Encyclopedia of American History

Encyclopedia of American History

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by Richard B. Morris, Jeffrey Brandon Morris, Morris Jeffrey B., Jeffrey Brandon Morris, Jeffrey B. Morris

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The seventh edition of the Encyclopedia of American History updates this indispensable and classic reference book to cover the history of the United States from pre-Columbian times through the first year of the Clinton Administration. Unequaled in the amount of information contained within a single volume, and designed to be read as a narrative, the


The seventh edition of the Encyclopedia of American History updates this indispensable and classic reference book to cover the history of the United States from pre-Columbian times through the first year of the Clinton Administration. Unequaled in the amount of information contained within a single volume, and designed to be read as a narrative, the Encyclopedia chronicles all the essential facts of American history, from government and politics to science, thought and culture.

The Encyclopedia is divided onto four parts:

Part 1: "THE BASIC CHRONOLOGY" presents the main political and military events in the history of the United States, beginning with the era of discovery. It has been updated to reflect newly discovered facts and modern perspectives on domestic and foreign affairs.

Part 2: "THE TOPICAL CHRONOLOGY" records the nonpolitical aspects of American life and has been extensively revised to include a newly titled section "Land, Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment," as well as updated sections dealing with the American economy. A few of the topics covered in this section are the fine arts, religion, medicine, education, television and radio, immigration, population, United States expansion and Supreme Court decisions.

Part 3: "NOTABLE AMERICAN BIOGRAPHIES" contains profiles of 450 influential Americans from all walks of life and their outstanding achievements.

Part 4:"THE STRUCTURE OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT" includes tables of U.S Presidents and their cabinets, party strength in Congress from 1789, and Supreme Court justices, as well as the complete texts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

Jeffrey B. Morris, is professor of law at the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center of Touro College. Associate editor for the last two revised editions of the Encyclopedia of American History, Morris is the author of over a dozen books, including Federal Justice in the Second Circuit and To Administer Justice on Behalf of All the People: The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 1965-1990. He has been professor of political science at City College of the City University of New York and the University of Pennsylvania and visiting professor of law at the Brooklyn Law School. From 1976 to 1981 Morris served as the chief research associate to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger in Burger's role as head of the federal court system.

Richard B. Morris, (1904-1989) was Gouverneur Morris Professor of History at Columbia University and past president of the American Historical Association. Morris wrote more than 40 books spanning legal, labor, diplomatic, political and social history, including The Peacemakers: The Great Powers and American Independence, The Forging of the Union 1781-1789, Witnesses at the Creation, Government and Labor in Early America and Studies in The History of American Law. He lectured throughout the world, serving as Fulbright Research Professor at the Sorbonne and Distinguished Professor at the John F. Kennedy Institute of the Free University of Berlin.

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Chronicles essential facts of American history. Part I presents major political and military events from the era of discovery onward, updated to reflect newly discovered facts and modern perspectives. Part II is a topical chronology, recording nonpolitical aspects of American life such as the arts, religion, medicine, education, television, immigration, and Supreme Court decisions. Part III contains brief biographical profiles of 450 influential Americans, and Part IV explains the structure of the federal government, with tables of presidents, cabinets, party strength, and Supreme Court justices, as well as complete texts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Includes b&w maps. This seventh edition is updated to cover the period through the first year of the Clinton administration, and includes new material on natural resources and the environment, and updated material on the American economy. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

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BasicChronologyOriginal Peopling of the Americas

As geologic time is counted, man is a latecomer to the New World, but as we record human events his arrival reaches back into remote antiquity, indubitably 10,000 years ago, and possibly as far back as 35,000 b.c. The aborigines of America, truly the first discoverers, came from northeast Asia and moved southward from Alaska to populate both continents. Since the waves of migration that brought the original settlers covered an enormous time span and since their settlements were widely scattered, the aborigines varied considerably in physical and cultural characteristics, speaking many different, often unrelated, languages. These cultural variances were most striking at the time of the Spanish occupation. Thus, the Aztecs in Mexico and the Incas in Peru had, by the time of Columbus, attained a cultural level of sophistication far higher than the North American Indian tribes.

