John Higham is Professor of History Emeritus at Johns Hopkins University and the editor of Civil Rights and Social Wrongs: Black—White Relations Since World War II, which has just been published. (November 1997)


Three Reconstructions

The story of civil rights in the twentieth century has the shape of a great wave climbing a beach. A low swell, moving slowly, gains momentum. At a certain point it surges to a mighty crest that crashes with a roar. A wash of water flows onward, but the force …

The Pot that Didn’t Melt

The Jews in America: Four Centuries of an Uneasy Encounter: A History

by Arthur Hertzberg
The first Jews to settle as a group in what is now the United States arrived at the frontier outpost of New Amsterdam in 1654, broke and unwanted, but unable to make a living back in Holland. A century and a half passed with relatively little change. A few prospered; …

The Old Frontier

America's Frontier Heritage

by Ray Allen Billington

Turner and the Sociology of the Frontier

edited by Richard Hofstadter, edited by Seymour Martin Lipset
How important was the westward movement in shaping American history and forming a distinctive national character? For three decades, from the 1930s through the 1950s, specialists in American history argued the issue fiercely. On the whole, southern and western scholars held faithfully to the teachings of the master, Frederick Jackson …

Provincial History

The Americans: The National Experience

by Daniel J. Boorstin
About twenty years ago, Daniel Boorstin, then a young man in his early thirties, started upon a major appraisal of American civilization. Already an accomplished historical essayist, he had written two incisive studies, the first on Blackstone’s legal philosophy, the second on Jeffersonian liberalism, both of them exercises in disenchantment.