America Firsthand: Readings from Settlement to Reconstruction / Edition 6

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One of the most widely adopted primary source U.S. history readers, America Firsthand presents history in the words of the people who made it, inviting and provoking students to think critically about the past. The seventh edition continues to bring the past to life with more visual and textual sources that increase diversity, represent current scholarship, and engage students.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312403614
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 1/28/2004
  • Edition description: Sixth Edition
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 335
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

ROBERT D. MARCUS, late of the State University of New York College at Brockport, wrote on late-nineteenth-century American politics as well as on the United States in the 1960s. He developed materials for collaborative learning techniques and edited several dozen books for Brandywine Press.

DAVID BURNER, professor of history at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, has written two books on John F. Kennedy as well as books on Herbert Hoover, the 1960s, and the Democratic Party in the 1920s, including a number of textbooks. Burner has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and is currently writing a treatise on the administration of George W. Bush.

ANTHONY MARCUS teaches at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He has taught at the City University of New York, the State University of New York, and Hofstra University and served as dean at St. John's University and at the American University in Dubai. He has published numerous books and articles on American history and Afro-American life and culture. His most recent book covers the life and work of radical editor George Breitman.
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Table of Contents

Preface vii

Studying and Writing History xi

Part 1 Indians and Europeans: New World Encounters 1

Points of View: Contact and Conquest (1502-1521)

1 Dispatches of the Conquest from the New World Hernando Cortes

In a letter to King Charles V of Spain, Hernando Cortes recounts his recent conquest of Mexico 3

2 A Nahua Account of the Conquest of Mexico Anonymous

An anonymous Nahua account of the conquest of Mexico describes the Spanish conquest and suggests possible reasons for their defeat 7

For Critical Thinking 13

3 Destruction of the Indies Bartolome de Las Casas

The Dominican friar Bartolome de Las Casas's powerful report of the horrors of the Spanish conquest is often described as the "Black Legend." 14

4 Description of Virginia John Smith

Captain John Smith describes Virginia and the Powhatan Indians he encountered at Jamestown in 1607 19

5 Encounter with the Indians Father Paul Le Jeune

The French Jesuit missionary Father Paul Le Jeune reports from Quebec in 1634, where he lived among North American Indians 23

6 Captured by Indians Mary Jemison

Mary Jemison, a white woman, describes her captivity and assimilation into mid-eighteenth-century Seneca culture 29

Visual Portfolio: New World Contact 35

Part 2 The Colonial Experience: A Rapidly Changing Society 41

Points of View: The Salem Witchcraft Trials (1692)

7 The Case Against George Burroughs Ann Putnam et al.

Many neighbors accuse George Burroughs of leading witches in Salem, Massachusetts 43

8 Reconsidering the Verdict Cotton Mather et al.

Puritan leader and ordinary villagers look back at the conviction and execution of Reverend Burroughs, whom they had formerlyaccused of witchcraft 48

For Critical Thinking 56

9 The African Slave Trade Olaudah Equiano

An eyewitness account of the African slave trade by Olaudah Equiano, an Ibo prince supposedly kidnapped in the early 1760s 57

10 On the Misfortune of Indentured Servants Gottlieb Mittelberger

Gottlieb Mittelberger, a young German, relates his arrival in Pennsylvania in 1750 and his sale as an indentured servant 62

11 A Man of the American Enlightenment Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin writes of religion, science, and public service in his autobiography, published after his death in 1790 66

12 Leaving an Abusive Husband Abigail Abbot Bailey

Abigail Abbot Bailey finds few legal protections following her marriage in 1767 72

Visual Portfolio: The Colonial Home and Family 81

Part 3 Resistance and Revolution: Struggling for Liberty 93

Points of View: The Boston Massacre (1770)

13 A British Officer's Description Thomas Preston

Thomas Preston, a British officer stationed in Boston before the American Revolution, recalls why his soldiers fired on Americans 94

14 Colonial Accounts George Robert Twelves Hewes John Tudor

the Boston Gazette and Country Journal

<$$$>George Robert Twelves, a patriot shoemaker, the Boston merchant John Tudor, and the Boston Gazette and Country Journal relate this bloody event from the colonists' perspective 98

For Critical Thinking 106

15 "The Bloody Massacre" Engraving Paul Revere

Paul Revere's famous engraving offers a visual representation of the Boston Massacre 107

16 A Soldier's View of the Revolutionary War Joseph Plumb Martin

Joseph Plumb Martin, who joined the Revolutionary Army before his sixteenth birthday, writes about his life as a common soldier 109

17 Choosing Sides Boston King

A South Carolina slave escapes to enlist in the British Army and is rewarded with freedom in Canada in 1783 117

18 Secret Correspondence of a Loyalist Wife Catherine Van Cortlandt

Catherine Van Cortlandt sends letters to her Tory husband behind British lines in 1776 and 1777 123

19 Republican Motherhood Eliza Pinckney Abigail Adams

Letters of Eliza Pinckney and Abigail Adams during the Revolutionary War years 128

20 Shays's Rebellion: Prelude to the Constitution George Richards Minot

George Richards Minot describes Shays's Rebellion of 1786-1787 135

Part 4 Defining America: The Expanding Nation 141

Points of View: Religion in the New Nation (1800-1830)

