Forging the American Character

Forging the American Character : Readings in United States History to 1877, Volume 1

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Broad and balanced in perspective-and reader-friendly in format and design-this collection of authoritative readings focuses on the various forces, ideologies, people, and experiences that have forged the distinctive American character. Drawn from an extensive and impressive variety of historical sources-including popular history journals, chapters from key books, and scholarly journals-coverage ranges from traditional fields such as historiography and political, cultural, diplomatic, and religious history, to the new social and women's history.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 223 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 16mm | 322.05g
  • Pearson
  • Upper Saddle River, NJ, United States
  • English
  • 4th edition
  • 0130977659
  • 9780130977656

Back cover copy

This collection of diverse readings focuses on some of the forces, ideologies, people, and experiences that have helped forge today's distinctive American character. Editor John R. M. Wilson presents the concept of national character as consisting of useful generalizations that elucidate the ways in which a nation or nationality is unique. National character can help explain the tendency of people living in one nation to behave and believe in certain ways that differ from people in other nations. This collection suggests that Americans have defined themselves not only by what they are, but also by what they are not. This negative component--for example, Americans are anti-communist--is an important part of the American character.

Volume I: This anthology enables readers to explore various subjects such as the surprisingly normal behavior of the Puritans, the horrors of life and death in the Civil War, and various other topics not generally developed in depth in history textbooks. The selections include both classic treatments by giants in the historical profession and new interpretations and findings by young scholars in various sub-fields of history. All explore topics that shed light on the American character.

Selections include: Henry Wiencek, "The Spain Among Us" Edmund S. Morgan, "Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox" David Potter, "The Quest for the National Character" John Murrin, "Religion and Politics in Early America" Henry Steele Commager, "The Invention of America" Brian W. Dippie, "The Winning of the West Reconsidered" Allan Nevins, "The Glorious and the Terrible"
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Table of contents

1. Gerard Reed, The Significance of the Indian in American History. 2. Henry Wiencek, The Spain Among Us. 3. Carl Degler, Were the Puritans Puritanical? 4. Edmund S. Morgan, Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox. 5. David M. Potter, The Quest for the National Character. 6. John M. Murrin, Religion and Politics in Early America. 7. James Kirby Martin, The Myth of Popular Participation in the Revolutionary War. 8. Lance Banning, The Revolutionary Context of the Constitutional Convention. 9. Henry Steele Commager, The Invention of America. 10. Jack Larkin, The Secret Life of a Developing Country (Ours). 11. Thomas Dublin, Women, Work, and Protest in the Early Lowell Mills. 12. John B. Boles, Slaves in Biracial Protestant Churches. 13. Brian W. Dippie, The Winning of the West Reconsidered. 14. Thomas Horrocks, The Know-Nothings. 15. Allan Nevins, The Glorious and the Terrible. 16. Eric Foner, The New View of Reconstruction.
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