The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950 Page: 94
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
tions, with an integration of the material culled from these and
secondary sources into an exceedingly well-balanced presentation.
It has been Professor Nevins' object to consider the state of
the Union during the years 1847 to 1857 in these volumes, which
are the first two of a projected six-volume set, and to indicate the
trend toward disintegration. He studied the culture of the Union
and also the points of difference and homogeneity in the Union,
with an eye to crosscurrents and nascent schisms. Professor Nevins
investigated as well the cultural and economic patterns of the
times. Instead of extracting one specialized topic for minute
examination, he has tried to fit each phase of his subject into its
proper relationship with all the others. The reform movements
of the time, consequently, are not presented separately and per
se, but as the outgrowth of intellectual development which had
come about gradually. Politics, the subject of so many learned
and stereotyped monographs, appears, not as the modus vivendi
of these years, but in perspective with social progress. The Mex-
ican War, often a subject of specialization, is treated as an impor-
tant event among many events. The emergence of American art
and literature from obscurity marked the years considered in
these volumes, and Professor Nevins has placed these subjects in
their proper niche.
The growth of communications during the 1840's and 1850's
played a great part in making the western part of the Union, and
the growing industrialism brought some agrarians to the cities
and helped to hold the North and South closer together in the
bond of mutual need. Business and commerce assumed a place
of prominence in the public purview, and, as the avenues of
trade multiplied, these considerations became more important.
From the conditions reportedly existing in some of the northern
sweatshops came part of the impetus for reform and aid to the
working groups. But a certain healthy desire to better the lot
of those appearing downtrodden had manifested itself, and such
courageous people as Horace Mann, Dorothea Lynde Dix, and
William H. Sylvis did much to publicize the plight of the miser-
able, underpaid, and uneducated populace. As the culture of
the nation grew with its boundaries, the unequal position of
women could no longer be overlooked. The crusade for women's
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950, periodical, 1950; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/m1/114/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.