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American Horizons: US History in a Global Context, Volume II: Since 1865, 3rd Edition
American Horizons , Third Edition, presents the traditional narrative of US history in a global context. The authors use the frequent movement of people, goods, and ideas into, out of, and within America’s borders as a framework. This unique approach provides a fully integrated global
perspective that seamlessly contextualizes American events within the wider world. The authors, all acclaimed scholars in their specialties, use their individual strengths to provide students with a balanced and inclusive account of US history.
Presented in two volumes for maximum flexibility, American Horizons, Third Edition, illustrates the relevance of US history to American students by centering on the matrix of issues that dominate their lives. These touchstone themes include population movements and growth, the evolving definition
of citizenship, cultural change and continuity, people’s relationship to and impact upon the environment, political and ideological contests and their consequences, and Americans’ five centuries of engagement with regional, national, and global institutions, forces, and events. In addition, this
beautifully designed, full-color book features hundreds of photos and images and more than 100 maps.
American Horizons offers students in American history courses the opportunity to put that story in a global context.
For more than 500 years, North America has been part of a global network centered on the exchange of peoples, goods, and ideas. Human migrations—sometimes freely, sometimes forced—have continued over the centuries, along with the evolution of commerce in commodities as varied as tobacco, sugar, and computer chips. Europeans and Africans came or were brought to the continent, where they met, traded with, fought among, and intermarried with Native peoples. Some of these migrants stayed, whereas others returned to their home countries. Still others came and went periodically. This initial circulation of people across the oceans foreshadowed the continuous movement of people, goods, and ideas that made the United States. Such forces have shaped American history, both dividing and unifying the nation. American “horizons” truly stretch beyond our nation’s borders, embracing the trading networks established during and after the colonial era as well as the digital social networks connecting people globally today.
American Horizons tells the story of the United States by exploring this exchange on a global scale and placing it at the center of that story. By doing so, we provide a different perspective on the history of the United States, one that we hope broadens the horizons of those who read our work and are ever mindful of the global forces that increasingly and profoundly shape our lives. At the same time, American Horizons considers those ways in which U.S. influence reshaped the lives and experiences of people of other nations. U.S. history is increasingly perceived, interpreted, and taught as part of a global
historical experience. The mutual influence of change—of global forces entering the United States and of American ideas, goods, and people moving out through the world—has been a consistent feature since the 16th century. Although most Americans today are aware that their influence is felt abroad and are increasingly aware of the influence of events abroad on their own lives, they tend to think of these as recent developments. In fact, those earliest exchanges of beliefs and products some 500 years ago established a pattern of interaction that continues today.
We have written a narrative that encourages readers to consider the variety of pressures that spurred historical change. Some of these pressures arose within America, and some came from outside. In the 1820s, the global market for whale oil shaped labor conditions throughout New England. At the same time, the American political system was transformed by the unique inheritance of the American Revolution and the relative abundance of land in North America. In the 1940s and 1950s, the federal government designed a unique set of policies to help World War II veterans readjust to civilian life, whereas the civil rights movement unfolded within a global context of decolonization in Africa and Asia. Topics such as these help readers consider the relationship between local and global forces that shaped American history
American Horizons presents an opportunity to view the nation’s history as more than a mere sequence of events for students to memorize. Although adhering to the familiar chronological organization of this course, our narrative style and structure provide the flexibility of shifting emphasis from time to time to the global aspects of American history. Although the story of the United States is always at the center, that story is told through the movement of people, goods, and ideas into, within, or out of the United States.
How did the United States emerge from a diverse set of colonies? How did colonists interact with Native American nations? How did the United States become a major player on the world stage of nations? What qualities make the United States unique? What does the United States share with other nations and empires? History includes many story lines that contribute to this narrative. American Horizons is the story of where this nation came from and how its people have been shaped by their own values as well as their interactions with the rest of the world. It recognizes that many of the significant events in American history had causes and consequences connected to developments elsewhere and presents those events accordingly. American Horizons depicts this intersection of storylines from
many nations that influenced, and were influenced by, the United States of America.
As readers engage with the text, we encourage them to think explicitly about what makes history. What matters? What forces or events shaped how people lived their lives?