What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 (Oxford History of the United States)

What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 (Oxford History of the United States)

Daniel Walker Howe

Language: English

Pages: 1203

ISBN: 0195392434

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The Oxford History of the United States is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. In this Pulitzer prize-winning, critically acclaimed addition to the series, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the United States expanded to the Pacific and won control over the richest part of the North American continent.

A panoramic narrative, What Hath God Wrought portrays revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated the extension of the American empire. Railroads, canals, newspapers, and the telegraph dramatically lowered travel times and spurred the spread of information. These innovations prompted the emergence of mass political parties and stimulated America's economic development from an overwhelmingly rural country to a diversified economy in which commerce and industry took their place alongside agriculture. In his story, the author weaves together political and military events with social, economic, and cultural history. Howe examines the rise of Andrew Jackson and his Democratic party, but contends that John Quincy Adams and other Whigs—advocates of public education and economic integration, defenders of the rights of Indians, women, and African-Americans—were the true prophets of America's future. In addition, Howe reveals the power of religion to shape many aspects of American life during this period, including slavery and antislavery, women's rights and other reform movements, politics, education, and literature. Howe's story of American expansion culminates in the bitterly controversial but brilliantly executed war waged against Mexico to gain California and Texas for the United States.

Winner of the New-York Historical Society American History Book Prize

Finalist, 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction

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effectively preventing conscientious observers of the Sabbath from working for the Post Office. The sabbatarians mounted concerted campaigns to change postal rules in 1810–17 and again in 1827–31; antisabbatarians rallied to oppose them. With the communications revolution, it became possible to wage a nationwide contest over public opinion. Both sides used the mails to enlist support for their view on how the mails should be treated; the debate proved a training ground for organizing grassroots

may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union, on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original lustre, not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a single star obscured,

individual right of revolution. On the whole, Thoreau seems less concerned with disobedience as a reform tactic than as a demonstration of the moral integrity of the protester. When human law conflicted with the dictates of conscience, he did not doubt which should prevail.24 Confident that the intuitions of conscience put everyone in touch with the same immutable moral law, neither Thoreau nor the other Transcendentalists worried about the possibility of conflicting moral principles. The Concord

Throughout his negotiations concerning Oregon, President Polk played a double game. While seeming to demand all of the Oregon country for the United States, in reality he revealed a willingness to compromise, provided he could get most of the core disputed triangle. A peaceful settlement with Britain over Oregon would ensure that she would not come to Mexico’s aid when he forced a showdown with that country over California. John Tyler, who had concluded the Webster-Ashburton Treaty to smooth the

puros, left-wing populists, denounced his temporizing with foreign aggressors. Herrera’s moderate foreign secretary, Manuel de la Peña y Peña, told his chief that although justice called for resistance to U.S. demands, their country’s weakness counseled concession.91 But the political left and right agreed in repudiating any willingness to negotiate with the insulting yanquis. Herrera fell from power before the end of the year without having received Slidell. Mariano Paredes, a centralista and a

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