American History: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

American History: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

Paul S. Boyer

Language: English

Pages: 184

ISBN: 019538914X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In a miracle of concision, Paul S. Boyer provides a wide-ranging and authoritative history of America, capturing in a compact space the full story of our nation. Ranging from the earliest Native American settlers to the presidency of Barack Obama, this Very Short Introduction offers an illuminating account of politics, diplomacy, and war as well as the full spectrum of social, cultural, and scientific developments that shaped our country.

Here is a masterful picture of America's achievements and failures, large-scale socio-historical forces, and pivotal events. Boyer sheds light on the colonial era, the Revolution and the birth of the new nation; slavery and the Civil War; Reconstruction and the Gilded Age; the Progressive era, the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression; the two world wars and the Cold War that followed; right up to the tragedy of 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the epoch-making election of Barack Obama. Certain broad trends shape much of the narrative--immigration, urbanization, slavery, continental expansion, the global projection of U.S. power, the centrality of religion, the progression from an agrarian to an industrial to a post-industrial economic order. Yet in underscoring such large themes, Boyer also highlights the diversity of the American experience, the importance of individual actors, and the crucial role of race, ethnicity, gender, and social class in shaping the contours of specific groups within the nation's larger tapestry. And along the way, he touches upon the cultural milestones of American history, from Tom Paine's The Crisis to Allen Ginsberg's Howl.

American History: A Very Short Introduction is a panoramic history of the United States, one that covers virtually every topic of importance--and yet can be read in a single day.

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face value the depreciated wartime currency issued by Congress, now mostly held by speculators. Hamilton also proposed that the federal government pay off the states’ war debts. Since this mainly benefitted the northern states, Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison brokered a compromise under which the national capital would be in the South, on land ceded by Virginia and Maryland—today’s Washington, DC. During the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion, when farmers of western Pennsylvania resisted a federal tax on

Baltimore in 1838, joined the antislavery cause and wrote a popular autobiography. American History Constitution’s three-fifths rule (by which three-fifths of each state’s slave population was counted in determining its congressional delegation), the slave states had significantly fewer congressional members. When Missouri applied for statehood that year, southern politicians insisted that slavery be permitted. In 1820 Congress admitted Missouri as a slave state, balanced by free-state Maine. As

Crisis, edited by DuBois, and a network of local affiliates, the NAACP battled lynching, challenged segregation in the courts, and spearheaded the antiracist campaign. Progressivism’s achievements and blind spots Yet these early-twentieth-century reformers, mostly white, nativeborn, and middle class, shared many of their era’s prejudices and blind spots. Some blamed immigrants for the problems caused by industrialization; elite Bostonians founded the Immigration Restriction League in 1894, and a

U.S. racism in its many forms had become a serious Cold War embarrassment as the nation sought friends and allies globally. All this lay in the background in 1954 as the U.S. Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) unanimously declared segregated public schools unconstitutional. The Brown decision unleashed long pent-up protest energies, which would transform America. In 1955 Rosa Parks, an officer of the Montgomery, Alabama, NAACP, refused a bus driver’s order to 114 move to the

assassinated by enemies within the movement. Meanwhile, responding to activist pressures, Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) targeted Birmingham, Alabama, for civil rights protests in 1963. As the nation watched, Montgomery police mobilized attack dogs and fire hoses against marching black schoolchildren, and arrested King and other leaders. Tired of bad publicity, the city’s white elite eventually agreed to end segregation. 11. The March on Washington on August

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