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By Philip Jenkins

This established introductory text provides a lucid, authoritative account of the process American heritage, discussing political, social, monetary and cultural advancements. during this revised and updated new variation, Jenkins stories the 2008 presidential election, the commercial concern and up to date environmental issues.  

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Extra resources for A History of the United States (Palgrave Essential Histories)

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The question should perhaps not be why civil war came in 1861, but how unity was achieved in the first place, and maintained unbroken for decades afterwards? Different regions produced their own distinct cultures, the exact nature of which has given rise to much debate. The question of ‘Southern-ness’ has been a popular topic for such works, though the very term betrays the prejudice that it is the south that is untypical from an American or even world norm. In fact one could equally well argue that it was rather the north of the early nineteenth century that produced a set of cultural and intellectual assumptions that were bizarre by the standards of the contemporary Western world, while the aristocratic, rural and deferential south was a much more ‘normal’ entity than its egalitarian, urban and evangelical neighbours.

This situation offered rare opportunities for those who feared official control. Throughout its history there have been groups who have escaped an impossible political situation by internal emigration, usually to the fringes of settled land. This was the course taken for instance by dissident Puritans in the 1630s, by North Carolina vigilantes in the 1770s, by Mormons in the 1840s. Others have created utopian colonies in the wilderness, where governments have had neither the power nor, usually, the will to reach them.

As we will see, in the nineteenth century both eastern cities and the southern countryside were at least as subject to the rule of the gun as the cattletowns and mining camps of the far west. The fact that the United States became and remained a nation means that we tend to speak of ‘regions’ and regionalism, when those component units were often larger than the most substantial nations elsewhere in the world. Today the one state of California possesses an economy that would make it the sixth power in the world, were it to gain political independence.

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