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The Early American Republic: A History in Documents

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"The early years of the American republic witnessed wrenching conflict and change. Northerners created an industrial order, which brought with it troubled relationships at work and within families. White southerners extended plantation slavery while the anti-slavery movement grew above the Mason-Dixon line. In the West, Native Americans battled newly arrived yeomen, entrepreneurs, and planters for control over land. Throughtout the young nation numerous groups---African Americans, poor white men, women---fought for full citizenship, while others vigorously opposed their bids for equality. The Mexican-American War (1846-1848) marked the end of the period with violence that prefigured the Civil War." Using such primary sources as diaries, letters, political cartoons, photographs, speeches, engravings, newspaper debates, paintings, and the memories of participants, The Early American Republic: A History in Documents re-creates the drama of that era. Englishwoman Rebecca Burlend recounts the hardships and victories of her life on the Illinois frontier. In a letter to an ally, Thomas Jefferson explains his Indian policy, while the Native American leader Tecumseh makes his case for Indian unity against white Americans. James Henry Hammond, a wealthy planter, instructs his overseer on how to manage slaves, and Joseph Taper writes to his former master about the freedom he enjoys after escaping to Canada. A blackface minstrel tune and Frederick Douglass's account of being beaten up by white ship workers illustrate the emergence of a virulent form of racism. A list of instructions from New York Democratic leaders shows how parties drew ordinary voters into politics, and Congressional speeches reveal the fierce emotions that fueled the sectional crisis. A picture essay explores the complexities of American families in ten group portraits. By weaving these historical documents together, Reeve Huston conveys the challenges and culture of the foundational years of the nation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195338249
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/29/2010
  • Series: Pages from History Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Reeve Huston is Associate Professor of History at Duke University. He is the author of Land and Freedom: Rural Society, Popular Protest, and Party Politics in Antebellum New York (OUP, 2002), which was the winner of the 2001 Theodore Saloutos Prize of the Agricultural History Society and the New York State Historical Association's 1999 Dixon Ryan Fox Manuscript Prize.

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Table of Contents

What Is a Document?

How to Read a Document

Introduction 1

Note on Sources and Interpretation 5

1 The People Rule---But Who Are the People? 11

The Founders' Social Vision 13

Poor White Men's Bid for Equality 16

Middle- and Upper-Class Women's Bid for Intellectual Equality 18

The Attack on Slavery 22

2 Creating a Political Order 27

The Federalists' Political Vision 28

An Elite Opposition Emerges 31

A Popular Opposition Emerges 35

The Clash of Parties 41

President Jefferson 48

3 Expanding the National Territory 53

Acquiring the Land 55

Indians, White Settlers, and the Federal Government 57

Squatters and the Federal Government 69

Life in the Western Farm Settlements 72

Expanding Slavery 77

Beyond the Mississippi 80

4 The Transformation of the North 87

Before the Industrial Revolution 89

Economic Innovators 92

Religious Innovators 96

Innovators in Family Life 100

A New World of Wage Labor 103

Origins of the American Labor Movement 110

The Beginnings of Mass Immigration 114

5 Masters and Slaves 119

The Struggle for Control 121

The World of the Enslaved 127

Resistance, Repression, and Rebellion 133

6 Picture Essay: Picturing Families 141

7 The Triumph of Partisan Democracy 149

Creating a White Male Electorate 150

Re-creating Party Politics 154

Party Issues, Party Principles 159

Politics Without Parties 167

8 Race, Reform, and Sectional Conflict 171

A New Antislavery Movement 173

A Woman's Rights Movement Emerges 181

Southern Leaders Defend Slavery 185

Antiabolitionism and a New Racial Regime in the North 190

Epilogue: Becoming a Continental Nation 205

Refiguring American Nationalism 207

Anglos and Mexicans in the Conquered Territories 212

The Sectional Conflict Deepens 216

Timeline 222

Further Reading 224

Websites 226

Text Credits 228

Photo Credits 231

Index 233

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