Daily Archives: August 31, 2009

The Machine Age, 1877-1920

I’m sorry that we didn’t get a chance to run through the entire chapter today. In the future I’ll budget our time more wisely and we’ll cover more ground.

As I said in seminar, the entire Norton text is required reading for this course. The main reading schedule only indicates specific chapters for lecture, but be assured every chapter is necessary. Go to the American Civilization page for a recommended schedule of Norton readings.

If we’re to grasp the stakes of the fifty years from Reconstruction to the Red Scare we’ll need to consider the ways that major social changes impacted ordinary people at the most basic levels: how they worked, played, related to one another, etc. To that end, you could do worse than peruse an earlier entry on this blog, Pittsburgh, ca. 1907 and/or this excerpt from my dissertation:

Historical Background

Any narrative seeking to generalize about the transformation of the United States from Reconstruction to the Palmer Raids would likely emphasize a favored trope of American historiography– the inexorable tightening of society, the increasing rigidity of a social order embedded in the inflexible necessities of gargantuan economic forces.

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