Aspects of American History examines major themes, personalities and issues across American history, using topic focused essays. Each chapter focuses on key events and time periods within a broad framework looking at liberty and equality, the role of government and national identity. The volume engages with its central themes through a broad ranging examination of aspects of the American past, including discussions of political history, foreign policy, presidential leadership and the construction of national memory. In each essay, Simon Henderson:
- introduces fresh angles to traditional topics
- consolidates recent research in themed essays
- analyzes views of different historians
- offers an interpretive rather than narrative approach
- gives concise treatment to complex issues.
Including an introduction which places key themes in context, this book enables readers to make comparisons and trace major thematic developments across American history.
Table of Contents
1. Nation in Embryo – The Development of Colonial America 2. Reasons for Revolt – The Birth of the United States 3. The Constitution – Makings and Meanings 4. Flawed Heroes – Washington, Jefferson and Slavery 5. Ignoring Washington’s Warning – Antebellum Party Systems 6. Slavery and the Causes of the American Civil War 7. Southern and Confederate Nationalism 8. Lincoln and Liberty 9. Reconstruction – The Unfulfilled Promise 10. Civil War Memory and American National Identity 11. Introducing Jim Crow – The Codification of Segregation in the South 12. Prejudice and Paternalism – Assimilation and Native American Identity 13. American Identity and the American West 14. Immigration and Assimilation – Melting Pot or Salad Bowl? 15. Gender, Race and the Vote, 1865–1920 16. The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement – Southern Black Protest 1900–1945 17. Kennedy, Johnson and Civil Rights 18. Martin, Malcolm and Black America 19. American National Mission and Global Conflict in the Twentieth Century 20. American Identity and the War on Terror. Bibliographical Essay
‘[The author] covers a remarkable amount of ground … by avoiding detailed narrative and focussing on the historiographical issues which he summarises and synthesises clearly and concisely … there is enough narrative and explanation to make each chapter accessible … and the collection is given coherence and integrity by the linking themes of race, citizenship and American identity.’ – SATH History Teaching