21 The Great Revival of 1800 James B. Finley James B.

Finley preaches during the Great Revival in Kentucky 143

22 Religion in America Harriet Martineau

British writer and journalist, Harriet Martineau, observes religious practices in America, including camp-revivals and the role of women in the church 148

For Critical Thinking 154

23 How the West was Won

An Officer of the "Army of the West"

<$$$>Dispatches from the U.S. Army describe a mix of power and persuasion in taking New Mexico 155

24 Crossing the Great Divide Meriwether Lewis William Clark

In 1805, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark crossed the Rockies, one of the most difficult parts of the famous expedition in American history - from St. Louis, Missouri, to the mouth of the Columbia River 160

25 A Ride on the Erie Canal Frances Trollope

Frances Trollope describes the travel conditions and social customs of ordinary Americans in this humorous account of her trip by boat down the Erie Canal 168

26 The Trail of Tears John Ross

John Ross, of mixed Cherokee and white ancestry, protests efforts by President Jackson and Congress to remove his tribe from Georgia to Oklahoma Territory in the 1830s 173

27 Pulling a Handcart to the Mormon Zion Priscilla Merriman Evans

Pioneer Priscilla Merriman Evans arrives in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1856, after walking one thousand miles from Iowa City, Iowa 180

28 Life in California before the Gold Discovery Guadalupe Vallejo et al.

Aging Californios remember their lives in California before the 1846 "Bear Flag Revolt" and the 1849 gold rush brought thousands of Anglo settlers to the region 188

29 Miners During the California Gold Rush Daguerreotype Joseph B. Starkweather

This photograph provides a glimpse of the lives of Chinese and Anglo miners in the California gold fields 197

Part 5 An Age of Reform: Rearranging Social Patterns 201

Points of View: Nat Turner's Rebellion (1831)

30 A Slave Insurrection Nat Turner

Nat Turner confesses to leading a slave uprising in Southampton County, Virginia, where at least fifty whites were killed 202

31 Who is to Blame? William Lloyd Garrison et al.

The abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, editor of The Liberator, John Hampden Pleasants, editor of the Richmond Constitutional Whig, and Virginia governor John Floyd, in a letter to a friend, offer widely different reasons for and responses to Nat Turner's slave insurrection 209

For Critical Thinking 217

32 The Lowell Textile Workers Harriet Hanson Robinson

Harriet Hanson Robinson, a young factory worker, describes working conditions in the mill and her desire for labor reform in the 1830s 218

33 Life Under the Lash Charles Ball et al.

Narratives of Charles Ball and other former slaves provide personal responses to life as slaves on mid-nineteenth-century Southern plantations 226

34 Life of a Female Slave Harriet Jacobs

Writing under a pseudonym, Harriet Jacobs tells the story of her sexual exploitation under slavery beginning at the age of fifteen 233

35 A Pioneer for Women's Rights Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton remembers the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention and its famous "Declaration of Sentiments" 241

36 "The Early Life of this Boy" John Brown

John Brown, abolitionist and leader of the raid at Harpers Ferry, recounts his early life in a letter and his last address to the Virginia Court on November 2, 1859, before being hanged for his crimes one month later 249

Visual Portfolio: Slavery and Freedom 257

Part 6 Civil War and Reconstruction: The Price of War 267

Points of View: Pickett's Charge: High Tide of the Confederacy (July 3, 1863)

37 "The Last and Bloodiest Fight": A Union Account Franklin Haskell

Franklin Haskell, Union soldier and staff officer in the 6th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, describes his decisive action to rally reinforcements during the battle of Pickett's Charge in a letter to his brother shortly after the battle 268

38 "Field of Carnage": A Confederate Account Walter Harrison

Major Walter Harrison, Confederate soldier and Inspector General of Pickett's division, describes the battle and the role of the men he served with in this gripping account of the famous charge at Gettysburg 275

For Critical Thinking 278

39 Three Days of Terror Ellen Leonard

Visiting her brother in New York City, Ellen Leonard is caught in the violence of the draft riot of 1863 279

40 Healing Wounds Cornelia Hancock

Cornelia Hancock becomes a nurse during the Civil War 289

41 A Slaveowner's Journal at the End of the Civil War Henry William Ravenel

Henry William Ravenel describes the effects of emancipation in South Carolina after Lee's surrender at Appomattox in 1865 297

42 African Americans During Reconstruction Felix Haywood et al.

In interviews conducted in the 1930s, Felix Haywood and other former slaves tell about their lives immediately following the Civil War 306

43 White Southerners' Reactions to Reconstruction Caleb G. Forshey Reverend James Sinclair

Testimony by Caleb G. Forshey and the Reverend James Sinclair before a joint congressional committee in 1866 shows the reaction of Southern whites to Reconstruction policies 312

44 Ruins in Charleston, South Carolina, 1865 or 1866 Photograph George N. Barnard

A photograph of the ruins in Charleston, South Carolina, from a portfolio of images of Sherman's march by George N. Barnard, one of the best field photographers of the Civil War 320

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