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The Public City : The Political Construction of Urban Life in San Francisco, 1850-1900 - Philip J. Ethington

The Public City

The Political Construction of Urban Life in San Francisco, 1850-1900

Hardcover Published: 28th October 1994
ISBN: 9780521415651
Number Of Pages: 480

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This history of San Francisco from 1850 through 1900 identifies the active participation of citizens in communication, persuasion, and mobilization as the public city: the site of American political and social change. Challenging decades of scholarship that treats urban politics as the expression of social-group experience and power, the author develops the opposite thesis that social-group identities of race, class, ethnicity, and gender were politically constructed in the public sphere in the process of mobilization and journalistic discourse,

Industry Reviews

"An impressive work based upon extensive research in qualitative and quantitative sources, the book successfully engages a variety of complex interpretative issues at a high level of sophistication. The author's forcefully presented arguments and his provocative conclusions will stimulate discussion and debate. The Public City is required reading for every historian interested in urban history, California history, and the history of American politics in the nineteenth century." Pacific Historical Review "This ambitious work deserves close attention from urban historians, political historians, and political scientists...[T]he questions it asks, the wealth of information it presents on a crucial period for urban political development, and the ways in which it reframes the urban political contest opens the way for a renewed debate on urban politics that has been mired too long in bosses versus reformers and the social-group paradigm of political development. Ethington is to be congratulated for his achievements here." Maureen A. Flanagan, Michigan State University, on the Internet "The book is well grounded in the sources, including election data, and it is especially suggestive in integrating developments in the realms of gender and news media into the overall analysis. The author writes clearly ... the book is an essential addition for all upper-division undergraduate and graduate collections in American, western, and urban history." D.F. Choice "Practically every page presents some new insight or challenges some accepted interpretation...this is required reading for everyone interested in American politics in the latter half of the nineteenth century." Robert W. Cherny, American Historical Review "Philip Ethington has given us an important and provocative study of the changing political culture of early San Francisco and, more generally, of nineteenth-century urban America...'The Public City' is a book that needs to be reckoned with. It makes an important argument for the primacy of political culture. It highlights the discursive role of institutions such as the press in linking and shaping state/civil society relations. It effortlessly blends qualitative and quantitative approaches. And it deepens our understanding of early San Francisco political history. These are no small achievements." Steven Erie, Nevada Historical Society Quarterly "An impressive work based upon extensive research...the book successfully engages a variety of complex interprative issues at a high level of sophistication...his provocative conclusions will stimulate discussion and debate." William Issel, Pacific Historic Review

List of illustrations and tablesp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
Introduction: The public city: American political culture in nineteenth-century San Franciscop. 1
From republican liberalism to pluralist liberalismp. 2
The public cityp. 14
The public city and urban political historyp. 24
The political communityp. 29
Subject matter and methodsp. 35
Outline of the analytical narrativep. 38
The agony of authority: People, public, party, and power, 1849-1859p. 43
The people of San Francisco in the 1850sp. 47
Social class: Some preliminary observationsp. 50
The antebellum public spherep. 58
The agony of organization and participationp. 65
The agony of authorityp. 77
Preliminary conclusionsp. 83
Republican terror: The origins of Vigilante movements of 1851 and 1856p. 86
A brief outline of the San Francisco vigilance committeesp. 88
Interpretationsp. 90
Composition of the two committeesp. 92
"Down in front!": Crime and the popularity of executionsp. 97
The popular origins of the Committee of 1851p. 105
The case of the nonnativist Know-Nothingsp. 112
Violating the ballot box; or, "A crime of the darkest dye"p. 117
Conclusionp. 124
Though the heavens fall: The Vigilante movement culture of 1856p. 128
Patterns of the committee: Ninety-nine daysp. 130
Disgrace of the elected officialsp. 137
Disciplinary authorityp. 143
Symbols and sword ritualsp. 145
Scenes of political-cultural changep. 149
Mutualism for San Franciscop. 155
The uses of cultural authorityp. 157
"A people's party for local purposes"p. 161
Conclusionp. 167
Race and reaction: Civil War political mobilizationp. 170
Outline of party conflictsp. 171
David C. Broderick in defense of white freedomp. 173
A funeral oration and partisan realignmentp. 177
Race and freedom: The Republicans and civil rightsp. 184
Race and reaction: The conversion of Henry Haightp. 188
Emancipation and the reversal of party fortunesp. 194
The political origins of racial mobilizationp. 200
Conclusionp. 206
The postwar reconstruction of the urban public spherep. 208
Women as orators, lawyers, politicians: Natural rights versus the masculine public spherep. 209
Election law: The partisan struggle to reshape the political communityp. 218
The shape of the urban electorate during the third party systemp. 230
The origins of mass communication at the dawn of an interest-group discoursep. 236
A language of politics in a politics of class: The Workingmen's Party of Californiap. 242
Party competition and the origins of a politics of classp. 248
Estimating class mobilizationp. 260
A language of politicsp. 265
The self-destruction of the Republican paradigmp. 276
Conclusion: On the survival of the "mainstream parties"p. 282
The institutional preconditions of progressivismp. 287
"A species of force": The contradictions of organizational party politics in the 1880sp. 288
Origins of interest-group lobbiesp. 299
From communications business to political-culture industryp. 308
The reorganization of group identitiesp. 320
The politicization of womenp. 327
Political entrepreneurs and the Reform Ballot Act of 1891p. 336
Progressivism as the politics of needs: The mobilization of group identitiesp. 345
Intellectuals and the cityp. 347
Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the political mobilization of womenp. 355
The home and the statep. 363
Progressives and silurians: The reform matrix of 1891-1896p. 370
The mind of an urban progressive reformer: James Duval Phelanp. 377
The politics of municipal charter reformp. 387
The woman suffrage amendmentp. 398
Conclusionsp. 401
Conclusion: A new public sphere and a new governmentp. 408
Statistical sources, methods, and supplementary tablesp. 419
Bibliographyp. 427
Indexp. 454
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521415651
ISBN-10: 0521415659
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 480
Published: 28th October 1994
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 3.2
Weight (kg): 0.78

Earn 302 Qantas Points
on this Book