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Lecture Rehearsals: 4.2. Inclusion in þe 20th Century
From the Fall 2021 version of my 20th Century Economic History Course
4.2.1. After 1870 We Do Get the Technological Miracles!
Civilization back before 1800 or so required inequality. No inequality, no high culture and no societal memory passed down through the ages to make up a civilization. Hence those civilizations that were and that have passed their heritage onto us were ones in which the dominant position was held by thugs with spears who reaped where they had not sown. But with the coming of industrialization the age in which civilization required inequality and domination came to an end. Yet, for a while, sociological inequality grew somewhat more intense.
4.2.2. Abigail Smith Adams
Abigail Smith, born in Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1744, married at twenty to the ten years-older (and much uglier) future president John Adams. A very articulate and powerful woman, for her day. But her power was greatly limited because she was under the thumb of and constrained by the legal power over her of her husband.
4.2.3. Women's Place
There has been enormous erosion of patriarchy in the past 150 years. And it is hard today to believe that women’s lives were as hard as they typically were before 1870. But do not think that this erosion has been even near complete.
4.2.4. Race: The Promissory Note, Still in Arrears
It is not my place, definitely not my place, to be proud and happy at the strides toward racial inclusion that America has made since 1944, when Gunnar Myrdal wrote his “American Dilemma”. Yet Myrdal would be amazed at the progress. Yet Lyndon Johnson, from his point of view when he signed that Civil and Voting Rights Acts in the mid-1960s, would be bitterly disappointed.
4.2.5. Signs of Hope?
There are signs of hope for further progress toward full inclusion, not least the elastic boundaries of groups and the peculiar nature of ethnogenesis. But inclusion will find itself, over and over again in the world, running up against nationalism and linguicism in ways that might well become durable and destructive obstacles to equal opportunity, equitable growth, and truly and fully human treatment of all.