Author Archives: Elizabeth Garner Masarik

NAFTA, Maquiladoras, and Mexican Immigration in the late 20th Century

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Donald Trump, in a September 2016 presidential debate, said, “NAFTA is the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country.” But NAFTA was not addressed in any of his executive orders, and now President Trump’s intentions for NAFTA are unclear. Today Averill and Elizabeth continue our series on US immigration with this episode about the North American Foreign Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Maquiladoras and Mexican immigration in the 20th century. Trump has said little about what improvements he wants, apart from halting the migration of U.S. factories to Mexico. This this conversation is also closely tied to rising nativist sentiments in America about Mexico and Mexicans in general, and cannot be separated from the discussion of wall building, and actions our President has taken to place restrictions on immigration. In our current political climate, this rhetoric and vitriol has had a dramatic impact on the lives of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, which has everything and nothing to do with the actual role of the economy in all of this.

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Show Notes and Further Reading

Bacon, David. “How US Policies Fueled Mexico’s Great Migration.” The Nation

Chicago Booth. “Free Trade.”

Enstad, Nan. Ladies of Labor, Girls of Adventure.

Gereffi, Gary, David Spener, and Jennifer Bair. Free Trade & Uneven Development, edited by Gary Gereffi, et al., Temple University Press, 2009.

Human Rights Watch. “Mexico’s Maquiladoras: Abuses Against Women Workers.”

O’Conner, Ann-Marie. “Maquiladora Women Finding Freedom.LA Times.

Mexican Immigration in the 20th century: Revolution, Welfare, and Braceros

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The Bracero Program began in 1942, and was an agreement between the United States and Mexico, which started the legalization and control of Mexican migrant workers along America’s southern border area. The US was recovering from the social and economic damages caused by the Great Depression, while also sending many of its potential laborers off to war in Europe. So there was a serious need for workers in the country. The program lasted until 1964, and it is estimated that in this 22 year period, approximately 4.6 million Mexican nationals came to work in the U.S. as braceros. In the first year of its creation, the Bracero program led to the US importing roughly 215,000 Mexican nationals to work as agricultural laborers and then another 75,000 would be sent to work of the Southern Pacific railroad along with 20 or so other railroads.

In this continuation of our series on immigration, Dan and Elizabeth focus on the Mexican-American experience within the United States: instances of racism, the importation of Mexican workers, and how Mexican-Americans were intentionally excluded from the welfare state.

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Show Notes & Further Reading

Zamora, Emilio. The World of the Mexican Worker in Texas. College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2009.

Katznelson, Ira. When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America. Reprint edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2006.

Cohen, Lizabeth. Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939. 2nd edition. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Fox, Cybelle. Three Worlds of Relief: Race, Immigration, and the American Welfare State from the Progressive Era to the New Deal. Princeton N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2012.

Ngai, Mai. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. Updated edition. Princeton University Press, 2014.

Feature Image: “Mexican Farm Workers Who have been Accepted for Farm Labor in the U.S. through the Braceros Program

Jane Roe & The Pill

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In the third episode in our series on women’s reproductive rights in America, we finally get to two of the most important turning points in our story: the invention of the hormonal birth control pill, and the Roe v. Wade case in 1973. The mid 20th century saw some critical turning points for women’s reproductive rights, but also created lasting political divides and moral dilemmas. Join Elizabeth and Sarah as they continue the conversation.

Show Notes & Further Reading 

Baker, Jean H. Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion. (New York: Hill and Wang, 2011).

Faux, Marian. Roe v Wade: The Untold Story of the Landmart Supreme Court Decision That Made Abortion Legal (New York: Cooper Square Press, 1988).

Gibbs, Nancy. “The Pill at 50: Sex, Freedom and Paradox,” Time, April 22, 2010.

Gibson, Megan. “One Factor That Kept the Women of the 1960s Away from Birth Control Pills: Cost,” Time, June 23, 2015.

Hubbard, Ruth. “Abortion and Disability: Who Should and Who Should Not Inhabit the World?” in The Disability Studies Reader, Davis, Lennard J., ed., (New York: Taylor & Francis, 2003).

Kaplan, Laura. The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997).

McFadden, Robert D. “Norma McCorvey, ‘Roe’ in Roe v. Wade, Is Dead at 69,” The New York Times, February 18, 2017.

Petchesky, Rosalind Pollack, “Fetal Images: The Power of Visual Culture in the Politics of Reproduction,” Feminist Studies 13 (1987).

Reagan, Leslie. Dangerous Pregnancies: Mothers, Disabilities, and Abortion in Modern America (Berkley: University of California Press, 2010).


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Featured image derived from Griswold v Connecticut on PBS

Early American Family Limitation

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Birth control and abortion are constant flash points in contemporary politics, and they’re often described as signs of a rapidly changing society. But women have always had ways (though not always quite as effective ones) to control family size, and early American women were no exception. Understanding the role that reproductive rights has played in American history provides critical context to today’s debates. Have we always had these kinds of debates? How did Americans think about abortion in the late 18th century, or the 19th century? In this episode, Elizabeth and Sarah start a three part conversation about women’s reproductive rights in United States history by talking about birth control methods and abortion in the 18th and 19th century.

