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(NOTE: All chapters include a Web Connection box, a History on the Internet section, and a Special Feature box. All chapters conclude with a Conclusion, Chronology, Review Questions, and Suggestions for Further Readings.)
1. Worlds in Motion, 1450-1550.
In March of 1776, Adam Smith published his masterpiece, The Wealth of Nations, a few months before American colonists declared their independence from Great Britain. The imperial crisis had been building for some time and was a topic of international discussion. Smith delayed publication of his work for a year so that he could perfect a lengthy chapter on Anglo-American relations. Thus The Wealth of Nations, one of the most important documents in a new branch of knowledge known as political economy, was written with a close eye to events in the British colonies of North America, the colonies that were soon tobecome the United States. The fact that a large portion of Smith's book was framed as a history of England is equally important. Smith believed that history was one of the best ways to approach the study of political economy. Making a Nation shares that assumption; it takes political economy as an organizing theme for the history of the United States.
What did Smith and his many American followers mean by "political economy?" They meant, firstly, that the economy itself is much broader than the gross national product, the unemployment rate, or the twists and turns of the stock market. They understood that economies are tightly bound to politics, that they are therefore the products of history rather than nature or accident. And just as men and women make history, so to do they make economies—in the way they work and organize their families as much as in their fiscal policies and tax structures.
The term "political economy" is not commonly used any more, yet it is a way of thinking that is deeply embedded in American history. To this day we casually assume that different government policies create different "incentives" shaping everything from the way capital gains are invested to how parents raise their children, from how unmarried mothers on welfare can escape from poverty to how automobile manufacturers design cars for fuel efficiency and pollution control. This connection between government, the economy, and the relationships that shape the daily lives of ordinary men and women is the essence of political economy. But that connection points in different directions. Politics and the economy do not simply shape, but are in turn shaped by, the lives and cultural values of ordinary men and women.
In short, political economy establishes a context that allows students to see the links between the particular and the general, between large and seemingly abstract forces such as "globalization" and the struggles of working parents who find they need two incomes to provide for their children. Making a Nation shows that such relationships were as important in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as they are today.
So, for example, we begin this history of our nation by stepping back to view an early modern "world in motion." Every chapter in the book opens with a vignette that captures the chapter's theme, but each of the first six vignettes focuses on a different traveler whose life was set in motion by the European expansion across the Atlantic: an explorer, a settler, a young mother, a slave, a Native American. In a sense, globalization has been a theme in American history from its earliest beginnings. Europe, Africa, and the Americas were linked to each other in an Atlantic world across which everything was exchanged, deadly diseases along with diplomatic formalities, political structures and cultural assumptions, African slaves and European servants, colonists and commodities.
In subsequent chapters Making a Nation traces the development of the newly formed United States by once again stressing the link between the lives of ordinary men and women to the grand political struggles between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, between Andrew Jackson's Democrats and Henry Clay's Whigs. Should the federal government create a centralized bank? Should it promote economic development by sponsoring the construction of railroads, turnpikes, and canals? At one level, such questions exposed competing ideas about what American capitalism should look like and what the implications of those ideas were for American democracy. But a closer look suggests that those same political quarrels were propelled by the concerns that farmers, workers, and businessmen were expressing about the pace and direction of economic change. A newly democratic politics had given many ordinary Americans a voice, and they immediately began speaking about the way the policies of the government affected the basic elements of their daily lives. They have been speaking the same way ever since.
Similarly, the great struggle over slavery and freedom—a struggle that literally tore the nation apart in the middle of the nineteenth century—is told as the story of dramatic political maneuvers and courageous military exploits, as well as the story of women who created the modern profession of nursing by caring for civil war soldiers and of runaway slaves who helped push the United States government into a policy of emancipation. The insights of political economy frame the way Making a Nation presents the transition from slave to free labor in the South after the Civil War. A new labor system meant an entirely new pattern of gender relations between freedmen and freedwomen whose marriages were legalized for the first time.
In the twentieth century, as America became a global power, the demands of the new political economy of urban and industrial America inform our examination of both U.S. diplomacy and domestic affairs. It was no accident, for example, that the civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph took advantage of the crisis of the Second World War to threaten Franklin Roosevelt's administration with a march on Washington. For Randolph, the demand for racial equality was inseparable from the struggle for a more equitable distribution of the rewards of a capitalist economy.
The United States victory in World War II, coupled with the extraordinary burst of prosperity in the war's aftermath, gave rise to fantasies of omnipotence that were tested and shattered by the American experience in Vietnam. Presidents, generals, and ordinary soldiers alike shared in the illusion of invulnerability. America's was the greatest democracy and the most powerful economy on earth. Thus did Americans in Southeast Asia in the late twentieth century find themselves in much the same place that Christopher Columbus had found himself centuries before: halfway around the world, face to face with a people whose culture he did not fully understand.
To assist students in their appreciation of this history, we have added several distinctive features.
Chapter Opening Vignettes
The vignettes that open each chapter have already been mentioned; they are intended to give specificity as well as humanity to the themes that follow. From the witchcraft trials in Salem to the Trumps' American dream, students are drawn into each chapter with interesting stories that illustrate the organizing factor of political economy.
"Where They Lived, Where They Worked" sections, such as the story of the company-owned town of Pullman, Illinois, featured in Chapter 20 help students see the connections between home and work that are obscured in most accounts of American history.
