The Story of American Freedom

The Story of American Freedom
Author: Eric Foner
Publsiher: W. W. Norton & Company
Total Pages: 422
Release: 1999
Genre: History
ISBN: 0393319628

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Chronicles the history of America's pursuit of liberty, tracing the struggles among freed slaves, union organizers, women rights advocates, and other groups to widen freedom's promise

The Two Faces of American Freedom

The Two Faces of American Freedom
Author: Aziz Rana
Publsiher: Harvard University Press
Total Pages: 427
Release: 2011-01-15
Genre: History
ISBN: 9780674058965

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This is a sweeping new interpretation of the national experience, reconceiving key political events from the Revolution to the New Deal. Rana begins by emphasizing that the national founding was first and foremost an experiment in settler colonization. For American settlers, internal self-government involved a unique vision of freedom, which combined direct political participation with economic independence. However, this independence was based on ideas of extensive land ownership which helped to sustain both territorial conquest and the subordination of slaves and native peoples. At the close of the nineteenth century, emerging social movements struggled to liberate the potential of self-rule from these oppressive and exclusionary features. These efforts ultimately collapsed, in large part because white settlers failed to conceive of liberty as a truly universal aspiration. The consequence was the rise of new modes of political authority that presented national and economic security as society’s guiding commitments. Rana contends that the challenge for today’s reformers is to recover a robust notion of independence and participation from the settler experience while finally making it universal.

Forever Free

Forever Free
Author: Eric Foner
Publsiher: Vintage
Total Pages: 304
Release: 2013-06-26
Genre: History
ISBN: 9780307834584

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From one of our most distinguished historians, a new examination of the vitally important years of Emancipation and Reconstruction during and immediately following the Civil War–a necessary reconsideration that emphasizes the era’s political and cultural meaning for today’s America. In Forever Free, Eric Foner overturns numerous assumptions growing out of the traditional understanding of the period, which is based almost exclusively on white sources and shaped by (often unconscious) racism. He presents the period as a time of determination, especially on the part of recently emancipated black Americans, to put into effect the principles of equal rights and citizenship for all. Drawing on a wide range of long-neglected documents, he places a new emphasis on the centrality of the black experience to an understanding of the era. We see African Americans as active agents in overthrowing slavery, in helping win the Civil War, and–even more actively–in shaping Reconstruction and creating a legacy long obscured and misunderstood. Foner makes clear how, by war’s end, freed slaves in the South built on networks of church and family in order to exercise their right of suffrage as well as gain access to education, land, and employment. He shows us that the birth of the Ku Klux Klan and renewed acts of racial violence were retaliation for the progress made by blacks soon after the war. He refutes lingering misconceptions about Reconstruction, including the attribution of its ills to corrupt African American politicians and “carpetbaggers,” and connects it to the movements for civil rights and racial justice. Joshua Brown’s illustrated commentary on the era’s graphic art and photographs complements the narrative. He offers a unique portrait of how Americans envisioned their world and time. Forever Free is an essential contribution to our understanding of the events that fundamentally reshaped American life after the Civil War–a persuasive reading of history that transforms our sense of the era from a time of failure and despair to a threshold of hope and achievement.

The Thirteenth Amendment and American Freedom

The Thirteenth Amendment and American Freedom
Author: Alexander Tsesis
Publsiher: NYU Press
Total Pages: 229
Release: 2004-12-12
Genre: Law
ISBN: 9780814783399

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In this narrative history and contextual analysis of the Thirteenth Amendment, slavery and freedom take center stage. Alexander Tsesis demonstrates how entrenched slavery was in pre-Civil War America, how central it was to the political events that resulted in the Civil War, and how it was the driving force that led to the adoption of an amendment that ultimately provided a substantive assurance of freedom for all American citizens. The story of how Supreme Court justices have interpreted the Thirteenth Amendment, first through racist lenses after Reconstruction and later influenced by the modern civil rights movement, provides insight into the tremendous impact the Thirteenth Amendment has had on the Constitution and American culture. Importantly, Tsesis also explains why the Thirteenth Amendment is essential to contemporary America, offering fresh analysis on the role the Amendment has played regarding civil rights legislation and personal liberty case decisions, and an original explanation of the substantive guarantees of freedom for today's society that the Reconstruction Congress envisioned over a century ago.

