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The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln

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The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this magisterial work, Sean Wilentz traces a historical arc from the earliest days of the republic to the opening shots of the Civil War. One of our finest writers of history, Wilentz brings to life the era after the American Revolution, when the idea of democracy remained contentious, and Jeffersonians and Federalists clashed over the role of ordinary citizens in government of, by, and for the people. The triumph of Andrew Jackson soon defined this role on the national level, while city democrats, Anti-Masons, fugitive slaves, and a host of others hewed their own local definitions. In these definitions Wilentz recovers the beginnings of a discontenttwo starkly opposed democracies, one in the North and another in the Southand the wary balance that lasted until the election of Abraham Lincoln sparked its bloody resolution. 75 illustrations.

Review:

"As the revolutionary fervor of the war for independence cooled, the new American republic, says Princeton historian Wilentz, might easily have hardened into rule by an aristocracy. Instead, the electoral franchise expanded and the democratic creed transformed every aspect of American society. At its least inspired, this ambitious study is a solid but unremarkable narrative of familiar episodes of electoral politics. But by viewing political history through the prism of democratization, Wilentz often discovers illuminating angles on his subject. His anti-elitist sympathies make for some lively interpretations, especially his defense of the Jacksonian revolt against the Bank of the United States. Wilentz unearths the roots of democratic radicalism in the campaigns for popular reform of state constitutions during the revolutionary and Jacksonian eras, and in the young nation's mess of factional and third-party enthusiasms. And he shows how the democratic ethos came to pervade civil society, most significantly in the Second Great Awakening, 'a devotional upsurge... that can only be described as democratic.' Wilentz's concluding section on the buildup to the Civil War, which he presents as a battle over the meaning of democracy between the South's 'Master Race' localism and the egalitarian nationalism of Lincoln's Republicans, is a tour-de-force, a satisfying summation and validation of his analytical approach. 75 illus. not seen by PW." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Book News Annotation:

Although it had democratic elements, the American republic founded in the 18th century was not a democracy. It only became one, argues Wilentz (history, Princeton U.), through constant political conflict and struggle over the meaning of democracy itself. In chronicling American politics from the Revolution to the Civil War, he offers an account of how democracy developed piecemeal at the state, local, and national levels. Among his major themes are how social changes such as the commercialization of the free labor North or the renaissance of plantation slavery in the South affected the ebb and flow of democracy, perceptions of these social changes as struggles over contending ideas of democracy, and the central importance of the fate of slavery to the course of American democracy.
Annotation 2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Book News Annotation:

Although it had democratic elements, the American republic founded in the 18th century was not a democracy. It only became one, argues Wilentz (history, Princeton U.), through constant political conflict and struggle over the meaning of democracy itself. In chronicling American politics from the Revolution to the Civil War, he offers an account of how democracy developed piecemeal at the state, local, and national levels. Among his major themes are how social changes such as the commercialization of the free labor North or the renaissance of plantation slavery in the South affected the ebb and flow of democracy, perceptions of these social changes as struggles over contending ideas of democracy, and the central importance of the fate of slavery to the course of American democracy. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

A grand political history in a fresh new style of how the elitist young American republic became a rough-and-tumble democracy.

In this magisterial work, Sean Wilentz traces a historical arc from the earliest days of the republic to the opening shots of the Civil War. One of our finest writers of history, Wilentz brings to life the era after the American Revolution, when the idea of democracy remained contentious, and Jeffersonians and Federalists clashed over the role of ordinary citizens in government of, by, and for the people. The triumph of Andrew Jackson soon defined this role on the national level, while city democrats, Anti-Masons, fugitive slaves, and a host of others hewed their own local definitions. In these definitions Wilentz recovers the beginnings of a discontent--two starkly opposed democracies, one in the North and another in the South--and the wary balance that lasted until the election of Abraham Lincoln sparked its bloody resolution. 75 illustrations.

Synopsis:

Wilentz brings to life the era after the American Revolution, when the idea of democracy remained contentious, and Jeffersonians and Federalists clashed over the role of ordinary citizens in government of, by, and for the people.

About the Author

Sean Wilentz is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of History and director of the Program in American Studies at Princeton University. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393058208
Author:
Wilentz, Sean
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
History
Subject:
Presidents
Subject:
United States - 19th Century
Subject:
Political History
Subject:
Political Ideologies - Democracy
Subject:
United States Politics and government.
Subject:
Politicians -- United States -- History.
Subject:
US History-19th Century
Subject:
United States - General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20051031
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
1072
Dimensions:
9.6 x 6.6 x 2.2 in 3.32 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » US History » 1800 to Civil War
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century

The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln Used Hardcover
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Product details 1072 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393058208 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "As the revolutionary fervor of the war for independence cooled, the new American republic, says Princeton historian Wilentz, might easily have hardened into rule by an aristocracy. Instead, the electoral franchise expanded and the democratic creed transformed every aspect of American society. At its least inspired, this ambitious study is a solid but unremarkable narrative of familiar episodes of electoral politics. But by viewing political history through the prism of democratization, Wilentz often discovers illuminating angles on his subject. His anti-elitist sympathies make for some lively interpretations, especially his defense of the Jacksonian revolt against the Bank of the United States. Wilentz unearths the roots of democratic radicalism in the campaigns for popular reform of state constitutions during the revolutionary and Jacksonian eras, and in the young nation's mess of factional and third-party enthusiasms. And he shows how the democratic ethos came to pervade civil society, most significantly in the Second Great Awakening, 'a devotional upsurge... that can only be described as democratic.' Wilentz's concluding section on the buildup to the Civil War, which he presents as a battle over the meaning of democracy between the South's 'Master Race' localism and the egalitarian nationalism of Lincoln's Republicans, is a tour-de-force, a satisfying summation and validation of his analytical approach. 75 illus. not seen by PW." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , A grand political history in a fresh new style of how the elitist young American republic became a rough-and-tumble democracy.

In this magisterial work, Sean Wilentz traces a historical arc from the earliest days of the republic to the opening shots of the Civil War. One of our finest writers of history, Wilentz brings to life the era after the American Revolution, when the idea of democracy remained contentious, and Jeffersonians and Federalists clashed over the role of ordinary citizens in government of, by, and for the people. The triumph of Andrew Jackson soon defined this role on the national level, while city democrats, Anti-Masons, fugitive slaves, and a host of others hewed their own local definitions. In these definitions Wilentz recovers the beginnings of a discontent--two starkly opposed democracies, one in the North and another in the South--and the wary balance that lasted until the election of Abraham Lincoln sparked its bloody resolution. 75 illustrations.

"Synopsis" by , Wilentz brings to life the era after the American Revolution, when the idea of democracy remained contentious, and Jeffersonians and Federalists clashed over the role of ordinary citizens in government of, by, and for the people.
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