The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincolnby Sean Wilentz
Although it had democratic elements, the American republic founded in the 18th century was not a democracy. It only became one, argues Wilentz (history, Princeton U.), through constant political conflict and struggle over the meaning of democracy itself. In chronicling American politics from the Revolution to the Civil War, he offers an account of how democracy developed piecemeal at the state, local, and national levels. Among his major themes are how social changes such as the commercialization of the free labor North or the renaissance of plantation slavery in the South affected the ebb and flow of democracy, perceptions of these social changes as struggles over contending ideas of democracy, and the central importance of the fate of slavery to the course of American democracy. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
The New York Times
The New York Times Sunday Book Review
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.70(w) x 9.30(h) x 2.50(d)
Meet the Author
Sean Wilentz is the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University and author of the Bancroft Prize–winning The Rise of American Democracy, Bob Dylan in America, and many other works. He is completing his next book, No Property in Man, on slavery, antislavery, and the Constitution, based on his Nathan I. Huggins Lectures delivered at Harvard in 2015.
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I have always felt my knowledge of the era from 1800 until the Civil War was lacking - until I read this wonderful book. It is a fascinating journey through America during this important period when the US was going through its' 'growing pains' as we moved to become a vibrant democracy. The author does a great job of delivering the details of this time without ever losing sight of the big picture that is essential to grasping history.
After reading this work one must ask the questions who is running the Government. Did the founding Fathers believe the masses should unite in a true democracy? On the contrary it was to be a few. The ones born into the elite class. How ill guide this was, as history has proven, when one eats too much and becomes fat with power and wealth and the rest do not take part there will be a power shift. Those who once sat at the head of the table will no longer hold this position. This was an excellent book, a slow reading but worth the journey.
A marvelous and detailed study of the richness of American political life during the pre-Civil War era. Well worth the effort to read its many pages. Studying history does require the reader to subdue her biases and think again about what's on the page. Learned Hand had it right: The spirit of democracy is the spirit that's not too sure of itself..
Wilentz is all too happy to see the beginning of big government and the progressive deveolpment of the welfare state.,