Understanding the American Promise: A History, Volume I: To 1877 A History of the United States

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-10-11
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Understanding the American Promise, Second Edition, features a brief, question-driven narrative that models for students the inquiry-based methods used by historians and features innovative active learning pedagogy to help students understand what’s really important to know about U.S. history. This affordable text comes integrated with LearningCurve, an adaptive learning tool that helps students retain what they’ve read and come to class prepared.

What's in the LaunchPad

Author Biography

James L. Roark (Ph.D., Stanford University) is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of American History at Emory University. In 1993, he received the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, and in 2001–2002 he was Pitt Professor of American Institutions at Cambridge University. He has written Masters without Slaves: Southern Planters in the Civil War and Reconstruction and coauthored Black Masters: A Free Family of Color in the Old South with Michael P. Johnson.

Michael P. Johnson (Ph.D., Stanford University) is professor of history at Johns Hopkins University. His publications include Toward a Patriarchal Republic: The Secession of Georgia; Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and the Civil War: Selected Speeches and Writings; and Reading the American Past: Selected Historical Documents, the documents reader for The American Promise. He has also coedited No Chariot Let Down: Charleston’s Free People of Color on the Eve of the Civil War with James L. Roark.

Patricia Cline Cohen (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley) is professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2005–2006. She has written A Calculating People: The Spread of Numeracy in Early America and The Murder of Helen Jewett: The Life and Death of a Prostitute in Nineteenth-Century New York, and she has coauthored The Flash Press: Sporting Male Weeklies in 1840s New York.

Sarah Stage (Ph.D., Yale University) has taught U.S. history at Williams College and the University of California, Riverside, and she was visiting professor at Beijing University and Szechuan University. Currently she is professor of Women’s Studies at Arizona State University. Her books include Female Complaints: Lydia Pinkham and the Business of Women’s Medicine and Rethinking Home Economics: Women and the History of a Profession.

Susan M. Hartmann (Ph.D., University of Missouri) is Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of History at Ohio State University. In 1995 she won the university's Exemplary Faculty Award in the College of Humanities. Her publications include Truman and the 80th Congress; The Home Front and Beyond: American Women in the 1940s; From Margin to Mainstream: American Women and Politics since 1960; and The Other Feminists: Activists in the Liberal Establishment.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Understanding Ancient America before 1492

When and why do historians rely on the work of archaeologists?

How and why did humans migrate into North America?

African and Asian Origins

Paleo-Indian Hunters

Why did Archaic Native Americans shift to foraging and hunting smaller animals?

Great Plains Bison Hunters

Great Basin Cultures

Pacific Coast Cultures

Eastern Woodland Cultures

How did agriculture influence Native American cultures?

Southwestern Cultures

Woodland Burial Mounds and Chiefdoms

What cultural similarities did native peoples of the Western Hemisphere share in the 1490s?

Eastern and Great Plains Peoples

Southwestern and Western Peoples

Cultural Similarities

Why was tribute important in the Mexican empire?

Conclusion: How do we understand the worlds of Ancient Americans?

[[√]] LearningCurve bedfordstmartins.com/roarkunderstanding/LC
Chapter 1 Study Guide

Chapter 2

Europeans Encounter the New World 1492–1600

What factors led to European exploration in the fifteenth century?

Mediterranean Trade and European Expansion

A Century of Portuguese Exploration

What did Spanish explorers discover in the western Atlantic?

The Explorations of Columbus

The Geographic Revolution and the Columbian Exchange

How did Spaniards explore, conquer, and colonize New Spain?

The Conquest of Mexico

The Search for Other Mexicos

Spanish Outposts in Florida and New Mexico

New Spain in the Sixteenth Century

The Toll of Spanish Conquest and Colonization

What impact did Spain’s New World endeavors have in Europe?

The Protestant Reformation and the Spanish Response

Europe and the Spanish Example

Conclusion: What promise did the New World offer Europeans?

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Chapter 2 Study Guide

Chapter 3

Founding the Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century 1601–1700

What challenges faced early Chesapeake colonists?

The Fragile Jamestown Settlement

Cooperation and Conflict between Natives and Newcomers

From Private Company to Royal Government

How did Chesapeake tobacco society take shape?

