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The American Promise: A History of the United States, Volume I: To 1877


The American Promise: A History of the United States, Volume I: To 1877 Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The American Promise is more teachable and memorable than any other U.S. survey text. The balanced narrative braids together political and social history so that students can discern overarching trends as well as individual stories. The voices of hundreds of Americans — from Presidents to pipefitters, and sharecroppers to suffragettes — animate the past and make concepts memorable.

The past comes alive for students through dynamic special features and a stunning and distinctive visual program. Over 775 contemporaneous illustrations — more than any competing text — draw students into the text, and more than 180 full-color maps increase students geographic literacy. A rich array of special features complements the narrative, offering more points of departure for assignments and discussion. Longstanding favorites include Documenting the American Promise, Historical Questions, The Promise of Technology, and Beyond Americas Borders, representing a key part of our effort to increase attention paid to the global context of American history.

About the Author

JAMES L. ROARK (Ph.D., Stanford University) is the Samuel Chandler Dobbs Professor of History at Emory University. He has written or edited four books, including, with Michael P. Johnson, Black Masters: A Free Family of Color in the Old

South (1984).

MICHAEL P. JOHNSON (Ph.D., Stanford University) is a professor of history at the Johns Hopkins University. He has written or edited six books, including No Chariot Let Down: Charlestons Free People of Color on the Eve of the Civil War (1984) and Reading the American Past.

PATRICIA CLINE COHEN (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley) is professor of history at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She has written three books including The Murder of Helen Jewett: The Life and Death of a Prostitute in Nineteenth-Century New York (1998).

SARAH STAGE (Ph.D., Yale University) is professor of womens studies at Arizona State University West. She has written three books, including Rethinking Women and Home Economics in the Twentieth Century (1997).

ALAN LAWSON (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is professor of history at Boston College. He has written or edited three books, including From Revolution to Republic (1976).

SUSAN M. HARTMANN (Ph.D., University of Missouri) is professor of history at The Ohio State University. She has written five books, including The Other Feminists: Activists in the Liberal Establishments (1998).

Table of Contents

N.B. — Each chapter ends with a selected Bibliography and Reviewing the Chapter sections.

1. Ancient America: Before 1492

OPENING VIGNETTE: Archaeological discovery proves that humans have inhabited America for more than 10,000 years

Archaeology and History

The First Americans


HISTORICAL QUESTION: Who Were the First Americans?

Archaic Hunters and Gatherers

Agricultural Settlements and Chiefdoms

Native Americans in the 1490s

THE PROMISE OF TECHNOLOGY: Ancient American Weaving

The Mexica: A Meso-American Culture

Conclusion: The World of Ancient Americans

2. Europeans Encounter the New World, 1492-1600

OPENING VIGNETTE: Queen Isabella of Spain supports Christopher Columbus risky plan to sail west across the Atlantic

Europe in the Age of Exploration

A Surprising New World in the Western Atlantic

Spanish Exploration and Conquest



SEEKING THE AMERICAN PROMISE: Spreading Christianity in New Spain

The New World and Sixteenth-Century Europe

Conclusion: The Promise of the New World for Europeans

3. The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century, 1601-1700

OPENING VIGNETTE: Pocahontas "rescues" John Smith

An English Colony on the Chesapeake

A Tobacco Society

Tobacco Agriculture

BEYOND AMERICAS BORDERS: American Tobacco and European Consumers

DOCUMENTING THE AMERICAN PROMISE: Virginia Laws Governing Servants and Slaves

The Evolution of Chesapeake Society

HISTORICAL QUESTION: Why Did English Colonists Consider Themselves Superior to Indians and Africans?

Religion and Revolt in the Spanish Borderland

Toward a Slave Labor System

GLOBAL COMPARISON: Migration to the New World from Europe and Africa, 1492-1700

Conclusion: The Growth of English Colonies Based on Export Crops and Slave Labor

4. The Northern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century, 1601-1700

OPENING VIGNETTE: Roger Williams is banished from Puritan Massachusetts

Puritan Origins: The English Reformation

Puritans and the Settlement of New England

DOCUMENTING THE AMERICAN PROMISE: King Philip Considers Christianity

The Evolution of New England Society

HISTORICAL QUESTION: Why Were Some New Englanders Accused of Being Witches?

