If you think 2016 is a turbulent year for the United States, try 1877. The country is, as one observer puts it, “on the edge of a volcano.” Four years into a crippling economic crisis, a hopelessly corrupt government is beset by domestic terrorism, frontier conflicts, and class war. As cities and factories replace small towns and family farms, new, unregulated corporate empires are built on the backs of a new industrial working class. Faith in the system, and in the economic and political promise of American life, is fading. And looming over it all is the specter of the Paris Commune – an uprising from below that can only end in blood…
Michael Bellesiles, 1877: America’s Year of Living Violently. New York: The New Press, 2010.
Eric Foner, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1970.
Philip Foner, The Great Labor Uprising of 1877. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1977.
John Steele Gordon, An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power. New York: Harper Perennial, 2004.
John Merriman, Massacre: The Life and Death of the Paris Commune. New York: Basic Books, 2014.
Nell Irvin Painter, Standing at Armageddon: A Grassroots History of the Progressive Era. New York: Norton, 1987.
Heather Cox Richardson, West from Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America after the Civil War. New Haven & London, CT: Yale University Press, 2007.
Alan Trachtenberg, The Incorporation of America: Culture & Society in the Gilded Age. New York: Hill & Wang, 1982.