There is a tradition of one-volume narrative histories of the United States in which the political, military, diplomatic, social, and economic strands are skillfully interwoven. Rather than add to these volumes, The Epic of America paints a sweeping picture of the diverse past that has created America's national story. In this important narrative, James Truslow Adams reviews how the ordinary American has matured over time in outlook, character, and opinion.
Adams grew increasingly conscious of how different an American is now from the man or woman of any other advanced nation. He is equally interested in the whole of American history, how it began, and what it represented in the first half of the twentieth century. Adams traces the historical origins of the American concept of "bigger and better," attitudes toward business, the American Dream, and other characteristics generally considered "typically American."
Ever since America became an independent nation, each generation has seen an uprising of its citizens to save the American Dream from forces seeking to overwhelm and dispel it. Possibly the greatest of these struggles is still ahead-not a struggle of revolutionists against established order, but of the ordinary person who seeks to hold fast to the rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." This classic book is valuable for a new age and as important for this new century as it was when originally written.
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About the Author
James Truslow Adams (1878-1949) was an American writer and historian known for his writings on New England, and is known for coining the phrase “American Dream.” Before becoming a writer Adams served on President Woodrow Wilson’s commission in charge of preparing data for the Paris Peace Conference, which signified the end of World War I. His many writings include The Founding of New England (for which he won a Pulitzer Prize), Our Business Civilization, and The March of Democracy.
Howard G. Schneiderman is professor in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Lafayette College.
Table of Contents
Introduction to the Transaction Edition ix
I From Time Immemorial 3
II The Return of Quetzalcoatl 10
I The Men of Destiny 25
II A Civilization Established 47
III America Secedes from the Empire 72
IV The Nation Finds Itself 96
V America Secedes from the Old World 120
VI The Sun Rises in the West 147
VII The North Begins to Hustle 175
VIII Manifest Destiny Lays a Golden Egg 205
IX Brothers' Blood 236
X The End of the Frontier 270
XI The Flag Outruns the Constitution 307
XII The Age of the Dinosaurs 342
XIII America Revisits the Old World 367