The Founding of the Middle Colonies

The Colonies and the English Empire

BEYOND AMERICAS BORDERS: New France and the Indians: The British Colonies Northern Borderlands

Conclusion: An English Model of Colonization in North America

5. Colonial America in the Eighteenth Century, 1701-1770

OPENING VIGNETTE: The Robin Johns experience horrific turns of fortune in the Atlantic slave trade

A Growing Population and Expanding Economy in British North America

New England: From Puritan Settlers to Yankee Traders

SEEKING THE AMERICAN PROMISE: A Sailors Life in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World

The Middle Colonies: Immigrants, Wheat, and Work

The Southern Colonies: Land of Slavery

Unifying Experiences

THE PROMISE OF TECHNOLOGY: Newspapers: "The Spring of Knowledge"

GLOBAL COMPARISON: Large Warships in European Navies, 1660-1760

DOCUMENTING THE AMERICAN PROMISE: Missionaries Report on California Missions

Conclusion: The Dual Identity of British North American Colonists

6. The British Empire and the Colonial Crisis, 1754-1775

OPENING VIGNETTE: Loyalist governor Thomas Hutchinson stands his ground in radical Massachusetts

The Seven Years War, 1754-1763

HISTORICAL QUESTION: How Long Did the Seven Years War Last in Indian Country?

The Sugar and Stamp Acts, 1763-1765

SEEKING THE AMERICAN PROMISE: Pursuing Liberty, Protesting Tyranny

The Townshend Acts and Economic Retaliation, 1767-1770

The Tea Party and the Coercive Acts, 1770-1774

DOCUMENTING THE AMERICAN PROMISE: How News of the Powder Alarm Traveled

Domestic Insurrections, 1774-1775

Conclusion: How Far Does Liberty Go?

7. The War for America, 1775-1783

OPENING VIGNETTE: Deborah Sampson masquerades as a man to join the Continental army

The Second Continental Congress

THE PROMISE OF TECHNOLOGY: Arming the Soldiers: Muskets and Rifles

The First Year of War, 1775-1776

GLOBAL COMPARISON: How Tall Were Eighteenth-Century Men on Average?

BEYOND AMERICAS BORDERS: Prisoners of War in the Eighteenth Century

The Home Front

DOCUMENTING THE AMERICAN PROMISE: Families Divide over the Revolution

The Campaigns of 1777-1779: The North and West

The Southern Strategy and the End of the War

Conclusion: Why the British Lost

8. Building a Republic, 1775-1789

OPENING VIGNETTE: James Madison comes of age in the midst of revolution

The Articles of Confederation

The Sovereign States


The Confederations Problems

The United States Constitution

Ratification of the Constitution

HISTORICAL QUESTION: Was the New United States a Christian Country?

Conclusion: The "Republican Remedy"

9. The New Nation Takes Form, 1789-1800

OPENING VIGNETTE: Brilliant and brash, Alexander Hamilton becomes a polarizing figure in the 1790s

The Search for Stability

BEYOND AMERICAS BORDERS: France, Britain, and Womans Rights in the 1790s

Hamiltons Economic Policies

GLOBAL COMPARISON: National Census Taking Worldwide

HISTORICAL QUESTION: How Did Washington, D.C., Become the Federal Capital?

Conflicts West, East, and South

Federalists and Republicans


Conclusion: Parties Nonetheless

10. Republicans in Power, 1800-1824

OPENING VIGNETTE: The Shawnee chief Tecumseh attempts to forge a pan-Indian confederacy

Jeffersons Presidency

HISTORICAL QUESTION: How Could a Vice President Get Away with Murder?

