Antebellum American Culture: An Interpretive Anthology

Overview

First published in 1979, this volume offers students and teachers a unique view of American history prior to the Civil War. Distinguished historian David Brion Davis has chosen a diverse array of primary sources that show the actual concerns, hopes, fears, and understandings of ordinary antebellum Americans. He places these sources within a clear interpretive narrative that brings the documents to life and highlights themes that social and cultural historians have brought to our attention in recent years. ...

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Overview

First published in 1979, this volume offers students and teachers a unique view of American history prior to the Civil War. Distinguished historian David Brion Davis has chosen a diverse array of primary sources that show the actual concerns, hopes, fears, and understandings of ordinary antebellum Americans. He places these sources within a clear interpretive narrative that brings the documents to life and highlights themes that social and cultural historians have brought to our attention in recent years. Beginning with the family and the issue of socialization and influence, the units move on to struggles over access to wealth and power; the plight of "outsiders" in an "open" society; and ideals of progress, perfection, and mission. The reader of this volume hears a great diversity of voices but also grasps the unities that survived even the Civil War.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271031255
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 9/4/2007
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

David Brion Davis is Sterling Professor of History at Yale University. He has won many awards for his work, including the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 1967, the Beveridge Award in 1975, the National Book Award in history and biography in 1976, and the Bancroft Prize in 1976. He is the author of many books, most recently, Revolutions: Reflections on American Equality and Foreign Liberations (1990).

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Organization and Themes
Unit 1 Socialization and the Problem of Influence 1
1 The Art and Responsibilities of Family Government 9
2 The Discipline and Self-Discipline of the Young 21
3 The Schoolroom as an Extended Family 35
4 Advice on Self-Culture and Sexual Identity 67
5 Feminist Alternatives 85
Unit 2 Struggles Over Access to Wealth and Power 99
1 "The Anxious Spirit of Gain" 105
2 Access to Land 129
3 The Changing Uses of Law 145
4 "Improvements": Transportation and Corporations 163
5 The Politics of Opportunity 183
6 The Fear of Sectional Exclusion 199
Unit 3 The Plight of Outsiders in an "Open Society" 209
1 The Protestant Establishment 217
2 The Problem of Aborigines: Assimilation Versus Removal 231
3 The Discovery of Cultural Polarities 253
4 The Nonfreedom of "Free Blacks" 273
5 The Polarized South: Outsiders Inside 315
Unit 4 Ideals of Progress, Perfection, and Mission 345
1 Science, Machines, and Human Progress 353
2 Revivals, Holiness, and the American Conversion of the World 367
3 The Temperance Reformation 393
4 Abolitionism and Moral Progress 411
5 The Quest for New Social Harmonies 441
6 Transcending Human History: Americans as "Pioneers of the World" 453
Chronology, 1820-1860 469
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