Synopses & Reviews
Kentucky's first settlers brought with them a dedication to democracy and a sense of limitless hope about the future. Determined to participate in world progress in science, education, and manufacturing, Kentuckians wanted to make the United States a great nation. They strongly supported the War of 1812, and Kentucky emerged as a model of patriotism and military spirit.
Kentucky Rising: Democracy, Slavery, and Culture from the Early Republic to the Civil War offers a new synthesis of the sixty years before the Civil War. James A. Ramage and Andrea S. Watkins explore this crucial but often overlooked period, finding that the early years of statehood were an era of great optimism and progress. Drawing on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, Ramage and Watkins demonstrate that the eyes of the nation often focused on Kentucky, which was perceived as a leader among the states before the Civil War. Globally oriented Kentuckians were determined to transform the frontier into a network of communities exporting to the world market and dedicated to the new republic. Kentucky Rising offers a valuable new perspective on the eras of slavery and the Civil War.
t is sometimes said that Kentucky joined the South after the Civil War, and many books have been devoted to studying the influence of the war and its aftermath on the Commonwealth. But less is known about the decades before the Civil War. In Generations of Hope: Kentucky, 1800-1865, James Ramage and Andrea Watkins explore this crucial but often overlooked period, finding that that the early years of statehood comprised an era of great hope and progress. Ramage and Watkins demonstrate how Kentuckians looked outward, strongly supporting their country in the War of 1812 because they viewed the United States in a global context and wanted it to succeed on the world stage. Kentucky was perceived by the rest of the nation to be a leader among the states. Henry Clay, of course, was one of the great political figures of the era, but several other Kentuckians were candidates at the national level. Kentucky was a state of immigrants who brought their culture and world outlook with them, along with an optimism based on the idea that their region would participate fully in the advances of the day in science, culture, politics, education, and economics. Progress also included military advances, and the authors investigate the development of ideas about service and patriotism in a military context. The authors devote much attention to Kentuckians' complex views on slavery and its impact on the state. Indeed, the analysis of the Civil War is enhanced by understanding the context of the previous sixty years. Drawing upon a wealth of primary and secondary sources, Generations of Hope promises to be a fresh and definitive account of Kentucky's early years. This project is a co-publication with the Kentucky Historical Society.