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A Documentary History of the United States Sixth Edition Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0451628824 ISBN-10: 0451628829 Edition: 6th

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; 6th edition (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451628829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451628824
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,836,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard D. Heffner received his A.B. and M.A. from Columbia University and has taught history and political science at the University of California, Sarah Lawrence College, and the New School for Social Research. He has been University Professor of Communications and Public Policy at Rutgers since 1964. Mr. Heffner also produces and moderates his prize-winning weekly public television series, The Open Mind, and for twenty years was Chairman of the motion picture industry’s film rating system. In addition to Democracy in America, Mr. Heffner is the editor of the Mentor book A Documentary History of the United States.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By grapabo on October 11, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'll start with the good: all of the material up through the end of World War I is superb. The national vs. state power issues in the emerging republic, as well as the pre-Civil War debate, are both well-represented. The high point is the pair of essays back to back, one by Theodore Roosevelt and the other by Woodrow Wilson, which describes in detail the nature how excessively concentrated business interests working in collusion were a detriment to the freedom of opportunity, and outlines some progressive proposals to reform the problem.
However, the treatment of the history that follows (at least on domestic issues) doesn't give an even-handed nature of the debate. Rather than reflecting a debate over the nature and degree of government intervention and regulation, the interruptions of and objections to progressivism (no matter how far it was taken) are treated as minor blips on the historical map. Calvin Coolidge is given scant little mention, the causes that turned the 1929 recession into a depression are not given their sufficient mention, and the New Deal is more glowingly presented than the actual results would indicate. If any one of these overgeneralizations were left out, it would be at least a little more fair in depicting the 20th century prior to World War II. But with all three of them together, it paints a picture of a population virtually uninterrupted in its desire for more government intervention, and it cuts off at the root any accurate portrayal of the opposition to the New Deal Revolution and beyond.
In particular, when mention is made of the Reagan Presidency, the author includes Mario Cuomo's "Tale of Two Cities Speech", which was little more than raw meat fed to the delegates at the 1984 Democratic National Convention.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on August 28, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"A Documentary History of the Unites States," edited by
Richard D. Heffner, is an excellent anthology of historic texts. The
first edition of this essential book appeared in 1952, and new and
enlarged editions have gradually appeared over the decades. The texts
in this book include many key documents that have shaped United States

There is an emphasis on political and legal documents: the
Declaration of Independence, several key Supreme Court decisions,
Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Clinton's 1998 State of the Union
Address, and much more. There are also many texts from
non-governmental individuals and bodies: the first issue of the
anti-slavery periodical "The Liberator," William Faulkner's
1949 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, the 1966 Statement of Purpose of
the National Organization for Women, and much more.

As I said, this
book has "grown" considerably over the decades. A
particularly impressive enlargement marks the 6th edition, which adds
100 pages of new documents. Among these new additions are Booker
T. Washington's Atlanta Exposition Address, the Articles of
Impeachment against Richard M. Nixon, and the 1994 Republican
"Contract with America."

The book as the whole is more than
just a collection of documents. Rather, it feels like fragments from a
great epic story: the story of the United States. In this book you see
this nation and its citizens in all of our weakness and our strength,
our foolishness and our wisdom. We see the struggles to deal as a
nation with slavery, war, women's rights, economic injustice, and
other controversial issues.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 4, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Read the words that shaped the character of our nation and changed the history of the world. From the rousing Declaration of Independence to the inspiring speeches of our modern presidents, this book has it all. Students and scholars alike will find this an excellent reference tool. This book should be in the hands and minds of every American who loves liberty.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A Documentary History of the United States

Richard D. Heffner graduated from Columbia University and taught history and political science. He is a Professor at Rutgers University since 1964, and also produced and moderated "The Open Mind" for public television. The sixth edition was published in July 1999. The `Contents' list its thirty chapters and the References. There is no `Index' to its 513 pages. The `Foreword' tells these sources are presented as written (with slight editing). Each reader can be his own historian. Written history records the opinion of the meaning of certain events; which can change over time. [But certain facts and views remain the same.] These chapters begin with an introduction by the author followed by the selected documents. Given the limitations of space and time I will only comment on Chapter 30, which happened only twenty years ago. Remember? Most students weren't even born then.

William Jefferson Clinton was elected President in 1992. Clinton's attempt to reform the health care system failed. [Until "Obamacare".] In 1994 Newt Gingrich created a campaign document "Contract With America" to propose legislative changes. The Republicans won control of the House and Senate in 1994. [No mention of Clinton's Gun Control law.] How many were actually implemented? Were they all worthy of enactment? Are campaign promises always fulfilled? Clinton won a second term in 1996. In 1998 President Clinton was impeached by the House by acquitted by the Senate. Was this "The End of the American Century"? America's foremost standing began after WW I, increased after WW II, but went into decline with Reagan's Presidency.
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