Tobacco Agriculture

A Servant Labor System

The Rigors of Servitude

Cultivating Land and Faith

Why did Chesapeake colonial society change in the late seventeenth century?

Social and Economic Polarization

Government Policies and Political Conflict

Bacon’s Rebellion

Why did the southern colonies move toward a slave labor system?

Religion and Revolt in the Spanish Borderland

The West Indies: Sugar and Slavery

Carolina: A West Indian Frontier

Slave Labor Emerges in the Chesapeake

Conclusion: Why were export crops and slave labor important in the growth of the southern colonies?

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Chapter 3 Study Guide

Chapter 4

Founding the Northern Colonies 1601–1700

Why did the Puritans immigrate to North America?

Puritan Origins: The English Reformation

The Pilgrims and Plymouth Colony

The Founding of Massachusetts Bay Colony

How did New England society change during the seventeenth century?

Church, Covenant, and Conformity

Government by Puritans for Puritanism

The Splintering of Puritanism

Religious Controversies and Economic Changes

What was distinctive about the middle colonies?

From New Netherland to New York

New Jersey and Pennsylvania

Toleration and Diversity in Pennsylvania

What was the connection between the colonies and the English empire?

Royal Regulation of Colonial Trade

King Philip’s War and the Consolidation of Royal Authority

Conclusion: Was there an English model of colonization in North America?

[[√]] LearningCurve bedfordstmartins.com/roarkunderstanding/LC

Chapter 4 Study Guide

Chapter 5

The Changing World of Colonial America 1701–1770

How did the North American colonies change in the eighteenth century?

What changed in New England life and culture?

Natural Increase and Land Distribution

Farms, Fish, and Atlantic Trade

What spurred the growth of the middle colonies?

German and Scots-Irish Immigrants

"God Gives All Things to Industry": Urban and Rural Labor

Why did slavery become the defining feature of the southern colonies?

The Atlantic Slave Trade and the Growth of Slavery

Slave Labor and African American Culture

Tobacco, Rice, and Prosperity

What experiences tended to unify the colonists in British North America during the eighteenth century?

Commerce and Consumption

Religion, Enlightenment, and Revival

Trade and Conflict in the North American Borderlands

Colonial Politics in the British Empire

Conclusion: What was the dual identity of British North American colonists?

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Chapter 5 Study Guide

Chapter 6

The British Empire and the Colonial Crisis 1754–1775

How did the Seven Years’ War lay the groundwork for colonial crisis?

French-British Rivalry in the Ohio Country

The Albany Congress

The War and Its Consequences

Pontiac’s Rebellion and the Proclamation of 1763

Why did the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act draw fierce opposite from colonists?

Grenville’s Sugar Act

The Stamp Act

Resistance Strategies and Crowd Politics

Liberty and Property

Why did British authorities send troops to occupy Boston in the fall of 1768?

The Townshend Duties

Nonconsumption and the Daughters of Liberty

Military Occupation and "Massacre" in Boston

Why did Parliament pass the Coercive Acts in 1774?

The Calm before the Storm

Tea in Boston Harbor

The Coercive Acts

Beyond Boston: Rural New England

The First Continental Congress

How did enslaved people in the colonies react to the stirrings of revolution?

Lexington and Concord

Rebelling against Slavery

Conclusion: What changes did the American colonists want in 1775?

[[√]] LearningCurve bedfordstmartins.com/roarkunderstanding/LC

Chapter 6 Study Guide

Chapter 7

Fighting the American Revolution 1775–1783

Why did Americans wait so long before they declared their independence?

Assuming Political and Military Authority

Pursuing Both War and Peace

Thomas Paine, Abigail Adams, and the Case for Independence

The Declaration of Independence

What initial challenges did the opposing armies face?

The American Military Forces

The British Strategy

Quebec, New York, and New Jersey

What role did the home front play in the war?

Patriotism at the Local Level

The Loyalists

Who Is a Traitor?

Prisoners of War

Financial Instability and Corruption

How were Native Americans and the French involved in the war?

Burgoyne’s Army and the Battle of Saratoga

The War in the West: Indian Country

The French Alliance

Why did the British southern strategy ultimately fail?

Georgia and South Carolina

Treason and Guerrilla Warfare

Surrender at Yorktown

The Losers and the Winners

Conclusion: Why did the British lose the American Revolution?

