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The Reckless Decade: America in the 1890sby H. W. Brands
Synopses & Reviews
"Large-scale economic change, job uncertainty, the politics of extremism and paranoia, arguments over America's international role, racial conflicts. Sound familiar?"(Fritz Lanham, Houston Chronicle) Just as we do today, Americans of the 1890s faced changes in economics, politics, society, and technology that led to wrenching and sometimes violent tensions between rich and poor, capital and labor, white and black, East and West. In The Reckless Decade, H. W. Brands demonstrates that we can learn a lot about the contradictions that lie at the heart of America today by looking at them through the lens of the 1890s.
The 1890s saw the closing of the American frontier and a shift toward imperialist ambitions. Populists and muckrakers grappled with robber barons and gold-bugs. Americans addressed the unfinished business of Reconstruction by separating blacks and whites. Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, and other black leaders clashed over the proper response to continuing racial inequality. Those on top of the economic heap—Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Morgan—created vast empires of wealth, while those at the bottom worked for dimes a day. Brands brings all this to life in a vivid narrative filled with larger-than-life characters facing momentous challenges as they worked toward an uncertain future.
"Beautifully written and wonderfully absorbing, The Reckless Decade is the most accessible survey history of America's turbulent 1890s ever composed."-Douglas Brinkley
Just as we do today, Americans of the 1890s faced changes in economics, politics, society, and technology that led to wrenching and sometimes violent tensions between rich and poor, capital and labor, white and black, East and West. In The Reckless Decade, H. W. Brands demonstrates how we can learn about the contradictions that lie at the heart of America today by looking at them through the lens of the 1890s.
Preface to the 1993 EditionPrefaceIntroduction1. 'The Influence of America on the Mind'2. The Jeffersonian CircleChapter One: The Supreme Workman1. Nature as the Work of Art2. The Economy of Nature3. The Apotheosis of NatureChapter Two: The Equality of the Human Species1. The Adaptability of Man2. The Dispersion of the Human Species3. Varieties of Mankind: the Indian and the Negro4. The Fulfillment of Human EqualityChapter Three: The Physiology of Thought and Morals1. 'The Mode of Action Called Thinking'2. The Happy Variety of Minds3. The Perils of Metaphysics4. The Moral Sense and the Life of Action5. Jeffersonian ChristianityChapter Four: The Natural History of a New Society1. Natural History and Political Science2. The Use of Government3. A Philosophy of Rights4. The Sovereignty of the Present Generation5. The Quest for Useful Knowledge6. The American DestinyConclusion1. The Promise of Jeffersonian Thought2. The God of the RepublicNotesIndex
About the Author
H. W. Brands holds the Melbern G. Glasscock Chair in American History at Texas A&M University. He is the author, most recently, of The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin and The Strange Death of American Liberalism.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Coming of Age, or Coming Apart?
1. The Lost Frontier
2. In Morgan We Trust
3. How the Other Half Lived
4. Blood on the Water
5. The Matter with Kansas
6. Plessy v. Crow
7. Cross of Gold, Tongue of Silver
8. Democratic Imperialism
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