September 2, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 2.17.04 PMThe September issue of the Journal of American History is now available online! This issue features an exciting group of articles, our yearly interchange, Ed Linenthal’s final editor’s report reflecting on his 11 years at the helm of the JAH, and a full complement of digital and book reviews.

Share your thoughts on the September issue in the comments section below, or by tweeting at us @JournAmHist.


Tyson Reeder examines the maturation of the American state apparatus as it asserted control over the transnational movement and extraterritorial violence of its citizens. Between 1816 and 1820, privateers manned by U.S. citizens plundered vessels on behalf of the South American revolutionary José Gervasio Artigas. These privateers’ illicit activities in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea revealed the problems that such “borderwaters” posed to U.S. claims of national sovereignty. European officials condemned the failure of the U.S. government to assert sovereignty over its citizens on the high seas, jeopardizing the United States’ international standing. Beginning in 1819 U.S. officials implemented effective strategies to repress the privateers and improve the government’s reputation among European powers. (Also check out the JAH podcast with Tyson Reeder)

The antebellum period saw the rise of an enormous agricultural reform movement that brought about important innovations in government policy and established new rural institutions such as the annual fair. Ariel Ron shows that these changes largely reflected the particular pathways of northern economic development and had important consequences for the sectional crisis of the 1850s. But they are also worth considering in their own right if we are to understand a countryside that made up the large majority of antebellum society. We know a lot about farmers at the community and regional levels, but we still know very little about how farmers became increasingly interconnected and organized through the fairs, publications, and societies of the agricultural reform movement.

Cities were fundamental to the rise of the black power movement in the late 1960s, but, as Brian D. Goldstein uncovers, the built environment also served as a crucial medium through which black power proponents imagined the future that would follow from racial self-determination. As the case of Harlem shows, activist architects and planners and their community partners crafted an urban vision that valued existing African American residents and preserved their vibrant neighborhoods. In doing so, they not only offered a rebuke to modernist city building, with its emphasis on clearance and redevelopment, but they also played a thus-far-overlooked role in crafting a new, postmodern urbanism in its place.


Our yearly interchange features a conversation on “Globalization and Its Limits between the American Revolution and the Civil War” with Emily Conroy-Krutz, Jay Cook, Konstantin Dierks, Ann V. Fabian, Courtney Fullilove, Amy S. Greenberg, Nicholas Guyatt, Justin Leroy, and Kariann Akemi Yokota.

Book Reviews

Among the 150 book reviews in this issue are feature reviews of Steven K. Green’s Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious FoundingKarine V. Walther’s Sacred Interests: The United States and the Islamic World, 1821–1921Andrew Werder Cohen’s Contraband: Smuggling and the Birth of the American Centuryand Gordon H. Chang’s Fateful Ties: A History of America’s Preoccupation with China.

Digital History Reviews

Mark Boonshoft reviews the Colonial North American Project.

Aaron Astor reviews the Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict, 1854–1865.

Kimberly N. Kutz reviews Remembering Lincoln.

Pamela Riney-Kehrberg reviews Yale University’s Photogrammar website.

Krystyn R. Moon reviews the First Days Project.