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Effects of land reforms in the 20th and 21st centuries

Effects of land reforms in the 20th and 21st centuries

As Wikipedia clearly shows, there have been many different land reforms in many different times and places. It seems there is enough data for research about the consequences of land reforms.

I am interested in a statistical assessment of the effects of land reforms on the economy. To allow quantitative analysis, I have focused on land reforms in the 20th and 21st century, where quantitative data (or at least estimates) of various economical indices are available.

I am looking for measurements of the effect of land reforms on indices such as: the gross domestic product, the Gini equality index, the inflation rate, and the currency exchange rate relative to neighbouring countries.

Obviously, there are different kinds of land reforms, that may have different effects. For example, land reforms done in formerly-feudal countries, based on democratic ideologies, are different than land reforms done in socialist or communist countries, based on Marxist ideologies. So, the above questions can be asked, for each kind of land reform separately.

Can you point me to research papers on this subject?


Effects of land reforms in the 20th and 21st centuries - History

The Agricultural Revolution, the unprecedented increase in agricultural production in Britain between the mid-17th and late 19th centuries, was linked to such new agricultural practices as crop rotation, selective breeding, and a more productive use of arable land.

Learning Objectives

Trace the development of new agricultural techniques

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • The Agricultural Revolution was the unprecedented increase in agricultural production in Britain due to increases in labor and land productivity between the mid-17th and late 19th centuries. However, historians continue to dispute whether the developments leading to the unprecedented agricultural growth can be seen as “a revolution,” since the growth was, in fact, a result of a series of significant changes that took place over a long period of time.
  • One of the most important innovations of the Agricultural Revolution was the development of the Norfolk four-course rotation, which greatly increased crop and livestock yields by improving soil fertility and reducing fallow. Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crops in the same area in sequential seasons to help restore plant nutrients and mitigate the build-up of pathogens and pests that often occurs when one plant species is continuously cropped.
  • Following a two-field crop rotation system common in the Middle Ages and a three-year three field crop rotation routine employed later, the regular planting of legumes such as peas and beans in the fields that were previously fallow became central and slowly restored the fertility of some croplands. In the end, it was the farmers in Flanders (in parts of France and current day Belgium) that discovered a still more effective four-field crop rotation system, using turnips and clover (a legume) as forage crops to replace the three-year crop rotation fallow year.
  • The four-field rotation system allowed farmers to restore soil fertility and restore some of the plant nutrients removed with the crops. Turnips first show up in the probate records in England as early as 1638 but were not widely used until about 1750. Fallow land was about 20% of the arable area in England in 1700 before turnips and clover were extensively grown. Guano and nitrates from South America were introduced in the mid-19th century and fallow steadily declined to reach only about 4% in 1900.
  • In the mid-18th century, two British agriculturalists, Robert Bakewell and Thomas Coke, introduced selective breeding as a scientific practice and used inbreeding to stabilize certain qualities in order to reduce genetic diversity. Bakewell was also the first to breed cattle to be used primarily for beef.
  • Certain practices that contributed to a more productive use of land intensified, such as converting some pasture land into arable land and recovering fen land and pastures. Other developments came from Flanders and the Netherlands, the region that became a pioneer in canal building, soil restoration and maintenance, soil drainage, and land reclamation technology. Finally, water-meadows were utilized in the late 16th to the 20th centuries and allowed earlier pasturing of livestock after they were wintered on hay.

Key Terms

  • crop rotation: The practice of growing a series of dissimilar or different types of crops in the same area in sequenced seasons so that the soil of farms is not used to only one type of nutrient. It helps in reducing soil erosion and increases soil fertility and crop yield.
  • Industrial Revolution: The transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, improved efficiency of water power, the increasing use of steam power, the development of machine tools, and the rise of the factory system.
  • Agricultural Revolution: The unprecedented increase in agricultural production in Britain due to increases in labor and land productivity between the mid-17th and late 19th centuries. Agricultural output grew faster than the population over the century to 1770 and thereafter productivity remained among the highest in the world.
  • common field system: A system of land ownership in which land is owned collectively by a number of persons, or by one person with others having certain traditional rights, such as to allow their livestock to graze upon it, collect firewood, or cut turf for fuel.

Agricultural Revolution

The Agricultural Revolution was the unprecedented increase in agricultural production in Britain due to increases in labor and land productivity between the mid-17th and late 19th centuries. Agricultural output grew faster than the population over the century to 1770 and thereafter productivity remained among the highest in the world. This increase in the food supply contributed to the rapid growth of population in England and Wales, from 5.5 million in 1700 to over 9 million by 1801, although domestic production gave way to food imports in the 19th century as population more than tripled to over 32 million. The rise in productivity accelerated the decline of the agricultural share of the labor force, adding to the urban workforce on which industrialization depended. The Agricultural Revolution has therefore been cited as a cause of the Industrial Revolution. However, historians also continue to dispute whether the developments leading to the unprecedented agricultural growth can be seen as “a revolution,” since the growth was, in fact, a result of a series of significant changes over a her long period of time. Consequently, the question of when exactly such a revolution took place and of what it consisted remains open.

Crop Rotation

One of the most important innovations of the Agricultural Revolution was the development of the Norfolk four-course rotation, which greatly increased crop and livestock yields by improving soil fertility and reducing fallow.

Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crops in the same area in sequential seasons to help restore plant nutrients and mitigate the build-up of pathogens and pests that often occurs when one plant species is continuously cropped. Rotation can also improve soil structure and fertility by alternating deep-rooted and shallow-rooted plants. The Norfolk System, as it is now known, rotates crops so that different crops are planted with the result that different kinds and quantities of nutrients are taken from the soil as the plants grow. An important feature of the Norfolk four-field system was that it used labor at times when demand was not at peak levels. Planting cover crops such as turnips and clover was not permitted under the common field system because they interfered with access to the fields and other people’s livestock could graze the turnips.

During the Middle Ages, the open field system initially used a two-field crop rotation system where one field was left fallow or turned into pasture for a time to try to recover some of its plant nutrients. Later, a three-year three-field crop rotation routine was employed, with a different crop in each of two fields, e.g. oats, rye, wheat, and barley with the second field growing a legume like peas or beans, and the third field fallow. Usually from 10–30% of the arable land in a three-crop rotation system is fallow. Each field was rotated into a different crop nearly every year. Over the following two centuries, the regular planting of legumes such as peas and beans in the fields that were previously fallow slowly restored the fertility of some croplands. The planting of legumes helped to increase plant growth in the empty field due to the bacteria on legume roots’ ability to fix nitrogen from the air into the soil in a form that plants could use. Other crops that were occasionally grown were flax and members of the mustard family. The practice of convertible husbandry, or the alternation of a field between pasture and grain, introduced pasture into the rotation. Because nitrogen builds up slowly over time in pasture, plowing pasture and planting grains resulted in high yields for a few years. A big disadvantage of convertible husbandry, however, was the hard work that had to be put into breaking up pastures and difficulty in establishing them.