In North America, notably the area that is now the United States, the European settlers and the Native Americans quickly came into cultural conflict. The white man spurned amalgamation with the indigenous peoples, and his farming practices and expansionist proclivities led to the expulsion or annihilation of great numbers of them. Until fairly recent times, when the indigenous population has enjoyed some numerical recovery, their susceptibility to epidemic diseases, notably smallpox and measles, brought by Europeans, compounded by military defeat and mass transplantation, led to an astonishing rate of depopulation of the native races in North America, extraordinary however disputed the population estimates may be. What happened after 1492in Meso-America and North America was a demographic disaster with no known parallel in world history. Displaced, defeated, bypassed, and largely ignored, the Native Americans shared not at all in the affluence of white America.

c.50,000-8000 b.c. Asiatic Origins. The first human explorers entered this unpopulated region from northern Asia. Russian excavations since 1956 on the Chukchi peninsula at the easterly tip of Asia confirm the migration of man into America from that point over an ancient land bridge of what is now the Bering Strait. Despite differences among scholars over the exact date, it now appears that the bulk of the early migration occurred during the last stages of the Pleistocene glaciation (the last Ice Age). Physical tests based on the half cycle of Carbon 14, which is present in all organic matter and disappears at a known rate, indicate that the centers of population around the edges of the Arctic Ocean, then a warm, open sea, began shifting south in relatively heavy waves, when c.11,000 years ago the Arctic froze over, the Atlantic warmed, and the Ice Age ended (Haynes, 1964). The crossing of Bering Strait and the southward penetration of the Western Hemisphere introduced into this region Mongoloids, traced to southeast and west-central Asia. By 1492 this stock was dominant from Cape Horn to Point Barrow. The very early human remains found in archaeological deposits in the New World all belong to the modern human species, Homo sapiens, although physical anthropologists disagree on nomenclature. It is widely agreed that man did not evolve in the New World and that no pre-Homo sapiens ever existed here.

Linguistic stocks of native americans are highly varied. Their diversity is due to considerable variety in stock and language among the original immigrants for at least several millennia, and to increasing differentiation once they were in the New World. By conservative estimate some 10 to 12 unrelated linguistic stocks or families have been listed north of the Rio Grande. A few links have been postulated between Eskimo and Chukchee, and the Athapascan and Sino-Tibetan, but in general few linkages between Old and New World linguistic stocks have so far been fully demonstrated, indicating a considerable period of isolation.

c.35,000-8000 b.c. Earliest Settlement. Carbon 14 tests indicate early-man sites in the Americas even prior to the ending of the Ice Age, and range in date from 35,000 to 8000 b.c. The Folsom culture of the Lindenmeier site in Colorado flourished c.8820 b.c. (Haynes and Agogino, 1960) and a similar age is suggested for Tepexpan Man from the Valley of Mexico (de Terra, 1958). Responsible opinion does not support the hypothesis of a considerably earlier date for man's migration to the Americas and casts doubt upon radiocarbon dates obtained for a Clovis-type fluted projectile point near Dallas, Tex. (Haynes, 1964); the basin-shaped hearths on Santa Rosa Island off the southern California coast and the Calico site in California (Leakey, 1968) as being truly man-made; and the occurrence near Puebla, Mex., of fossil bone fragments bearing engravings of animals, possibly both discoveries c.30,000 years old. Despite current scientific controversy over early datings, no doubt exists concerning the widespread dispersal of early man in both Americas 10,000 years ago, as suggested by radiocarbon dates obtained from sites in Chile and southern Argentina. Tools fashioned either of stone or bone and clearly recognizable types were found in direct association with extinct animals such as the mammoth, ground sloth, camel, and other forms which have long since disappeared.

