ToC for the Journal of the Early Republic

Paul Chase Discussion


Following is the table of contents for the latest issue of the Journal of the Early Republic.
Published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Volume 41.3 Fall 2021


Too Big to Fail? Families, Internal Improvement, and State Government in Antebellum North Carolina
Mandy L. Cooper

This article uses the development of the Raleigh and Gaston Rail Road in North Carolina as a case study to examine the relationship between elite family networks and the developing institutions of state government in the antebellum United States. The Cameron family of North Carolina and their involvement with the Raleigh and Gaston Rail Road offers a particularly dramatic example of the relationship between government and elites’ familial business and political networks. The men in the Cameron family network were all advocates in state government for internal improvements to advance the state’s economic prospects. Their advocacy, however, leveraged the states’ considerable economic resources to stabilize their own familial networks, which could not manage individual members’ problems with debt. In the process, these men implicated state government in the vagaries of their family’s economic fortunes. Because of these dynamics, corporations like the Raleigh and Gaston became, in essence, too big to fail. Moreover, like the Camerons, some elite families made government part of their family networks, just as blood relatives were. This move allowed them to see the interests of their vast family networks as something more than self-interested and self-serving: their families’ interests became the public good. Throughout the antebellum period, these practices became entrenched in the developing institutions of federal and state government, where they gained institutional purchase and legitimacy. This article argues that it was familial networks, not just individual men, who used and, ultimately, shaped government authority.

Seneca Conceptions of Land Use and Value: Debates over Land Sovereignty, 1797–1848
Elana Krischer

Settler groups characterized Seneca political disputes that developed throughout the nineteenth century as “factions,” which are typically viewed as signs of societal disintegration for Native communities. This essay instead views Seneca political disagreements as a single narrative of alternate solutions to the advancement of American expansion. The Senecas experienced three distinct disputes over the course of the nineteenth century, and each side used their awareness of American expectations for Seneca society to protect Seneca interests. The Senecas forced the United States to reflect on the extent of American expansion and interrupted settler constructs such as sovereignty, jurisdiction, and property law by defining those ideas for themselves.

Economic Crisis, General Laws, and the Mid-Nineteenth-Century Transformation of American Political Economy
Naomi R. Lamoreaux, John Joseph Wallis

Before the middle of the nineteenth century most laws enacted in the United States were special bills that granted favors to specific individuals, groups, or localities. This fundamentally inegalitarian system provided political elites with important tools that they could use to reward supporters, and as a result, they were only willing to modify it under very special circumstances. However, in the early 1840s a major fiscal crisis forced a number of states to default on their bonded debt, unleashing a political earthquake that swept this system away. Starting with Indiana in 1851, states revised their constitutions to ban the most common types of special legislation and, at the same time, mandate that all laws be general in their application. These provisions dramatically changed the way government and the economy worked and interacted, giving rise to the modern regulatory state, interest-group politics, and a more dynamic form of capitalism.

From Property to Education: Public Schooling, Race, and the Transformation of Suffrage in the Early National North
Mark Boonshoft

This essay argues that education became an important cultural arbiter of voting rights in the early national North. It first shows how, in constitutional conventions, reformers marshaled the existence of expanded access to public education to justify eliminating property qualifications for the suffrage for white men. Many of these same conventions also disfranchised free Black men. Though racism and partisan politics motivated these decisions, convention delegates often justified them on grounds of education. They claimed that Black men were not educated enough to entrust with the vote. At the same time, many white communities curtailed Black access to education. Constitutional convention proceedings influenced Black activist to increase their emphasis on education—which dated back to the revolutionary era—to claim, reclaim, and maintain voting rights. By the Civil War, the results of this discourse were apparent: In Northern states, where education was legally segregated and unequal, most Black men could not vote. Where Black children had relatively equal education, Black men had the suffrage. Literacy and education tests were still rare. But the Northern discourse that connected schooling and suffrage had transformed education into a basis for voting rights, much like property had been before it.


American Lucifers: The Dark History of Artificial Light, 1750–1865 by Jeremy Zallen (review)
Jennifer L. Anderson, Jessica Choppin Roney, Whitney Martinko

The Field of Imagination: Thomas Paine and Eighteenth-Century Poetry by Scott M. Cleary (review)
William Huntting Howell

Cultivated by Hand: Amateur Musicians in the Early American Republic by Glenda Goodman (review)
Suzanne G. Cusick

Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture by Eleanor Jones (review)
Laura Turner Igoe

The Man of the People: Political Dissent and the Making of the American Presidency by Nathaniel C. Green (review)
Edward J. Larson

The Property of the Nation: George Washington’s Tomb, Mount Vernon, and the Memory of the First President by Matthew R. Costello (review)
Sarah J. Purcell

Rescued from Oblivion: Historical Cultures in the Early United States by Alea Henle
Christine DeLucia

Colonizing the Past: Mythmaking and Pre-Columbian Whites in Nineteenth-Century American Writing by Edward Watts (review)
Christen Mucher

The Partisan Republic: Democracy, Exclusion, and the Fall of the Founders’ Constitution, 1780s–1830s by Gerald Leonard and Saul Cornell (review)
Rosemarie Zagarri

Entangled Lives: Labor, Livelihood, and Landscapes of Change in Rural Massachusetts by Marla R. Miller (review)
Ritchie Garrison

Bawdy City: Commercial Sex and Regulation in Baltimore, 1790–1915 by Katie M. Hemphill (review)
Rachel Hope Cleves

Unfaithful: Love, Adultery, and Marriage Reform in Nineteenth-Century America by Carol Faulkner (review)
Lindsay Keiter

Contesting Slave Masculinity in the American South by David Stefan Doddington (review)
Andrea Livesey

In the Matter of Nat Turner: A Speculative History by Christopher Tomlins (review)
Kenneth S. Greenberg

Boone, Black Hawk, and Crockett in 1833: Unsettling the Mythic West ed. by Michael A. Lofaro (review)
Matthew Christopher Hulbert

Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power by Pekka Hämäläinen (review)
Jameson Sweet

Capital in the Nineteenth Century by Robert E. Gallman and Paul W. Rhode (review)
Sean Adams

The Worlds of James Buchanan and Thaddeus Stevens: Place, Personality, and Politics in the Civil War Era. ed. by Michael J. Birkner, Randall M. Miller and John W. Quist (review)
David N. Gellman

Submitted by Paul Chase, Penn Press Journals