The Comparative Approach to American History

By C. Vann Woodward | Go to book overview

8
Mobility

GEORGE W. PIERSON

One day, several years ago, a single-engine Cessna airplane, flying from New Haven to Rhode Island, ran out of power, came down safely on Expressway 95, and was promptly hit by a mobile home.

About the same time a team of youth researchers discovered that, out of more than a thousand boys and girls whom they had been studying, 70 per cent remembered their families' having moved once, twice, three, or even four times, and 13 per cent remembered their families having moved five or more times. Eighty per cent did admit to having lived in the same house for one year, but only 50 per cent for as long as five.

Again in 1964 the American Petroleum Institute announced that we Americans, using 55 million oil credit cards, drove 86 million motor vehicles some 38 billion miles and lost some 43,000 lives on the road. Meanwhile at a single oil company it was taking 650 trained employees to keep track of the credit transactions--and on a routine day they had to handle four thousand changes of address: which figured out to a residential mobility of 30 per cent in a single year.

We live, it has been said, in a state of perpetual transportation --and as a not surprising consequence it appears that 25 per cent of all the revenues of all these fifty United States now derives from the automobile.

But let us not suppose that we are the only highway nomads,

-106-

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The Comparative Approach to American History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • The Contributors vii
  • Introduction to the New Edition xi
  • 1 - The Comparability of American History 3
  • 2 - The Colonial Phase 18
  • 3 - The Enlightenment 34
  • 4 - The Revolution 47
  • 5 - The "Newness" of the New Nation 62
  • 6 - Frontiers 75
  • 7 - Immigration 91
  • 8 - Mobility 106
  • 9 - Slavery 121
  • 10 - Civil War 135
  • 11 - Reconstruction: Ultraconservative Revolution 146
  • 12 - The Negro since Freedom 160
  • 13 - Industrialization 175
  • 14 - Urbanization 187
  • 15 - Political Parties 206
  • 16 - The Coming of Big Business 220
  • 17 - Socialism and Labor 238
  • 18 - Imperialism 253
  • 19 - Social Democracy, 1900-1918 271
  • 20 - World War I 285
  • 21 - The Great Depression 296
  • 22 - World War II 315
  • 23 - The Cold War 328
  • 24 - The Test of Comparison 346
  • Index 359
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