Historian Howe illuminates the period of American history from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the ...Show synopsisHistorian Howe illuminates the period of American history from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the United States expands to the Pacific and wins control over the richest part of the North American continent.Hide synopsis
What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 (Oxford University Press, USA) – Trade paperback (2009)
Daniel Walker Howe
Trade paperback, Oxford University Press, USA 2009
ISBN: 0195392434 ISBN-13: 9780195392432
The Oxford History of the United States is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. In this prize-winning, critically acclaimed addition to the series, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the United States expanded to the Pacific and won control over the richest part of the North American continent. Howe's panoramic narrative portrays revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that ...Show moreThe Oxford History of the United States is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. In this prize-winning, critically acclaimed addition to the series, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the United States expanded to the Pacific and won control over the richest part of the North American continent. Howe's panoramic narrative portrays revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated the extension of the American empire. Railroads, canals, newspapers, and the telegraph dramatically lowered travel times and spurred the spread of information. These innovations prompted the emergence of mass political parties and stimulated America's economic development from an overwhelmingly rural country to a diversified economy in which commerce and industry took their place alongside agriculture. In his story, the author weaves together political and military events with social, economic, and cultural history. He examines the rise of Andrew Jackson and his Democratic party, but contends that John Quincy Adams and other Whigs--advocates of public education and economic integration, defenders of the rights of Indians, women, and African-Americans--were the true prophets of America's future. He reveals the power of religion to shape many aspects of American life during this period, including slavery and antislavery, women's rights and other reform movements, politics, education, and literature. Howe's story of American expansion culminates in the bitterly controversial but brilliantly executed war waged against Mexico to gain California and Texas for the United States. Winner of the New-York Historical Society American History Book Prize Finalist, 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for NonfictionHide
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This is a great survey of the early years of America, leading up to the Civil War. Incredibly well researched and written, it covers nearly all aspects of life in America. It will deliver many insights into why we wound up where we have. The writing is fairly dense and it covers enormous ground, so don't expect to breeze through it like a novel. I read after "Team of Rivals", and recommend the pair. Read this first if you can!
I don?t ordinarily write reviews for booksellers, but this book draws me to give it 5 stars, 2 thumbs-up, and a high-five. Oh, it won a Pulitzer Prize, too, but who cares?
Don?t be put off by the title. ?What Hath God Wrought? was the ur-message telegraphed by Samuel Morse. It does have meaning, because many onlookers asked that question as they looked at this strange experiment in democracy. The subtitle, The Transformation of America, 1815-1848,? is more descriptive. ?Transformation? is the key word.
Howe illustrates how Americans had a long debate with themselves about the meaning of democracy once Britain was out of our affairs. John Quincy Adams saw America as the new Israel where citizens should advance and improve themselves in God?s image. Others, like Andrew Jackson, felt that it ought to foster the freedom of each man individually, as long as that man was a white property-holder.
Important chapters examine the world that cotton made, the inventors, the rise of protestant evangelism, Abolitionism, Indian removal, the African colonization movement, the war for Texas, one central bank, a financial panic, tariff protection, Nullification, internal infrastructure, and the devolution of the era of good feelings into divisive sectionalism. But always there was slavery.
Howe demonstrates each branch sought to protect, promote, and spread slavery through protocols, executive orders, court rulings, even the delivery of mail. There was even a perceived need to legislate the movements of black sailors from foreign countries when on leave in an American port.
He draws thoughtful conclusions in each chapter, but maybe none so eye-opening as his speculation that if Henry Clay of Kentucky had prevailed in the close presidential election of 1844, maybe slavery could have been peacefully abolished and a calamitous Civil War avoided.
America seemed to be a petri dish for new religious cults and sects whether big tent revivals or in exclusive colonies of chaste prayer or free love or polygamy. Premillenarianists decided the Final Judgment would occur on a particular day in 1844, leading followers to give away their belongings and leave crops in the fields. On the flip side, this new democracy led the world in the education of women.
Howe?s scholarly writing style is good, neither too popular nor obscurely narrow. He quotes letters, diaries, and documents with good effect and provides footnotes for readers to follow up on. I recommend it to anyone interested in the broad sweep of early 19th-Century U.S. history.
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