A Nation Rising: Untold Tales of Flawed Founders, Fallen Heroes, and Forgotten Fighters from America's Hidden History
Kenneth C. Davis
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Following his New York Times bestseller America's Hidden History, Kenneth C. Davis explores the gritty first half of the nineteenth century—among the most tumultuous periods in this nation's short life.
In the dramatic period that spans roughly from 1800 through 1850, the United States emerged from its inauspicious beginning as a tiny newborn nation, struggling for survival and political cohesion on the Atlantic seaboard, to a near-empire that spanned the continent. It was a time in which the "dream of our founders" spread in ways that few men of that Revolutionary Generation could possibly have imagined. And it was an era that ultimately led to the great, tragic conflagration that followed—the American Civil War.
The narratives that form A Nation Rising each exemplify the "hidden history" of America, exploring a vastly more complex path to nationhood than the tidily packaged national myth of a destiny made manifest by visionary political leaders and fearless pioneers. Instead, Davis (whose writing People magazine compared to "returning to the classroom of the best teacher you ever had") explores many historical episodes that reverberate to this day, including:
* Aaron Burr's 1807 trial, showcasing the political intrigue of the early Republic and becoming one of our nation's first media circuses
* an 1813 Indian uprising and an ensuing massacre that exposes the powerful conflicts at the heart of America's expansion
* a mutiny aboard the slave ship Creole and the ways in which the institution of slavery both destroyed lives and warped our nation's founding
* the "Dade Massacre" and the start of the second Seminole War, a long, deadly conflict between Indian tribes, their African American allies, and the emergent U.S. Army
* the bloody "Bible Riots" in Philadelphia, demonstrating how deadly anti-immigrant sentiment could be
* the story of Jessie Benton FrÉmont and Lt. John C. FrÉmont, a remarkable couple who together helped open the West, bring California into the Union, and gave literal shape to the nation today
The issues raised in these intertwined stories—ambition, power, territorial expansion, slavery, intolerance, civil rights, freedom of the press—continue to make headlines. The resulting book is not only riveting storytelling in its own right, but a stirring reminder of the ways in which our history continues to shape our present.
as usual. Hamilton’s political enemy…Aaron Burr was able to create a bank by sneaking a clause into a charter for a company called the Manhattan Company, to provide clean water to New York City. The innocuous-looking clause allowed the company to invest surplus capital in any lawful enterprise. Within six months of the company’s creation, and long before it had laid a single section of water pipe, the company opened a bank.”19 Hamilton had already founded the Bank of New York in 1784, and now he
historian David S. Reynolds has described the seventh president as “a potent killing machine,” adding: “His shortcomings reflected his era, as did those of other great leaders from Jefferson to Lincoln. But understanding Jackson, perhaps more than most leading Americans of his time, requires an ability to resist either vilification or veneration to see the man whole—his failings as well as his successes.”20 Despite his victories in the field, Jackson had yet to deliver the fatal stroke to the
Jackson’s unwavering, ramrod-stiff resolve as he stood in front of a large contingent of armed mutineers served him well. His courage and refusal to make concessions added to Old Hickory’s legendary fearless determination. Just as he had shown the doctors his force of will when he refused amputation, his unwavering determination thwarted an armed revolt that might have ended the campaign, and with it his own career. Sick and seriously weakened by March 1814, Jackson finally received some
a sideshow. By the end of 1803, France had lost more than 50,000 soldiers on the island. These losses were greater than those Napoléon’s armies later suffered at Waterloo, his signal defeat in 1815. On January 1, 1804, Toussaint’s successor, Dessalines, proclaimed the republic of Haiti—an Arawak word for “mountain.” The French retreated to the other side of the island. Saint Domingue had lost more than half its population, and the country was devastated. But its rebellious former slaves had
only to the “elect,” those predestined at birth. But he also gave a nod to the thought of the day by acknowledging science and the philosophy of men like John Locke and Isaac Newton. As he sought to separate the wheat from the chaff, the elect from the hopeless sinners, his preaching had an enormous impact on colonial America. Unlike the theatrical Whitefield, whose voice was dramatic and booming, Edwards spoke blandly and without gestures. But his words sent his audiences into paroxysms of