Acclaimed as the definitive study of the period by one of the greatest American historians, The Rise of American Democracy traces a historical arc from the earliest days of the republic to the opening shots of the Civil War. Ferocious clashes among the Founders over the role of ordinary citizens in a government of "we, the people" were eventually resolved in the triumph of Andrew Jackson. Thereafter, Sean Wilentz shows, a fateful division arose between two starkly opposed democracies--a division contained until the election of Abraham Lincoln sparked its bloody resolution. Winner of the Bancroft Award, shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize, finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2005 and best book of New York magazine and The Economist.
In this very rich and engaging history, Sean Wilentz recounts the contentious debates among the many conflicting constituencies that vied for power across the new republic as he traces the growth of government of, by, and for the people from the period just after the Founding Fathers up to the Civil War. Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln are the beginning and end points of this lively, jam-packed brew, and Andrew Jackson is shown to have been a central figure in the shaping and defining of American democracy. Wilentz's colorful tapestry draws on politics, religion, legislation, local and national events, political parties, and the issues of slavery, expansion, and war--but mostly on people as they speak up and organize to get what they want. Wilentz provides fresh views of three presidents, deepens our understanding of how North and South took different paths, clarifies terms, and thickens our knowledge of American history. THE RISE OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY was selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 2005.
- Political Science, History
- History + Theory, United States / 19th Century
- October 1, 2008
- October 1, 2008
- Sean Wilentz