History of Hope: When Americans Have Dared to Dream of a Better Future / Edition 1

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So Begins James Fraser in His Chronicle of the indomitable American Spirit that has kept us going even in our country's darkest days. Hope with the ability to see a better future for oneself and others, says Fraser, is the thing that powers the engine of the American Spirit. One of the most famous manifestations of hope in our history is Jefferson's "self evident" truth "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life. Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." Hope, though, was never solely the province of leaders. In 1890, a group of impoverished people in New Mexico declared. "Our purpose is to protect the rights and interests of the people in general: especially those of the helpless classes." In the same century, looking toward freedom, the runaway slave Joseph Taper wrote "all are born free and equal." Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Seneca Falls Convention used Jefferson's template to assert the rights of women. In fact, throughout our history hope has been more frequently the enterprise of the agitator, the poet, and the organizer than the work of official leaders. Because of that. James Fraser's history of hope is really a history of the ordinary American who decided that limitations were unacceptable and a better life could be attained through hard work and determination. In these uncertain times, Fraser's look at the American ability to see through hardship and tragedy is more necessary than ever.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Fraser (history and education, Northeastern Univ.; pastor of Grace Church, East Boston; Between Church and State) maintains that the United States was not only founded on hope for the future but has been powered by it throughout its history. Beginning with the Pueblo Indian revolt against the Spaniards in 1680 and proceeding to the post-9/11 era, he demonstrates how groups and individuals spurred by hope for a better world acted on their beliefs with varying degrees of success: He chronicles the radical revolutionaries of 1776, explores the communal ideals of the utopian communities, examines the role of radical abolitionists that led to the Emancipation Proclamation, documents the perils of the newly freed slaves, recounts the dedication of the suffragists, surveys the rise of unionized labor and the role of socialism in the progressive era, and details the progress of the Civil Rights Movement from the 20th century to the present. He concludes briefly with the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, noting that in the midst of that tragedy there was sown the seeds of hope for a better world despite increased domestic danger. Written in an easily readable style, this is not an essential purchase, but large public and academic libraries will want to consider.-Grant A. Fredericksen, Illinois Prairie Dist. P.L., Metamora Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"...an important and clearly presented reminder that...dedicated humans can and do overcome adversity."—R. Muccigrosso, Choice
"An antidote for a society in pain."—O Magazine
"Fraser skillfully unfolds a rich, multicultural narrative that portrays a history of real people who were able to maintain hope and inspire social transformations against overwhelming odds. This text cannot help but awaken a passionate hope for the possible in all who venture within."—Diane L. Moore, Phillips Andover Academy and Harvard University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312239046
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 1/28/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.64 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

James W. Fraser is Professor of History and Education and Dean of the School of Education at Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts. He is also pastor of Grace Church, Federated in East Boston, Massachusetts. He is the author of Between Church and State (Palgrave Macmillan, 1999) and his most recent book is The School in the United States: A Documentary History.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: The First Revolution: Taos, 1680 1
1 The Revolutionaries of 1776 11
2 Utopian Communities 27
3 Mexico in the United States 43
4 Rebellious Slaves, Free Blacks, and Abolitionists 67
5 Reconstruction: The First Civil Rights Era 93
6 Feminists and Suffragists 121
7 The Beginnings of Organized Labor 151
8 The Many Faces of the Progressive Era 185
9 Hope in Hard Times 215
10 The Civil Rights Movement 249
Epilogue: The Movement Continues 285
Notes 307
Bibliography 334
Index 339
About the Author 348
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