It was the farmers in Flanders (in parts of France and current-day Belgium) that discovered a still more effective four-field crop rotation system, using turnips and clover (a legume) as forage crops to replace the three-year crop rotation fallow year. The four-field rotation system allowed farmers to restore soil fertility and restore some of the plant nutrients removed with the crops. Turnips first show up in the probate records in England as early as 1638 but were not widely used until about 1750. Fallow land was about 20% of the arable area in England in 1700 before turnips and clover were extensively grown. Guano and nitrates from South America were introduced in the mid-19th century and fallow steadily declined to reach only about 4% in 1900. Ideally, wheat, barley, turnips, and clover would be planted in that order in each field in successive years. The turnips helped keep the weeds down and were an excellent forage crop—ruminant animals could eat their tops and roots through a large part of the summer and winters. There was no need to let the soil lie fallow as clover would add nitrates (nitrogen-containing salts) back to the soil. The clover made excellent pasture and hay fields as well as green manure when it was plowed under after one or two years. The addition of clover and turnips allowed more animals to be kept through the winter, which in turn produced more milk, cheese, meat, and manure, which maintained soil fertility.

Charles ‘Turnip’ Townshend, agriculturalist who was a great enthusiast of four-field crop rotation and the cultivation of turnips.

Townshend is often mentioned, together with Jethro Tull, Robert Bakewell, and others, as a major figure in England’s Agricultural Revolution, contributing to adoption of agricultural practices that supported the increase in Britain’s population between 1700 and 1850.

Other Practices

In the mid-18th century, two British agriculturalists, Robert Bakewell and Thomas Coke, introduced selective breeding as a scientific practice (mating together two animals with particularly desirable characteristics) and using inbreeding (the mating of close relatives) to stabilize certain qualities in order to reduce genetic diversity. Arguably, Bakewell’s most important breeding program was with sheep. Using native stock, he was able to quickly select for large, yet fine-boned sheep with long, lustrous wool. Bakewell was also the first to breed cattle to be used primarily for beef. Previously, cattle were first and foremost kept for pulling plows as oxen or for dairy uses, with beef from surplus males as an additional bonus. As more and more farmers followed Bakewell’s lead, farm animals increased dramatically in size and quality.

Certain practices that contributed to a more productive use of land intensified, for example converting some pasture land into arable land and recovering fen land and some pastures. It is estimated that the amount of arable land in Britain grew by 10-30% through these land conversions. Other developments came from Flanders and and the Netherlands, where due to the large and dense population, farmers were forced to take maximum advantage of every bit of usable land. The region became a pioneer in canal building, soil restoration and maintenance, soil drainage, and land reclamation technology. Dutch experts like Cornelius Vermuyden brought some of this technology to Britain. Finally, water-meadows were utilized in the late 16th to the 20th centuries and allowed earlier pasturing of livestock after they were wintered on hay. This increased livestock yields, giving more hides, meat, milk, and manure as well as better hay crops.


Late Twentieth Century

As in the past, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) adapted to new challenges which emerged during the 1980s and 90s. Changes in world migration patterns, the ease of modern international travel, and a growing emphasis on controlling illegal immigration all shaped the development of INS through the closing decades of the 20th century.

Adopting New Approaches to Immigration Law Enforcement
INS’s responsibilities expanded under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. IRCA charged the INS with enforcing sanctions against United States employers who hired undocumented aliens. Carrying out employer sanction duties involved investigating, prosecuting, and levying fines against corporate and individual employers, as well as deportation of those found to be working illegally. The 1986 law also allowed certain aliens illegally in the U.S. to legalize their residence. INS administered that legalization program.

The Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT 90) retooled the immigrant selection system once again. IMMACT 90 increased the number of available immigrant visas and revised the preference categories governing permanent legal immigration. Immigrant visas were divided into 3 separate categories: family-sponsored, employment-based, and “diversity” immigrants selected by lottery from countries with low immigration volumes.

The 1990 Act also established an administrative procedure for naturalization and ended judicial naturalization. Under the act authorized INS administrative officials could grant or deny naturalization petitions.

Revising Immigrant Selection and the Naturalization Process
The Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT 90) revamped the immigrant selection system once again. IMMACT 90 increased the number of available immigrant visas and revised the preference categories governing permanent legal immigration. Immigrant visas are now divided into 3 separate categories: family-sponsored, employment-based, and “diversity” immigrants selected from countries with low immigration volumes by lottery.

The 1990 Act also established an administrative procedure for naturalization and ended judicial naturalization. Federal Naturalization Examiners now grant or deny naturalization petitions.

Dawning of a New Millennium
The INS workforce, which numbered approximately 8,000 from World War II through the late 1970s, increased to more than 30,000 employees in thirty-six INS districts at home and abroad by turn of the 21st century. The original force of Immigrant Inspectors evolved into a corps of specialist officers focused on individual elements of the agency’s mission. As it entered its second century, INS employees:


Who and What Changed America? A 20th Century Timeline

TIME magazine just published its "25 Moments That Changed America" list, focusing on the 20th Century. I agree with most of the selections and am impressed with the essays that explain the choices. I included a timeline of key moments as part of my book, The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books, 2012). It includes key turning points in terms of movements, protests, legislation, elections, organizations and books and other cultural events. My list is longer than TIME's list, but there are quite a few overlaps in the two inventories. Here's my list of 150 key moments and events of the 20th Century:

