“This compact volume merges the economic and legal history of the Grange movement (originally known as the Patrons of Husbandry) and the Grange's role in the history of American agriculture.…Summing Up: Recommended.”
“[This book] reinvigorates thinking about the Grange at a time when the association’s commitment to active citizenship and challenging monopoly capitalism is as important and relevant as ever.…In Essentials, Unity is a brief introduction to a vitally important movement that too few of us remember.”
Journal of American History
The Patrons of Husbandry—or the Grange—is the longest-lived US agricultural society and, since its founding shortly after the Civil War, has had immeasurable influence on social change as enacted by ordinary Americans. The Grange sought to relieve the struggles of small farmers by encouraging collaboration. Pathbreaking for its inclusion of women, the Grange is also well known for its association with Gilded Age laws aimed at curbing the monopoly power of railroads.
In Essentials, Unity takes as its focus Grange founder Oliver Kelley and his home organization in Minnesota. Jenny Bourne draws upon numerous historical records to present a lively picture of a fraternal organization devoted to improving the lot of farmers but whose legacies extend far beyond agriculture. From struggles over minimum wage, birth control, and environmental regulation to the conflicts surrounding the Affordable Care Act, and from lunch-counter sit-ins to Occupy Wall Street, the Grange has shaped the very notion of collective action and how it is deployed even today. As this compact book so effectively illustrates, the history of the Patrons of Husbandry exposes the classic tension between the desires for achieving overall economic success and determining how the spoils are split.
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. More info →
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From 1840 to 1900, midwestern Americans experienced firsthand the profound economic, cultural, and structural changes that transformed the nation from a premodern, agrarian state to one that was urban, industrial, and economically interdependent. Midwestern commercial farmers found themselves at the heart of these changes. Their actions and reactions led to the formation of a distinctive and particularly democratic consumer ethos, which is still being played out today.By
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Gibbons v. Ogden, Law, and Society in the Early Republic examines a landmark decision in American jurisprudence, the first Supreme Court case to deal with the thorny legal issue of interstate commerce.Decided in 1824, Gibbons v. Ogden arose out of litigation between owners of rival steamboat lines over passenger and freight routes between the neighboring states of New York and New Jersey.
Margaret Garner was a runaway slave who, when confronted with capture, slit the throat of her toddler daughter rather than have her face a life in slavery. Driven toward Madness probes slavery’s legacy of violence and trauma to capture her circumstances and her transformation from a murdering mother to an icon of tragedy and resistance.
American History · Slavery and Slave Trade · African American Studies · Legal and Constitutional History · 19th century · Women’s Studies · Ohio · History | African American · American History, Midwest
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