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Carceral Tourism  

Megan Cullen Tewell

Carceral tourism refers to visitation—for a range of purposes, including leisure, recreation, entertainment, and education—to places associated with crime and punishment, particularly confinement. It represents an intersection of public history and dark tourism, and it involves the public’s accessing former or current sites of imprisonment, such as jails, prisons, penitentiaries, and detention centers that provide interpretations of carceral themes and histories. Visitors engage this form of tourism at physical locations in-person or remotely via digital interpretation, but they tend to prefer specific sites and structures. Generally consisting of guided or self-guided site tours, as well as exhibits and special programs, carceral tourism can also encompass historic reuse or repurposing, as well as the commodification of carceral themes, including site rentals and merchandizing. The significance of carceral tourism lies in how these sites construct and impart meanings of punishment, particularly incarceration, for everyday audiences.


The Freedmen’s Bureau  

Joseph P. Reidy

On March 3, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law a bill creating the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, better known as the Freedmen’s Bureau. Congress granted the bureau control over affairs relating to the formerly enslaved people in the Confederate States and also charged it with administering relief to war refugees and managing the confiscated and abandoned land in federal possession. In theory, its agents would transform the habits and beliefs associated with slavery into those that prevailed in the free states of the North. Practical challenges abounded, and the original view that the intervention would be brief proved to be naïve. Complicating matters, Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, viewed the bureau as a bone of contention in his dispute with Congressional Republicans over which branch of government would control Reconstruction, the process of returning the seceded states to full standing in national affairs. Overriding Johnson’s vetoes, Congress extended the bureau’s mandate, first to 1868 and eventually to 1872. From the beginning, Southern critics accused the bureau of creating labor strife and stirring hatred between the races, a characterization that formed a central plank in later Lost Cause mythology regarding the evils of Reconstruction. Only decades into the 20th century did historians succeed in rehabilitating the reputation of this pioneering federal agency and its important contributions to restoring stability to the Southern economy and assisting formerly enslaved Southerners in asserting their rights as free and equal citizens of the republic.


The United States and International Sanctions  

Benjamin Coates

Sanctions can be defined as peacetime economic measures designed to compel a target to change its behavior. Though some people have hoped they would provide a nonviolent method of enforcing international law, sanctions have most commonly been imposed unilaterally to promote national interests. Modern sanctions emerged after World War I as a key tool of the League of Nations. Building on the experience of the wartime Allied blockade, they enabled the use of military tactics during peacetime. Before World War II, the United States did not participate in multilateral sanctions. However, the 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act granted presidents unilateral authority to freeze foreign assets, a power that President Franklin D. Roosevelt invoked beginning in 1940 as a response to Axis aggression. Freezing Japanese assets backfired, however, as the decision encouraged Japan to attack Pearl Harbor, drawing America into the war. During the Cold War, US sanctions targeted leftist governments. Embargoes against the Soviet Union and China made little impact and complicated Washington’s relations with its European allies. Long-running sanctions against Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea also failed to provoke regime change. Sanctions also targeted human rights abuses. The success of the anti-apartheid movement, which promoted divestment from, and boycotts of, South Africa, was perceived as vindicating the power and legitimacy of sanctions. The 1990s became the “sanctions decade.” But most sanctions regimes failed, and sanctions against Iraq were blamed for contributing to humanitarian crisis. After September 11, 2001, the United States expanded its use of financial sanctions against those accused of facilitating terrorism, money laundering, weapons proliferation, and other crimes. Washington also imposed financial sanctions against state rivals, including Iran and Russia. By 2022, sanctions had become America’s policy of choice. But they usually failed to achieve their goals and frequently generated opposition from enemies and allies alike.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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.



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.



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.