Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 (Oxford History of the United States)
Gordon S. Wood
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The Oxford History of the United States is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. The series includes three Pulitzer Prize winners, two New York Times bestsellers, and winners of the Bancroft and Parkman Prizes. Now, in the newest volume in the series, one of America's most esteemed historians, Gordon S. Wood, offers a brilliant account of the early American Republic, ranging from 1789 and the beginning of the national government to the end of the War of 1812.
As Wood reveals, the period was marked by tumultuous change in all aspects of American life--in politics, society, economy, and culture. The men who founded the new government had high hopes for the future, but few of their hopes and dreams worked out quite as they expected. They hated political parties but parties nonetheless emerged. Some wanted the United States to become a great fiscal-military state like those of Britain and France; others wanted the country to remain a rural agricultural state very different from the European states. Instead, by 1815 the United States became something neither group anticipated. Many leaders expected American culture to flourish and surpass that of Europe; instead it became popularized and vulgarized. The leaders also hope to see the end of slavery; instead, despite the release of many slaves and the end of slavery in the North, slavery was stronger in 1815 than it had been in 1789. Many wanted to avoid entanglements with Europe, but instead the country became involved in Europe's wars and ended up waging another war with the former mother country. Still, with a new generation emerging by 1815, most Americans were confident and optimistic about the future of their country.
Named a New York Times Notable Book, Empire of Liberty offers a marvelous account of this pivotal era when America took its first unsteady steps as a new and rapidly expanding nation.
Federalist leadership between the moderates who supported the president and the extremists or “ultras” who supported Hamilton—seriously endangering Federalist prospects for the upcoming presidential election in 1800. Once the Federalist caucus had nominated Adams and Charles Cotes-worth Pinckney for president and vice-president in May 1800 (without, however, determining which person should have which office), the president felt strong enough politically to do what he should have done long
ambition—the desire for improvement or gain—without necessarily being thought selfish or self-seeking, an endorsement of a peculiar kind of success that had extraordinary cultural power.105 Many others, however, were frightened and confused by what seemed to be a whole society being taken over by money-making and the pursuit of “soul-destroying dollars.” Too many were racing ahead in search of success without regard for the collective good or for those who failed and were left behind. Literati
role as leaders of the society, they described them as public institutions designed to promote the public good. But as the state lost control of its creations and the idea of a unitary public good lost its coherence, these and other such organizations, like the chartered colleges, came to be regarded as private. These kinds of humanitarian and charitable associations represented the beginnings of what today is labeled “a civil society”—constituting the thousands of institutions and organizations
estate in 1774 he became, in fact, the second-largest slaveholder in Albemarle County. Thereafter the number of his slaves remained around two hundred—with increases through births offset by periodic sales to pay off debts. Jefferson was known to be a good master, reluctant to break up families or to sell slaves except for delinquency or at their own request. Nevertheless, between 1784 and 1794 he disposed of 161 people by sale or gift. It is true that Jefferson was averse to separating young
Oregon Country, 367 Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (Thwaites), 381n56 original jurisdiction, 411, 419, 441 Orleans Territory, 522, 529, 655–56 Othello (Shakespeare), 562 Otis, Harrison Gray, 246, 249–50, 259, 347, 610, 693 Otis, James, 51, 70, 505, 518 Otsego County, 224, 594 Ottawa Indians, 123, 126 Owen, Robert, 483 Page, John, 587 Paine, Thomas: and Age of Reason, 199–200 on British monarchy, 630–31 and Enlightenment ideals, 38 and free commerce, 190 and the