  • W. E. B Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk published.
  • National Women's Trade Union League founded.
  • Upton Sinclair's TheJungle published.
  • Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act passed
  • La Follette's Magazine founded (later renamed The Progressive).
  • NAACP founded.
  • "Uprising of the 20,000": female shirtwaist makers in New York strike against sweatshop conditions.
  • Milwaukee voters elect Socialist Emil Seidel as mayor, elect a Socialist Party majority to the city council, and elect Socialist Victor Berger to Congress.
  • Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
  • Feminist writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman publishes The Man-Made World, one of several of her books that advocate for women's economic and social freedom and redefine gender roles.
  • Woodrow Wilson (Democrat) beats William Howard Taft (Republican), Theodore Roosevelt (Progressive) and Eugene Debs (Socialist) for president.
  • Socialist Party has about 120,000 members, and 1,039 Socialist Party members hold public office, mostly in local cities and towns.
  • Bread and Roses textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
  • Alice Paul and Lucy Burns organize the Congressional Union, later known as the National Woman's Party, to organize for women's suffrage and women's rights.
  • Congress passes Clayton Antitrust Act to break up corporate monopolies.
  • Ludlow Massacre: John D. Rockefeller's private army kills thirteen women and children and seven men in a Colorado coal miners strike.
  • Fellowship of Reconciliation founded.
  • Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Palmer Raids begin: FBI arrests and deports radicals seizes and shuts down radical publications.
  • Four million American workers (one of every five) walk out in a great strike wave, including national clothing, coal, and steel strikes, a general strike in Seattle, Washington, and a police strike in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Eugene Debs wins almost 1 million votes (6 percent) for president while in jail for opposing World Ware I.
  • American Civil Liberties Union founded
  • Nineteenth Amendment passed, legalizing women's suffrage.
  • The Immigration Act of 1924 limits the annual number of immigrants who can be admitted from any country to 2 percent of the number of people from that country already living in the United States in 1890, down from the 3 percent cap set by the Immigration Restriction Act of 1921.
  • Norris-LaGuardia Act passed, prohibiting federal injunctions in most labor disputes.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt elected president.
  • Myles Horton cofounds the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee.
  • Congress passes the National Labor Relations (Wagner) Act
  • Congress passes the Social Security Act
  • Mary McLeod Bethune organizes the National Council of Negro Women.
  • Progressive unionists form the Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) formed within the American Federation of Labor (AFL).
  • Auto workers win a sit-down strike against General Motors in Flint, Michigan.
  • Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters wins contract with the Pullman Company.
  • Congress passes Fair Labor Standards Act, which establishes the first minimum wage and forty-hour week.
  • Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) forms as an independent federation.
  • Congress passes the Alien Registration Act (Smith Act).
  • Woody Guthrie writes "This Land Is Your Land."
  • A. Philip Randolph threatens a march on Washington, D.C., to protest racial discrimination in defense jobs.
  • President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 8802 prohibiting racial discrimination in defense industries and creating the Fair Employment Practices Committee. Randolph calls off the march.
  • U.S. troops enter combat in World War II.
  • Winston Churchill's iron curtain speech in Missouri marks the beginning of the Cold War.
  • Largest strike wave in U.S. history.
  • Congress passes Taft-Hartley Act, which restricts union members' activities.
  • Jackie Robinson integrates major league baseball.
  • CORE begins Journey of Reconciliation (first freedom rides) to challenge segregation.
  • President Harry S. Truman desegregates the armed services with Executive Order 9981
  • Former vice president Henry Wallace campaigns for president on the Progressive Party ticket.
  • U.S. Supreme Court rules in Brown v. Board of Education that school segregation is unconstitutional.
  • Montgomery activists organize bus boycott.
  • AFL merges with CIO to form AFL-CIO.
  • Daughters of Bilitis, founded, the first lesbian organization in the United States, founded.
  • C. Wright Mills's The Power Elite published.
  • Sierra Club gains national recognition for successfully protesting the construction of the Echo Park Dam in Dinosaur National Monument in Utah.
  • John Kenneth Galbraith publishes The AffluentSociety.
  • Albert Bigelow--a former lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy who commanded three combat vessels in World War II--sets out from San Pedro, California, with four crewmen aboard the Golden Rule, a small sailboat, to protest nuclear testing in waters off the Marshall Islands, located in the western Pacific between Guam and Hawaii.
  • College students in Greensboro, North Carolina, organize the first sit-in at Woolworth's lunch counter.
  • SNCC founded.
  • CBS broadcasts Edward R. Murrow's Harvest of Shame documentary about miserable conditions for migrant farm workers.
  • U.S. Supreme Courts decides the Baker v. Carr case about political reapportionment, which led to what was then called the "one man, one vote" standard.
  • Michael Harrington publishes The Other America about widespread poverty.
  • Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring about dangers of pesticides.
  • Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) publishes its Port Huron Statement manifesto.
  • Bob Dylan writes "Blowin' in the Wind."
  • Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique published.
  • March on Washington for jobs and freedom.
  • John F. Kennedy assassinated.
  • Congress passes Lyndon Johnson's major antipoverty legislation, the Economic Opportunity Act.
  • Civil rights activists organize Mississippi Freedom Summer voter registration project.
  • Congress passes the Civil Rights Act.
  • Congress passed the Wilderness Act.
  • Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution authorizing U.S. combat troops in Vietnam
  • U.S. Supreme Court decides Griswold v. Connecticut, striking down prohibition of contraceptive use by married couples.
  • Watts riots in Los Angeles.
  • Congress passes the Voting Rights Act
  • Malcolm X assassinated.
  • United States sends troops to Vietnam.
  • First "teach-in" on the Vietnam War held at the University of Michigan.
  • The Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act sets the first federal automobile emission standards.
  • Betty Friedan cofounds National Organization for Women.
  • United Farm Workers union signs a contact with DiGiorgio Fruit Corporation after a strike and consumer boycott.
  • President Johnson appoints Thurgood Marshall as to the U.S. Supreme Court, the first African American to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Riots in Detroit, Michigan, Newark, New Jersey, and other cities
  • In Loving v. Virginia, U.S. Supreme Court finds the state anti-miscegenation laws are unconstitutional, ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage.
  • Tet offensive in Vietnam.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated in Memphis during garbage workers strike.
  • Robert Kennedy assassinated in Los Angeles during presidential campaign.
  • Congress passes Fair Housing Act.
  • The Santa Barbara oil well blowout spills over 200,000 gallons of oil into the ocean over eleven days.
  • Stonewall riot in Greenwich Village catalyzes the gay liberation movement.
  • First national Earth Day.
  • National Guard shoots antiwar protesters at Kent State and Jackson State.
  • Arkansas Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN) founded.
  • Congress passes the Clean Air Act
  • Congress passes the Occupational Safety and Health Act
  • Congress passes the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), requiring every federal agency to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for any legislation.
  • President Richard Nixon works with Congress to establish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Dennis Hayes organizes a movement to unseat "The Dirty Dozen," twelve members of Congress with poor records on environmental policy.
  • Greenpeace activists sail from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Amchitka, Alaska, intent on stopping a scheduled U.S. nuclear test.
  • Congress passes the Consumer Product Safety Act
  • MS. magazine founded.
  • Congress passes Title IX of Education Amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • DDT banned in the United States.
  • U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling legalizes abortion.
  • American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders.
  • Congress passes the Endangered Species Act.
  • Toxic Substances Control Act mandates the EPA to control all new and existing chemical substances being used in the United States.
  • Gay rights activist Harvey Milk elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
  • Congress passes the Community Reinvestment Act outlawing racial discrimination in lending (redlining).
  • Protests by residents of Love Canal, a neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York, lead to revelations that up to 21,000 tons of toxic waste had been dumped in the canal by the Hooker Chemical Company from 1942 to 1952, causing significant numbers of birth defects, abnormalities in children, and miscarriages.
  • Congress passes Superfund legislation, which mandates cleanup of abandoned hazardous waste sites by the parties responsible.
  • Congress passes Superfund legislation, which mandates cleanup of abandoned hazardous waste sites by the parties responsible.
  • Ronald Reagan elected president.
  • Superfund is signed into law.
  • President Reagan breaks air traffic controllers strike.
  • AFL-CIO rallies 400,000 in Washington, D.C., on Solidarity Day.
  • Nuclear freeze rally in New York City draws 1 million people in association with the special session on disarmament at the United Nations.
  • Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • In Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, the U.S. Supreme Court finds that sexual harassment is a form of illegal job discrimination.
  • Service Employees International Union's Justice for Janitors campaign organizes thousands of low-paid, immigrant service workers in Los Angeles and other cities.
  • Riots occur in Los Angeles after a jury acquits four white Los Angeles Police Department officers accused of beating Rodney King.
  • Bill Clinton elected president.
  • The Violence Against Women Act tightens federal penalties for sex offenders, funds services for victims of rape and domestic violence, and provides for special training of police officers.
  • Students Against Sweatshops persuades Duke University to require manufacturers of items with the Duke label to sign a pledge that they would not use sweatshop labor--the first victory of the campus antisweatshop movement.
  • More than 75,000 human service workers are unionized in Los Angeles County.
  • Union and environmental activists join forces for the "Battle in Seattle" protests at World Trade Organization meeting to challenge free trade.
  • Vice President Al Gore wins the popular vote over George W. Bush in the presidential race. The U.S. Supreme Court overturns popular and Electoral College vote and gives Bush the presidency.

Peter Dreier teaches politics and chairs the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His books include Place Matters: Metropolitics for the 21st Century, The Next Los Angeles: The Struggle for a Livable City, and The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame.