Revolution Song

Revolution Song
Author: Russell Shorto
Publsiher: W. W. Norton
Total Pages: 512
Release: 2017-11-07
Genre: Electronic Book
ISBN: 0393245543

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With America's founding principles being debated today as never before, Russell Shorto looks back to the era in which those principles were forged. Drawing on new sources, he weaves the lives of six people into a seamless narrative that casts fresh light on the range of experience in colonial America on the cusp of revolution. While some of the protagonists--a Native American warrior, a British aristocrat, George Washington--play major roles on the field of battle, others--a woman, a slave, and a laborer--struggle no less valiantly to realize freedom for themselves. Through these lives we understand that the Revolution was, indeed, fought over the meaning of individual freedom, a philosophical idea that became a force for violent change. A powerful narrative and a brilliant defense of American values, Revolution Song makes the compelling case that the American Revolution is still being fought today and that its ideals are worth defending.

Reckoning with History

Reckoning with History
Author: Jim Downs,Erica Armstrong Dunbar,T. K. Hunter,Timothy Patrick McCarthy
Publsiher: Columbia University Press
Total Pages: 135
Release: 2021-08-03
Genre: History
ISBN: 9780231549875

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Reckoning with History brings together original essays from a diverse group of historians who consider how writing about the past can engage with the urgent issues of the present. The contributors—all former students of the distinguished Columbia University historian Eric Foner—explore the uses and politics of history through key episodes across a wide range of struggles for freedom. They shed new light on how different groups have defined and fought for freedom throughout American history, as well as the ways in which the ideal of freedom remains unrealized today. Covering a broad range of topics, these essays offer insight into how historians practice their craft in different ways and illuminate what it means to be a socially and politically engaged historian.

Revolution Song The Story of America s Founding in Six Remarkable Lives

Revolution Song  The Story of America s Founding in Six Remarkable Lives
Author: Russell Shorto
Publsiher: W. W. Norton & Company
Total Pages: 512
Release: 2017-11-07
Genre: History
ISBN: 9780393245554

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“An engaging piece of historical detective work and narrative craft.” —Chicago Tribune At a time when America’s founding principles are being debated as never before, Russell Shorto looks back to the era in which those principles were forged. In Revolution Song, Shorto weaves the lives of six people into a seamless narrative that casts fresh light on the range of experience in colonial America on the cusp of revolution. The result is a brilliant defense of American values with a compelling message: the American Revolution is still being fought today, and its ideals are worth defending.

The Second Founding How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution

The Second Founding  How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution
Author: Eric Foner
Publsiher: W. W. Norton & Company
Total Pages: 288
Release: 2019-09-17
Genre: History
ISBN: 9780393652581

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From the Pulitzer Prize–winning scholar, a timely history of the constitutional changes that built equality into the nation’s foundation and how those guarantees have been shaken over time. The Declaration of Independence announced equality as an American ideal, but it took the Civil War and the subsequent adoption of three constitutional amendments to establish that ideal as American law. The Reconstruction amendments abolished slavery, guaranteed all persons due process and equal protection of the law, and equipped black men with the right to vote. They established the principle of birthright citizenship and guaranteed the privileges and immunities of all citizens. The federal government, not the states, was charged with enforcement, reversing the priority of the original Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In grafting the principle of equality onto the Constitution, these revolutionary changes marked the second founding of the United States. Eric Foner’s compact, insightful history traces the arc of these pivotal amendments from their dramatic origins in pre–Civil War mass meetings of African-American “colored citizens” and in Republican party politics to their virtual nullification in the late nineteenth century. A series of momentous decisions by the Supreme Court narrowed the rights guaranteed in the amendments, while the states actively undermined them. The Jim Crow system was the result. Again today there are serious political challenges to birthright citizenship, voting rights, due process, and equal protection of the law. Like all great works of history, this one informs our understanding of the present as well as the past: knowledge and vigilance are always necessary to secure our basic rights.

