Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin 1852
1852 by Harriet Beecher Stowe; deep moral conviction; displayed humanity and suffering of slaves; featured agonies of slave families and mother’s journey of escape; exposed Northern racism and brought out idea of slavery when before there was not much awareness; over one million copies sold by 1853; alarmed southern whites (what if slavery outlawed?)
Declaration of Independence 1776
A 1776 document stating that the 13 English colonies were a free and independent nation. The Declaration of Independence was written mostly by Thomas Jefferson.
Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power upon History 1890
Mahan was a United States Navy officer, geostrategist, and educator. His ideas on the importance of naval power influenced navies around the world, and helped prompt naval buildups before World War I. The Influence of Sea Power Upon History’s premise was that in the contests between France and England in the 18th century, domination of the sea via naval power was the deciding factor in the outcome, and therefore, that control of seaborne commerce was critical to domination in war.
Thomas Paine’s Common Sense 1776
1776- Paine argued for independence, directly attacking allegiance to the monarchy, refocusing hostility previously vented on Parliament. The pamphlet was published anonymously in Philadelphia. He proved himself the consummate Revolutionary rhetorician. The Common sense of the matter, it seemed, was that King George III bore the responsibility for the malevolence toward the colonist. Before Paine, few colonists thought Independence was an option.
Upton Sinclar The Jungle, 1906
This 1906 work by Upton Sinclair pointed out the abuses of the meat packing industry. The book led to the passage of the 1906 Meat Inspection Act.
Alexander Hamilton, The Report on Manufactures. 1791
In this report to Congress, Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton argued the advantages of a diversified economy with both industry and agriculture to insure the country’s economic as well as political independence. He called, in particular, for a high tariff to protect young American industry from foreign competition. The U.S. first implemented a protective tariff in 1816, and has repeatedly used them since.
Frederick Jackson Turner, “The significance of the Frontier in American History” 1893
“The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward explain American development.” With these words, this man laid the foundation for modern historical study of the American West and presented a “frontier thesis” that continues to influence historical thinking even today. His contribution to American history was to argue that the frontier past best explained the distinctive history of the United States. He most cogently articulated this idea in “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” which he first delivered to a gathering of historians in 1893 at Chicago, then the site of the World’s Columbian Exposition, an enormous fair to mark the four-hundredth anniversary of Columbus’ voyage.
Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique. 1963
gave the women’s movement a new direction by encouraging middle-class women to seek fulfillment in professional careers rather than confinig themselves to the roles of wife, mother, and homemaker.
William Lloyd Garrison, The Liberator, 1831
1831-1865 An anti-slavery newspaper written by William Lloyd Garrison. It drew attention to abolition, both positive and negative, causing a war of words between supporters of slavery and those opposed.
Helen Hunt Jackson A century of Dishonor 1881
A writer. Author of the 1881 book A Century of Dishonor. The book exposed the U.S. governments many broken promises to the Native Americans. For example the government wanted Native Americans to assimilate, i.e. give up their beliefs and ways of life, that way to become part of the white culture.
The Federalist Papers 1787
A series of eighty-five essays by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay that argued for the ratification of the Constitution. These essays suggested that the three separate branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial) would prevent any one branch from becoming too powerful. The essays were largely successful at convincing skeptical delegates to ratify the Constitution (although the promised Bill of Rights helped too!).
The Gospel of Wealth 1889
An essay written by Andrew Carnegie in 1889 that described the responsibility of philanthropy by the new upper class of self-made rich. He argued that charity should only be given to those who can help themselves, and shouldn’t be given to those ill-equipped to deal with it.
Henry David Thoreau, On Civil Disobedience. 1849
Thoreau’s essay which established himself as an early advocate of nonviolent protest. The essay presented his argument for not obeying unjust laws. Thoreau’s own act of civil disobedience was to refuse to pay a tax that might be used in an “immoral” war – the U.S. war with Mexico. For breaking this law, Thoreau was forced to spend one night in the Concord jail
John Steinbeck, THe Grapes of Wrath. 1939
Set during the Great Depression, this novel focuses on a poor family of sharecroppers driven from their home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in the agriculture industry.
Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities. 1904
A muckraker novel concerning the poor living conditions in the cities., His book exposed corruption in city government and led to many reforms that helped to clean up politics and do away with party bosses and graft.
