How race survived US history
The book is a broad survey of the history in the United States since the colonial era and the Obama bid for the presidency in 2008. In addition, there was contention in that America was established with slavery being the central political institution, economic growth and social ordering. Roediger who is a professor at a University in Illinois has skillfully blended this structural approach on the issues concerning the U.S. while still maintaining a compelling argument.
In addition, Roediger argues that the race underpinned every other aspect on the American society which remains alive even in the present days. This can be supported by the fact that Obama has been mentioned in the book. However, the book discusses his candidacy and not his win which made history. However, Obama’s win did not undermine the writer’s argument where he states that race defines the social classes into which individuals are categorized and where the same people produces and justifies their opportunities in relation to poverty and wealth. The book examines race in a very wide perspective from Native Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Italians and Irish. The book shows that race is conjoined to classes and gender.
Further, there is historical debates that have been included in this book. An example of this is the discussion whereby Louisiana Purchase which was carried out in 1803 where President Jefferson bought the largest estate in the history. This resulted to the enlarging of the United States soil into two times. The deal was an indication that slavery would be expanded in the US. Further, the race would probably survive based citizenship and republicanism in the coming centuries. If there was no expansion, American would agree to end the slavery.
Similar arguments have been highlighted throughout the American past. Primarily, the argument proves that America is not only a geographical entity, but also a place that is based on ideologies that are based on race despite of democracy. However, the book lacks footnotes and the bibliography. As a result, despite the professor arguments being accompanied with very convincing examples, the book is frustrating for the reader since they are denied ability to follow some of these points.
Roediger developed the theme that he has used in the book initially in chapter one where he talks of white supremacy. The theme is unity that the white identity would bring in order to bring unity among men and women who belonged to conflicting social classes. This however did not include the slaves and the Indians. In some other cases, the blacks were also involved on causes against the Indians. Roediger uses the Bacon’s Rebellion that took place in 1676 and that led to civil war in Virginia. Arising from desire to acquire land among Europeans and Africans, there was demand for quick settlement of the indigenous lands. In addition, the bondservants also joined who served out their time under the leadership of young English lawyers. As a result, the authorities granted freedom to both the servants and the Negroes. This ensured that there was no rebellion against the authorities. The promise of liberation and the registered fears for retribution was suggesting how imperfect the social classes were when faced with racial divisions.
Roediger got the idea on writing a short book about the races in U.S. He included the history of colonialism and the Indians in America, empire, race and anti-immigrant racism. The book digs deep to the roots of racism in unequal relations on race. The book is certainly intended for popular audience. White supremacy had a take that race is over or almost ending. Therefore, Roediger intended to show the evidence that race is existing, mass immigration and civil rights legislation. The fact that land and labor of the colonized and the enslaved people would be justified by the victims was both heathens and savages. In addition, the revolutionary reports were both joyful and alarming to the slaves, women, the poor and sailors. The groups were further pressed by the powerful forces that kept them both apart and powerless. The northern states were gradually meant to abolish slaves. Slave owners were able to acknowledge the presence of Africans in their territories. They also acknowledged the skills that different African tribes had acquired and thus the Americans worked for a united labor union. However, the Africans were a bit rebellious and to solve this, the Americans turned into acquiring slaves from Africa. Therefore, it is evident that the African American presence in the executive would have an impact in the relations of the races. They would be able to rebel against the acts and decisions made that would negatively affect other non-American races. It would therefore be of great importance for the American authorities to eliminate them from the executive so that they would continue with their mean ways.
In conclusion, the readings about Roediger writing that add coherent ideas, which he draws concerning the history and racial definitions, nation building and the capital. Roediger did not introduce any new history, but however the manner in which he articulated the history was profound. Even though the book lacks footnotes, the manner in which the ideas have been developed ensure that one does not feel the absence greatly. This book can be recommended to the audience because of the discussions that revolve around 20’s to 60’s struggles related to labor.
Roediger, D. R. (2010). How race survived US history: From settlement and slavery to the Obama phenomenon. London: Verso.