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Chapter 7 Study Guide

Chapter 8

Building a Republic 1775–1789

What kind of government did the Articles of Confederation create?

Confederation and Taxation

The Problem of Western Lands

Running the New Government

How did the states define citizenship and freedom?

The State Constitutions

Who Are "the People"?

Equality and Slavery

Why did the Articles of Confederation fail?

The War Debt and the Newburgh Conspiracy

The Treaty of Fort Stanwix

Land Ordinances and the Northwest Territory

The Requisition of 1785 and Shays’s Rebellion, 1786–1787

How did the Constitution change how the nation was governed?

From Annapolis to Philadelphia

The Virginia and New Jersey Plans

Democracy versus Republicanism

What were the objections to ratification of the Constitution?

The Federalists

The Antifederalists

The Big Holdouts: Virginia and New York

Conclusion: What was the "republican remedy"?

[[√]] LearningCurve bedfordstmartins.com/roarkunderstanding/LC

Chapter 8 Study Guide

Chapter 9

Forming the New Nation 1789–1800

What were the sources of political stability in the 1790s?

Washington Inaugurates the Government

The Bill of Rights

The Republican Wife and Mother

What were Hamilton’s economic policies?

Agriculture, Transportation, and Banking

The Public Debt and Taxes

The First Bank of the United States and the Report on Manufactures

The Whiskey Rebellion

What external threats did the United States face in the 1790s?

Creeks in the Southwest

Ohio Indians in the Northwest

France and Britain

The Haitian Revolution

How did partisan rivalries shape the politics of the late 1790s?

The Election of 1796

The XYZ Affair

The Alien and Sedition Acts

Conclusion: Why did the new nation ultimately form political parties?

[[√]] LearningCurve bedfordstmartins.com/roarkunderstanding/LC

Chapter 9 Study Guide

Chapter 10

A Maturing Republic 1800–1824

How did Jefferson attempt to undo the Federalist innovations of earlier administrations?

Turbulent Times: Election and Rebellion

The Jeffersonian Vision of Republican Simplicity

Dangers Overseas: The Barbary Wars

What was the significance of the Louisiana Purchase for the United States?

The Louisiana Purchase

The Lewis and Clark Expedition

Osage and Comanche Indians

Why did Congress declare war on Great Britain in 1812?

Impressment and Embargo

Dolley Madison and Social Politics

Tecumseh and Tippecanoe

The War of 1812

Washington City Burns: The British Offensive

How did the civil status of American women and men differ in the early Republic?

Women and the Law

Women and Church Governance

Female Education

Why did partisan conflict increase during the administrations of Monroe and Adams?

From Property to Democracy

The Missouri Compromise

The Monroe Doctrine

The Election of 1824

The Adams Administration

Conclusion: How did republican simplicity become complex?

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Chapter 10 Study Guide

Chapter 11

The Expanding Republic 1815–1840

Why did the United States experience a market revolution after 1815?

Improvements in Transportation

Factories, Workingwomen, and Wage Labor

Bankers and Lawyers

Booms and Busts

Why did Andrew Jackson defeat John Quincy Adams so dramatically in the 1828 election?

Popular Politics and Partisan Identity

The Election of 1828 and the Character Issue

Jackson’s Democratic Agenda

What was Andrew Jackson’s impact on the presidency?

Indian Policy and the Trail of Tears

The Tariff of Abominations and Nullification

The Bank War and Economic Boom

How did social and cultural life change in the 1830s?

The Family and Separate Spheres

The Education and Training of Youths

The Second Great Awakening

The Temperance Movement and the Campaign for Moral Reform

Organizing against Slavery

Why was Martin Van Buren a one-term president?

The Politics of Slavery

Election and Panics

Conclusion: The Age of Jackson or the era of reform?

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Chapter 11 Study Guide

Chapter 12

The New West and the Free North 1840–1860

What factors contributed to the United States’ "industrial evolution"?

Agriculture and Land Policy

Manufacturing and Mechanization

Railroads: Breaking the Bonds of Nature

How did the free-labor ideal account for economic inequality?

The Free-Labor Ideal

Economic Inequality

Immigrants and the Free-Labor Ladder

What factors spurred westward expansion?

Manifest Destiny

Oregon and the Overland Trail

The Mormon Exodus

The Mexican Borderlands

Why did the United States go to war with Mexico?

