The legal act of defining the ‘employee’ is about drawing lines. Those boundaries are often artificial, legally structured, and forged in an array of contests over power, ideology, and economics. They may be artificial, but they are powerful, demarcating who is in and who is out, who is us and who is them.
Sometimes, when another work on the Civil War, slavery, and emancipation lands on one’s desk, there is a natural tendency to wonder if we actually need it. What is left to say, the historian may ask, about Lincoln, Congress, and emancipation? And then a tragedy like Charlottesville in August 2017 occurs.
Americans cherish the ‘American dream’ – the notion that anyone can achieve financial success and happiness in the United States. This idea is based on an assumption of economic equality and freedom within the United States’ capitalist market.
The main aim of Nabors’ book corresponds directly to one of the greatest ambitions of any scholar of American history: that of defining the original meaning and nature of the American republicanism. Despite the number of contemporary scholars who have dwelled upon this subject over the 240 years of American federalism, the debate over the concept of American republicanism is yet ongoing.
There are many unsettling images that come to mind when one thinks of war, images that contrast starkly with commemorations that come after. Vulnerable, scared people dragged from their homes, animals carried off, and children ripped from their families all elicit very different sensations than that of a dignified memorial, a political treatise, or a celebratory account.
Traci Parker’s book, Department Stores and the Black Freedom Movement: Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights from the 1930s to the 1980s, is an engaging study of the intersections of race, class, gender, labour, and activism in an arguably quintessential 20th-century American space: the department store.
‘We are the Moses generation.’ Dr Otis Moss, a veteran of the civil rights movement, friend of Martin Luther King and former adviser to Jimmy Carter was addressing reassuring words to the latest aspirant for the presidency, the young Barack Obama. ‘We marched, we sat in, we went to jail … We got us out of Egypt, you could say.’ But, added the Revd Moss, we could only travel so far.