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By Michele Anderson

The Triangle Shirtwaist Company&rsquos fire resulted in the tragic loss of nearly 150 young women and girls on March 25, 1911, in New York City. The garment workers at the company had been attempting to unionize to gain better wages and improved working conditions. The factory’s management responded by locking the workers into the building. Fabric scraps, oil and hot machines crammed into rooms on the upper floors of the ten-story building quickly unleashed an inferno within the building. With the exits blocked, girls attempted to use the rusted fire escape or jump from windows into the fire department’s dry-rotted nets, only to plunge onto the pavement in front of bystanders below. The tragedy was exasperated by the failure of the U.S. government to protect its citizens who were working in deplorable conditions, but it was difficult for anyone who saw the corpses lined up on sidewalks waiting for identification to deny the need for labor reform and improved fire safety equipment. The deaths unified female labor reformers of the Progressive era.

Michele Anderson, a teacher at John Glenn High School near Detroit, was named 2014 National History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and HISTORY.

By Isabel Wilkerson

In today&rsquos world African Americans are viewed as urban people, but that&rsquos a very new phenomenon: The vast majority of time that African Americans have been on this continent, they&rsquove been primarily Southern and rural. That changed with the Great Migration, a mass relocation of 6 million African Americans from the Jim Crow South to the North and West, starting in 1915.

This leaderless revolution, a response to oppression in the South, was set in motion by the labor shortage in the North during World War I. And once the door opened, a flood of people came. Those who migrated became the advance guard of the Civil Rights movement they shaped our culture, from music to sports. On the other hand, one of the responses to their presence was fear and hostility. In these big cities that they had hoped would be refuges, they were still blocked from the American dream. The Great Migration was a watershed demographic change in our country&rsquos history&mdashand we&rsquore still living with its effects today. (As told to Lily Rothman)

Isabel Wilkerson is the Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer of The Warmth of Other Suns, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Lynton History Prize from Harvard and Columbia universities and the Stephen Ambrose Oral History Prize, among other honors. The book is currently being developed into a TV adaption to be executive produced by Shonda Rhimes.

By Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

In the aftermath of World War I, the Lebanese-born, Boston-based poet-philosopher Kahlil Gibran wrote what would become one of the world&rsquos most translated works of philosophy: The Prophet. This collection of inspirational sermons delivered by a fictional prophet&mdashon love, marriage, work, reason, self-knowledge and ethics&mdashchallenged tired orthodoxies and oppressive ideologies. Though Gibran&rsquos exaltation of human individuality, creativity and difference was not entirely original, the book&rsquos success lay in his ability to make his insights feel like revelations. Ever since its publication in 1923, The Prophet has been a salve for readers who tried&mdashin good American fashion&mdashto break from conformity. Gibran readers include Woodrow Wilson and American soldiers during World War II (thanks to its selection for the American Services Editions in 1943) Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash members of the 1960s counterculture and now Salma Hayek. The Prophet taught self-trust amid the buzzing, blooming confusion of modern America. Sometimes it takes a foreigner to speak the voice of Americans&rsquo inner conscience.

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is the Merle Curti Associate Professor of History and the founder of the Intellectual History Group at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her book, American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas, won the John H. Dunning Prize, an award for an outstanding monograph in a subject in U.S. history, from the American Historical Association.

By James Loewen

When the KKK paraded down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., the headline in the New York Times declared &ldquoSight Astonishes Capital: Robed, but Unmasked Hosts in White Move Along Avenue.&rdquo The marchers, the article noted, received &ldquoa warm reception.&rdquo The parade took place in broad daylight, in the nation&rsquos capital, and most of the participants were from the north. This event symbolizes the Nadir of Race Relations, a terrible era from 1890 to about 1940, when race relations grew worse and worse. During this period white Americans became more racist than at any other point in our history, even during slavery. Also during the Nadir, the phenomenon of sundown towns swept the North. These are towns that were for decades&mdashand in some cases still are&mdashall-white on purpose.

Among the other terrible legacies of that period are its inaccurate white supremacist histories of everything from Christopher Columbus and U.S. Grant to Woodrow Wilson, and the astounding gap between black and white media family wealth&mdash problems that we are still trying to transcend.

James Loewen is professor emeritus at the University of Vermont and the best-selling author of Lies My Teacher Told Me. He has received the Spirit of America Award from the National Council for the Social Studies and was the first white recipient of the American Sociological Association’s Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award for scholarship in service to social justice.

By Jon Butler

In Chicago in 1932, an African American composer named Thomas A. Dorsey, who had been a nightclub jazz pianist, wrote a song inspired by his wife&rsquos death in childbirth. The song, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” unexpectedly became the foundation for the modern African American gospel music tradition. Its success stimulated an entirely new music industry&mdashthe gospel blues. It became a touchstone for the dramatic role that music played in sustaining and forwarding America’s Civil Rights movement Martin Luther King Jr. often asked supporters to sing it before they marched, including the night before his assassination. The gospel blues also brought singers such as Mahalia Jackson, Sister Rosetta Tharp, and the Golden Gate Quartet to prominence and was later foundational for Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston, among many others. That tiny, inauspicious moment in 1932 created a subtle yet profound change in American life, ultimately producing musical anthems of powerful personal, moral, and political transformation.

Jon Butler is Howard R. Lamar Emeritus Professor of American Studies, History & Religious Studies at Yale University, and the current president of the Organization of American Historians.

By Linda Gordon

About two months after he took office, Franklin Roosevelt appointed a former social worker to head an emergency program of aid to the unemployed. The moment Harry Hopkins started work, on May 22, 1933 &mdashbefore he even had an office&mdashhe dragged a desk into the hall of the building where he was located and immediately began sending out money. Some critics disapproved of his haste and wanted longer consideration of this federal expenditure. Hopkins responded, famously, &ldquoPeople don&rsquot eat in the long run they eat every day.&rdquo In two hours he spent $5 million dollars, the equivalent of about $70 million today. In addition to putting money into the hands of consumers, it was also a tremendous confidence-raising gesture that said, &lsquoThis administration is not going to allow our economy to go completely under.&rsquo Emergency relief was the most popular of the New Deal programs and has been called a major step in saving capitalism. It inaugurated a pattern of government action in crises that would otherwise spin out of control. (As told to Lily Rothman)

Linda Gordon is a professor of history at New York University and a two-time winner of the Bancroft prize for the best book in U.S. history.

By Jefferson Cowie

The &ldquopolitical equality we once had won,&rdquo FDR boomed as he accepted the Democratic nomination for a second presidential term in 1936, had been rendered &ldquomeaningless in the face of economic inequality.&rdquo The government no longer belonged to the people but had been taken hostage by &ldquoprivileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsty for power.&rdquo Deep in the Great Depression, Roosevelt promised that his New Deal would recalibrate the balance of power between the people and the &ldquoeconomic royalists.&rdquo It was some of the most extraordinary&mdashand fleeting&mdashrhetoric in American presidential history. Yet as a result, working people flocked to the Democratic Party, fostering not only an electoral landslide but also a political coalition that governed the nation for decades to come.

Jefferson Cowie teaches at Cornell University. His book Stayin&rsquo Alive: The 1970’s and the Last Days of the Working Class received the Parkman Prize for the Best Book in American History. His forthcoming book is The Great Exception: The New Deal and the Limits of American Politics.

By Akhil Reed Amar

Hugo L. Black of Alabama, FDR&rsquos first appointment to the Supreme Court, defined the American judicial scene for three and a half decades. Black first defined and then implemented a reformist agenda that would revolutionize modern American constitutional law. For his first 15 years, Black set the table with new ideas&mdashoften presented in dissent, at first. In his last two decades on the Court, Black would watch his reformist agenda become the supreme law of the land, moving from dissenting opinions to majority opinions on issues of voting rights, speech rights, religious rights, criminal procedure rights and the Bill of Rights more generally.

