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Apache Peoples before 1850  

Matthew Babcock

Apache history before 1850 is poorly understood because of the long-standing mistaken assumption that Apaches were inherently violent raiders and warriors from time immemorial. Although Athapaskans fought surrounding Indigenous groups for control of the southern plains prior to European contact, their initial contacts with Puebloans and Spaniards were peaceful. Apaches began obtaining Spanish horses in the early 1600s, and, angered by Spanish enslavement of their people, began conducting equestrian raids on their enemies by at least the 1670s. Fighting for their freedom and the return of their kinsmen, Apaches played an active role in both the Pueblo and Great Southwestern Revolts, while expanding their territory southward, eastward, and westward. By 1686, eastern Apaches controlled the southern and central plains, and in the 1690s, Spaniards identified western groups in the Chiricahua and Pinaleño Mountains and along the Gila and Verde Rivers. Embroiled in war with Comanches, Utes, and Caddoan Norteños during the 18th century, Jicarilla and Lipan Apaches sought Spanish military aid and protection while utilizing the Catholic missions Spaniards established for them as supply posts. In the late 1760s, the Spanish military took an expanded role in trying to control Apaches and intensified their offensives against them during the 1770s and 1780s. After 1786, the Spanish military combined peace and war, attempting either to pacify Apaches by turning them into sedentary farmers, destroy them with the help of Indigenous allies, or extradite them to interior Mexico and Cuba. Thwarting these efforts, Apaches de paz (peaceful Apaches) largely shaped the system of Spanish-run reservations that extended from Laredo to Tucson by relying on well-established strategies of movement, trading, and small-scale raiding. The system declined unevenly, with Apache raiding escalating more quickly east of the Rio Grande than west of it. Because of political and economic instability in interior Mexico, competition from US traders, and a regional smallpox epidemic most Apaches left their reservations by 1832. Mexican–Apache relations subsequently deteriorated as northern Mexican states hired contract killers, implemented scalp bounties, and presidios and towns disintegrated into arenas of treacherous violence. Apaches, however, still managed to occupy and control the vast majority of their homeland.

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Business in the Civil War: Trade, Markets, and Industry  

Mark R. Wilson

The Civil War disrupted domestic and international trade. Union strategy included a considerable focus on economic warfare, especially in the form of a naval blockade of Southern ports. Because the war lasted four years, its outcome was affected deeply by the success or failure of Union and Confederate economic mobilizations of capital, industry, and labor. On the home fronts, many businesses, large and small, confronted new challenges to their normal operations and supply chains. Generally speaking, businesses in the South suffered more than their Northern counterparts. Forced to deal with the consequences of the blockade, high inflation, and Union advances, many Southern farmers, merchants, and manufacturers struggled to keep afloat, especially after 1862. In the North, there was more wartime prosperity, thanks to a smoother economic mobilization and the Union’s ability to continue internal and international trade. But there was no single uniform experience: at the levels of specific industries and individual firms, the impact of the war varied widely. Clearly, the single biggest economic change—and political and social change, as well—was the end of slavery. Beyond that, the Civil War’s effects on long-run economic and industrial development were more complex and uncertain. The conflict’s heavy costs in blood and treasure harmed the North as well as the South, but many industries came out of the war in a strong enough position to allow the United States to continue on its path to becoming the world’s largest and most prosperous national economy by the end of the 19th century.

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US-Russian Relations before 1917  

Paul Behringer

From the American Revolution until the late 19th century, the United States and Russia enjoyed a “distant friendship,” meaning that the first interactions and perceptions between Russians and Americans were mostly positive, but the affinity for one another did not run particularly deep. The two peoples looked at each other across a wide geographic and cultural chasm. As the United States spread across the North American continent and into the Pacific, and Russia established colonies in Alaska and at Fort Ross, Russians and Americans began to encounter one another more frequently. Occasionally this trend led to tension and competition, but overall relations remained cordial, reaching a high point in the 1850s and 1860s when the United States tacitly supported Russia during the Crimean War and Russia backed the Union during the American Civil War. The goodwill culminated in the Russian decision to sell Alaska to the United States. Soon, however, differences in ideology and interests drove the two countries into a more tense and competitive relationship. Americans came to view Russians as squandering their land’s great potential under the yoke of an autocratic government and cultural “backwardness,” while Russians scoffed at America’s claims of moral superiority even as the United States expanded into an overseas empire and discriminated against Black and Asian people at home. These views of each other, combined with growing rivalry over influence in Northeast Asia, drove US-Russian relations to a low point on the eve of World War I. Many of the stereotypes about each other and the conflicts of interest, papered over briefly as allies against the Central Powers in 1917, would resurface during the Soviet period.