"Growing Up In America" includes the history of young people in a systematic way. Instead of just concentrating on famous people in history, these sections look particularly at one or a group of younger people and relate their experiences to the larger movements of their day. By providing students insights into the lives of ordinary people like themselves, such as Jarena Lee presented in Chapter 9, this special feature makes the text inherently more interesting.
"On Trial" highlights a series of cases, such as the Scottsboro trial in Chapter 24, that show how personal, social, and even political struggles are often played out as dramatic and illuminating courtroom battles.
Making a Nation is the first text to integrate Web-based activities into each of its chapters. Tied closely to the themes of the text, each Web Connection combines text, audio, and visuals to explore provocative topics in depth.
The study of history has always been enhanced by maps. To help students understand the relationships between places and events, Making a Nation provides extensive map coverage. With over 120 full color maps devoted to such topics as "Exploring the Trans-Mississippi West," "Patterns of Global Migration," and "The Globalization of the U.S. Economy," students can more readily place events in their geographic context. To capture the element of globalization, almost every chapter contains at least one map dedicated to that theme.
Each chapter has numerous aids to help students read and review, the information. Chapter outlines, listing of key topics, chapter chronologies, review questions, further readings and a collection of related Internet sites are found in every chapter.
Additional Study Aids
In addition to providing several key documents in United States history, the Appendix presents demographic data reflecting the 2000 census figures. A Glossary explains important terms highlighted in the book, and an extended Bibliography offers an expanded compilation of literature, arranged by chapter.
Themes and Coverage
Because Making a Nation was written from the very beginning with an organizing theme in mind, we have been able to incorporate many topics relatively smoothly within the larger narrative. For example, this textbook includes some of the most extensive coverage of Indian and western history available, but because our coverage is integrated into the larger narrative, there is no need to provide a separate chapter on either topic. At the same time, the theme of political economy allows us to cover subjects that are often missed in standard texts. For example, Making a Nation includes more than the usual coverage of environmental history, as well as more complete coverage of the social and cultural history of the late twentieth century than is available elsewhere. And in every case the politics of globalization and environmentalism, of capitalist development and democratic reform, of family values and social inequality are never far from view. Making a Nation also provides full coverage of the most recent American history, from the end of the Cold War to the rise of a new information economy and on to the terrorist attacks against ,the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in September 2001. Here, again, the organizing theme of political economy provides a strong but supple interpretive framework that helps students understand developments that are making a nation in a new century.
Making a Nation comes with an extensive package of supplementary print and multimedia materials for both instructors and students.
Instructor's Resource Manual
Prepared by Laura Graves, South Plains College
Contains introduction to instructors, chapter outlines, detailed chapter overviews, discussion questions, lecture strategies, essay topics, suggestions for working with Web resources, and tips on incorporating Penguin titles in American history into lectures.
Test Item File
Prepared by Bruce Caskey, Herkimer County Community College
Includes over 1000 multiple-choice, true-false, essay, and map questions, organized by chapter. A collection of blank maps can be photocopied and used for map testing or other class exercises.
Study Guide (Volumes I and II)
Prepared by Laura Graves, South Plains College
Contains introduction to students, chapter overviews, chapter outlines, map questions, sample exam questions, analytical reading exercises, collaborative exercises, and essay questions.
Documents in United States History (Volumes I and II)
Prepared by Paula Stathakis, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and Alan Downs, Georgia Southern University
Edited specifically for Making a Nation, the Documents Set brings together over 200 primary sources and scholarly articles in American history. Headnotes aid review questions contextualize the documents and prompt critical inquiry.
This collection of over 150 full-color transparencies provides the maps, charts, and graphs from the text for classroom presentations.
Retrieving the American Past 2001 Edition (RTAP)
RTAP enables instructors to tailor a custom reader whose content, organization, and price exactly match their course syllabi. Edited by historians and educators at The Ohio State University and other respected schools, RTAP offers instructors the freedom and flexibility to choose selections of primary and secondary source readings—or both—from 73 (14 new) chapters. Contact your local Prentice Hall representative for details about RTAP Discounts apply when copies of RTAP are bundled with Making a Nation.
Themes of the Times
This special newspaper supplement is prepared jointly for students by Prentice Hall and the premier news publication, the New York Times. Issued twice a year, it contains recent articles pertinent to American history, which connect the classroom to the world. Contact your Prentice Hall representative for details.
Reading Critically about History
Prepared by Rose Wassman and Lee Rinsky, DeAnza College, this brief guide provides students with helpful strategies for reading a history textbook and is available free when packaged with Making a Nation.
Understanding and Answering Essay Question
Prepared by Mary L. Kelley, San Antonio College, this helpful guide provides analytical tools for understanding different types of essay questions and for preparing well-crafted essay answers. It is available free when packaged with Making a Nation.
History on the Internet
This guide focuses on developing the critical-thinking skills necessary to evaluate and use online resources. It provides a brief introduction to navigating the Internet and outlines the many references to history Websites. Available free when packaged with Making a Nation.
PowerPoint Images CD-ROM
Available in Windows and Mac formats for use with Microsoft PowerPoint, this CD-ROM includes the maps, charts, tables, and graphs from Making a Nation. These resources can be used in lectures, for slide shows, and printed as transparencies.
As the leader in course-management solutions for teachers and students of history, Prentice Hall provides a variety of online tools.