Anxious Decades: America in Prosperity and Depression, by Michael E. Parrish

By Michael E. Parrish

Within the convulsive years among 1920 and 941, american citizens have been first dazzled by means of unheard of financial prosperity after which beset through the worst melancholy of their historical past. It used to be the period of version T's, emerging earning, medical administration, electrical energy, speaking videos, and ads ideas that bought a probably unending movement of products. yet is used to be additionally a time of grave social clash and human suffering.

The Crash compelled Hoover, after which Roosevelt and the state, to reexamine previous strategies and tackle urgent questions of restoration and reform, financial progress and social justice. the area past the USA replaced additionally in those years, making the rustic reconsider its relation to occasions in Europe, Latin the USA, and Asia. the semblance of superiority slowly died within the Thirties, maintaining a deadly blow in December 1941 at Pearl Harbor.

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Consumption patterns are made transparent during excavations, which in turn allow archaeologists to surmise a site occupant’s relationship to the American nation. Did the site residents, for instance, forgo or embrace a nation-state? Before speculating, an archaeologist must be acutely aware of who was considered a citizen during the time period in which their site was occupied. They should also have a general understanding of the politics of consumption at that particular moment in time. This book provides broad summaries of both the legal parameters of citizenship over the course of American history and the historic fastening of consumption to American identity.

Ornately decorated buckles were a sign of wealth while poorly made, “coarse” buckles were reserved for the destitute, as noted by an order placed by George Washington in 1759 “for his slaves at Mount Vernon” (33). For ordinary people, a vogue, stylish buckle was not merely a status symbol when worn but also a “form of currency” (47) that could be exchanged for clothing or other goods. For the financially strapped or downtrodden, the loss of such a prized object could be devastating. Abner Sanger, a member of the lower class, documented in his diary entry dated November 5, 1778, the loss of a buckle that warranted the formation of a small search party to recover (47–48).

Ranked a rung above African Americans on the ladder of evolution, Native Americans were only eligible for citizenship if they defected from their tribes (219). Taken together, the acts and laws crafted during the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary periods demonstrate “a growing distrust not only of aliens but of the people in general” (Smith 1956, 94), setting the tone for how immigrants would be treated in the coming years. Such xenophobia, however, would be tabled, albeit momentarily, ushering in a historically 30 · The Archaeology of Citizenship anomalous era that would witness the overturning of Dred Scott and the types of racism it engendered.

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