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Dayton, Ohio  

Janet Bednarek

In 1796, twelve white settlers traveled north from the Ohio River into what became known as the Miami Valley. There, they established a small settlement on the banks of the Great Miami River, not far from where the Mad River, the Stillwater River, and Wolf Creek empty into the Great Miami. They named their new town after Jonathan Dayton, a Revolutionary War veteran, investor in land in Ohio, and the youngest signer of the US Constitution. Though the settlement grew slowly at first, once connected by canal (1829), railroad (1851), and telegraph (1847), the city began to flourish. By the time of the US Civil War, Dayton had emerged as a manufacturing city with an increasingly diverse population. Between the 1870s and 1920s, Dayton became known for products ranging from paper to potato chips, cash registers, bicycles, and refrigerators. During this time, several individuals from Dayton rose to international prominence, including poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and the inventors of the airplane, Wilbur and Orville Wright. This period also witnessed the most important event in Dayton’s history, the 1913 flood. After that, Dayton became the largest city in the United States to adopt the city manager form of city government. After World War II, Dayton, like many cities in the so-called “Rust Belt,” suffered from deindustrialization and racial tensions. Dayton’s population peaked in the 1960s and, thereafter, the city lost population in every decade through the 2020s. Deep and lasting patterns of racial segregation divided Dayton’s population between an African American West Side and the largely white East and North Dayton. Local leaders embraced urban renewal and highway construction as potential answers to the city’s challenges with, at best, mixed results. As economic and population losses continued into the 21st century, the local economy shifted from manufacturing to “eds and meds.”

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The Department Store  

Traci Parker

Department stores were the epicenter of American consumption and modernity in the late 19th and through the 20th century. Between 1846 and 1860 store merchants and commercial impresarios remade dry goods stores and small apparel shops into department stores—downtown emporiums that departmentalized its vast inventory and offered copious services and amenities. Their ascendance corresponded with increased urbanization, immigration, industrialization, and the mass production of machine-made wares. Urbanization and industrialization also helped to birth a new White middle class who were eager to spend their money on material comforts and leisure activities. And department stores provided them with a place where they could do so. Stores sold shoppers an astounding array of high-quality, stylish merchandise including clothing, furniture, radios, sporting equipment, musical instruments, luggage, silverware, china, and books. They also provided an array of services and amenities, including public telephones, postal services, shopping assistance, free delivery, telephone-order and mail-order departments, barber shops, hair salons, hospitals and dental offices, radio departments, shoe-shining stands, wedding gift registries and wedding secretary services, tearooms, and restaurants. Stores enthroned consumption as the route to democracy and citizenship, inviting everybody—regardless of race, gender, age, and class—to enter, browse, and purchase material goods. They were major employers of white-collar workers and functioned as a new public space for women as workers and consumers. The 20th century brought rapid and significant changes and challenges. Department stores weathered economic crises; two world wars; new and intense competition from neighborhood, chain, and discount stores; and labor and civil rights protests that threatened to damage their image and displace them as the nation’s top retailers. They experienced cutbacks, consolidated services, and declining sales during the Great Depression, played an essential role in the war effort, and contended with the Office of Price Administration’s Emergency Price Control Act during the Second World War. In the postwar era, they opened branch locations in suburban neighborhoods where their preferred clientele—the White middle class—now resided and shaped the development and proliferation of shopping centers. They hastened the decline of downtown shopping as a result. The last three decades of the 20th century witnessed a wave of department store closures, mergers, and acquisitions because of changing consumer behaviors, shifts in the retail landscape, and evolving market dynamics. Department stores would continue to suffer into the 21st century as online retailing exploded.

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Philadelphia  

Timothy J. Lombardo

Officially established by English Quaker William Penn in 1682, Philadelphia’s history began when indigenous peoples first settled the area near the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. Since European colonization, Philadelphia has grown from a major colonial-era port to an industrial manufacturing center to a postindustrial metropolis. For more than three centuries, Philadelphia’s history has been shaped by immigration, migration, industrialization, deindustrialization, ethnic and racial conflict, political partisanship, and periods of economic restructuring. The city’s long history offers a window into urban development in the United States.