Akhil Reed Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, and the author of several books about the Constitution and its history. His latest book, The Law of the Land, was released in April.

By William Chafe

The Cold War seems inevitable, but few things are. Rather, that road diverged in July of 1944, when Harry S. Truman took the place of incumbent vice-president Henry Wallace on the Democratic ticket.

After World War II, President Roosevelt had a secret plan for how he would work things out with Stalin, but he died before sharing it. Truman entered the White House with almost no experience in foreign policy. The State Department told him that action must be taken on the Russian threat. The result was the Truman Doctrine: good against evil, communism against democracy, the Cold War.

Meanwhile, Wallace &mdash named Secretary of Commerce by FDR after the election &mdash became the leading voice of progressive politics in the Cabinet. He thought there was a way of working out an agreement with the USSR. When he made a speech to that effect, Truman dismissed him from the Cabinet. What a different world there might have been if Wallace, not Truman, occupied the position of Vice-President when Franklin Roosevelt died.

William Chafe is professor emeritus of history at Duke University, author of The Unfinished Journey: America Since 1945 (8th edition), and a past president of the Organization of American Historians.

By Richard Stewart

The signing of the North Atlantic Treaty meant that, after intervening twice in the previous 32 years to restore peace in Europe, the U.S. was finally committed to an international alliance in peacetime, focused on preventing war in the first place. That act shaped our foreign policy, politics, military spending, military structure, doctrine, equipment and military ethos for the years to come. It had a remarkable and salutary effect on helping to bring a shattered Europe together as a group of free and democratic states. Today it is our continuing commitment to NATO that prevents any further spillover of conflict as the Russian bear sharpens his claws, again, this time on Ukraine. NATO was created because of the wars of the 20th century, but it has kept the peace in Europe for longer than any time in the previous several centuries.

Richard W. Stewart is acting director at the Center of Military History in Washington, D.C., and chief historian of the U.S. Army. He is also president of the U.S. Commission on Military History, the U.S. arm of the International Commission on Military History. (These remarks are his own opinion, not the views of the U.S. Army, Department of Defense or the United States Government.)

By Clayborne Carson

On April 23, 1951, sixteen-year-old Barbara Johns led a walkout by four hundred black students to protest inadequate facilities at segregated Robert R. Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia. Vowing to boycott classes until the local all-white School Board addressed their complaints, Johns and another student wrote to an NAACP attorney, who agreed to file a lawsuit seeking desegregation instead of just improved facilities. This suit was eventually consolidated with four similar cases including Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Johns never became famous, but her protest prompted the Supreme Court&rsquos historic 1954 decision outlawing public school segregation.

Clayborne Carson is Martin Luther King, Jr., Centennial Professor and founding director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.

By Jacqueline Jones

In September of 1955, Mose Wright took the witness stand in a Mississippi courtroom. Rising from his chair, he pointed a finger at one of the two men who had murdered his niece&rsquos son, Emmett Till. &ldquoThere he is,&rdquo said Wright, in an extraordinary act of personal courage. Till&rsquos killers were not convicted in 1955, but Till&mdasha teenager who his killers thought had flirted with a white woman&mdashstill changed the country. In Chicago, Till&rsquos mother, Mamie Bradley Till, insisted on an open casket at her son&rsquos funeral: She said she &ldquowanted the world to see&rdquo her son&rsquos mutilated corpse, battered beyond recognition. Magazines and newspapers ran the photo, signaling the power of shocking images as a new weapon in the generations-long struggle for black rights.

Jacqueline Jones is chair of the History department at the University of Texas at Austin and a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history.

By Annette Gordon-Reed

The birth control pill was one of the most significant achievements of the 20th century. Contraception wasn&rsquot new: From ancient times, women have used methods of varying degrees of reliability to prevent getting pregnant. But the Pill, which was much more effective, transformed society. Americans began to think differently about sex, contraception and about women&rsquos capacity to control their own bodies and participate as truly equal members of society. Sex uncoupled from procreation, the freedom to choose when and if to become a mother, the ability for a woman to plan her life without fear of an unwanted pregnancy getting in the way&mdashthese opened the door for the liberation of women.

Annette Gordon-Reed is Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School, a Professor of History at Harvard University, Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize in history.

By Taylor Branch

The civil rights breakthrough in the 1960s required galvanizing the whole country, not just through rational arguments but by really breaking down people&rsquos emotional resistance and making citizens across the country see they needed to do something. The children&rsquos march really was the single event most responsible for inducing faraway people in Montana and Maine to say, &ldquoI need to do something about this.&rdquo Demonstrations spread like wildfire all across the country. It led to the March on Washington and it really pushed President Kennedy to propose what became the Civil Rights Act basically a month after those demonstrations.

I myself distinctly and vividly remember seeing those pictures and how deeply it affected me. I was thinking, &lsquoGosh, when I get old and responsible maybe I&rsquod do something about civil rights,&rsquo&mdashand the next thing I know I see these little kids marching right through fire hoses. It&rsquos a big emotional turning point that&rsquos still not widely analyzed, in part because it&rsquos embarrassing to adults to say that it took these pictures to make us finally do something. (As told to Lily Rothman)

Taylor Branch is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the America in the King Years books.

By Mary Frances Berry

The international newspaper and TV coverage of Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức burning himself to death during a demonstration in Saigon changed the course of the Vietnam War and of American life. In the immediate aftermath, it caused horror and a reassessment of policy, which eventually led to more American troops on the ground and in the air but also to more media coverage in which Americans could actually see the war. It encouraged draft dodging and antiwar protests, some of which led to violence. Its effects have been residual as well. It sparked a so-far-permanent distrust of our government, which said we were winning the war when the media showed we were actually not. It caused polarization in our society between those who thought we should support the war and those who didn&rsquot. In addition, the War on Poverty was interrupted because funds went to supporting the war, and it has never been restarted.

Mary Frances Berry is Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. She has also served as a member and as chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and as the United States&rsquo Assistant Secretary for Education. She is a past president of the Organization of American Historians and a fellow of the Society of American Historians.

By Stephanie Coontz

By 1964, little headway had been made in the women’s movement since winning the vote in 1920. So women’s rights supporters were delighted that year when Representative Howard Smith of Virginia offered a one-word amendment to Civil Rights Act, adding sex to the list of forms of discrimination prohibited by the act. Smith, a segregationist, opposed the bill&mdashbut he argued that if it passed, white women should get the same protections being extended to black men and women.

Many legislators hoped, and others feared, that adding gender equality would kill the entire bill. Even after its passage, the director of the newly-formed Equal Employment Opportunity Commission refused to enforce the sex clause, calling it “a fluke…conceived out of wedlock.”

Women’s fury at that refusal jump-started a wave of legal and political activism that forever changed the roles of women (and men) at work and at home.

Stephanie Coontz teaches at The Evergreen State College in Olympia Washington and is Director of Research at the Council on Contemporary Families. Recent books include Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage and A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s.

By H.W. Brands

Barry Goldwater&rsquos campaign was floundering a week before the 1964 election. The candidate inspired none but the truest of believers the Republican regulars were dejectedly heading for the exits. In a desperate effort to energize donors, the campaign put a political unknown on television&mdashand Ronald Reagan proceeded to electrify the country. His 30-minute address, labeled &ldquoA Time for Choosing,&rdquo transformed the washed-up actor into the darling of conservatives and launched a political career that would carry Reagan to White House, revive American conservatism and push Soviet communism to the brink of dissolution.

