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Professor Lause grew up in a small blue collar community and worked his way through college during the 1960s and 70s. His academic interests seemed to center naturally on the history of class and social movements in the United States.
Lause has done extensive work in nineteenth century labor and social history, including numerous articles in academic journals and reference material. His initial work focused on early printers to discuss the origins of an American labor movement: “Some Degree of Power”: From Hired Hand to Union Craftsman in the Preindustrial American Printing Trades, 1778-1815. (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1991) documented the first generation of unionists in that craft.
Lause’s subsequent work has sought new ways of examining and understanding the sectional crisis and the Civil War "from the bottom up." He argued for the complexity of the Republican and Unionist coalition—before and after—in Young America: Land, Labor, and the Republican Community (Urbana IL: University of Illinois Press, 2005) on the antebellum land reform movement and The Civil War's Last Campaign: James B. Weaver, the Greenback-Labor Party & the Politics of Race & Section (Lanpham, Md.: University Press of America, 2001). His Race & Radicalism in the Union Army (Urbana IL: University of Illinois Press, 2009) explores the wartime collaboration of blacks, Indians and whites in the Transmississippi under the leadership of those abolitionists, land reformers, socialists and others who had been associated with John Brown before the Civil War. The Antebellum Political Crisis & the First American Bohemians (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2009) discusses the cultural impact of escalating sectional and electoral pressures on antebellum radicalism. His Price's Lost Campaign: the 1864 Invasion of Missouri (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2011) uses social and institutional history to cast light on the neglected Civil War expedition that largely closed the conflict west of the Mississippi River. A Secret Society History of the Civil War (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2011) examines the importance of several clandestine, fraternal traditions as a means of understanding how ordinary citizens, including African Americans, struggled to shape their history. The reorganization of the U of Missouri Press delayed the appearance of his book on the last part of the 1864 Missouri campaign, The Collapse of Price's Raid: the Beginning of the End in Civil War Missouri, but it should appear in the summer of 2015. This will coincide with his Free Labor: the Civil War & the Making of the American Working Class, the completion of a research project begun years earlier. His book on spiritualism and the politis of the Civil War era is also due to appear. Lause is also finishing a manuscript about the cowboy strikes of the 1880s.
In addition, Lause expects soon to submit The Last Republicans, a treatment of Giueseppe Garibaldi's republican internantional brigades in the Franco-Prussian War as the final gasp of an old ideal of republicanism. He has also started a project on the related cantonal revolts of 1873-1874 in Spain. All of this is aiming at a general understanding of Reconstruction in the U.S. from a global perspective.