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Toledo  

Timothy Messer-Kruse

Though considered a typical midwestern industrial city, Toledo, Ohio has an unusual history shaped by its unique physical environment and native resistance that delayed its development. While never meeting the wild expectations of its promoters, Toledo nevertheless emerged in the 20th century as an industrial powerhouse and center of technological and political innovation. A magnet for mass immigration from central and eastern Europe in the years before World War I, and for the northward migration of southerners in the interwar years, Toledo built a culturally diverse population that sustained an eccentric role in Ohio’s and the nation’s political life. Though considered an archetypical “rust belt” city by the 1970s, Toledo actually maintained a large manufacturing base and remains a center of automotive, solar energy, and glass production.

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Indentured Servitude in Colonial America  

Anna Suranyi

Indentured servitude was a constitutive factor in the development of colonial America and helped shape patterns of immigration, labor relationships, citizenship, and the economy of the colonies. During the 16th through the 18th centuries, about 320,000 indentured servants, primarily from England but also from Scotland, Ireland, and elsewhere, crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the British colonies in the Americas, making up about 80 percent of white immigrants. About three-quarters of them were male, a quarter were female, and approximately a tenth were children. Most indentured servants were impoverished individuals, aged 18 to 25, who had agreed to a term of four to seven years of servitude with a payment of “freedom dues” at the end, but some were shipped or “transported” overseas involuntarily by the government, as vagrants or to serve criminal sentences, or were trafficked into servitude by kidnappers. Even those servants who had nominally agreed to indentured servitude had little understanding of what awaited them on the North American continent, because the indenture relationship gave their masters and mistresses much greater control over servants’ lives than employers had in Britain. Once indentured servants began their term of labor, many found themselves in abusive situations, with women and children particularly vulnerable to mistreatment. However, their circumstances were better than that of enslaved people of African ancestry, as a consequence of the limited duration of indentured servitude as opposed to lifelong enslavement and because indentured servants possessed legally and culturally defined rights as members of British society that were unavailable to the enslaved, including guidelines regulating their terms of labor, protections against abuses, and the ability to sue in court if mistreatment occurred. After servitude was completed, indentured servants were expected to join colonial society, and while many remained in dire poverty, some prospered.

Article

William McKinley Jr.  

Aroop Mukharji

Born in 1843 as the seventh of nine children to a Methodist family in Niles, Ohio, William McKinley was not destined for political greatness. Much like his politics, his rise was steady and incremental, his ambition as patient as it was large. After four years serving the Union in the Civil War, McKinley returned to Ohio to start a local law practice. Following a short stint as a county prosecutor, he married, started a family, and then met with his life’s greatest tragedy: the deaths of both of his young daughters within two years of each other. Amid this immense personal turmoil, McKinley ran for Congress. He served seven terms until a Democratic challenger unseated him, enabled by gerrymandered district lines. Within a matter of months, McKinley turned around to win Ohio’s governorship twice, before becoming the nation’s twenty-fifth president in 1897. However faded he has become in historical memory, at the time of his assassination in 1901, just six months into his second presidential term, McKinley was a towering figure in US politics. He led the United States in three wars spanning two continents and was only the third US president in almost seven decades to win two consecutive terms. In foreign policy, where he left his greatest mark, McKinley changed the trajectory of US history by consolidating US control over the Caribbean, defeating a European power in war, and irreversibly expanding the US military to sustain an empire that stretched 7,000 miles into the Pacific Ocean. The costs were significant: hundreds of thousands of Filipinos dead, millions colonized under American rule, and new strategic commitments too distant to reasonably protect. It is therefore one of the greatest ironies of US presidential history that so much about McKinley’s life remains shrouded in mystery or, worse, forgotten.

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Female Slaveholders in British America  

Christine Walker

Women actively contributed to the expansion of chattel slavery in British America. During the colonial era, female inhabitants living in every region claimed by Britain, from the northernmost colonies to the southernmost islands in the Caribbean, held other people in bondage. As enslavers, women exercised their authority over captives in various capacities. Female slaveholders treated enslaved people as personal property that could be bought, sold, or rented out in the marketplace. They commanded enslaved people to perform diverse types of labor. Some worked in households as servants, cooks, and laundresses, while others labored in taverns, shops, fields, and on waterways. Women also bequeathed captives to descendants, often preferring to transfer enslaved people along female lines. Inheritance became an important mechanism for women to maintain control of, and benefit from, slaveholding. Finally, women exercised their authority by subjecting enslaved people to a spectrum of abuses ranging from corporeal punishment, imprisonment, and transportation, to starvation and execution. Early modern gender inequalities intensified women’s participation in slavery, offering them an alternative form of support, profit, and command. By offsetting the economic, legal, and social limitations imposed by patriarchal societies, slaveholding thus empowered women.