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What’s in the September Issue of the Journal of American History?

The September 2019 issue of The Journal of American History is now available online for subscribers.

Included are articles by Claudio Saunt, Verónica Martínez-Matsuda, Kaeten Mistry, and Dylan Gottlieb. We are excited to feature book reviews, as well as the Editor’s Annual Report for 2018-2019. The digital history projects reviewed in this issue are Civil War Photo Sleuth; Missouri over There: Missouri and the Great War; Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America; and Renewing Inequality: Family Displacements through Urban Renewal.

Preview of Articles

We think of Indian removal largely as a political and military undertaking and as a southern story. But Claudio Saunt shows that investment bankers from the northeastern states and abroad were essential to the process of moving eighty thousand people across the Mississippi River. New York’s and Boston’s leading financiers speculated in indigenous lands, investing millions of dollars in dispossessing Native Americans. Across the Atlantic, British bankers poured money into the operation by buying Mississippi and Alabama state bonds. Financial capital shaped both the speed of dispossession and the extent of the losses borne by Native Americans and transformed the native South from a region of family farms to a land of sprawling slave labor camps.

Verónica Martínez-Matsuda links concurrent and varied national projects of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) concerning white Dust Bowl “refugees” in California, Mexican and Mexican American farm workers in Texas, and Japanese American “evacuees” in Oregon and Idaho to demonstrate how U.S. federal officials navigated their goal to democratize migrant farm workers in the shifting political terrain between the Great Depression and World War II. Viewed relationally, these cases demonstrate the extent and limit of the fsa’s social-democratic project and its commitment to advancing marginalized farm workers’ civil rights.

Challenging common interpretations of national security whistle-blowing as solely a security or legal issue, Kaeten Mistry explores the transnational connections that facilitate disclosures in the public interest. He analyzes the case of the Central Intelligence Agency whistle-blower Philip Agee, whose exposures and campaigns against the U.S. national security state—and its Latin American and European allies—unfolded through, across, and between nations. In developing a history of the whistle-blowing phenomenon, Mistry contributes to literatures on transnational movements, protest networks, national security and secrecy culture, the United States and the world, American constitutional law, human rights, and the global cold war. He speaks to the possibilities and limits of dissent, anxieties around national security and democratic transparency, and tensions between state power and civil liberties.

American cities in the 1970s and 1980s are usually understood as sites of decline and abandonment. But as Dylan Gottlieb reveals, some areas were already experiencing another sort of crisis: one of rising real estate values and residential displacement. As financial and professional employment surged and antipoverty programs gave way to market-rate redevelopment, landlords in the New York City area used arson to drive out low-income Latino tenants before converting their buildings to condominiums. The resulting fires killed fifty-five people and displaced thousands more. Postindustrial cities, Gottlieb argues, were remade as much by dispossession and violence as they were by abstract market forces.

Looking for older issues of The Journal of American History? See previews of past issues and articles