Anticommunism and the African American Freedom Movement

Anticommunism and the African American Freedom Movement
Author: R. Lieberman,C. Lang
Publsiher: Springer
Total Pages: 251
Release: 2009-04-27
Genre: History
ISBN: 9780230620742

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This collection of essays looks at the impact of anticommunism on black political culture during the early years of the Cold War, with an eye toward local and individual stories that offer insight into larger national and international issues.

Policing the Open Road

Policing the Open Road
Author: Sarah A. Seo
Publsiher: Unknown
Total Pages: 352
Release: 2019
Genre: History
ISBN: 9780674980860

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Policing the Open Road examines how the rise of the car, that symbol of American personal freedom, inadvertently led to ever more intrusive policing--with disastrous consequences for racial equality in our criminal justice system. When Americans think of freedom, they often picture the open road. Yet nowhere are we more likely to encounter the long arm of the law than in our cars. Sarah Seo reveals how the rise of the automobile transformed American freedom in radical ways, leading us to accept--and expect--pervasive police power. As Policing the Open Road makes clear, this expectation has had far-reaching political and legal consequences.--

American Slavery American Freedom

American Slavery  American Freedom
Author: Edmund S. Morgan
Publsiher: W. W. Norton & Company
Total Pages: 464
Release: 2003-10-17
Genre: History
ISBN: 9780393347517

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"Thoughtful, suggestive and highly readable."—New York Times Book Review In the American Revolution, Virginians were the most eloquent spokesmen for freedom and quality. George Washington led the Americans in battle against British oppression. Thomas Jefferson led them in declaring independence. Virginians drafted not only the Declaration but also the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; they were elected to the presidency of the United States under that Constitution for thirty-two of the first thirty-six years of its existence. They were all slaveholders. In the new preface Edmund S. Morgan writes: "Human relations among us still suffer from the former enslavement of a large portion of our predecessors. The freedom of the free, the growth of freedom experienced in the American Revolution depended more than we like to admit on the enslavement of more than 20 percent of us at that time. How republican freedom came to be supported, at least in large part, by its opposite, slavery, is the subject of this book. American Slavery, American Freedom is a study of the tragic contradiction at the core of America. Morgan finds the keys to this central paradox, "the marriage of slavery and freedom," in the people and the politics of the state that was both the birthplace of the Revolution and the largest slaveholding state in the country.

Gateway to Freedom The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad

Gateway to Freedom  The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad
Author: Eric Foner
Publsiher: W. W. Norton & Company
Total Pages: 320
Release: 2015-01-19
Genre: History
ISBN: 9780393244380

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The dramatic story of fugitive slaves and the antislavery activists who defied the law to help them reach freedom. More than any other scholar, Eric Foner has influenced our understanding of America's history. Now, making brilliant use of extraordinary evidence, the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian once again reconfigures the national saga of American slavery and freedom. A deeply entrenched institution, slavery lived on legally and commercially even in the northern states that had abolished it after the American Revolution. Slaves could be found in the streets of New York well after abolition, traveling with owners doing business with the city's major banks, merchants, and manufacturers. New York was also home to the North’s largest free black community, making it a magnet for fugitive slaves seeking refuge. Slave catchers and gangs of kidnappers roamed the city, seizing free blacks, often children, and sending them south to slavery. To protect fugitives and fight kidnappings, the city's free blacks worked with white abolitionists to organize the New York Vigilance Committee in 1835. In the 1840s vigilance committees proliferated throughout the North and began collaborating to dispatch fugitive slaves from the upper South, Washington, and Baltimore, through Philadelphia and New York, to Albany, Syracuse, and Canada. These networks of antislavery resistance, centered on New York City, became known as the underground railroad. Forced to operate in secrecy by hostile laws, courts, and politicians, the city’s underground-railroad agents helped more than 3,000 fugitive slaves reach freedom between 1830 and 1860. Until now, their stories have remained largely unknown, their significance little understood. Building on fresh evidence—including a detailed record of slave escapes secretly kept by Sydney Howard Gay, one of the key organizers in New York—Foner elevates the underground railroad from folklore to sweeping history. The story is inspiring—full of memorable characters making their first appearance on the historical stage—and significant—the controversy over fugitive slaves inflamed the sectional crisis of the 1850s. It eventually took a civil war to destroy American slavery, but here at last is the story of the courageous effort to fight slavery by "practical abolition," person by person, family by family.