H.W. Brands holds the Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History at the University of Texas at Austin, and is the author of two Pulitzer-finalist works of history. He is also currently writing, on Twitter, the history of the United States in haiku.

By Vicki Ruiz

In a dramatic ceremony at the Statue of Liberty, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, catalyzing an increase in cultural diversity in the United States. In the wake of the civil rights movement, the old restrictive quotas from the 1920s, which favored northern Europeans over southern Europeans, struck many Americans as anachronistic. President John F. Kennedy called this quota system &ldquointolerable.&rdquo The 1965 act was meant to promote family unification, level the field for lawful entry and ease the way for foreign-born professionals. Fifty years later, its impact can be seen at all levels of society. Today over 40 million foreign-born individuals live in the United States, about three-quarters of whom have legal status. They and their American-born children comprise nearly 25% of the U.S. population. &ldquoThe lady with the light&rdquo&mdashto quote one Cambodian refugee&mdashcontinues to burn bright.

Vicki L. Ruiz is Distinguished Professor of History and Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine, and the author of Cannery Women, Cannery Lives and From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth- Century America. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she is currently president of the American Historical Association.

By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

While organizing for self-determination within Native Americans communities and nations had proceeded throughout the 1960s, few in the general public were aware until the November 1969 seizure and 18-month occupation of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. The occupation grabbed world-wide media attention. An alliance known as Indians of All Tribes was initiated by Native American students and relocated Natives living in the Bay Area. They built a thriving village on the island, which drew Indigenous pilgrimages from all over the continent and radicalized thousands, especially the youth. Treaties, self-determination, and land restitution returned to the national agenda, as the occupiers demanded implementation of international law. Negotiations ended the occupation when the Nixon administration agreed to amnesty for those involved.

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.

By Khalil Gibran Muhammad

For much of the 20th century, unions, private employers and government agencies affirmatively discriminated based on race&mdashuntil, through workplace protests, public demonstrations and political negotiation, African Americans compelled Congress and President Richard Nixon to adopt affirmative action policies. In the late 1960s, the &ldquoPhiladelphia Plan,&rdquo inspired by a set of local initiatives in that city, set federal hiring benchmarks for proportional representation of African Americans in many skilled and white-collar jobs generated by government contracts. Though the idea was challenged, in 1971 the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal, thus allowing the policy to stand and encouraging the growth of affirmative action.

Every sphere of American life transformed as a result. From college classrooms to corporate boardrooms, African Americans entered the middle-class in record numbers. White women and immigrants of color from around the globe also moved from the margins to the center of U.S. corporate culture. And the immediate and lasting impact of affirmative action has fueled nearly 40 years of conservative opposition and cries of &ldquoreverse discrimination&rdquo which remain at the heart of American political culture today.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad is director of the Schomburg Center For Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library. He previously taught history at Indiana University and was an associate editor at the Journal of American History.

By Lizabeth Cohen

In June of 1978 the voters of California overwhelmingly passed Proposition 13, limiting local property taxes and making it harder for communities to raise them in the future. This 20th-century tax revolt opened the floodgates to other anti-tax ballot measures at the state level and initiated a general shift in popular opinion. This anti-tax reorientation has decreased the amount and quality of public services led to increases in alternative, regressive sources of taxation such as the sales tax and encouraged new kinds of inequalities such as between old and new homeowners, between residents able to afford privatized services and those not, and between communities with other sources of revenue to support schools and services and those without. On a broader scale, Proposition 13 represented a new unwillingness to view government as a provider of positive benefits to all members of a community and an embrace of more consumerist and individualized ways of securing services.

Lizabeth Cohen is dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies at Harvard University.

By Tony Horwitz

The takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran set us down the track we&rsquore still on in the Middle East. Iranian militants held Americans hostage for 444 days while decrying the U.S. and demanding the return of the Shah and his riches. The crisis cemented Iran, a former ally, as our greatest foe in the region. It bound us more closely to Saudi Arabia and other Sunni regimes. It led us to build up Saddam Hussein&rsquos power as a bulwark against Iran&mdashand we know how that turned out. Thirty-six years after the takeover, Americans still regard Iranians as treacherous and cast Shi&rsquoites in general as extremists. U.S. impotence during the hostage crisis&mdashincluding a disastrous rescue attempt&mdashalso helped sink Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election. There&rsquos an intriguing what-if: had events played out differently in Iran, we might not have had Ronald Reagan as president.

Tony Horwitz is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the William Henry Seward Award for Excellence in Civil War Biography. He is currently the vice president of the Society of American Historians.

By Elizabeth Fenn

June 5, 1981. That’s the date that the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) published an article titled “Pneumocystis Pneumonia–Los Angeles.” This succinct, two-page essay turned out to be the first published account of the AIDS epidemic. It described Pneumocystis carinii, a rare protozoan infection that exploits weak immune systems, as it had developed in five gay men. The years that followed brought untold suffering. But AIDS also ushered in a revolution in attitudes that has allowed us to talk about sexuality more frankly than ever before. In the end, ironically, this helped open the door to gay marriage.

Elizabeth Fenn is department chair and associate professor of history at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her book Encounters at the Heart of the World was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in History.

By Akira Iriye

The Americans With Disabilities Act formally recognized the fact that people who are disabled, physically as well as mentally, are part of society. Toward the end of the 20th century, the United States came face to face with the fact these people cannot simply be ignored. This is a very personal observation, because we have a daughter who was born with some brain damage. Just as racial desegregation was important, it&rsquos important that people with handicaps be recognized as full-fledged members of society. It&rsquos a progression toward recognizing all people of all categories. The idea that some people are different, we are much more tolerant about that, and that&rsquos one of the most major achievements of the 20th century. (As told to Lily Rothman)

Akira Iriye, a historian with interest in global, transnational affairs, is Charles Warren Research Professor of American History at Harvard.

By Julian Zelizer

In the 1994 midterm elections, Republicans&mdashled by Newt Gingrich&mdashtook control of Congress for the first time since 1954. Gingrich and his allies ran a masterful campaign that revolved around &ldquoThe Contract with America,&rdquo ten promises that the GOP vowed to enact if they took power. Their victory opened up the Republican Party to more conservative elements, and shaped the generations of Republicans who have dominated Capitol Hill since that time, even during the period of Democratic control. But the outcome of that election was not just important in terms of who controlled the majority of Congress, but also because it launched an era when conservatism would make the legislative branch, rather than the White House, the base of their power. Through legislative control and partisan tactics that had once been considered impermissible, the post-1994 congressional Republicans made it much more difficult for liberal ideas to succeed in the United States.

Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, is the author and editor of numerous books on American political history. His most recent book is The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society.


Global effects of land use on local terrestrial biodiversity

Human activities, especially conversion and degradation of habitats, are causing global biodiversity declines. How local ecological assemblages are responding is less clear--a concern given their importance for many ecosystem functions and services. We analysed a terrestrial assemblage database of unprecedented geographic and taxonomic coverage to quantify local biodiversity responses to land use and related changes. Here we show that in the worst-affected habitats, these pressures reduce within-sample species richness by an average of 76.5%, total abundance by 39.5% and rarefaction-based richness by 40.3%. We estimate that, globally, these pressures have already slightly reduced average within-sample richness (by 13.6%), total abundance (10.7%) and rarefaction-based richness (8.1%), with changes showing marked spatial variation. Rapid further losses are predicted under a business-as-usual land-use scenario within-sample richness is projected to fall by a further 3.4% globally by 2100, with losses concentrated in biodiverse but economically poor countries. Strong mitigation can deliver much more positive biodiversity changes (up to a 1.9% average increase) that are less strongly related to countries' socioeconomic status.


