Synopses & Reviews
"The definitive statement of the Declaration of Independence as the embodiment of the American mind and historical experience". -- The New York Times Book Review
In a pathbreaking work that revolutionizes our understanding of the Declaration of Independence, Pauline Maier strips away the accumulated misconceptions and misplaced reverence that have long surrounded this epoch-making document.
Drawing upon dozens of other "declarations of independence" written to protest the repression of the colonies by King George III, as well as carefully analyzing the drafts of the Declaration eventually signed on July 4, 1776, Maier reveals the extent to which Thomas Jefferson's words and ideas were indebted to popular political beliefs. She also sheds new light on Abraham Lincoln's role, in his Gettysburg Address, in making the Declaration the sacred scripture of American freedom and equality. This is cultural history at its best -- a work that irrevocably changes our perspective on how America came to be.
"Splendid. Maier skillfully traces the progress of the Declaration from political event to sacred text". -- Washington Post
Includes bibliographical references (p. -285) and index.
About the Author
Pauline Maier was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. She received her B.A. from Radcliffe College in 1960, was a Fulbright Scholar at the London School of Economics in 1960-61, and took her Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1968. She has taught at Harvard, the University of Massachusetts (Boston), University of Wisconsin, Yale University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she has been William R. Kenan, Junior, Professor of American History since 1990. She is the author of From Resistance to Revolution, The Old Revolutionaries
, and The American People: A History
, a single-authored text for junior high school, as well as numerous other articles and reviews.
From the Hardcover edition.