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Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 (Oxford History of the United States) Hardcover – October 28, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. A new addition to the Oxford History of the United States, Wood's superb book brings together much of what historians now know about the first quarter-century of the nation's history under the Constitution. Acknowledged as the leading historian of the period, Wood brings authority and easy style to a tough task—wrestling into order a period of unusual anxiety, confusion, crisis and unbridled growth in the nation's affairs. The emergence of democracy and individualism is his overarching theme. No surprise there, for he's the author of a celebrated work (The Radicalism of the American Revolution) on just that topic. In this new work, he concentrates more on events, institutions, politics and diplomacy than in his earlier books yet proves himself a master of these topics, too. He offers no newfangled approaches, no strongly stated positions, no contests with other historians. Instead, we get the distillation of a lifetime's study and reflection about the era between Washington's presidency and the end of the War of 1812. A triumph of the historian's art, Wood's book will not soon be supplanted. No one interested in the era should miss it. 40 b&w illus., maps. (Oct.)
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1. the transformation of country from rule by the aristocracy to populist democracy. teaparty and palin not new on the horizon. much good there, along with some minor losses.
2. accompanying this and not unrelated is decline of impetus in revolutionary period toward ending slavery. this was halted and reversed, along with matters of race relations. W. points to slave rebellion(s), perhaps rightly, as cause. effect was to create, by 1820, issues and conditions that would lead to civil war.
3. major religious changes. in founding period religion was general and deistic. evangelical revival changed that, so that by 1815 more religious country, although much religious anarchy. this explosion was related to anti-elitism; it also aided in development of confidence and skills on the part of many ordinary people and gave impetus to their drive to govern.
key period well described.