The Politics of Expansion

The Mexican-American War, 1846–1848

Victory in Mexico

Golden California

How did reform movements change after 1840?

The Pursuit of Perfection: Transcendentalists and Utopians

Woman’s Rights Activists

Abolitionists and the American Ideal

Conclusion: How was white freedom in the West and North defined?

[[√]] LearningCurve bedfordstmartins.com/roarkunderstanding/LC

Chapter 12 Study Guide

Chapter 13

Understanding the Slave South, 1820–1860

Why did the South become so distinctly different from the North?

Cotton Kingdom, Slave Empire

The South in Black and White

The Plantation Economy

What was plantation life like for masters and mistresses?

Paternalism and Male Honor

The Southern Lady and Feminine Virtues

What was plantation life like for slaves?


Family and Religion

Resistance and Rebellion

How did nonslaveholding southern whites work and live?

Plantation-Belt Yeomen

Upcountry Yeomen

Poor Whites

The Culture of the Plain Folk

What place did free blacks occupy in the South?

Precarious Freedom

Achievement despite Restrictions

How did slavery shape southern politics?

The Democratization of the Political Arena

Planter Power

Conclusion: How did slavery come to define the South?

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Chapter 13 Study Guide

Chapter 14

The House Divided, 1846–1861

Why did the acquisition of land from Mexico contribute to sectional tensions?

The Wilmot Proviso and the Expansion of Slavery

The Election of 1848

Debate and Compromise

What factors helped unravel the balance between slave and free states?

The Fugitive Slave Act

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

The Kansas-Nebraska Act

How did the party system change in the 1850s?

The Old Parties: Whigs and Democrats

The New Parties: Know-Nothings and Republicans

The Election of 1856

Why did northern fear of the "Slave Power" intensify in the 1850s?

"Bleeding Kansas"

The Dred Scott Decision

Prairie Republican: Abraham Lincoln

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

Why did some southern states secede immediately after Lincoln’s election?

The Aftermath of John Brown’s Raid

Republican Victory in 1860

Secession Winter

Conclusion: Why did political compromise fail?

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Chapter 14 Study Guide

Chapter 15

The Crucible of War, 1861–1865

Why did both the Union and the Confederacy consider control of the border states crucial?

Attack on Fort Sumter

The Upper South Chooses Sides

Why did each side expect to win?

How They Expected to Win

Lincoln and Davis Mobilize

How did each side fare in the early years of the war?

Stalemate in the Eastern Theater

Union Victories in the Western Theater

The Atlantic Theater

International Diplomacy

How did the war for union become a fight for black freedom?

From Slaves to Contraband

From Contraband to Free People

The War of Black Liberation

What problems did the Confederacy face at home?

Revolution from Above

Hardship Below

The Disintegration of Slavery

How did the war affect the economy and politics of the North?

The Government and the Economy

Women and Work at Home and at War

Politics and Dissent

How did the Union finally win the war?

Vicksburg and Gettysburg

Grant Takes Command

The Election of 1864

The Confederacy Collapses

Conclusion: In what ways was the Civil War a "Second American Revolution"?

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Chapter 15 Study Guide

Chapter 16

Reconstructing a Nation 1863–1877

Why did Congress object to Lincoln’s wartime plan for reconstruction?

"To Bind Up the Nation’s Wounds"

Land and Labor

The African American Quest for Autonomy

How did the North respond to the passage of black codes in the southern states?

Johnson’s Program of Reconciliation

White Southern Resistance and Black Codes

Expansion of Federal Authority and Black Rights

How radical was congressional reconstruction?

The Fourteenth Amendment and Escalating Violence

Radical Reconstruction and Military Rule

Impeaching a President

The Fifteenth Amendment and Women’s Demands

What brought the elements of the South’s Republican coalition together?

Freedmen, Yankees, and Yeomen

Republican Rule

White Landlords, Black Sharecroppers

Why did reconstruction collapse?

Grant’s Troubled Presidency

Northern Resolve Withers

White Supremacy Triumphs

An Election and a Compromise

Conclusion: Was reconstruction "a revolution but half accomplished"?

[[√]] LearningCurve bedfordstmartins.com/roarkunderstanding/LC

Chapter 16 Study Guide

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