Even by the Oxford History of the United States standards, What Hath God Wrought is an impressive work of history Howe covers the period between the War of 1812 and the Mexican War, thirty three years in which America experienced its most pronounced growing pains, transforming from a small, struggling, largely agrarian country ruled by elites to a continental power, increasingly urban and industrialized, tentatively democratic and riven, as ever, with political discord Howe, who s written previous works on the Whig Party and 19th Century evangelical movements, certainly allows those fields of study to influence his narrative he praises Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams and other Whig leaders as the true visionaries of America, with their emphasis on national development and social betterment, while demoting Andrew Jackson to an autocratic, racist rabble rouser Imagine a vegetable that tastes pretty good maybe you can do this, I can t You eat this pretty good tasting vegetable and feel both satisfied and healthy Such was my experience reading What Hath God Wrought The title comes from Samuel F.
B Morris s famous line which he sent over the telegraph as author Daniel Howe points out, the line was not in the form of a question This is a doorstop of a book, at 860 pages of text It s part of the well received Oxford History of the United States, of which I ve only read MacPherson s Battle Cry of Freedom It s a history of the US from 1815 the battle of New Orleans and the end of the War of 1812 to 1848 the end of the Mexican American War The book is informative, lucidly written, and briskly paced Due to its enormous scope, Howe paints with broad strokes In the first part of the book, Howe argues that this period October 2013 Second reading remarkable entry into the history of the time, full of details, synthesis and well considered opinion.
I took a seminar with Howe and it was the finest classroom experience I have ever had He is a wise and good man The book provides a remarkable overview of the time between 1815 and 1848 Central to Howe s argument are the changes made to transport and communications that hastened all the other changes to American life during the time period The America of 1848 had been transformed in many ways by the growth of cities, by the extension of the United States sovereignty across the continent, by increasing ethnic and religious diversity as a result of both immigration and conquest as well as by expanding overseas and national markets, and by the intergration of this vast and varied empire through dram This is the fifth volume in the excellent Oxford History of the United States, and the lengthy description of the book above provides a good overall view of the work there s no real need to repeat all of that here Howe has thoroughly mastered the literature of the period and he writes a compelling account of the nation s development during these critical years Howe s emphasis on the importance of the revolution in transportation and communications during the period seems spot on But in his sanctification of John Quincy Adams and his criticisms of Andrew Jackson, James K Polk and their respective supporters, he seems a bit too willing to read back into the past the values of twenty first century America There is no doubt of the fact that many early Nineteenth century Americans, if not the majority of them, often thought and acted in ways that would now be deemed politically incorrect Very interesting Certainly a different take on the time than Sean Wilentz The Rise of American Democracy The Presidents can be summed up suchly Madison Monroe intentionally opaqueAdams high mindedJackson authoritarianvan Buren political fixerHarrison fatally long windedTyler WiNO Whig in Name Only Polk suspicious, acquisitive paranoid plotterHowe is as nasty to Jackson as Wilentz was sweet President Jackson only comes off well during the Nullification Crisis.
He also devotes a lot of coverage to religion in America very important to an understanding of the time.
This is a true cultural history, not merely a political or economic history as so much of the literature on Jacksonian America is Daniel Walker Howe takes ideas and mediated experience seriously, and he has an especially good ear for religion, which is indispensable to a study of the period s politics as Lee Benson showed many years ago.
Howe is an unabashed admirer of the Whigs In fact, he rejects the term Jacksonian America rightly, in my opinion and even dedicates this book to the memory of John Quincy Adams He pulls no punches in documenting the Jackson Democrats contempt for the rights of women, blacks, foreigners, and Native Americans Neither does he shirk from pointing out Andrew Jackson s self absorption, rejection of the rule of law, and disastrous notions about economics Howe is, though, less attentive to the ideas of some Democratic journalists ô What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 Ç This book covers about thirty three years between the end of the War of 1812 until the aftermath of our war with Mexico, in 1848 These years are sometimes considered by those with shallow historical knowledge to be merely the time which transpired from the early nineteenth century until the beginnings of the Civil War, but in fact it was a time of fundamental change in the country Howe s work is sweeping in scope and minute in detail in its descriptions of the epic political and economic changes of the time, and always authoritative.
The primary driving forces of Howe s narrative are the twin revolutions which occurred in transportation and communications Steam power led to the invention of the locomotive and the beginning of the end of the need for wind to propel ships The Howe takes us through America s transition from a rural nation of family farmers to one in the throes of industrialization, urbanization, the communications and transportation revolution, increasingly diverse immigration, emerging religious plurality, millennialism, the birth of the women s rights movement, powerful political parties and intense divisive politics, ethnic cleansing, imperialism, dependence on king cotton and slavery, and disingenuous self serving presidents By 1848, America had already become a nation the founding fathers could not have envisioned Howe s detailed and comprehensive recounting of US history from 1815 to 1848 digs into the cultural and social issues as well as the economic and political Two themes stood out to me 1 greed as a primary driver of slavery, ethnic
There are Heroes and Villains aplenty here, and Daniel Howe doesn t waffle on who is which He paints Andrew Jackson starkly, as a racist and bully cloaked in a tapestry of manners and custom Yet, as Thomas Hart Benton warned, I tell you, Hayne, when Jackson begins to talk about hanging, they can begin to 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 ContinentA Panoramic [ read Online What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 » romanian-literature PDF ] by Daniel Walker Howe Ò 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 StatesWinner Of The New York Historical Society American History Book PrizeFinalist, National Book Critics Circle Award For NonfictionThe Oxford History Of The United StatesThe Oxford History Of The United States Is The Most Respected Multi Volume History Of Our Nation The Series Includes Three Pulitzer Prize Winners, A New York Times Bestseller, And Winners Of The Bancroft And Parkman Prizes The Atlantic Monthly Has Praised It As The Most Distinguished Series In American Historical Scholarship, A Series That Synthesizes A Generation S Worth Of Historical Inquiry And Knowledge Into One Literally State Of The Art Book Conceived Under The General Editorship Of C Vann Woodward And Richard Hofstadter, And Now Under The Editorship Of David M Kennedy, This Renowned Series Blends Social, Political, Economic, Cultural, Diplomatic, And Military History Into Coherent And Vividly Written Narrative