Michael Harrington, The Other America. 1961
As described in his book, the poor were trapped in a vicious cycle of want and a culture of deprivation. Because they could not afford good housing, a nutritious diet, and doctors, the poor got sick more often and for longer than more affluent Americans.
Booker T. Washington, “The Atlanta Compromise.” 1895
(1856-1915) An educator who urged blacks to better themselves through education and economic advancement, rather than by trying to attain equal rights. In 1881 he founded the first formal school for blacks, the Tuskegee Institute.
Herbert Croly, The Promises of American Life. 1909
Editor who wrote The Promise of American Life about government authority being used to balance economic activity. This was the basis for Theodore Roosevelt’s “New Nationalism.”.
Henry George, Progress and Poverty. 1879
California writer and activist, his angrily eloquent book Progress and Poverty, published in 1879, became one of the best selling nonfiction works in American publishing history. He blamed social problems on the ability of a few monopolists to grow wealthy as a result of rising land values, and that the increase in the value of the land was an unearned increment, produced by the growth of society, and that the profits belonged to the community.
Alain Locke, The new negro. 1925
Locke’s New Negro focused on black contributions to American culture and civilization. The book made him the “Father of the Harlem Renaissance,” that movement of the 1920s that contributed to African Americans’ sense of self esteem and whites’ recognition of the value of African American culture for both races.
A Wealth of Nations
Adam Smith’s book detailing the philosophy of a free market economy
Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward. 1888
Rivaling Henry George, this author wrote Looking Backward, a utopian novel, published in 1888, it described the experiences of a young Bostonian who went into a hypnotic sleep in 1887 and awoke in 2000, finding a new social order in which want, politics and vice were unknown. The society had emerged through peace and evolution, and all of the trusts of the 1800’s joined together form one government controlled trust, which distributed the abundance of the industrial economy equally among all people. “Fraternal cooperation” replaced competition, there were no class divisions, and there was great nationalism.
Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House. 1910
Twenty Years at Hull House describes Addams’s settlement house experiences in early twentieth-century Chicago. Her work provided a model for the kind of services settlement houses everywhere could offer the urban poor.
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring. 1961
the woman who most forcefully focused public attention on the issues regarding the environment was this biologist and writer, compared this book to older American muckraking classics, warned that “contamination of man’s total environment with such substances of incredible harm” (especially DDT) could “alter the very material of heredity upon which the shape of the future depends”, challenged the popular belief that humans through science and technology could “improve on nature”, taught Americans to think ecologically, showed in moving and elegant language the interconnection of living things and the means by which toxic chemicals moved through the food chain
Frederick Taylor, Principles of Scientific Management. 1911
monograph that laid out the principles of scientific management, is a seminal text of modern organization and decision theory and has motivated administrators and students of managerial technique
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, All the President’s Men. 1974
contemporary muckrakers who were reporters for the Washington Post (newspaper) who wrote a series of break-ins and the Watergates hotel – brought down president Nixon and his administration-story was told in the book “All the President’s Men”-then made into a movie
W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk. 1903
DuBois predicted that race relations would be the critical issue of the twentieth century. Unlike Booker T. Washington, DuBois advocated an immediate end to segregation and prompt steps to introduce quality education and voting for African Americans. His impassioned plea for unconditional equality set the agenda for the Civil Rights Movement.
Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers. 1971
Defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg leaked to the New York Times a secret account of American involvement in Vietnam. The papers allowed Americans to read the lies and faulty assumptions that led to this country’s increasing involvement in the war. The Supreme Court denied the Nixon administration an injunction to halt publication. Thus the public’s right to know took precedence over the Defense Department’s claim of secrecy in the name of public security. As a result, protests over American involvement in Vietnam increased until the government promised to end the war without fighting on to victory.
Letter from Birmingham Jail. 1963
A letter written by Martin Luther King Jr. after he had been arrested when he took part in a nonviolent march against segregation. He was disappointed more Christians didn’t speak out against racism.
Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives. 1890
Danish immigrant, became a reporter who pointed out the terrible conditions of the tenement houses of the big cities where immigrants lived during the late 1800s, wrote How The Other Half Lives in 1890