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The Rise of American Democracy

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted March 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Scholastic, informative, enjoyable, but biased. Should not be the only inquiry on the subject.

    A good history of early American Politics. A little overly scholastic maybe, and perhaps a little bit biased with a modern-day, partisan view of politics.

    Wilentz picks sides here, glosses over "his" heroes' character flaws, and plays down (or leaves out) pertinent information that could give readers a fuller appreciation of the time periods presented.

    For instance: Jefferson comes off rather well, Hamilton a real demagogue, and Washington gets a less than admirable treatment here. To Wilentz, the federalists are anti-democratic aristocrats intent on using government to enrich themselves (not accurate in my opinion), and the Republicans (the earliest Democrats) are the heroes fighting for liberty against their tyranny

    The author tries to be impartial, but his modern day liberal views are pretty bare for all to see- which is a bit of a shame considering the breadth of what he's trying to accomplish here- a full and thorough accounting of political thought and history from 1800s-1860s.

    Not a bad read though, especially for the more "progressive" minded, but SHOULD NOT be the only source for information on the subjects covered.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Good for (Advanced) Students

    I read this book the summer before I had to take a senior level college class on antebellum America. It turned out to be the perfect book to read. It covered most of the major topics in the course (at least the political aspects), and probably helped me do much better than I otherwise would have done. <BR/><BR/>As far as I can tell there is no new scholarship in this text. What makes it unique, however, is the complex synthesis Wilentz uses by taking massive amounts of state and local sources and blending them into what becomes an original narrative.<BR/><BR/>Wilentz is a good author and a respected historian (which is why I chose this book in particular). I would recommend this book for those who want a thorough understanding of the early American Republic.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 26, 2009

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