The Unfinished Nation

Overview

Perhaps never before has the writing of American history seemed so much an arena of diverse claims and discord. Scholars explore areas of the past that once seemed hidden from view. Newly assertive groups in the American population draw attention to their own distinctive pasts. The "story" of America sometimes seems to be many different stories, with nothing to tie them together.

In The Unfinished Nation, Alan Brinkley provides a clear and ...

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Overview

Perhaps never before has the writing of American history seemed so much an arena of diverse claims and discord. Scholars explore areas of the past that once seemed hidden from view. Newly assertive groups in the American population draw attention to their own distinctive pasts. The "story" of America sometimes seems to be many different stories, with nothing to tie them together.

In The Unfinished Nation, Alan Brinkley provides a clear and intelligent account of the American past that strikes a balance between the new diversity in scholarship and the narrative unity that any general history must have. He makes clear that one can incorporate the rich and varied experiences of America's many cultures into a coherent and compelling story and at the same time retain a sense of what ties Americans together as members of a perpetually troubled but remarkably successful nation.

Beginning with the "discovery" by Europeans of a "New World" that was already the home of millions of people and highly developed civilizations, The Unfinished Nation chronicles the growth of new societies in America and the survival and transformation of old ones. It traces the development of political ideas and political institutions in the American colonies and, later, in the American nation. It examines the emergence of a society divided into distinct regional cultures, each with a highly developed system of class relations, gender roles, and racial norms. It explores the great crisis of American nationalism in the mid-nineteenth century and the emergence of a more consolidated nation out of the Civil War and Reconstruction. And it describes the dazzling changes thatindustrialization and the rise to world power have brought in the twentieth century — and the host of social and cultural transformations that have come with them.

The Unfinished Nation offers anyone interested in American history a picture of how new scholarship has changed our understanding of our past. It also shows how, despite these important changes, the story of America remains just that: a "story," made newly complicated perhaps, but no less remarkable and compelling for those complications.

This one-volume history of the U.S. by one of our foremost historians tells of the country's diversity and complexity and also of "the forces that have drawn it together and allowed it to survive and flourish despite division." A superb rendering of the American past that vividly portrays a complex and great nation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679454595
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/11/1997
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 949
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.35 (h) x 1.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Brinkley is professor of history at Columbia University. His Voices of Protest was the winner of the American Book Award in History in 1983.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Maps
Preface
Ch. 1 The Meeting of Cultures 1
Ch. 2 The English "Transplantations" 26
Ch. 3 Life in Provincial America 58
Ch. 4 The Empire Under Strain 88
Ch. 5 The American Revolution 115
Ch. 6 The Constitution and the New Republic 150
Ch. 7 The Jeffersonian Era 175
Ch. 8 Varieties of American Nationalism 209
Ch. 9 Jacksonian America 234
Ch. 10 America's Economic Revolution 264
Ch. 11 Cotton, Slavery, and the Old South 294
Ch. 12 An Age of Reforms 321
Ch. 13 The Impending Crisis 342
Ch. 14 The Civil War 380
Ch. 15 Reconstruction and the New South 419
Ch. 16 The Conquest of the Far West 454
Ch. 17 Industrial Supremacy 487
Ch. 18 The Age of the City 510
Ch. 19 From Stalemate to Crisis 535
Ch. 20 The Imperial Republic 559
Ch. 21 The Rise of Progressivism 581
Ch. 22 The Battle for National Reform 610
Ch. 23 America and the Great War 633
Ch. 24 The New Era 657
Ch. 25 The Great Depression 680
Ch. 26 The New Deal 702
Ch. 27 The Global Crisis, 1921-1941 732
Ch. 28 America in a World at War 748
Ch. 29 America and the Cold War 773
Ch. 30 The Affluent Society 803
Ch. 31 The Ordeal of Liberalism 829
Ch. 32 The Crisis of Authority 861
Ch. 33 The Age of Limits 896
Ch. 34 Beyond the Cold War 916
App.: Maps A-2
The United States in 1996 A-2
United States Territorial Expansion, 1783-1898 A-4
App Documents and Tables A-5
App The Declaration of Independence A-5
App The Constitution of the United States A-10
App Presidential Elections A-30
App Population of the United States, 1790-1994 A-37
App Employment 1870-1994 A-38
App Production, Trade, and Federal Spending/Debt, 1790-1994 A-39
Suggested Readings SR-1
Illustrations Credits IC-1
Index I-1
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