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Unfinished Revolution: The Early American Republic in a British World (Jeffersonian America) Hardcover – November 4, 2010
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"Unfinished Revolution is an impressive reinterpretation of United States history between 1815 and 1850, built around the theme of American Anglophobia. In a time when the British Empire was the world's superpower, most Americans resented British condescension and feared British aims, even while many of them also hoped to replicate British industrialization, humanitarian reform, and literary accomplishments. Versatile and learned, Sam Haynes is helping U.S. history overcome its parochialism and become more global."(Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 )
"This is one of those rare works that encourages readers to see the past in a wholly new way, to see totally unsuspected connections between developments in art and politics, to appreciate in a new light the role of cultural values and emotions as shaping forces in history.... This era of American history will never look the same again."(Steven Mintz, Columbia University, author of Moralists and Modernizers: America’s Pre–Civil War Reformers)
Sam W. Haynes' Unfinished Revolution takes the reader through familiar territory from an entirely different perspective. Haynes shows, very convincingly, that Great Britain remained a significant part of American history well after Andrew Jackson's great victory at New Orleans.(Lucas A. Powe, Jr., University of Texas Law School History Book Club)
About the Author
Sam W. Haynes is Professor in the Department of History and the Director of the Center for Greater Southwestern Studies at the University of Texas Arlington.(Lawrence Buell, Harvard University)
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Top Customer Reviews
Unfinished Revolution takes the exploration of those themes to a whole new depth, going a long way towards explaining a lot of political decisions various state and federal officials made in the early 19th century.
Haynes quite convincingly puts forward the thesis that the United States was essentially a developing country that, until the Mexican war, had yet to find a cultural, political or economic self identity. Americans don't normally picture their country as a backwards hole in the mud, but essentially that's what the United States was in the early part of the 19th century.
Breaking from Britain created a drive to be different, independent and not linked to British past. But the simple fact that much of United States culture and heritage was that of Britain generated a sort of inferiority complex that afflicted the country. The desperate need to self identify was a paradox that Americans could not solve, despite attempts to do so.
Added to that, the US was a developing nation, lacking the infrastructure, culture and history of a more established European country.Read more ›
Besides the fact that we fought a second war with them in 1812, we had an ongoing cold war with them that ran right up through the Civil War. Only we played the part of the Soviets and the British played our part. That is, they tried to contain us on every front. Particularly on the Western frontier, it was no secret that they wanted to keep us from expanding. In fact, although it is not covered in this book, many of our quarrels with the Western Indian tribes were rooted in British intrigues. Or at least so it appeared to our Western frontiersmen.
This is a valuable book in that it fleshes out the details of that little known cold war, and presents much additional information about a conflict, not just political but cultural as well, which lasted nearly half a century. Of course, just as in our other cold war with the Soviets, this conflict tends to loom larger on paper than it probably was in reality. I mean, in your day to day existence, how often did you actually think about the Soviets? And so I suspect it was with the British. Sure, the conflict was always there, but probably not as overwhelmingly as this book will make it appear.
Another point only hinted at in this text, is that just as with the Soviets, the actual threat was probably never as great as the threat we perceived. For the fact is, the British never had the resources or the political will (i.e. the support of the public back home) to really oppose us as fiercely as they liked to put on.
A good companion piece, if your interested in the British side, would be The Decline and Fall of the British Empire by Piers Brendon.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An outstanding, fair-minded, thorough account of the anti-British feelings, and emerging American nativism, that followed the War of 1812. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Nick Carraway
Unfinished Revolution addresses the effects of Anglophobia and -philia on American literature, theater, and slavery, as well as territorial and fiscal policy issues. Read morePublished on July 23, 2011 by McDisco