Lause, Mark A. 1950-
Lause, Mark A. 1950-
Born 1950. Education: University of Missouri, St. Louis, B.A., 1975; Roosevelt University, M.A. (with honors), 1977; University of Illinois, Chicago, Ph.D., 1985.
Home—Cincinnati, OH. Office—University of Cincinnati, McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, 360 McMicken (ML:0373), Cincinnati, OH 45221-0373. E-mail—[email protected]
Historian, educator, and writer. University of Cincinnati, McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, Cincinnati, OH, assistant professor, then associate professor of history.
Some Degree of Power: From Hired Hand to Union Craftsman in the Preindustrial American Printing Trades, 1778-1815, University of Arkansas Press (Fayetteville, AR), 1991.
The Civil War's Last Campaign: James B. Weaver, the Greenback-Labor Party & the Politics of Race & Section, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 2001.
Young America: Land, Labor, and the Republican Community, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 2005.
Mark A. Lause is a historian whose interests focus on nineteenth-century labor and social history, primarily during the Civil War period. Other research areas include émigré activism on the eve of the Civil War, spiritualism. and wartime labor movements.
In his 2001 book The Civil War's Last Campaign: James B. Weaver, the Greenback-Labor Party & the Politics of Race & Section, Lause writes of the 1880 U.S. Presidential campaign of General James B. Weaver, who was a member of the Greenback-Labor party, the largest third-party movement in the history of America. Weaver's candidacy marked the first time that a candidate for the U.S. presidency actively campaigned on his own behalf. In the process of examining this campaign, the author explores the complex coalition of interdependent conservatives, radicals, and pragmatists who included farmers, workers, suffragists, African Americans, and land reformers. According to a contributor to the Ibo-talk Web site, many of these supporters were "protesting their betrayal by the Republicans who had ended Reconstruction." With his book, the author provides a look at America's society, values, and politics in the postwar Gilded Age.
Young America: Land, Labor, and the Republican Community, published in 2005, was called "essential and thought-provoking" by Labour/Le Travail contributor Jamie L. Bronstein. The book examines how working people's republican "free labor" ethos in the form of the National Reform Association (NRA) changed the national agenda in the mid-nineteenth century, a period that most historians consider crucial in U.S. history.
"The National Reformers, antebellum working men who crafted a movement advocating the right to land for the landless, were ignored by historians for decades after the publication of the first book-length treatment of their movement in 1941," noted Bronstein in Labour/Le Travail. "Over the past two decades, the National Reformers have undergone a surprising resurgence. They have been studied as part of the process of American class formation." Bronstein went on to note in the same review: "Mark Lause adds to this flourishing literature with Young America, a history of the internal politics and the leadership of the movement, and the relationship of the movement with the political trends of the time."
This antebellum land reform movement featured a dream of a future shaped by egalitarian homesteads. In his book, the author argues that these working people and their interest in equitable access to the land throughout the United States led them to advocate a federal homestead act granting land to the landless. "National Reformers clearly spoke in a way that fit those times," the author noted in his introduction to Young America." Like some founders of the United States, they held that the health of a republic depended on the broader distribution of land ownership."
In addition to their demands for government support of homesteading, National Reformers called for state legislation to prohibit the foreclosure of family farms and also favored antimonopolistic limitations on land ownership. Although these efforts, along with homesteading support, represented the foundation of the movement's goals, the author points out in his introduction that members of the movement also voiced their political views on a number of other issues. The author writes: "At various conventions, conferences, and congresses or through local affiliates, the NRA called for a legislated ten-hour workday and the direct election of all government officers. Conversely, it urged the abolition of practices ranging from the Electoral College to slavery." The author also notes in his introduction: "National Reformers also consistently defended newcomers to the country, urged peace, and fostered international associations. In an age when people aspired to talk with the spirit of Benjamin Franklin, they proposed remaking the social structure, eliminating slavery, and assuring the fullest liberty to each and every individual."
In the course of his book, the author examines this urban and working-class "agrarianism" and demonstrates how this movement's political preoccupations transformed socialism by moving its adherents from communitarian preoccupations into political action. He explains how the alliance of NRA land reformers and radical abolitionists led unprecedented numbers to petition Congress and establish the foundations of what would become the new Republican Party. The author also looks at how the group dealt with the standard political groups and ideas of the time, and how it was able to become influential even though the group's members ultimately broke away to join other parties. Lause also writes of how National Reformers went on to become involved in cultural movements such as spiritualism and free love as well as political issues of the times, from the Civil War to the single-tax campaign.
"In prose that is … always impassioned, Mark Lause has produced a work of impressive intellectual breadth and chronological scope," wrote Mark Voss-Hubbard in a review of Young America in Civil War History. Christopher Clark commented in the Journal of American History: "His method of tracing links between apparently distinct movements has the potential to alter conventional assumptions about nineteenth-century politics and reform. His book is a welcome invitation to look at the landscape afresh."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Lause, Mark A., Young America: Land, Labor, and the Republican Community, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 2005.
American Historical Review, December, 2006, Steven Stoll, review of Young America, p. 1516.
Business History Review, summer, 2006, Michael Green, review of Young America, p. 355.
Canadian Journal of History, autumn, 2006, David P. Dewar, review of Young America, p. 397.
Choice, May, 2006, T.F. Armstrong, review of Young America, p. 1662.
Civil War History, March, 2008, Mark Voss-Hubbard, review of Young America, p. 93.
Historian, summer, 2007, Daniel Feller, review of Young America, p. 341.
International Review of Social History, August, 2007, review of Young America, p. 331.
Journal of American History, June, 1992, Ronald Schultz, review of Some Degree of Power: From Hired Hand to Union Craftsman in the Preindustrial American Printing Trades, 1778-1815, p. 249; September, 2002, Gerald Friedman, review of The Civil War's Last Campaign: James B. Weaver, the Greenback-Labor Party & the Politics of Race & Section, p. 646; September, 2006, Christopher Clark, review of Young America, p. 522.
Journal of Communication, spring, 1992, Jon Bekken, review of Some Degree of Power, p. 175.
Journal of Popular Culture, August, 2003, Bruce Cohen, review of The Civil War's Last Campaign, p. 131.
Journal of the Early Republic, spring, 1992, W.J. Rorabaugh, review of Some Degree of Power, p. 123.
Labor History, February, 2007, Christopher R. Cook, review of Young America, p. 121.
Labour/Le Travail, fall, 2006, Jamie L. Bronstein, review of Young America, p. 255.
Library Quarterly, July, 1992, Marcella Genz, review of Some Degree of Power, p. 360.
Reference & Research Book News, August, 2001, review of The Civil War's Last Campaign, p. 56.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (May, 2007), Edward B. Rugemer, review of Young America.
Ibo-talk,http://mailman.lbo-talk.org/ (May 17, 2008), Mark A. Lause, review of The Civil War's Last Campaign.
University of Cincinnati McMicken College of Arts & Sciences Web site,http://www.artsci.uc.edu/collegemain/ (May 17, 2008), faculty profile of author.