Show Notes & Further Reading 

Dayton, Cornelia Hughes. Women before the Bar : Gender, Law, and Society in Connecticut, 1639-1789 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995).

Duden, Barbara.  The Woman beneath the Skin : A Doctor’s Patients in Eighteenth-Century Germany (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991).

Gordon, Linda. The Moral Property of Women : A History of Birth Control Politics in America. 3rd edn (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002).

Klepp, Susan E.  Revolutionary Conceptions: Women, Fertility, and Family Limitation in America, 1760-1820 (Chapel Hill, 2009).

Mohr, James C.  Abortion in America : The Origins and Evolution of National Policy, 1800-1900 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978).

Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher. A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 (New York: Vintage Books, 1991).

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Jack of All Trades: Frederick Law Olmsted

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Frederick Law Olmsted is most well known for being the father of American landscape architecture, but he was also something of a jack-of-all-trades: a sailor, farmer, abolitionist, writer, reformer, public health worker, and conservationist. Join Elizabeth and Dan as they chat about Olmsted’s fascinating life and work!

Correction: Thanks to Zhi Ting Phua of the Buffalo Olmstead Parks Conservancy for pointing out that while The Front does not exist in name, it is still a part of the park system, just now under the name of Front Park.

 

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Show Notes and Further Reading 
Guillet, Travis, Bruce Kelly, and Mary Ellen H. Hern, eds. Art of the Olmsted Landscape. New York: New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and The Arts Pulisher Inc., 1981.

Johnson, Paul S. Sam Patch, The Famous Jumper. New York: Hill & Wang, 2003.

Kowsky,  Francis R. The Best Planned City in the World: Olmsted, Vaux, and the Buffalo Park System. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2013.

Martin, Justin. Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted. Cambridge: Da Capo Press,  2011.

Mintz, Steven. Moralists and Modernizers: America’s Pre-Civil War Reformers. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.

The Rural Cemetery Movement

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Does your city have a big, sprawling cemetery – maybe one with ornate Victorian monuments and statuary? If it does, it was likely built during the rural cemetery movement of the early to mid nineteenth century, an effort to move places of burial away from the center of villages and to the park-like settings on the outskirts. What spurred this move? Join Elizabeth and Sarah as they talk grave iconography, disease epidemics, the commodification of death, and ‘rural’ cemeteries.

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Show Notes & Further Reading

Bender, Thomas. “The ‘Rural’ Cemetery Movement: Urban Travail and the Appeal of Nature,” The New England Quarterly 47 (June 1974).

Greenfield, Rebecca. “Our First Public Parks: The Forgotten History of Cemeteries,” The Atlantic, March 16, 2011.

Schantz, Mark. Awaiting the Heavenly Country: The Civil War and America’s Culture of Death. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008.

Williams, Tate. “In the Garden Cemetery: The Revival of America’s First Urban Parks,” American Forests, Spring/Summer 2014.

 

 

The Burning of Buffalo and the War of 1812

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Most American history books devote a page at most to the War of 1812. It is often referred to as the forgotten war. However, scholarship on the war has exploded in recent years due to the 200th Anniversary of the beginning of the war in 2012.

Drawing of citizens fleeing Buffalo, NY December 30, 1812. Drawn by LeGrand St. John. Courtesy of Buffalo History Museum.

Drawing of citizens fleeing Buffalo, NY December 30, 1812. Drawn by LeGrand St. John. Courtesy of Buffalo History Museum.

The War of 1812 may be a lesser known episode within the larger narrative of American history, but for inhabitants of Buffalo, NY and the surrounding region- the War of 1812 still holds a place of fascination and remembrance.

Join Elizabeth Garner Masarik and Tommy Buttaccio as they discuss the War of 1812 and how the Burning of Buffalo transformed this once frontier town overnight, and even travel with them to the Buffalo History Museum as they speak with Cynthia Van Ness, Director of Archives, about documents pertaining to this obscure episode of American history.

Burnin

Birds eye view at the junction of main and tupper. Drawn by LeGrand St. John. Courtesy of Buffalo History Museum.

Suggested readings:

Alan Taylor. The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, and Indian Allies. New York: Knopf, 2010.

Carl Benn. Native Memoirs from the War of 1812: Black Hawk and William Apess. Johns Hopkins Press. 2013.

Nicole Eustace. 1812 : War and the Passions of Patriotism. University of Pennsylvania Press. 2012.

For a discussion on using rhetoric of rape and sexuality for political means see:
Sharon Block. Rape and Sexual Power in Early America. Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 2006.

Burned residence chimneys drawn by LeGrand St. John. Courtesy Buffalo History Museum.

Burned residence chimneys drawn by LeGrand St. John. Courtesy Buffalo History Museum.


Featured Image: The Burning of Buffalo. Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Burning of Buffalo.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed November 20, 2015. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-f6d1-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99