Thomas Jefferson advocated a republic of small farmers--free and independent yeomen. And yet as president he presided over a massive expansion of the slaveholding plantation system--particularly with the Louisiana Purchase--squeezing the yeomanry to the fringes and to less desirable farmland. Now Roger Kennedy conducts an eye-opening examination of that gap between Jefferson's stated aspirations and what actually happened.
Kennedy reveals how the Louisiana Purchase had a major impact on land use and the growth of slavery. He examines the great financial interests (such as the powerful land companies that speculated in new territories and the British textile interests) that beat down slavery's many opponents in the South itself (Native Americans, African Americans, Appalachian farmers, and conscientious opponents of slavery). He describes how slaveholders' cash crops (first tobacco, then cotton) sickened the soil and how the planters moved from one desolated tract to the next. Soon the dominant culture of the entire region--from Maryland to Florida, from Carolina to Texas--was that of owners and slaves producing staple crops for international markets. The earth itself was impoverished, in many places beyond redemption.
None of this, Kennedy argues, was inevitable. He focuses on the character, ideas, and ambitions of Thomas Jefferson to show how he and other Southerners struggled with the moral dilemmas presented by the presence of Indian farmers on land they coveted, by the enslavement of their workforce, by the betrayal of their stated hopes, and by the manifest damage being done to the earth itself. Jefferson emerges as a tragic figure in a tragic period.
In the boomtowns of the Alaska-Yukon stampedes, where gold dust was common currency, the rarest commodity was an attractive woman, and her company could be costly. Author Lael Morgan takes you into the heart of the gold rush demimonde, that "half world" of prostitutes, dance hall girls, and entertainers who lived on the outskirts of polite society. Meet "Dutch Kate" Wilson, who pioneered many areas long before the "respectable" women who received credit for getting there first ... ruthless heartbreakers Cad Wilson and Rose Blumkin ... "French" Marie Larose, who auctioned herself off as a wife to the highest bidder, Georgia Lee, who invested her earnings wisely and became one of the richest women in the North, and Edith Neile, called "the Oregon Mare," famous for both her outlandish behavior and her softhearted generosity.
The companion volume to the celebrated PBS television series, with a new preface to mark its twenty-fifth anniversary
With more than 500 illustrations: rare Civil War photographs--many never before published--as well as paintings, lithographs, and maps reproduced in full color
William Cooper and James Fenimore Cooper, a father and son who embodied the contradictions that divided America in the early years of the Republic, are brought to life in this Pulitzer Prize-winning book.William Cooper rose from humble origins to become a wealthy land speculator and U.S. congressman in what had until lately been the wilderness of upstate New York, but his high-handed style of governing resulted in his fall from power and political disgrace. His son James Fenimore Cooper became one of this country's first popular novelists with a book, The Pioneers, that tried to come to terms with his father's failure and imaginatively reclaim the estate he had lost. In William Cooper's Town, Alan Taylor dramatizes the class between gentility and democracy that was one of the principal consequences of the American Revolution, a struggle that was waged both at the polls and on the pages of our national literature. Taylor shows how Americans resolved their revolution through the creation of new social reforms and new stories that evolved with the expansion of our frontier.
April 1865 was a month that could have unraveled the nation. Instead, it saved it. Here Jay Winik offers a brilliant new look at the Civil War's final days that will forever change the way we see the war's end and the nation's new beginning. Uniquely set within the larger sweep of history, filled with rich profiles of outsize figures, fresh iconoclastic scholarship, and a gripping narrative, this is a masterful account of the thirty most pivotal days in the life of the United States.
It was not inevitable that the Civil War would end as it did, or that it would end at all well. Indeed, it almost didn't. Time and again, critical moments could have plunged the nation back into war or fashioned a far harsher, more violent, and volatile peace. Now, in a superbly told story, Winik captures the epic images and extraordinary history as never before. This one month witnessed the frenzied fall of Richmond; a daring last-ditch Southern plan for guerrilla warfare; Lee's harrowing retreat; and then Appomattox. It saw Lincoln's assassination just five days later, and a near-successful plot to decapitate the Union government, followed by chaos and coup fears in the North, collapsed negotiations and continued bloodshed in the South, and finally, the start of national reconciliation. In the end, April 1865 emerges as not just the tale of the war's denouement, but the story of the making of our nation.
Provocative, bold, exquisitely rendered, and stunningly original, April 1865 is the first major reassessment of the Civil War's close and is destined to become one of the great stories of American history.
Details the life of the internationally famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass, from his birth into slavery in 1818 to his escape to the North in 1838 - how he endured the daily physical and spiritual brutalities of his owners and drivers, how he learned to read and write, and how he grew into a man who could only live free or die.
Combining brilliant military analysis with rich narrative history, Landscape Turned Red is the definitive work on the Battle of Antietam.
The Civil War battle waged on September 17, 1862, at Antietam Creek, Maryland, was one of the bloodiest in the nation's history: on this single day, the war claimed nearly 23,000 casualties. Here renowned historian Stephen Sears draws on a remarkable cache of diaries, dispatches, and letters to recreate the vivid drama of Antietam as experienced not only by its leaders but also by its soldiers, both Union and Confederate, to produce what the New York Times Book Review has called the best account of the Battle of Antietam.
The Civil War defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became, good and bad things.... It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a hell of a crossroads: the suffering, the enormous tragedy of the whole thing.- Shelby Foote, from The Civil WarWhen the illustrated edition of The Civil War was first published, The New York Time hailed it as a treasure for the eye and mind. Now Geoffrey Ward's magisterial work of history is available in a text-only edition that interweaves the author's narrative with the voices of the men and women who lived through the cataclysmic trial of our nationhood: not just Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Robert E. Lee, but genteel Southern ladies and escaped slaves, cavalry officers and common foot soldiers who fought in Yankee blue and Rebel gray. The Civil War also includes essays by our most distinguished historians of the era: Don E. Fehrenbacher, on the war's origins; Barbara J. Fields, on the freeing of the slaves; Shelby Foote, on the war's soldiers and commanders; James M. McPherson, on the political dimensions of the struggle; and C. Vann Woodward, assessing the America that emerged from the war's ashes.
In 1804 Lewis and Clark set off to explore the new lands of the Louisiana Purchase. They were acting as the eyes and ears of President Thomas Jefferson, who had an insatiable curiosity about what lay between the Mississippi and the Pacific. One contingency for which they were not prepared was the awesome geography of the Rocky Mountains. Including excerpts from Lewis and Clark's journals and putting their scientific achievements in context, David Hawke presents a riveting story of this dramatic journey.