The Birth of Empire

The Birth of Empire : DeWitt Clinton and the American Experience, 1769-1828

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DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828) was one of the nation's strongest political leaders in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, serving as mayor of New York City, governor of the state, and narrowly losing the Presidential race of 1812 to James Madison. Patrician in his sentiments, Clinton nevertheless invented new forms of party politics. His greatest achievement, the Erie Canal, hastened the economic expansion of the country, altered the political geography of the nation, set an example for activist government, and decisively secured New York City's position as America's first and foremost metropolis. This new book relates the full biography of one of the most important political figures in US more

Product details

  • Hardback | 234 pages
  • 164.1 x 241.8 x 22.6mm | 592.2g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195119495
  • 9780195119497

About Evan Cornog

Evan Cornog was educated at Harvard and Columbia, and has taught American history at Columbia, LaGuardia Community College (CUNY), and Lafayette College. He also worked as Press Secretary for former Mayor Edward I. Koch of New York City. Currently, he is Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia more

Review quote

Clinton deserves to be remembered, and this new biography does for him all that sound judgement and scholarship can./ ... it subjects Clinton to the most up-to-date scrutiny, and for that reason is of great value./ Hugh Brogan, TLS, 30/04/99. Clinton remains one of his era's most intriguing and important politicians, and Cornog has depicted him with all his manifest charms and warts in this wonderfully revealing biography * The Historian * Like the best biographers, Cornog developed a well-controlled affection for his subject and bequeaths it to the reader. * The Journal of American History, September 2000 * Evan Cornog, in The Birth of Empire: DeWitt Clinton and the American Experience, 1769-1828, has rescued from historical obscurity one of the Early Republic's most influential public figures. In his quick-paced, engaging biography, Cornog convincingly returns Clinton - a New York politician, philanthropist, social reformer, and natural historian - to the centre stage that he occupied in his own era * Reviews in American History, Vol.27 * Cornog's ability to tell a vivid story is in itself an important contribution. By putting a human face on some rather complex ideological, political, and economic issues, the book offers not just a portrait of Clinton, but also a nice review of his times * Reviews in American History, Vol.27 * Cornog offers a palatable introduction to issues and events that are often presented in dry, convoluted accounts that hold little appeal for non-specialists * Reviews in American History, Vol.27 * The book's brevity allows it to be read in a single pleasurable sitting ... Cornog has told an important story with a clarity and passion that are most welcomed * Reviews in American History, Vol.27 *show more

Back cover copy

The Birth of Empire chronicles not only the life of an important political leader but the accomplishments that underlay his success. As mayor of New York City, for example, Clinton was instrumental in the founding of the public-school system. He sponsored countless measures to promote cultural enrichment as well as educational opportunities for New Yorkers, and helped to establish and lead such institutions as the New-York Historical Society, the American Academy of the Arts, and the Literary and Philosophical Society. As shown here, Clinton's career was marked by frequent attempts to integrate his cultural and scientific interests into his identity as a politician, thus projecting the image of a man of wide learning and broad vision, a scholar-statesman of the new republic. Ironically, the political innovations which Clinton set in motion - the refinement of patronage and the spoils system, appeals to immigrant voters, and the professionalization of politics - were precisely what led to the extinction of the scholar-statesman's natural habitat. DeWitt Clinton was born into the aristocratic culture of the eighteenth century, yet his achievements and ideas crucially influenced (in ways he did not always anticipate) the growth of the mass society of the nineteenth more

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