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Claiming the City: Politics, Faith, and the Power of Place in St. Paul

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Overview

Are Minneapolis and St. Paul "Twin Cities" in proximity only? How can two cities, spoken of so often in one breath, differ so greatly in their histories and characteristics? Claiming the City traces the contours of St. Paul's "civic identity" to show how personal identities and political structures of power are fundamentally informed by the social geography of place. St. Paul proves a particularly fruitful site for such analysis because it has developed along a divergent path from that of Minneapolis, its sister city just across the Mississippi river.

While Minneapolis in the last part of the nineteenth century bore the stamp of Scandinavians, Protestants, and Republican Yankee progressives, St. Paul emerged as an Irish, Catholic, Democratic stronghold. Increasingly overshadowed by the economic might of Minneapolis, out of necessity St. Paul evolved complex alliances among business, labor, and the Catholic Church that cut across class and ethnic lines-a culture of compromise that sharply contrasted with Minneapolis' more strident labor politics.

Mary Lethert Wingerd brings together the voices of citizens and workers and the power dynamics of civic leaders including James J. Hill and Archbishop John Ireland. She crafts a portrait of St. Paul remarkable for its specificity as well as its relevance to broader interpretations of place-based culture and politics.

Wingerd's rich and lively history of St. Paul is a clear demonstration that place-the lived experience and memory located in a specific spatial context-is a constitutive element of all other aspects of identity.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801439360
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2001
  • Series: 6/30/2008
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.44 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
I Starting from Scratch: The Construction of Civic Identity
1 The Economy of Culture: City Building on the Frontier 13
2 Money, Status, and Power: The Making of an Irish-Catholic Town 33
3 Delivering the Goods: The Social Geography of a Declining Economy 68
II The Great War: Conflict Abroad and Casualties at Home
4 Raising the Flag: The Struggle to Reshape Civic Identity 117
5 Taking Aim: Enemies of the State 137
6 The First Volley: Policing the Social Order 152
7 The War of St. Paul and the End of the Civic Compact 175
III From Battle Zone to "Holy City": New Alliances, Old Loyalties, and the Power of Place
8 Vying for Power: The Showdown between Business and Labor 215
9 Hard Times in the "Holy City": Old Alliances and New Deals 233
Epilogue: Political Change and the Power of Place 263
Abbreviations 275
Notes 277
Index 317
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