The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2006 - History - 1044 pages
4 Reviews
Acclaimed as the definitive study of the period by one of the greatest American historians, The Rise of American Democracy traces a historical arc from the earliest days of the republic to the opening shots of the Civil War. Ferocious clashes among the Founders over the role of ordinary citizens in a government of "we, the people" were eventually resolved in the triumph of Andrew Jackson. Thereafter, Sean Wilentz shows, a fateful division arose between two starkly opposed democracies--a division contained until the election of Abraham Lincoln sparked its bloody resolution. Winner of the Bancroft Award, shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize, finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2005 and best book of New York magazine and The Economist.
 

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The rise of American democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln

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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 ... Read full review

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A very long narrative of the development of democracy in America. Covers a lot of rather obscure events, and I felt that I was seeing lots of trees, but the forest was hard to make out. Still, it does give a good sense of how democracy developed, from the end of the Federalist era to the Civil War.
Wilentz does seem somewhat enamored of Jefferson, Jackson, and the Democrats, and not at all pleased with the Federalists and the Whigs. So while he does mention some of the horrible ways that Jeffersonians and Jacksonians treated Blacks and Indians, he is rather forgiving of their human rights abuses. At the same time, he is very harsh in his treatment of the undemocratic tendencies of the Federalists and Whigs.
 

Contents

Prologue
3
THE CRISIS OF THE NEW ORDER
11
American Democracy in a Revolutionary Age
13
The Republican Interest and the SelfCreated Democracy
40
The Making of Jeffersonian Democracy
72
Jeffersons Two Presidencies
99
Nationalism and the War of 1812
141
DEMOCRACY ASCENDANT
179
Whigs Democrats and Democracy
482
SLAVERY AND THE CRISIS OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY
519
Whig Debacle Democratic Confusion
521
Antislavery Annexation and the Advent of Young Hickory
547
The Bitter Fruits of Manifest Destiny
577
War Slavery and the American 1848
602
Political Truce Uneasy Consequences
633
The Truce Collapses
668

The Era of Bad Feelings
181
Slavery Compromise and Democratic Politics
218
The Politics of Moral Improvement
254
The Aristocracy and Democracy of America
281
The Jackson Era Uneasy Beginnings
312
Radical Democracies
330
1832 Jacksons Crucial Year
359
Banks Abolitionists and the Equal Rights Democracy
391
The Republic has degenerated into a Democracy
425
The Politics of Hard Times
456
A Nightmare Broods Over Society
707
The Faith That Right Makes Might
745
The Iliad of All Our Woes
768
Epilogue
789
Notes
797
Acknowledgments
951
Credits
953
Index
955
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About the author (2006)

Sean Wilentz is the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University and author of the Bancroft Prize–winning The Rise of American Democracy, Bob Dylan in America, and many other works. He is completing his next book, No Property in Man, on slavery, antislavery, and the Constitution, based on his Nathan I. Huggins Lectures delivered at Harvard in 2015.

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