American History: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Paul S. Boyer
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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.
cause. When New England ministers opposed their public lectures, they added women’s rights to their reform agenda. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony similarly combined antislavery and feminism when male leaders tried to marginalize them. As abolitionism spread, opposition hardened. In 1835 a Boston mob nearly lynched Garrison, and a Charleston mob burned abolitionist literature stolen from the post ofﬁce. The abolitionist editor Elijah Lovejoy was murdered in Alton, Illinois, in 1837.
life at all levels, as eager workers poured into the nation’s industrial centers. In 1850 the United States was an agrarian society with some towns and cities; by 1900 it was an urban-industrial nation with a strong 63 1866–1900: Industrialization and its consequences All this machinery needed lubrication, and a burgeoning petroleum industry supplied it. The nation’s ﬁrst oil well gushed into life in 1859 in western Pennsylvania. More followed, and soon the United States ranked ﬁrst in world
destruction (WMDs). Barraged by propaganda, Congress approved, and a U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq in March 2003. Initially the invasion seemed successful. As Saddam and his top henchmen ﬂed Baghdad, Bush proclaimed “Mission Accomplished.” (Saddam was eventually captured and hanged.) But sectarian divisions erupted, plunging Iraq into civil war. Home-front disillusionment deepened as no WMDs were found, and journalists documented the deceptive prewar propaganda. Bush won reelection in 2004, but
38 Jackson, Thomas “Stonewall,” 55 Jackson State College, 126 James, William, 74 Jamestown, 4, 7–9, 45 Japan, 99–100, 102 Jay, John, 32 Jefferson, Thomas, 20, 30–32, 36, 48 Jesus Movement, 126 Jewett, Helen, 43 Johnson, Andrew, 58 Johnson, Lyndon, 115–20 155 Index Kansas, 52 Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), 51–52 Kant, Immanuel, xviii, 42 Kelley, Florence, 78 Kendall, Amos, 34 Kennan, George, 107 Kennedy, John F., 110–11, 115, 117 Kennedy, Robert, 111, 121 Kent State University, 126 Kerouac, Jack,
76, 78 Tricky Dick. See Nixon, Richard Trollope, Frances, 43–44 Trotter, William Monroe, 80 Truman, Harry, 102–3, 107–9, 113–14 Trumbull, John, 41 Tubman, Harriet, 47 Turkey, 107, 111 Turner, Nat, 47, 49 Tuskegee Institute, 69 TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority), 96, 98 Twain, Mark, 72, 74 Tweed, William M. (“Boss”), 65 United Fruit Company, 82 United Nations, 89, 105, 137 United States Steel Company, 63 Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), 93 urbanization, 38, 63–64, 70, 75–78, 92, 104