Human Remains Of Early Migration. Great faunal interchanges took place between northern Asia and North America in the closing stage of the Pleistocene glaciation. Man was only one of the many animals which moved either west into Asia or east into North America during such periods. Accurately recorded ancient skeletal remains of these early migrants are scarce and disputed. The fossil-man discoveries include the bones of the Minnesota Woman from the dried-up bed of glacial Lake Agassiz; the Punin Calvarium from fossil deposits near Quito, Ecuador; the Lagoa Santo skulls from coastal Brazil; the Vero and Melbourne finds in Florida; the Midland Man (Midland, Tex., c.12,000-20,000 years old); and the Tepexpan Man from the Valley of Mexico. Racial admixture is indicated by the variety of the skulls.

c.9000-1500 b.c. Early Known Hunting and Gathering Cultures. Archaeological research has demonstrated that these early human immigrants were in a simple hunting, fishing, and gathering stage of culture. Their formidable prowess as hunters is indicated by the fact that they killed great animals like the mammoth, mastodon, and large extinct species of bison. Cultural remains in the form of camps, hearths, stone and bone tools, and slain-animal remains indicate that they had no knowledge of horticulture. The earliest widespread pointed weapon is the "clovis projectile," found near the town of Clovis, N.M., at the Blackwater Draw No. 1 site. The site also contains blades, scrapers, hammerstones, bone shafts, and flakes as well as the bones of camels, horses, bison, and mammoths. The Folsom Fluted Points (8000 b.c.) developed from the Clovis form. The points were found underlying those of the Folsom culture (Sandia Cave, New Mex.) and even more prominently in the Lindenmeier location in Colorado. The people of the Folsom culture were hunters who used grooved, chipped darts with which they killed mammoth and bison. Remains of this culture have been found from Alaska south beyond the Great Plains. To the south, in Arizona and New Mexico, there were equally ancient peoples of the Cochise culture. Though the Cochise used grinding stones, remains of mammoths, horses, pronghorn antelopes, prairie wolves, and bison have been found, indicating the Cochise were both farmers and hunters. Traces of early hunters and gatherers have been found in Texas, the deserts of California, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Washington, Iowa, Nebraska, and in Mexico, Peru, Chile, and Argentina. This prehorticultural period persisted through many millennia. In marginal or other regions unfavorable to farming, it survived up to and beyond the time of the European invasion. However, in the nuclear or heart regions of native American culture, primarily from Mexico south to Peru, it was gradually superseded by another mode of life.

c.3000-1000 b.c. Earliest American Farmers. The earliest evidences of extensive New World horticulture are based on recent discoveries. The Huaca Prieta horizon, 1946, revealed people who lived on seafood, simple farming, and gathering. They grew and twined or wove cotton and bast; cultivated beans and gourds, but did not grow maize (Indian corn) or manufacture pottery. Their stone industry was rudimentary. Farther north in Chiapas (S.E. Mexico), Honduras, and Tamaulipas (N.E. Mexico) evidences suggesting preceramic cultivators have since come to light. At Chiapas maize was grown even in this early period. The Chiapas area dates stratigraphically and with the aid of radiocarbon from 1500 b.c. to 1000 b.c. At Tamaulipas, a tiny primitive corn was first grown between 3000 to 2200 b.c., and pottery first produced about 1400 b.c. Still farther north, at Bat Cave, in central New Mexico, very primitive types of pod corn have been found in association with chipped stone tools, both below and intermixed with the remains of pottery. Carbon 14 tests at Huaca Prieta give estimates of dates back to 2307 b.c., at Bat Cave perhaps back to between 3000 and 2000 b.c., but such Carbon 14 datings may still require more adequate materials and further checking. Encyclopedia of American History. Copyright © by Richard B. Morris. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Encyclopedia of American History 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an unparalleled reference of chronological and topical facts and information about American History--not a narrative--not a collection of op ed pieces--but a searchable database. Would love to have the book on a CD with a browser!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a stunning collection of historic facts and concepts. No where else can you find this level of detail in a single volume. This should be in every American History buff's library. It is not a law book. It is an effective reference book put together by one of America's greatest history teachers, Richard Morris, Columbia University.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was extremely disappointed in the quality and content of this book. This book's attempt to consolidate American History into one volume was overly ambitious. Instead of getting concise, helpful insights into American History, the reader gets a broad, disorganized, simplistic overview that extracts all the facts that make American History interesting. The information in this book is nothing more than what you could find in your typical Enclopedia.