African Founders

African Founders
Author: David Hackett Fischer
Publsiher: Simon and Schuster
Total Pages: 960
Release: 2022-05-31
Genre: History
ISBN: 9781982145118

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In this sweeping, foundational work, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David Hackett Fischer draws on extensive research to show how enslaved Africans and their descendants enlarged American ideas of freedom in varying ways in different regions of the early United States. African Founders explores the little-known history of how enslaved people from different regions of Africa interacted with colonists of European origins to create new regional cultures in the colonial United States. The Africans brought with them linguistic skills, novel techniques of animal husbandry and farming, and generations-old ethical principles, among other attributes. This startling history reveals how much our country was shaped by these African influences in its early years, producing a new, distinctly American culture. Drawing on decades of research, some of it in western Africa, Fischer recreates the diverse regional life that shaped the early American republic. He shows that there were varieties of slavery in America and varieties of new American culture, from Puritan New England to Dutch New York, Quaker Pennsylvania, cavalier Virginia, coastal Carolina, and Louisiana and Texas. This landmark work of history will transform our understanding of America’s origins.

The Zealot and the Emancipator

The Zealot and the Emancipator
Author: H. W. Brands
Publsiher: Anchor
Total Pages: 480
Release: 2021-10
Genre: Abolitionists
ISBN: 9780525563457

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"What do moral people do when democracy countenances evil? The question, implicit in the idea that people can govern themselves, came to a head in America at the middle of the nineteenth century, in the struggle over slavery. John Brown's answer was violence--violence of a sort some in later generations would call terrorism. Brown was a deeply religious man who heard the God of the Old Testament speaking to him, telling him to do whatever was necessary to destroy slavery. When Congress opened Kansas territory to slavery, the eerily charismatic Brown raised a band of followers to wage war against the evil institution. One dark night his men tore several proslavery settlers from their homes and hacked them to death with broadswords, as a bloody warning to others. Three years later Brown and his men assaulted the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, with the goal of furnishing slaves with weapons to murder their masters in a race war that would cleanse the nation of slavery once and for all. Abraham Lincoln's answer was politics. Lincoln was an ambitious lawyer and former office-holder who read the Bible not for moral guidance but as a writer's primer. He disliked slavery yet didn't consider it worth shedding blood over. He distanced himself from John Brown and joined the moderate wing of the new, antislavery Republican party. He spoke cautiously and dreamed big, plotting his path to Washington and perhaps the White House. Yet Lincoln's caution couldn't preserve him from the vortex of violence Brown set in motion. Arrested and sentenced to death, Brown comported himself with such conviction and dignity on the way to the gallows that he was canonized in the North as a martyr to liberty. Southerners responded in anger and horror that a terrorist was made into a saint. Lincoln shrewdly threaded the needle of the fracturing country and won election as president, still preaching moderation. But the time for moderation had passed. Slaveholders lumped Lincoln with Brown as an enemy of the Southern way of life; seven Southern states left the Union. Lincoln resisted secession, and the Civil War followed. At first a war for the Union, it became the war against slavery Brown had attempted to start. Before it was over, slavery had been destroyed, but so had Lincoln's faith that democracy can resolve its moral crises peacefully"--

Who Owns History

Who Owns History
Author: Eric Foner
Publsiher: Hill and Wang
Total Pages: 256
Release: 2003-04-16
Genre: History
ISBN: 142992392X

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A thought-provoking new book from one of America's finest historians "History," wrote James Baldwin, "does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do." Rarely has Baldwin's insight been more forcefully confirmed than during the past few decades. History has become a matter of public controversy, as Americans clash over such things as museum presentations, the flying of the Confederate flag, or reparations for slavery. So whose history is being written? Who owns it? In Who Owns History?, Eric Foner proposes his answer to these and other questions about the historian's relationship to the world of the past and future. He reconsiders his own earlier ideas and those of the pathbreaking Richard Hofstadter. He also examines international changes during the past two decades--globalization, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of apartheid in South Africa--and their effects on historical consciousness. He concludes with considerations of the enduring, but often misunderstood, legacies of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. This is a provocative, even controversial, study of the reasons we care about history--or should.