The Madisons in the White House

THE PROMISE OF TECHNOLOGY: Stoves Transform Cooking

Womens Status in the Early Republic

SEEKING THE AMERICAN PROMISE: One Womans Quest to Provide Higher Education for Women

Monroe and Adams

Conclusion: Republican Simplicity Becomes Complex

11. The Expanding Republic, 1815-1840

OPENING VIGNETTE: The rise of Andrew Jackson, symbol of a self-confident and expanding nation

The Market Revolution


The Spread of Democracy

Jackson Defines the Democratic Party

Cultural Shifts, Religion, and Reform

GLOBAL COMPARISON: Changing Trends in Age of First Marriage for Women

BEYOND AMERICAS BORDERS:Transatlantic Abolition

Van Burens One-Term Presidency

SEEKING THE AMERICAN PROMISE: Going Ahead or Gone to Smash: An Entrepreneur Struggles in the 1830s

Conclusion: The Age of Jackson or the Era of Reform?

12. The New West and Free North, 1840-1860

OPENING VIGNETTE: With the support of his wife, Abraham Lincoln struggles to survive in antebellum America

Economic and Industrial Evolution

THE PROMISE OF TECHNOLOGY: The Telegraph: The "Wonder-Working Wire"

Free Labor: Promise and Reality

The Westward Movement

Expansion and the Mexican-American War

HISTORICAL QUESTION: Who Rushed for California Gold?

Reforming Self and Society

BEYOND AMERICAS BORDERS: Back to Africa: The United States in Liberia

Conclusion: Free Labor, Free Men

13. The Slave South, 1820-1860

OPENING VIGNETTE: Slave Nat Turner leads a revolt to end slavery

The Growing Distinctiveness of the South


BEYOND AMERICAS BORDERS: White Gold: The International Empire of Cotton

Masters, Mistresses, and the Big House

HISTORICAL QUESTION: How Often Were Slaves Whipped?

Slaves and the Quarter

Black and Free: On the Middle Ground

The Plain Folk

The Politics of Slavery

Conclusion: A Slave Society

14. The House Divided, 1846-1861

OPENING VIGNETTE: Abolitionist John Brown takes his war against slavery to Harpers Ferry, Virginia

The Bitter Fruits of War

THE PROMISE OF TECHNOLOGY: Daguerrotypes: The "Sunbeam Art"

The Sectional Balance Undone

BEYOND AMERICAS BORDERS: Filibusters: The Underside of Manifest Destiny

Realignment of the Party System

SEEKING THE AMERICAN PROMISE: "A Purse of Her Own": Petitioning for the Right to Own Property

Freedom Under Siege

The Union Collapses

Conclusion: Slavery, Free Labor, and the Failure of Political Compromise

15. The Crucible of War, 1861-1865

OPENING VIGNETTE: Runaway slave William Gould enlists in the U.S. navy

"And the War Came"

The Combatants

Battling It Out, 1861-1862

THE PROMISE OF TECHNOLOGY: CSS H.L. Hunley: The Worlds First Successful Submarine

GLOBAL COMPARISON: European Cotton Imports, 1860-1870

Union and Freedom

SEEKING THE AMERICAN PROMISE: The Right to Fight: Black Soldiers in the Civil War

The South at War

The North at War

Grinding out Victory, 1863-1865

HISTORICAL QUESTION: Why Did So Many Soldiers Die?

Conclusion: The Second American Revolution Selected Bibliography

16. Reconstruction, 1863-1877

OPENING VIGNETTE: James T. Rapier emerges in the early 1870s as Alabamas most prominent black leader

Wartime Reconstruction


Presidential Reconstruction

THE PROMISE OF TECHNOLOGY: Filling the "Empty Sleeve": Artificial Limbs

Congressional Reconstruction

The Struggle in the South

HISTORICAL QUESTION: What Did the Ku Klux Klan Really Want?

Reconstruction Collapses

Conclusion: "A Revolution But Half Accomplished"


I. Documents

II. Facts and Figures: Government, Economy, and Demographics

III. Research Resources in U.S. History

Glossary of Historical Vocabulary

Spot Artifact Credits


Atlas of the Territorial Growth of the United States

Product Details

A History of the United States
Roark, James L
Roark, James L.
Stage, Sarah
Hartmann, Susan M.
Johnson, Michael P.
Cohen, Patricia Cline
Bedford/St. Martin's
United States - General
US History-General
Edition Description:
Fourth Edition
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
10.88 x 8.50 in

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