Making a Nation: The United States and Its People, Prentice Hall Portfolio Edition, Volume One / Edition 1

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131114524
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 2/28/2003
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 445
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)


Every human life is shaped by a variety of different relationships. Cultural relations, diplomatic relations, race, gender, and class relations, all contribute to how an individual interacts with the larger global community. This was the theme of the full-length version of Making a Nation. For this concise edition, the authors have worked hard to retain the theme while reducing some of the illustrious material. This allows us to retain our emphasis on the relationships that have historically shaped and defined the identities of the American people. So, for example, to disentangle the identity of a Mexican American woman working in a factory in Los Angeles in the year 2000 is to confront the multiple and overlapping "identities" that define a single American life. There are many ways to explore these and similar relationships. Making a Nation views them through the lens of political economy.

In March of 1776, a few months before American colonists declared their independence from Great Britain, Adam Smith published his masterpiece, The Wealth of Nations. Smith had 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 to become 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 twistsand 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 too do they make economies--in the way they work and organize their families as much as in their fiscal policies and tax structures.

Political economy 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. Political economy is the art and science that traces these connections between government, the economy, and the relationships that shape the daily lives of ordinary men and women. 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.

Put differently, 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.

In a sense, globalization has been a theme in American history from its earliest beginnings. As the opening chapters demonstrate, 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 Europeans 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 of the day. 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.

Similarly, the great sectional struggle over slavery and freedom 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 likewise frame the way Making a Nation presents the transition from slave to free labor in the South after the Civil War. 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. And even today, the unparalleled military might and economic power of the Unites States have not proved enough to make ordinary Americans feel secure from recession at home and deadly attack from abroad. History cannot provide lessons on how to navigate this paradox, but a fuller understanding of the present begins with a better understanding of the past. We trust that this concise edition of Making a Nation will help make that possible.


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.


To assist students in their appreciation of this history, we have added several distinctive features and pedagogical aids.

Chapter-Opening Vignettes
The vignettes that open each chapter 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 compelling stories that illustrate the organizing factor of political economy.

Found at the end of each chapter, chronologies organize key events into sequential order for quick review.

Further Readings
An annotated list of helpful books related to the key topics of each chapter is located at the end of each chapter.

U.S. History Documents CD-ROM
Bound in every new copy of Making a Nation, Portfolio Edition, and organized according to the main periods in American history, the U.S. History Documents CDROM contains over 300 primary-sources in an easily-navigable PDF file. Each document is accompanied by essay questions that allow students to read important sources in U.S. history via the CD-ROM and respond online.

In addition to providing several key documents in United States history, the Appendix presents demographic data reflecting the 2000 census. An extensive Bibliography offers an expanded compilation of literature, arranged by chapter.


Making a Nation comes with an extensive package of supplementary print and multimedia materials for both instructors and students.

Instructor's Resource Manual and Test-Item File
The Instructor's Resource Manual contains chapter outlines, detailed chapter overviews, discussion questions, lecture strategies, essay topics, and tips on incorporating Penguin titles in American history into lectures. The Test-Item File includes over 1000 multiple-choice, true-false, essay, and map questions, organized by chapter.

Practice Tests (Volumes I and II)
Free when packaged with the text, Practice Tests provide students with chapter outlines, map questions, sample exam questions, analytical reading exercises, collaborative exercises, and essay questions.

American Stories: Biographies in United States History
This two-volume collection of sixty-two biographies in U.S. history is free when packaged with Making a Nation. Introductions, prereading questions, and suggested readings enrich this attractive and useful supplement.

This collection of over 150 full-color transparencies provides maps, charts, and graphs for classroom presentations.

Retrieving the American Past 2003 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, this online database offers instructors the freedom and flexibility to choose selections of primary and secondary source readings--or both--from 81 (8 new) chapters. Contact your local Prentice Hall representative for details about RTAP. Discounts apply when copies of RTAP are bundled with Making a Nation.

Prentice Hall and Penguin Bundle Program
Prentice Hall and Penguin are pleased to provide adopters of Making a Nation with an opportunity to receive significant discounts when orders for Making a Nation are bundled together with Penguin titles in American history. Please contact your local Prentice Hall representative for details.

Reading Critically about History
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 Questions
This helpful guide provides analytical for understanding different types of essay questions and for preparing well-crafted essay answers. It is available free when packaged with Making a Nation.

Companion Web site™
The Companion Web site™ for Making a Nation is available and offers students one of the most comprehensive Internet resources available. Organized around the primary subtopics of each chapter, the Companion Web site™ provides detailed summaries, multiple-choice, true-false, essay, identification, map labeling, and document-based questions. Unique Web Connections, directly tied to the content of the text, combine primary sources, interactive maps, audio clips, and numerous visuals to explore key topics in depth. The Faculty Module contains a wealth of material for instructors, including an online instructor's manual and maps, charts, and graphs that can be imported into electronic presentations.

Exploring America CD-ROM
The new Exploring America CD-ROM features thirty-one activities that drill down to explore the impact of key episodes and developments in United States history. Each activity combines primary sources, illustrations, graphics, audio clips, and interactive maps to provide opportunities to further explore the key themes of Making a Nation. Available free when packaged with Making a Nation.

Research Navigator™
Prentice Hall's new Research Navigator™ helps students make the most of their research time. From finding the right articles and journals, to citing sources; drafting and writing effective papers, and completing research assignments, Research Navigator™ simplifies and streamlines the entire process. Complete with extensive tools help on the research process and three exclusive databases full of relevant and reliable source material including EBSCO's ContentSelect Academic Journal Database, The New York Times Search by Subject Archive, and "Best of the Web" Link Library, Research Navigator™ is the one stop research solution for students. Research Navigator™ is free when packaged with any Prentice Hall textbook. An Access Code for Research Navigator™ is provided in every copy of Prentice Hall's Evaluating Online Resources guide. Contact your local representative for more details or take a tour on the web.

Maps and Graphics CD-ROM
Available in Windows and Mac formats for classroom presentations, this CD-ROM includes the maps, charts, tables, and graphs from Making a Nation.

Course Management Systems
As the leader in course-management solutions for teachers and students of history, Prentice Hall provides a variety of online tools. Contact your local Prentice Hall representative for a demonstration.

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