Monday, December 8, 2008

The State of the Union

Carlisle, Jennifer. "The State of the Union: A History of the Labor Movement at Vanderbilt University." Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal [Online] Vol. 1, No. 0 (10 May 2005) Available:

This article will document the historical context of the labor movement at Vanderbilt University in order to explain the nature and interaction of the labor union with central administration over the past forty years. Recognizing the lack of scholarly attention to the labor movement in Paul Conkin’s Gone with the Ivy (1985) and Peabody College (2002) and Dale Johnson’s Vanderbilt Divinity School (2001), the author contributes to the academic literature by providing a broad overview of the historical background and current state of the labor movement. As the largest employer in Davidson County and a major contributor to the state of Tennessee’s economic development, the relationship of University administrators and labor representatives has a large impact on the condition of surrounding labor movements, particularly in the city of Nashville’s low-wage service workers sector. In providing a brief chronological synopsis of the labor movement and the role of female involvement in the union, the author concludes by providing a context for contemporary labor negotiations.

Expansionism, Slavery, and Sectionalism

Fotouhi, David. "Expansionism, Slavery, and Sectionalism: James K. Polk and American Enlargement under the Fluctuating Forces of Manifest Destiny." Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal [Online] Vol. 2, No. 0 (12 August 2006) Available:

This article explores the relationship between President James K. Polk’s progressive ambition in the national electorate and the geographic expansion of the United States, particularly with regard to the social and religious foundations for manifest destiny in the public conscience. The author finds that manifest destiny played a central role in President James K. Polk’s successful campaign for the White House as well as his handling of foreign and domestic affairs.

They Moved the Earth

Broderick IV, Thomas. "They Moved the Earth: The Slaves Who Built the Tennessee State Capitol." Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal [Online] Vol. 4, No. 0 (3 June 2008) Available:

By utilizing primary and secondary source material, this essay attempts to examine both the use of slavery during the construction of the Tennessee State Capitol and the lives of the slaves involved. Though written histories on the Capitol agree that slavery was used at the construction site, no further details are given. The goal of this essay is to bring to light the full story of the group of slaves that were involved in the construction. In the spring of 1846, fifteen slaves, all men, were loaned to the state government by A.G. Payne, a Nashville stone mason. For nearly a year they carved out the Capitol’s cellar, their skilled labor worth nearly twice as much as the unskilled labor of free men. These slaves broke through tons of limestone rock, carting it away after digging. When construction required skilled stonemasons, the slaves returned to their master’s properties. For fourteen years up until Payne’s death, they worked at both a farm and brick factory, the monotony briefly punctuated by being hired out. Due to debts incurred by Payne just before his death, the slaves were to be sold. The Civil War imminent, the slaves remained with Payne’s widow until their emancipation. After emancipation, the records on all but three of the men stop completely. Out of the three remaining men, the children of one were prospering. They had been taught to read. The government their father had helped physically build was finally working for their interests.