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The Uniting States [3 volumes]: The Story of Statehood for the Fifty United States [Hardcover]

Benjamin F. Shearer

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Book Description

June 30, 2004 0313327033 978-0313327032

Fifty-one essays and over 90 maps tell the story of how each of the 50 states in the Union became part of, and remained, one nation, indivisible, over a span of 172 years. From Delaware's entry in 1787 through Hawaii's joining in 1959, The Uniting StateS≪/i> brings together the unique stories of each of the 50 United States' journey into statehood in a single reference work. Local, national, and international matters loom large in this unique look at America's continent-spanning transformation from isolated English colonies to 50 distinct states.

From Delaware's entry in 1787 through Hawaii's joining in 1959, The Uniting StateS≪/i> brings together the unique stories of each of the 50 United States' journey into statehood in a single reference work. Based on primary federal and state sources, each essay tells the real story of the people and the issues behind the debate for statehood. Contrary to popular opinion, statehood was not a done deal in many states. North Carolina and Rhode Island, original colonies, did not enter the Union easily, taking two and three years longer than the The First State, Delaware. Conventions failed, votes for union failed. Iowans defeated statehood initiatives twice. Citizens of several states were not even given the opportunity to vote on their state's new constitutions. Hawaii had been a kingdom, Texas a nation, and Oklahoma, the territory promised by the federal government to be the new home of native Americans in perpetuity. All the basic issues of nationhood—land, boundaries, banking, money, taxes, religion, citizen rights, government, politics, security—were issues in the uniting states. Leading off with an overview of U.S. expansion, users are introduced to recurring themes such as colonial settlement, Indian removal, federal land policy, free labor versus slavery, and homesteading. Each state's unique odyssey from unorganized land, to organized territory, and, finally, to statehood is then amply described. Key local events and figures are highlighted in each state's eventual embrace into the Union, as are the national and global issues framing the wider political context of America's internal empire-building such as slavery, national defense, and access to natural resources. Each signed entry is divided by subheadings for easy topical access, and concludes with an extensive bibliography. The set provides over 90 maps, giving users clear, easy-to-use overviews of U.S. territorial growth. The set is fully indexed, and contains appendices and an extensive bibliography.

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This work demonstrates how varied the states are in their history, geography, economics, politics, and demographics--and how amazing it is that they came together as a nation and function as one, in spite of significant differences. The focus is on the situations and political motivations that propelled each colony or territory into full-fledged statehood, whether it was in the eighteenth, nineteenth, or twentieth century. The set will help its readers comprehend that some colonies (North Carolina, for example) were more reluctant than others to join the new Union; some territories (Utah, for one) were less welcome than others into the expanding nation; and internal issues in each area made for interesting compromises over issues like taxation, native populations, natural resources, banking, and citizens' rights.

Following editor Shearer's introductory chapter, which gives an overview from British colonization to the addition of Alaska and Hawaii, there are 50 signed articles covering the evolution of each of the states up to its admission. Most of the contributors hold PhDs in history. Each entry is about 25 pages long and includes footnotes, a bibliography, and a summary chart that lists the state's location, territorial developments in chronological order, its capital(s), and the origin of the state name. Nearly 40 black-and-white maps enhance the story of the growth of the nation. Conveniently, the full complement of maps appears in each of the three volumes. Two appendixes, found in volume 3, provide listings of admission dates. One is arranged chronologically; the other is arranged alphabetically by state.

Earlier works that cover this aspect of U.S. history, such as D. W. Meinig's three-volume The Shaping of America (Yale, 1986) and Oscar and Lilian Handlins' four-volume Liberty in America (Harper, 1986-94), are perhaps more readable as a whole, but this new reference work treats each state individually and makes it easy to compare their development. The length of the essays and their scholarly approach make this set suitable for academic and research libraries and large public libraries. Sally Jane
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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