American Conversations From Colonization through Reconstruction, Volume 1

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-09-14
  • Publisher: Pearson

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The American Conversation: From Colonization Through Reconstruction, Volume Iis the first in a two-volume anthology of original sources in United States history. The first act explores how peoples from northwestern Europe, western Africa, and eastern North America collided here after 1492, and how they crafted a strange new world from their similarities-and their differences. The tale then chronicles how, from these inchoate beginnings, a collection of people who prided themselves on their loyalty to Britain, who bristled (or trembled) at the very idea of independence, wound up casting off that attachment and trying to fashion a new nation. The text takes the epoch from Colonization through Reconstruction on its own terms--not just as "prelude" or "first half". Readers get to see the nationrs"s past in a new light, to approach it from a new angle. These centuries, no longer mere way stations on some march of progress toward our own time, no longer the opening act for Americars"s modern pageant, were in fact a fascinating place that is in some ways as exotic to us as any remote land we might visit today. At the same time, of course, the people and texts the reader meets in these pages will resonate powerfully with the contemporary American conversation. Whatever todayrs"s topic-race relations or the battle of the sexes; protest or piety;unumvs.pluribus;the grip of past on present--readers will find its roots in the centuries between Colonization and Reconstruction.

Author Biography

James Merrell , editor of Volume 1 of American Conversations, is the Lucy Maynard Salmon Professor of History at Vassar College. He has been studying history for forty years, writing and publishing it for thirty, and teaching it for more than twenty-five –mostly at Vassar, with brief stints at Northwestern University and the College of William and Mary. Though he has taught everything from Machiavelli and Luther to McCarthy and LBJ, his main area of interest is American history from the opening of European colonization to the close of Reconstruction some three centuries later. Born and raised in Minnesota, Professor Merrell earned bachelor’s degrees at Lawrence University and Oxford University before receiving his M.A. and Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University. Prior to arriving at Vassar in 1984, he was a Fellow at the Newberry Library Center for the History of the American Indian (now the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies) at the Newberry Library in Chicago, and at the Institute of Early American History and Culture (now the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture) in Williamsburg, Virginia. He has also received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Professor Merrell’s research interests are in early American history in general and relations between Natives and newcomers in particular. Co-editor of three volumes (two anthologies by Routledge and one by Syracuse University Press) and author of numerous articles, his first book, The Indians’ New World: Catawbas and Their Neighbors from European Contact through the Era of Removal (University of North Carolina Press, 1989; twentieth-anniversary edition, 2009), won the Frederick Jackson Turner Award and the Merle Curti Award from the Organization of American Historians as well as the Bancroft Prize. His second book, Into the American Woods: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier (W.W. Norton, 1999), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and won Professor Merrell his second Bancroft Prize, making him one among the handful of historians ever to win that prestigious award twice.


Jerald Podair , coeditor of Volume 2 of American Conversations, is Professor of History and the Robert S. French Professor of American Studies at Lawrence University, in Appleton, Wisconsin. A native of New York City and a former practicing attorney, he received his B.A. from New York University, a J.D. degree from Columbia University Law School, and a Ph.D. in American history from Princeton University. His research interests lie in the areas of American urban history and racial and ethnic relations. He is the author of The Strike That Changed New York: Blacks, Whites, and the Ocean Hill- Brownsville Crisis, published by Yale University Press, which was a finalist for the Organization of American Historians’ Liberty Legacy Foundation Award for the best book on the struggle for civil rights in the United States, and an honorable mention for the Urban History Association’s Book Award in North American urban history. Bayard Rustin: American Dreamer, his biography of the civil rights and labor leader, was published in 2009 by Rowman & Littlefield.  His most recent book is a co-edited volume entitled The Struggle for Equality: Essays on Sectional  Conflict, the Civil War, and the Long Reconstruction, published in 2011 by the University of Virginia Press. His articles and reviews have appeared in The American Historical Review, The Journal of  American History, The Journal of Urban History, Reviews in American History, Radical History Review, Labor History, and American Studies. He contributed an essay, “ ‘One City, One Standard’: The Struggle for Equality in Rudolph Giuliani’s New York,” to Civil Rights in New York City: From World War  II to the Giuliani Era, edited by Clarence Taylor, published by Fordham University Press in 2011.  At Lawrence University, he teaches courses on a variety of topics in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American history, including the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Great Depression and New Deal, the 1960s, and the Civil Rights Movement. He also teaches Lawrence’s first course in American Studies, which he introduced in 2007. He is the recipient of the Allan Nevins Prize, awarded by the Society of American Historians for “literary distinction in the writing of history,” and a Fellow of the New York Academy of History. He was appointed by Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle to the state’s Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, on which he served from 2008 to 2009.  In 2010, he was honored by Lawrence University with its Award for Excellence in Scholarship, and in 2012 with its Faculty Convocation Award.


