After the First World War, many Americans feared that the Communist Revolution in Russia would spread to the United States. Fear outweighed rational debate, leading to a clamp down on civil liberties, with thousands arrested without warrants. In response, a small group of individuals set up the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In the years since then, the ACLU has evolved from a small organization to the nation’s principal defender of civil rights, playing a role in some of the most famous events in twentieth-century American history. Continue reading
Elvis Presley was just 41 when he died in August 1977. So much had been achieved in just over twenty years; a young country boy had risen exponentially to become one of the biggest – perhaps even the biggest – icons of twentieth-century popular culture. Looking back over his career with Gale’s digital archives reveals a more personal, introverted side to the man who became known as ‘the King’.
In a few months’ time, the day millions of people have been waiting for will finally be upon us: Election Day in the United States. For the first time in eight years, a new President will be elected to the White House. Pitching effervescent Republican Donald Trump against the more sedate Democrat Hillary Clinton, long months of campaigning will come to an end in what is potentially the most globally scrutinised election ever known. The successor to Barrack Obama will finally be revealed.
While the level of fanfare surrounding the 2016 election may appear unprecedented, there have been a few notable elections in the US over the years which have come close to matching this year’s furore:
- 1948: Harry S. Truman (Democrat) vs. Thomas E. Dewey (Republican)
- 1960: John F. Kennedy (Democrat) vs. Richard M. Nixon (Republican)
- 2000: Al Gore (Democrat) vs. George W. Bush (Republican)
By Jen Manion
Jen Manion, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of History and Director of the LGBTQ Resource Center at Connecticut College. Manion is author of Liberty’s Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015) and co-editor of Taking Back the Academy: History of Activism, History as Activism (Routledge, 2004). Jen has also published essays in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Journal of the Early Republic, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, and Radical History Review.
Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture, 1790-1920 is a trove of material for scholars and students interested in the history of gender, gender expression, and sexuality. Criminal accounts provide an illustrative window into the culture of the time by highlighting the lives, actions, and motives of those who crossed the line of so-called acceptable behavior. Women’s participation in illicit activities such as theft, robbery, assault, or murder were generally sensationalized in both trial and newspaper records, giving such accounts a sexual tinge no matter how seemingly mundane. The range of source material—from newspaper accounts to trial manuscripts to organizational records to sensational dime novels—allows readers to approach a singular topic from different perspectives. Historians can examine the treatment of people along lines of race, class, and gender, or chart changes in such regulations over time. Continue reading