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The rise of American democracy : Jefferson to Lincoln /
Sean Wilentz.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York : Norton, c2005.
description
xxiii, 1044 p. : ill. (some col.)
ISBN
0393058204 (hardcover)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Norton, c2005.
isbn
0393058204 (hardcover)
catalogue key
5615495
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Bancroft Prize, USA, 2006 : Won
Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, USA, 2005 : Nominated
Pulitzer Prize, USA, 2006 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2005-08-01:
As the revolutionary fervor of the war for independence cooled, the new American republic, says Princeton historian Wilentz, might easily have hardened into rule by an aristocracy. Instead, the electoral franchise expanded and the democratic creed transformed every aspect of American society. At its least inspired, this ambitious study is a solid but unremarkable narrative of familiar episodes of electoral politics. But by viewing political history through the prism of democratization, Wilentz often discovers illuminating angles on his subject. His anti-elitist sympathies make for some lively interpretations, especially his defense of the Jacksonian revolt against the Bank of the United States. Wilentz unearths the roots of democratic radicalism in the campaigns for popular reform of state constitutions during the revolutionary and Jacksonian eras, and in the young nation's mess of factional and third-party enthusiasms. And he shows how the democratic ethos came to pervade civil society, most significantly in the Second Great Awakening, "a devotional upsurge... that can only be described as democratic." Wilentz's concluding section on the buildup to the Civil War, which he presents as a battle over the meaning of democracy between the South's "Master Race" localism and the egalitarian nationalism of Lincoln's Republicans, is a tour-de-force, a satisfying summation and validation of his analytical approach. 75 illus. not seen by PW. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2005-09-15:
A central question of American history is how U.S. democratic institutions developed from the early republic to the beginning of the Civil War. In this informative, thoughtful, and thoroughgoing book, Wilentz (history & American studies, Princeton Univ.; Chants Democratic) demonstrates how multiple meanings that have attached to American ideas of democracy, both as a form of government and as a social construct, were altered in a complex fashion from the egalitarian Jeffersonian view to the populist Lincolnian perspective. He examines events and experiences, in particular the phenomenon of increased popular oversight of state and national government, that led to changing relationships between governors and the governed. Wilentz's themes include the political conflicts found in the development of representative democracy and the implications of the slavery controversy in battles concerning democratic reforms. His clear, insightful narrative conveys new interconnected understandings of main historical dimensions in our national life and will enhance citizens' understanding of the history of American political development. This superb analysis is highly recommended for public and academic libraries. -Steven Puro, St. Louis Univ. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2006-03-01:
In The Age of Jackson (1945), Arthur M. Schlesinger revised how the democratic rupture of the early 19th century was interpreted. He argued that the origins of US democracy were not rooted in Turner's fabled frontier or rural social equality, but within the context of the Founding Fathers' views toward the enlightened and unenlightened. Schlesinger also saw the emergence of democracy as the direct result of class conflict, not sectional strife. Since this seminal work, historians have become ever more specialized, losing sight of the import and relevance of political discourse. Wilentz (Princeton Univ.) rightfully returns the historical focus to the political ideas and activities of the working class, organized parties, Congress, and the presidency. He examines the rise of democracy between the presidencies of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, where the distinctive features of modern democratic politics were formed. This rise was neither providential nor inevitable, but transpired bit-by-bit through the pitched battles of city and rural democrats, anti-Masons, Whigs, abolitionists, and the slavocracy at the local, state, and national levels. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All general and undergraduate collections and above. P. G. Connors Michigan Legislative Service Bureau
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Library Journal, June 2005
Publishers Weekly, August 2005
Booklist, September 2005
Library Journal, September 2005
Wall Street Journal, October 2005
Boston Globe, November 2005
New York Times Book Review, November 2005
Choice, March 2006
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
A grand political history in a fresh new style of how the elitist young American republic became a rough-and-tumble democracy. In this magisterial work, Sean Wilentz traces a historical arc from the earliest days of the republic to the opening shots of the Civil War. One of our finest writers of history, Wilentz brings to life the era after the American Revolution, when the idea of democracy remained contentious, and Jeffersonians and Federalists clashed over the role of ordinary citizens in government of, by, and for the people. The triumph of Andrew Jackson soon defined this role on the national level, while city democrats, Anti-Masons, fugitive slaves, and a host of others hewed their own local definitions. In these definitions Wilentz recovers the beginnings of a discontent--two starkly opposed democracies, one in the North and another in the South--and the wary balance that lasted until the election of Abraham Lincoln sparked its bloody resolution. 75 illustrations.
Long Description
In This Magisterial Work, Sean Wilentz traces a historical are from the earliest days of the republic to the opening shots of the Civil War. One of our finest writers of history, Wilentz brings to life the era after the American Revolution, when the idea of democracy remained contentious, and Jeffersonians and Federalists clashed over the role of ordinary citizens in government of, by, and for the people. The triumph of Andrew Jackson soon defined this role on the national level, while city democrats, Anti-Masons, fugitive slaves, and a host of others hewed their own local definitions. In these definitions Wilentz recovers the beginnings of a discontent--two starkly opposed democracies, one in the North and another in the South--and the wary balance that lasted until the election of Abraham Lincoln sparked its bloody resolution.
Main Description
In this magisterial work, Sean Wilentz traces a historical arc from the earliest days of the republic to the opening shots of the Civil War. One of our finest writers of history, Wilentz brings to life the era after the American Revolution, when the idea of democracy remained contentious, and Jeffersonians and Federalists clashed over the role of ordinary citizens in government of, by, and for the people. The triumph of Andrew Jackson soon defined this role on the national level, while city democrats, Anti-Masons, fugitive slaves, and a host of others hewed their own local definitions. In these definitions Wilentz recovers the beginnings of a discontent'wo starkly opposed democracies, one in the North and another in the South'nd the wary balance that lasted until the election of Abraham Lincoln sparked its bloody resolution.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Mapsp. xiii
Prefacep. xvii
Prologuep. 3
The Crisis of the New Order
American Democracy in a Revolutionary Agep. 13
The Republican Interest and the Self-Created Democracyp. 40
The Making of Jeffersonian Democracyp. 72
Jefferson's Two Presidenciesp. 99
Nationalism and the War of 1812p. 141
Democracy Ascendant
The Era of Bad Feelingsp. 181
Slavery, Compromise, and Democratic Politicsp. 218
The Politics of Moral Improvementp. 254
The Aristocracy and Democracy of Americap. 281
The Jackson Era: Uneasy Beginningsp. 312
Radical Democraciesp. 330
1832: Jackson's Crucial Yearp. 359
Banks, Abolitionists, and the Equal Rights Democracyp. 391
"The Republic has degenerated into a Democracy"p. 425
The Politics of Hard Timesp. 456
Whigs, Democrats, and Democracyp. 482
Slavery and the Crisis of American Democracy
Whig Debacle, Democratic Confusionp. 521
Antislavery, Annexation, and the Advent of Young Hickoryp. 547
The Bitter Fruits of Manifest Destinyp. 577
War, Slavery, and the American 1848p. 602
Political Truce, Uneasy Consequencesp. 633
The Truce Collapsesp. 668
A Nightmare Broods Over Societyp. 707
The Faith That Right Makes Mightp. 745
The Iliad of All Our Woesp. 768
Epiloguep. 789
Notesp. 797
Acknowledgmentsp. 951
Creditsp. 953
Indexp. 955
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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