Modern Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

While the terms “psychologist” and “psychiatrist” are sometimes used interchangeably to describe someone who provides therapy to sufferers of mental illness, both professions and the work they do differ markedly. Psychiatrists are medical doctors able to perform psychotherapy in conjunction to prescribe medication, perform physical exams and order diagnostic tests.

On the other hand, while many psychologists hold doctorate degrees, they are not medical doctors. Subsequently, most, with the exception of those in Louisiana and Mexico, cannot prescribe medications. Rather, they are limited to providing psychotherapy, which may involve any of the sub-fields of psychology described above.

Psychiatrists typically treat people with complex conditions, such as: severe depression, schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts and bipolar disorder. Conversely, psychologists treat people with conditions that can be effectively treated with psychotherapy alone, such as behavioral problems, learning difficulties, depression and anxiety.

Both professions often work together in order to coordinate and provide the best available therapy to patients.

Source: National Post - Tom Blackwell June 7, 2012


General Overviews

Land reform policy dominated the agenda worldwide, not just in Latin America. These works provide significant coverage of land reforms worldwide, describing reforms and their effects. King 1977 gives the most historical view he includes discussion of land reform in ancient Greece and revolutionary France as well as contemporary cases. He provides more information on Latin American specifics than Tai 1974, although Tai has compiled a more comprehensive worldwide survey and overview of common explanations of reform. Ghose 1983 emphasizes the effects land reform has on the rural poor. Thiesenhusen 1989 is by an expert who has written extensively on land reform in Latin American and elsewhere. His book provides a good overview of past land reform and recent changes toward privatization. Barraclough 1999 is another venerable expert on land reform in Latin America. His paper is a quick and easily accessible overview of land reform and the important actors in any land reform process. Kay 2002 provides a succinct summary of Latin American land reform while comparing the timing, significance, and results with land reform in Taiwan and South Korea. Africa and Asia are the focus of the empirical data in Ellis 2013, but his report concisely addresses current issues regarding agriculture and alleviating poverty. Finally, Cotula, et al. 2006 describes more recent trends in neoliberal land policies, as well as explains how land tenure issues are related to gender and indigenous rights.

Barraclough, Solon L. Land Reform in Developing Countries: the Role of the State and Other Actors. Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, 1999.

Excellent overview that explains land reform and provides summaries of land reform in Mexico, Bolivia, Guatemala, Cuba, Venezuela, Chile, Peru, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Puerto Rico, an entity that is infrequently examined. Analyzes role of major actors in land reform: the state, peasant organizations, large landholders, political parties, NGOs, and international organizations.

Good overview of recent and continuing topics on land issues. Explains importance of land access for empowerment, agricultural development, and poverty reduction. Also discusses market-led trend in agricultural reform and the relevance of land redistribution. Includes separate sections on women’s land rights and indigenous rights.

Brief summary of many current and past issues and debates in land tenure and agriculture. Focus is on pro-poor growth while considering topics such as farm size, food insecurity, climate change, gender, and the implications of supermarkets in developing countries. Includes a short annotated bibliography with articles, blogs, and a glossary.

Ghose, Ajit Kumar, ed. Agrarian Reform in Contemporary Developing Countries. New York: St. Martin’s, 1983.

Introduction discusses land reform with a focus on how land reforms have affected the rural poor. The Latin American cases include a chapter on agrarian reform in Peru, Chile (1965–1979), and Nicaragua.

Kay, Cristóbal. “Why East Asia Overtook Latin America: Agrarian Reform, Industrialisation and Development.” Third World Quarterly 23.6 (December 2002): 1073–1102.

Clear, concise description of the social, political, economic, and international context of land reform in Latin America, Taiwan, and South Korea. Explains why significant land redistribution occurred in Asia and not Latin America. Comparison suggests land redistribution in Taiwan and South Korea played an essential role in their economic development.

King, Russell. Land Reform: A World Survey. London: G. Bell, 1977.

Discusses land reform and types of reform. Broad historical description of evolution of land reform, reaching back to ancient times. Discusses relationship between land reform and economic development. Latin American cases: Mexico, Bolivia, and Cuba, with one chapter giving a brief synopsis of reforms in Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, and Peru.

Tai, Hung-Chao. Land Reform and Politics: A Comparative Analysis. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974.

Huge compendium on land reform worldwide. Latin American cases are Mexico and Colombia. Provides detailed description of concepts, analyzes why land reform occurs, and considers the effects. Discusses revolution, rural unrest, ideology, international climate, population pressure, and especially elite decision making.

Thiesenhusen, William C., ed. Searching for Agrarian Reform in Latin America. Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989.

Introduction provides excellent brief introduction to basic concepts, explanation of demand for reform. Discusses old and current debates (including privatization pressures). Case studies on Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador (two chapters), Nicaragua, and the Caribbean. Another chapter compares El Salvador and Nicaragua.

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Jacana Media is proud to present Land Divided, Land Restored: Land Reform in South Africa for the 21st Century edited by Cherryl Walker and Ben Cousins:

Land reform is once again under the spotlight. Amid calls by some politicians for confiscating land from white farmers without compensation, others claim that the land redistributed to black owners is not being productively farmed. The debate is dangerously polarised, the stakes high. At the same time new challenges confront policy-makers: climate change, threats to bio-diversity, urbanisation, high unemployment, food security, and global economic uncertainties.

2013 was the centenary of South Africa’s notorious Natives Land Act, whose effects are still evident in the country’s divided countryside and deeply racialised inequalities. 2014 is the deadline that the ANC government set for itself for redistributing 30 per cent of commercial agricultural land into black ownership. All agree that the target cannot be met, but there is little agreement on what is the best way forward. 2014 is also the twentieth anniversary of the founding of democracy. Building on the public debates generated by the centenary of the 1913 Land Act, this book presents a major opportunity to review the contemporary significance of land as a social, economic and natural resource in South Africa – to pose new questions and search for new answers.

The book is illustrated with photographs from the acclaimed Iziko National Gallery exhibition Umhlaba 1913–2013: Commemorating the 1913 Land Act, curated by David Goldblatt, Paul Weinberg, Bongi Dhlomo-Mautloa and Pam Warne.

Land Divided, Land Restored: Introduction
Ben Cousins & Cherryl Walker

The Natives Land Act of 1913: A Template but not a Turning Point
William Beinart & Peter Delius

The Land and its Languages: Edward Tsewu and the Pre-history of the 1913 Land Act
Jacob Dlamini

Environmental Change in 20th Century South Africa and its Implications for Land Reform
Timm Hoffman

Law, Land & Custom, 1913–2014: What is at Stake Today?
Aninka Claassens

The Right to the City: The Planning and Un-planning of Urban Space since 1913
Paul Hendler

Commercial Farming and Agribusiness in South Africa since 1994
Henry Bernstein

Land Reform: The View from Agri-SA
Theo de Jager

Mapping ANC Policy Development on Land and Agrarian Reform since 1994
Ruth Hall

Unravelling the Willing Buyer / Willing Seller Question
Michael Aliber

The Land Question: The South African Constitution and the Emergence of a Conservative Agenda
Sipho Pityana

Transfrontier Conservation and Land Reform Policy
Maano Ramutsindela

Not Just Farming: Natural Resources and Livelihoods in Land and Agrarian Reform
Sheona Shackleton & Charlie Shackleton

Baas van die Plaas / Izwe Llethu: Essay in Fragments and Two Villanelles Exploring Different Relationships to Land in some Indigenous Poetic Texts
Antjie Krog

Sketch Map to the Future: Restitution Unbound
Cherryl Walker

‘Through a Glass Darkly’: Towards Agrarian Reform in South Africa
Ben Cousins

Cherryl Walker is a professor of sociology at the University of Stellenbosch and the author of Landmarked (Jacana and Ohio University Press).

