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Other titles in the Oxford History of the United States series:
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 (Oxford History of the United States)by Gordon Wood
Synopses & Reviews
In the early 1770s, the men who invented America were living quiet, provincial lives in the rustic backwaters of the New World, devoted primarily to family, craft, and the private pursuit of wealth and happiness. None set out to become "revolutionary" by ambition, but when events in Boston escalated, they found themselves thrust into a crisis that moved, in a matter of months, from protest to war.
In this remarkable book, the historian Jack Rakove shows how the private lives of these men were suddenly transformed into public careers—how Washington became a strategist, Franklin a pioneering cultural diplomat, Madison a sophisticated constitutional thinker, and Hamilton a brilliant policymaker. Rakove shakes off accepted notions of these men as godlike visionaries, focusing instead on the evolution of their ideas and the crystallizing of their purpose. In Revolutionaries, we see the founders before they were fully formed leaders, as individuals whose lives were radically altered by the explosive events of the mid-1770s. They were ordinary men who became extraordinary—a transformation that finally has the literary treatment it deserves.
Spanning the two crucial decades of the countrys birth, from 1773 to 1792, Revolutionaries uses little-known stories of these famous (and not so famous) men to capture—in a way no single biography ever could—the intensely creative period of the republics founding. From the Boston Tea Party to the First Continental Congress, from Trenton to Valley Forge, from the ratification of the Constitution to the disputes that led to our two-party system, Rakove explores the competing views of politics, war, diplomacy, and society that shaped our nation.
Thoughtful, clear-minded, and persuasive, Revolutionaries is a majestic blend of narrative and intellectual history, one of those rare books that makes us think afresh about how the country came to be, and why the idea of America endures.
In the newest volume in the acclaimed Oxford History of the United States series, one of America's most esteemed historians offers a brilliant account of the early American Republic, ranging from 1789 and the beginning of the national government to the War of 1812.
Integrating all aspects of life, from politics and law to the economy and culture, "Empire of Liberty" offers a marvelous account of this pivotal era when America took its first unsteady steps as a new and rapidly expanding nation.
A bold new examination of the American Revolution, focusing on the contradictory ideals that shaped the idea of a new American nation.
John C. Frand#233;mont was the most celebrated explorer of his era. In 1842, on the first of five expeditions he would lead to the Far West, Frand#233;mont and a small party of men journeyed up the Kansas and Platte Rivers to the Wind River Range in Wyoming. At the time, virtually this entire region was known as the Great Desert, and many Americans viewed it and the Rocky Mountains beyond as natural barriers to the United States. After Congress published Frand#233;montand#8217;s official report of the expedition, however, few doubted the nation should expand to the Pacific.
The first in-depth study of this remarkable report, Sight Unseen argues that Frand#233;mont used both a radical form of the picturesque and an imaginary map to create an aesthetic craving for expansion. Not only did he redefine the Great Desert as a novel and complex environment, but on a summit of the Wind River Range he envisioned the Continental Divide as a feature that would unify rather than obstruct a larger nation.
In addition to provoking the great migration to Oregon and providing an aesthetic justification for the national park system, Frand#233;montand#8217;s report profoundly altered American views of geography, progress, and the need for a transcontinental railroad. By helping to shape the very notion of Manifest Destiny, the report became one of the most important documents in the history of American landscape.
The Oxford History of the United States is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. The series includes three Pulitzer Prize winners, two New York Times bestsellers, and winners of the Bancroft and Parkman Prizes. Now, in the newest volume in the series, one of America's most esteemed historians, Gordon S. Wood, offers a brilliant account of the early American Republic, ranging from 1789 and the beginning of the national government to the end of the War of 1812.
As Wood reveals, the period was marked by tumultuous change in all aspects of American life--in politics, society, economy, and culture. The men who founded the new government had high hopes for the future, but few of their hopes and dreams worked out quite as they expected. They hated political parties but parties nonetheless emerged. Some wanted the United States to become a great fiscal-military state like those of Britain and France; others wanted the country to remain a rural agricultural state very different from the European states. Instead, by 1815 the United States became something neither group anticipated. Many leaders expected American culture to flourish and surpass that of Europe; instead it became popularized and vulgarized. The leaders also hope to see the end of slavery; instead, despite the release of many slaves and the end of slavery in the North, slavery was stronger in 1815 than it had been in 1789. Many wanted to avoid entanglements with Europe, but instead the country became involved in Europe's wars and ended up waging another war with the former mother country. Still, with a new generation emerging by 1815, most Americans were confident and optimistic about the future of their country.
Integrating all aspects of life, from politics and law to the economy and culture, Empire of Liberty offers a marvelous account of this pivotal era when America took its first unsteady steps as a new and rapidly expanding nation.
About the Author
JACK RAKOVE, the William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies and a professor of political science at Stanford University, is one the most distinguished historians of the early American republic. He is the author of, among other books, Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1997. He frequently writes op-ed articles for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other major newspapers. He has been an expert witness in Indian land claims litigation and has testified in Congress on impeachment.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Rip Van Winkle's America
1. Experiment in Republicanism
2. The Monarchical Republic
3. The Federalist Program
4. The Emergence of the Jeffersonian Republican Party
5. The French Revolution in America
6. John Adams and the Few and the Many
7. The Crisis of 1798-1799
8. The Jeffersonian Revolution of 1800
9. Republican Society
10. The Jeffersonian West
11. Law and an Independent Judiciary
12. Chief Justice John Marshall and the Origins of Judicial Review
13. Republican Reforms
14. Between Slavery and Freedom
15. The Rising Glory of America
16. Republican Religion
17. Republican Diplomacy
18. The War of 1812
19. A World within Themselves
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