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The Journal of American History

March 2018

Volume 104, No. 4

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The Natures of Capital: Jewish Difference and the Decline of American Usury Law, 1910–1925

In the early twentieth century, state-level usury laws became an object of debate among progressive reformers who agreed that firm limits on allowable interest rates were failing to curb the avarice of small-sum lenders. Daniel Platt considers how shifting notions of Jewish difference shaped these conversations and underwrote the rise of a more permissive regulatory order in the 1920s, premised on the goal of moving the trade into the hands of supposedly virtuous Anglo-Saxon bankers.

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A Martial Freedom Movement: Black G.I.s’ Political Struggles during World War II

In addressing the impact of World War II on the black civil rights movement, scholars have failed to appreciate the full scope and sweep of black G.I. activism. Thomas A. Guglielmo argues that African American servicemen and women spearheaded the most dramatic and significant assault on military Jim Crow, part of a broader effort to topple wartime white supremacy. In the process, they built a “martial freedom movement,” a fuller appreciation of which deepens and refines our understanding of modern black freedom struggles.

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DDT and the Cold War Jungle: American Environmental and Social Engineering in the Rapti Valley of Nepal

Adding an environmental angle to the study of international development, Thomas B. Robertson shows how early Cold War development programs played out on the ground in Nepal. He tells the story through the perspectives of individual American policy makers and planners as well as through the perspectives of Nepali government officials and villagers of different castes, ages, and genders. It is a story of limited success and of unintended consequences and good intentions gone awry.

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Rethinking the ‘Straight State’: Welfare Politics, Health Care, and Public Policy in the Shadow of AIDS

The AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) crisis in the United States killed tens of thousands of people in the 1980s and revealed homophobia and political inertia at the heart of American governance at the same time that it spurred a new wave of social activism. Jonathan Bell explores battles to access the welfare state for people with AIDS, unveiling how a system designed in the 1930s for women with children and the permanently disabled was adapted to meet the demands of gay men.

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JAH Podcast

A Martial Freedom Movement: Black G.I.s' Political Struggles during World War II

Benjamin Irvin, executive editor of the Journal of American History, speaks with Thomas A. Guglielmo, Associate Professor of American Studies at George Washington University, about his article appearing in the March 2018 issue of the JAH.

Length: 34 min.
File size: 31 MB
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Textbooks and Teaching

‘Professionalizing History Majors’: A New Approach to Broadening the Perspectives of Undergraduates on their Post-Graduation Worlds by Daniel S. Murphree

What’s Learned in College History Classes? by Sam Wineburg, Mark Smith, and Jel Breakstone

A Network of Curricular Connections: Lessons from Cultivating History in the State of Utah by Daniel McInerney

Curricular Conversation Beyond the Institution by Scott Casper and Laura Westhoff

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Digital History Reviews

America's Public Bible: Biblical Quotations in U.S. Newspapers by James Byrd

Tax History Project by Romain Huret

Click!: The Ongoing Feminist Revolution by Agatha Beins

SNCC Digital Gateway by Matthew Johnson

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