Andrew Kersten , coeditor of Volume 2 of American Conversations, is Frankenthal Professor of History in the Department of Democracy and Justice Studies at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He teaches courses in U.S. history–the U.S. history survey, U.S. immigration history, and U.S. labor history–and interdisciplinary courses relating to his department. He researches and writes about American history since Reconstruction.  His books include Race, Jobs, and the War: The FEPC in the Midwest, 1941—46 (University of Illinois Press, 2000), which is an investigation of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Fair Employment Practice Committee; Labor’s Home Front: The AFL during World War II (New York University Press, 2006), which is a history of the American Federation of Labor during the war; A. Philip Randolph: A Life in the Vanguard (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006); and Clarence Darrow: American Iconoclast (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2011). Currently, he is working on an online digital database of A. Philip Randolph’s writings, as well as an anthology of new historical interpretations about Randolph’s life and legacy. He has two other professional passions. Kersten frequently collaborates with public historians and museums such as the National Railroad Museum and the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Museum. He also enjoys working with K—12 history teachers. From 2003 to 2006, he led a Teaching American History Grant Program of his own design that offered intensive professional development for history teachers, and he continues to collaborate on curricular design and other educational issues.


Table of Contents

ldquo;In the beginning...rdquo; Africans, Americans, & Europeans Imagine their Origins
Texts: ndash;Iroquois Creation Story ndash;West African (Fang) Creation Story ndash;Genesis(King James Bible [1611])
ldquo;I walked lost and naked through many and very strange landshellip;rdquo;
The Journeys of Cabeza de Vaca
Text: ndash;Aacute;lvar Nuntilde;ez Cabeza de Vaca,The Narrative of Cabeza de Vaca(1542}
ldquo;The True Pictures of those People...rdquo; John White & Theodor de Bry Eye the Indians
Texts: ndash;John White Watercolors (1585) ndash;Selected de Bry Engravings from the Watercolors (1590)
"Come, go along with us...rdquo; Mrs. Rowlandson Endures Travels and Travails
Text: ndash;Mary Rowlandson,The Sovereignty and Goodness of God(1682)
ldquo;The infant countrys of America...rdquo; Dr. Hamilton Reports on His Summer Vacation
Text: ndash;TheItinerariumof Alexander Hamilton (1744)
ldquo;A young man of promising parts...rdquo; Ben Franklin Composes His Life
Text: ndash;Franklin,Autobiography(1770s-1780s)
ldquo;The last cord now is broken...rdquo; Colonists Declare Independence
Text: ndash;Thomas Paine,Common Sense(1776) ndash;U.S. Congress, Declaration of Independence (1776)
ldquo;Great men get great praise, little men, nothing...rdquo; Private Martin Tells War Stories
Text: ndash;Joseph Plumb Martin,Adventures of a Revolutionary Soldier(1830)
ldquo;I canrsquo;t tell a lie, Pa...rdquo; Parson Weems Invents George Washington
Text: ndash;Weems,Life of Washington(1809)
ldquo;The thoroughly American branch of painting...rdquo; Cole and Company Paint Naturersquo;s Nation
Texts: ndash;Landscapes (1825-1865)
ldquo;Let every man of color wrap himself in mourning, for the 22nd of December and the 4th of July are days of mourning and not of joy...rdquo; Rev. Apess Rewrites American History
Texts: ndash;Apess,A Son of the Forest(1829) ndash;Apess,Eulogy on King Philip(1836)
We Abolition women
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