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What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 (Oxford History of the United States)by Daniel Walker Howe
Synopses & Reviews
The Oxford History of the United States is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. In this prize-winning, critically acclaimed addition to the series, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the United States expanded to the Pacific and won control over the richest part of the North American continent. Howe's panoramic narrative portrays revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated the extension of the American empire. Railroads, canals, newspapers, and the telegraph dramatically lowered travel times and spurred the spread of information. These innovations prompted the emergence of mass political parties and stimulated America's economic development from an overwhelmingly rural country to a diversified economy in which commerce and industry took their place alongside agriculture. In his story, the author weaves together political and military events with social, economic, and cultural history. He examines the rise of Andrew Jackson and his Democratic party, but contends that John Quincy Adams and other Whigs--advocates of public education and economic integration, defenders of the rights of Indians, women, and African-Americans--were the true prophets of America's future. He reveals the power of religion to shape many aspects of American life during this period, including slavery and antislavery, women's rights and other reform movements, politics, education, and literature. Howe's story of American expansion culminates in the bitterly controversial but brilliantly executed war waged against Mexico to gain California and Texas for the United States.
Winner of the New-York Historical Society American History Book Prize
Finalist, 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction
A masterpiece. A comprehensive, richly detailed, and elegantly written account of the republic between the War of 1812 and the American victory in Mexico a generation later.
Howe brings an impressive array of strengths to the daunting task of encapsulating these busy, complicated three-plus decades within a single (admittedly, very long) volume...he grasps the meaning as well as the details of developments and events. He has a fine eye for telling detail.... He is a genuine rarity...extraordinary.
--Washington Post Book World
A fascinating, richly detailed portrait of the U.S. as its very boundaries so dramatically and often violently shifted.... It is a rare thing to encounter a book so magisterial and judicious and also so compelling; it is a great achievement and deserves many readers beyond the academy.
This extraordinary contribution to the Oxford History of the United States series is a great accomplishment by one of the United States' most distinguished historians.. A book that every student of American history and politics should read. It is, in short, everything a work of historical scholarship should be.
Historian Howe illuminates the period of American history from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the United States expands to the Pacific and wins control over the richest part of the North American continent.
In 1842 John C. Frand#233;mont led a party of twenty-five men on a five-month journey from Saint Louis to the Wind River Range in the Rocky Mountains; his goal: to chart the best route to Oregon. In 1843 Frand#233;mont was commissioned for another expedition, to explore the Great Salt Lake, Washington, eastern California, Carson Pass, and the San Joaquin Valley, places that did not yet belong to the United States.
His journals from these expeditions, edited in collaboration with his wife, Jessie Benton Frand#233;mont, and published by Congress, thrilled the nation and firmly established Frand#233;montand#8217;s persona as the Great Pathfinder. Part descriptive survey, part rousing adventure story, Frand#233;montand#8217;s account was far more than a travelerand#8217;s guide. His tales of courage and wit, descriptions of beautiful landscapes, and observations about Native Americans strengthened Americansand#8217; sense of a national identity and belief in Manifest Destiny. Still a fascinating page-turner today, Frand#233;montand#8217;s report documents the opening of the West even as it offers a firsthand look at the making of the American myth.
Anne F. Hyde provides an introduction to this signature American story that contextualizes the report, outlines Frand#233;montand#8217;s rise and fall, and shows how, for better or worse, this explorer exemplifies the nineteenth-century American spirit.
In the days following the Battle of Birch Coulie, the decisive battle in the deadly Dakota War of 1862, one of President Lincolns private secretaries wrote: “There has hardly been an outbreak so treacherous, so sudden, so bitter, and so bloody, as that which filled the State of Minnesota with sorrow and lamentation.” Even today, at the 150th anniversary of the Dakota War, the battle still raises questions and stirs controversy. In Birch Coulie John Christgau recounts the dramatic events surrounding the battle. American history at its narrative best, his book is also a uniquely balanced and accurate chronicle of this little-understood conflict, one of the most important to roil the American West.
Christgaus account of the war between white settlers and the Dakota Indians in Minnesota examines two communities torn by internal dissent and external threat, whites and Native Americans equally traumatized by the short and violent war. The book also delves into the aftermath, during which thirty-eight Dakota men were hanged without legal representation or the appearance of defense witnesses, the largest mass execution in American history. With its unusually nuanced perspective, Birch Coulie brings a welcome measure of clarity and insight to a critical moment in the troubled history of the American West.
About the Author
Daniel Walker Howe is Rhodes Professor of American History Emeritus, Oxford University and Professor of History Emeritus, University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of The Political Culture of the American Whigs and Making the American Self: Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln. He lives in Los Angeles.
Table of Contents
Abbreviations Used in Citations
Prologue: The Defeat of the Past
1. The Continental Setting
2. From the Jaws of Defeat
3. An Era of Good and Bad Feelings
4. The World That Cotton Made
5. Awakenings of Religion
6. Overthrowing the Tyranny of Distance
7. The Improvers
8. Pursuing the Millennium
9. Andrew Jackson and His Age
10. Battles over Sovereignty
11. Jacksonian Democracy and the Rule of Law
12. Reason and Revelation
13. Jackson's Third Term
14. The New Economy
15. The Whigs and Their Age
16. American Renaissance
17. Texas, Tyler, and the Telegraph
18. Westward the Star of Empire
19. The War Against Mexico
20. The Revolutions of 1848
Finale: A Vision of the Future
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