Jenny Bourne is a professor of economics at Carleton College. She has published numerous articles on American economic history, law and economics, and public finance, as well as The Bondsman’s Burden, about the economics of Southern slave laws. Her current research explores the connections between income and wealth for American households.
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The American Civil War was the first military conflict in history to be fought with railroads moving troops and the telegraph connecting civilian leadership to commanders in the field. New developments arose at a moment’s notice. As a result, the young nation’s political structure and culture often struggled to keep up. When war began, Congress was not even in session.
In In Essentials, Unity, Jenny Bourne presents a lively picture of a fraternal organization—the Patrons of Husbandry, or the Grange—devoted to improving the lot of small farmers but whose legacies extend far beyond agriculture, shaping the very notion of collective action and how it is deployed even today.