- Delivery: Can be download Immediately after purchasing
- Version: Only PDF Version.
- Compatible Devices: Can be read on any devices (Kindle, NOOK, Android/IOS devices, Windows, MAC)
- Quality: High Quality. No missing contents. Printable
Of the People: A History of the United States, Volume 1: To 1877, 3rd Edition
Author: James Oakes (Author), Michael McGerr (Author), Jan Ellen Lewis (Author), Nick Cullather (Author), Jeanne Boydston (Author), Mark Summers (Author), Camilla Townsend (Author), Karen Dunak (Author)
Of the People: A History of the United States, Third Edition, not only tells the history of America of its people and places, of its dealings and ideals but it also unfolds the story of American democracy, carefully marking how this country’s evolution has been anything but certain, from its complex beginnings to its modern challenges. This comprehensive survey focuses on the social and political lives of people some famous, some ordinary revealing the compelling story of America’s democracy from an individual perspective, from across the landscapes of diverse communities, and ultimately from within the larger context of the world.
We are grateful that the first and second editions of Of the People have been welcomed by instructors and students as a useful instructional aid. Enhanced with even greater emphasis on American democracy and diversity, the third edition includes a new democracy feature and a version of the text is available with end-of-chapter primary source documents, both textual and visual, which help students draw connections among topics and think critically. In preparing the third edition, our primary goal has been to maintain the text’s overarching focus on the evolution of American democracy, people, and power;
its strong portrayal of political and social history; and its clear, compelling narrative voice.
To that end, the broad representation of Native Americans, African Americans, and other minority groups in this text shows the full diversity of the American people. One of the text’s strengths is its critical-thinking pedagogy because the study of history entails careful analysis, not mere memorization of names and dates. History continues, and the writing of history is never finished. For the third edition,
we have updated the following elements based on the most recent scholarship:
• Chapters IO and 11 integrate content on slavery and national development, as well as the politics of slavery and the abolition movement.
• Chapters 13 through 15 were restructured and now include increased coverage of westward expansion, the growth of railroads and what this meant in terms of economic growth for the North and South (as well as the political economy of the Civil \.Yar), the emergence of the Republican Party, and a revised explanation for Reconstruction’s demise.
• Chapter 30 now covers the span of years between 1989 and 2001 and includes increased coverage of domestic terrorism, an expanded discussion of African Americans in the post-civil rights era, as well as gay and lesbian rights.
• The Epilogue covers the onset of the war on terror, from September 11, 2001, to the present and provides an account of the Obama administration through 2014, the nation’s continuing response to challenging economic circumstances, including income inequality, and national security issues such as the controversy surrounding government surveillance and the emergence of ISIS. At Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln dedicated a memorial to the more than 3,000 Union soldiers who had died turning back a Confederate invasion in the first days of July. There were at least a few ways that the president could have justified the sad loss of life in the third year of a brutal war dividing North and South. He could have said it was necessary to destroy the Confederacy’s cherished institution of slavery, to punish Southerners for seceding from the United States, or to preserve the nation intact. Instead, at this crucial moment in American history, Lincoln gave a short, stunning speech about democracy. The president did not use the word, but he offered its essence. To honor the dead of Gettysburg, he called on Northerners to ensure “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
With these words, Lincoln put democracy at the center of the Civil War and at the center of American history. The authors of this book share his belief in the centrality of democracy; his words, “of the people,” give our book its title and its main theme. We see American history as a story “of the people,” of their struggles to shape their lives and their land.
Our choice of theme does not mean we believe that America has always been a democracy. Clearly, it has not. As Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, most African Americans still lived in slavery. American women, North and South, lacked rights that many men enjoyed; for all their disagreements, white southerners and northerners viewed Native Americans as enemies. Neither do we believe that there is only a single definition of democracy, either in the narrow sense of a particular form of government or in the larger one of a society whose members participate equally in its creation. Although Lincoln defined the Northern cause as a struggle for democracy, Southerners believed it was anything but democratic to force them to remain in the Union at gunpoint. As bloody draft riots in New York City in July 1863 made clear, many Northern men thought it was anything but democratic to force them to fight in Lincoln’s armies.
Such disagreements have been typical of American history. For more than 500 years, people have struggled over whose vision of life in the New World would prevail. It is precisely such struggles that offer the best angle of vision for seeing and understanding the most important developments in the nation’s history. In particular, the democratic theme concentrates attention on the most fundamental concerns of history:
people and power.
Lincoln’s words serve as a reminder of the basic truth that history is about people. Across the 30 chapters of this book, we write extensively about complex events. But we also write in the awareness that these developments are only abstractions unless they are grounded in the lives of people. The test of a historical narrative, we believe, is whether its characters are fully rounded, believable human beings.
The choice of Lincoln’s words also reflects our belief that history is about power. To ask whether America was democratic at some point in the past is to ask how much power various groups of people had to make their lives and their nation. Such questions of power necessarily take us to political processes, to the ways in which people work separately and collectively to enforce their will. We define politics quite broadly in this book.
With the feminists of the 1960s, we believe that “the personal is the political,” that power relations shape people’s lives in private as well as in public. Of the People looks for democracy in the living room as well as the legislature, and in the bedroom as well as the business office.
Focusing on democracy, on people and power, we have necessarily written as wide ranging a history as possible. In the features and in the main text, Of the People conveys both the unity and the great diversity of the American people across time and place. We chronicle the racial and ethnic groups who have shaped America, differences of religious and regional identity, the changing nature of social classes, and the different ways that gender identities have been constructed over the centuries. While treating different groups in their distinctiveness, we have integrated them into the broader narrative as much as possible. A true history “of the people” means not only acknowledging their individuality and diversity but also showing their interrelationships and their roles in the larger narrative. More integrated coverage of Native
Americans, African Americans, Latinos, and other minority groups appears throughout the third edition.
Of the People also offers comprehensive coverage of the different spheres of human life cultural as well as governmental, social as well as economic, environmental as well as military. This commitment to comprehensiveness is a reflection of our belief that all aspects of human existence are the stuff of history. It is also an expression of the fundamental theme of the book: the focus on democracy leads naturally to the study of people’s struggles for power in every dimension of their lives. Moreover, the democratic approach emphasizes the interconnections between the different aspects of Americans’ lives; we cannot understand politics and government without tracing their connection to economics, religion, culture, art, sexuality, and so on.
The economic connection is especially important. Of the People devotes much attention to economic life, to the ways in which Americans have worked and saved and spent. Economic power, the authors believe, is basic to democracy. Americans’ power to shape their lives and their country has been greatly affected by whether they were farmers or hunters, plantation owners or slaves, wage workers or capitalists, domestic servants or bureaucrats. The authors do not see economics as an impersonal, all-conquering force; instead, we try to show how the values and actions of ordinary people, as well as the laws and regulations of government, have made economic life. We have also tried especially to place America in a global context. The history of America, or any nation, cannot be adequately explained without understanding its relationship to transnational events and global developments. That is true for the first chapter of the book, which shows how America began to emerge from the collision of Native Americans, West Africans, and Europeans in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It is just as true for the last chapter of the book, which demonstrates how globalization and the war on terror transformed the United States at the turn of the twenty-first century. In the chapters in between these two, we detail how the world has changed America and how America has changed the world. Reflecting the concerns of the rest of the book, we focus particularly on the movement of people, the evolution of power, and the attempt to spread democracy abroad.
Abraham Lincoln wanted to sell a war, of course. But he also truly believed that his audience would see democracy as quintessentially American. Whether he was right is the burden of this book.