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The Jacksonian Promise: America, 1815 to 1840 (The American Moment) Hardcover – November 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Series: The American Moment
  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press (November 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080185167X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801851674
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,828,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

""Feller offers a refreshing reconceptualization of the whole of Jacksonian America, one that will force scholars and teachers to rethink their assumptions." -- North Carolina Historical Review

About the Author

Daniel Feller is associate professor of history at the University of New Mexico. He is the author of The Public Lands in Jacksonian Politics.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Moore on November 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Jacksonian Promise: America 1815-1840 covers everything: optimism with the Erie Canal, the technology improvements, the commerce, the enlightenment, religious developments, and modern politics. It is best defined as in-between textbook that does not follow everything in the Antebellum America, but enough that it's a good book to fall back onto. The book was a required reading for my History 414 (Antebellum United States: 1800-1860). I enjoyed reading the book, but at times I skipped pages to keep up. I suggest reading chapters nine and ten.
What would you read in the Jacksonian Promise? For example in Chapter 10: Descents into Discord, it covers the Democrats and Whigs, party politics, the reassessment of character, the constriction of choices, slavery and sectional cleavage, and toward Civil War.
Keller's writing is smooth and the themes are well organized. If you are looking for a book on the Jacksonian era that is a cheap and well worth the price this is the book for you. I am giving it four stars because it's well organized that you can be half asleep and copy down some good notes, the price, and sometimes it is very interesting to read. A reminder the book is actually only 204 pages because the rest are the bibliography and index.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Turner on October 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Feller's book, THE JACKSONIAN PROMISE, is an excellent introduction to the major themes and topics that have captivated American political and social historians concerning the years 1815-40. The book attempts to move away from some of the more negative or pessimistic claims concerning the period. Instead, while acknowledging the proliferation of party sectionalism, the emergence of distinct gender roles, and the proliferation of slavery, Feller's basic claim is that experimentation and innovation characterized this period in American History. Notably, this period of history was characterized by extreme optimism in the popular imagination about America's potential. In 'getting at' that claim Feller looks at innovation and optimism in terms of economics, industrial and technological advances, religious experimentation, scientific inquiry, labor reform, and political innovation. Feller, moreover, traces how this shared sense of optimism eventually fractured into various opposing views.

All in all, Feller's book is concisely written, well organized, and suprisingly sophisticated for a book of its small girth. This is partially because of Feller's own interest in the historiography of this period. It's among the best surveys of the Jacksonian period in publication. If its not the best, its, at the very least, certainly the most accessible.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 1997
Format: Paperback
Argues that the central feature of the Jacksonian period was its forward-looking quality, how hopeful and optimistic people were about the future. Does quite a good job of surveying the literature that's out there on the Jacksonian period. If you need a relatively short introduction to the themes of this period in American history, then this is a good place to begin
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. L. Fay on December 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Jacksonian Era was a time of energy and exuberance that soared to heights that have remained unparalleled since their collapse into sectional discord after 1840. Today it is all too easy to criticize those years in which America first truly emerged as a nation and formed its unique character. There was the continuing brutality of slavery, the ongoing subjugation of women, and the persistence of intolerance for non-Protestants: issues that, logically speaking, should have been utterly inescapable in the egalitarian ideals of the Revolution. Added to all this came the sudden coercion of Eastern tribes to abandon their ancestral lands, a process that culminated in the infamous Trail of Tears, as well as the distance thundering of an Industrial Revolution that would yoke countless American citizens to an exploitative factory system and the caprices of distant markets.

Daniel Feller, associate professor of history at the University of New Mexico, nevertheless cautions against judging Americans of this period by modern standards: "Where historians once spied the flowering of America's promise, they now see the start of its descent. Calamity looms everywhere: in the ejection of Indians, the subordination of women, . . . " The reality is that every era has its gloom and doom, Feller counters, and none of this "justifies intruding our own doubts and despair upon a people who could not have imagined, much less share, them." The treatment afforded Jacksonian America in his book is therefore "thematic rather than comprehensive"; that is, he chooses to focus on the causes of contemporary events, as opposed to their reverberations down through the decades as components of such anachronistic concepts as "industrialization, modernization, capitalism, and market revolution.
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