"The New Nation, 1800-1845"
by John Mayfield
by John Gabree
period between the american Revoloution and the Civil War is lost
to most Americans. Despite the drama of the presidencies o Jefferson
and Jackson, the history of the Republic's early years is overshadowed
by the dramatic events by which it was bracketed.
of the problem is that it is difficult to get a firm handle on the
period. The years between 1800 and 1845 were a time of triumphant
nationalism and virulent sectionalism. It was an age of expansion
(from the Mississippi to the Pacific) but alos of consolidation (marked
by the rise of the large eastern cities). These were the years the
egalitarian principles of Jeffersonian democracy were established,
just as the new aristocracy of wealth was born of the Industrial Revolution.
these years the great humanitarian reform movement flowered, and there
were strenuous efforts to improve education, elevate the status of
women, better the lot of the deaf, dumb and blind, reform the criminals
and free the slaves. At the same time American Negro slavery was becoming
more firmly entrenched and slaveholders grew less willing than ever
to contemplate the end of their 'peculiar institution.'"
John Mayfield's brief survey of the age is ideally suited to the reader
without special knowledge. A cultural historian, he skillfully integrates
developments in American art, architecture, literature and philosophy
with more familiar social and economic transformations. He accepts
and even celebrates the era's contradictions. He notes the "tension
between liberty and authority, between the desire for freedom and
the need for restraint, that developement of American political institutions."
Nation" fills an important gap on the shelves of readers who
want to keep up with current scholarship in a crucial but relatively
overlooked stage in our national development."(1982)
New Nation, 1800-1845 by John Mayfield