon labor and the left. In the 1980s, corporations are said to represent the essence of American civilization—unions its denial. Such ideological attacks on the …