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The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln

Wilentz, Sean

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ISBN 10: 0393058204 / ISBN 13: 9780393058208
Published by W. W. Norton, U.S.A., 2005
Condition: As New Hardcover
From Modern First Editions Boston (Boston, MA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Inscribed by author on title page. First printing copy with full number line. As New copy in As New dustwrapper. In this monumental work, Sean Wilentz traces a historical arc from the earliest days of the republic to the opening shots of the Civil War, a war fought to decide the fate of the American experiment with democracy. In vivid prose and a fresh new style, Wilentz recounts the years after the American Revolution and the framing of the Constitution, when the very idea of democracy remained contentious. The Founders, Jeffersonians and Federalists among them, clashed ferociously over the appropriate role of ordinary citizens in a government of 'we, the people.' The triumph of Andrew Jackson in 1828 redefined this role on the national level while city democrats, anti Masons, fugitive slaves, and a host of other Americans hewed their own definitions on the local level. In these local definitions Wilentz recovers the beginnings of a fateful division. The free labor North and the slaveholders' South, although linked by the federal government, were actually two distinct political systems, embodying separate and fundamentally antagonistic conceptions of democracy. National leaders from Martin Van Buren to Henry Clay succeeded in squelching that antagonism, maintaining a wary balance between the two regions that lasted until the election of Abraham Lincoln sparked its bloody resolution. By combining the political history of the towering figures in early American history with an intimate and surprising look at the influence of innumerable lesser known figures, The Rise of American Democracy compels us to understand our democracy not as a historical inevitability or an abstract philosophical system but as a fragile enterprise shot through with human frailties, conflicts, accommodations, and unforeseen events. Those events, from Thomas Jefferson's time to Abraham Lincoln's, produced the underpinnings of the democracy we know today. Bookseller Inventory # 000353

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to...

Publisher: W. W. Norton, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:As New

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Signed: Inscribed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


A grand political history in a fresh new style of how the elitist young American republic became a rough-and-tumble democracy.

In this magisterial work, Sean Wilentz traces a historical arc from the earliest days of the republic to the opening shots of the Civil War. One of our finest writers of history, Wilentz brings to life the era after the American Revolution, when the idea of democracy remained contentious, and Jeffersonians and Federalists clashed over the role of ordinary citizens in government of, by, and for the people. The triumph of Andrew Jackson soon defined this role on the national level, while city democrats, Anti-Masons, fugitive slaves, and a host of others hewed their own local definitions. In these definitions Wilentz recovers the beginnings of a discontenttwo starkly opposed democracies, one in the North and another in the Southand the wary balance that lasted until the election of Abraham Lincoln sparked its bloody resolution. 75 illustrations.

About the Author:

Sean Wilentz is the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University and author of the Bancroft Prize–winning The Rise of American Democracy, Bob Dylan in America, and many other works. He is completing his next book, No Property in Man, on slavery, antislavery, and the Constitution, based on his Nathan I. Huggins Lectures delivered at Harvard in 2015.

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