Ben Cousins holds an NRF Chair in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape and is the author of numerous books and articles.


Modern Japanese History

By the end of the Meiji Period (1868-1912), Japan was a considerable power in Asia. And following its participation during the short Taisho Period (1912-1926) in the First World War, under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902, it was recognized as one of the world's great powers. But following the World War and the Russian Revolution, the world was undergoing great turmoil. As if to mirror this, Japan suffered the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 in which 140,000 people were killed or missing. This was followed by the succession of the Emperor Hirohito (Showa) and his Showa Period (1926-1989).

This reign started out well, with continued progress in the country's industrialisation. But the Great Depression from 1929, a series of incidents in China and political scandals at home all combined to take their toll on Japanese society. In 1932, Japan established a puppet-state in 'Manchukuo' or Manchuria. In 1933, the country withdrew from the League of Nations. Japan signed an anti-communism treaty with Germany in 1936. As the political parties began to lose their influence, the military started to increase theirs, invading northern China in 1937, an event partly covered in Bernardo Bertolucci's film 'The Last Emperor' (this second Sino-Japanese War actually lasted until the end of World War II in 1945). In 1938, premier Konoye Fumimaro pressed China for concessions and declared Japan's goal of a new order in East Asia.The political parties were forced to back the war and were later dissolved and a united national party formed in their place. This party and the Diet (parliament) itself were effectively powerless in the years up to the Second World War.

Fires rage after the 1923 earthquake

Prime Minister Konoe Fumimaro

Tojo Hideki at the Tokyo War Crimes Trial

Japan joined the Axis alliance with Germany and Italy in 1940. The totalitarian regime of premier Tojo Hideki approved the air attack on the US Navy base at Pearl Harbour in 1941, which signalled the start of the Pacific War (1941-45). The Imperial army followed up with invasions of the Pacific islands and most of South-East Asia in the pursuit of its so-called Greater Asian Prosperity Zone. Kamikaze pilots, Zero fighters, Iwo Jima, Bridge on the River Kwai - there are many provocative names and images associated with Japan and the Second World War. But the most powerful must be the two atomic bombs dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Much has been said about the rights and wrongs of the bombings but ultimately they did bring about the end of the war. For the first time in history, Japan had been conquered.

Following his radio announcement to the nation that the war had been lost, the Emperor also gave up the claim to divinity and became a symbol of the state (many have argued that he should have stood trial alongside Tojo in the Tokyo Tribunal of 1946. Instead, he remained as a figurehead until his death in 1989). Japan remained under the control of General Douglas MacArthur and the US occupation forces. Considerable social reform was carried out. Women were given the right to vote, workers gained the right to form unions and to strike and freedom of speech, assembly and religion were guaranteed. The signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951 led to full Japanese sovereignty of the main archipelago the following year. The treaty marked the return of Japan to the international community. By 1972, all of the smaller islands under US control had been returned. But even today, the US maintains a considerable military presence in Japan, particularly in Okinawa. Disputes remain between Japan and other countries such as Russia and China over several territories. The 1947 war-renouncing constitution prevents Japan from having conventional armed forces but the Self Defense Forces, started in 1954, are one of the world's strongest.

Douglas MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito at the US Headquarters, Tokyo, Sept. 1945

Romanized street signs in Tokyo, Sept. 1945

Politically, postwar Japan has been dominated by one party - the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). There have been claims that they were considerably helped by covert financial assistance from the CIA in the US and the yakuza, or Japanese mafia. The party remained practically invincible for almost half a century. But in 1993, years of scandal (particularly the Lockheed scandal in 1976 and the Recruit scandal in 1984) finally proved too much for the electorate and an opposition coalition government was formed. However, the LDP was not about to fade away. After an unlikely coalition with the Socialist Party put it back in government in 1994, the LDP recovered its majority in 1996 and continues to rule today.

The economic miracle that Japan experienced in the latter half of the century is the stuff of fiscal legend. The Tokyo Olympics and the launch of the first shinkansen, or bullet train in 1964, signalled the country's return to the world stage. Continuing technological advances combined with the Oil Shock of 1973 to push Japanese industry into ever-increasing efficiency and miniturisation. Suddenly, Japanese cars, robots and electronics were dominating world markets and the foundations were laid for a long-term economic boom. But the combination of almost-feudal business practices, corruption and political indecisiveness led to the so-called Bubble Economy, which finally burst in the mid 1990's. The so-called "lost decade", a prolonged period of stagnation and recession which followed caused revolutionary changes to the banking system, increased unemployment and a sharp rise in foreign investment in Japan, which in turn is bringing about changes to the Japanese way of doing business.

A shinkansen passes Mt. Fuji

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko

The final years of the Japanese 20th century saw the death of the Emperor Showa and the start of the Heisei Period (1989- ). It also saw drastic changes and human tragedies which caused the country's people to examine, evaluate and criticize their society. The Hanshin Earthquake and Aum Shinrikyo sarin gas subway attack in 1995 sent shockwaves through the land as has the recent rapid increase in violent and juvenile crime.

On a more positive note, the last few years have seen Japan performing well on the world stage. The Winter Olympics in Nagano in 1998 were hailed as a great success. Japan secured its first ever place in the World Cup in France in the same year as well as winning the right to co-host the event with South Korea in 2002. Japan continues to be a major provider of ODA (Overseas Development Assistance) and has recently begun to play a more active role in the UN and international peace-keeping efforts. Economic and social changes and the arrival of an increasing number of foreigners in recent years have caused some fundamental changes in the Japanese people's way of thinking. Young people in particular are more interested in self-expression and pursuing their own goals. Environmental awareness is on the increase although it is still lacking at some levels of government. Although behind the pace set by the US, the Japanese government is making efforts to bring the country in line with Western countries in terms of information technology, connectivity and computer usage. Changes to the oppresive educational system are also in the works.

Having entered the 21st century, Japan is facing serious challenges in its struggle to remain as a major international player. A crippled financial system and the "lost decades" of economic stagnation saw it lose its rank as the world's second-largest economy to its great rival, China. And the major earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan in March 2011 caused not only major damage and widespread loss of life, but also the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl at the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima.

The second decade of the 21st century also brought to power an increasingly hawkish conservative government, and decades-long restrictions on the export of military equipment were seen as a lost opportunity to boost the economy. Similarly, the postwar constitution that restricted the country's military activities, even in peace-keeping operations, was seen by political leaders as a hindrance to Japan contributing on the international stage. That all changed with revisions to export guidelines in 2014 and to the country's security law in 2015, in the face of the largest displays of public protest seen in decades. Unsurprisingly, the governments of China and North and South Korea also voiced concerns about the "shift to militarism."