Penned by leading historians, the specially-commissioned essays of Whither the Early Republic represent the most stimulating and innovative work being done on imperialism, environmental history, slavery, economic history, politics, and culture in the early Republic.
The past fifteen years have seen a dramatic expansion in the scope of scholarship on the history of the early American republic. Whither the Early Republic consists of innovative essays on all aspects of the culture and society of this period, including Indians and empire, the economy and the environment, slavery and culture, and gender and urban life. Penned by leading historians, the essays are arranged thematically to reflect areas of change and growth in the field.
Throughout the book, preeminent scholars act as guides for students to their areas of expertise. Contributors include Pulitzer Prize-winner Alan Taylor, Bancroft Prize-winner James Brooks, Christopher Clark, Ted Steinberg, Walter Johnson, Patricia Cline Cohen, David Waldstreicher, and more. These essays, all originally commissioned to appear in a special issue of the Journal of the Early Republic, explore a diverse array of subjects: the struggles for control of North America; the economic culture of the early Republic; the interactions of humans with plants, climate, animals, and germs; the commodification of people; and the complex intersections of politics and culture.
Whither the Early Republic offers a wealth of tools for introducing a new generation of historians to the nature of the field and also to the wide array of possibilities that lie in the future for scholars of this fascinating period.
Introduction: What Is This Book?
PART I. CONTINENTAL POSSESSIONS
1. Continental Possessions—Three Deepening Trends
2. Whither the Rest of the Continent?
—Elizabeth A. Fenn
3. Continental Drifts
—James F. Brooks
4. Continental Crossings
PART II. PURSUING HAPPINESS
5. Liberal America/Christian America: Another Conflict or Consensus?
6. The View from the Farmhouse: Rural Lives in the Early Republic
7. The Limits of Homo Economicus: An Appraisal of Early American Entrepreneurship
—Barbara M. Tucker and Kenneth H. Tucker, Jr.
8. Economic Landscapes Yet to be Discovered: The Early American Republic and Historians' Unsubtle Adoption of Political Economy
—James L. Huston
PART III. INTERACTIVE LANDSCAPES
9. Environmental Stewardship and Decline in Old New England
10. Re-Greening the South and Southernizing the Rest
—Mart A. Stewart
11. Mudslides Make Good History
—Conevery Bolton Valencius
12. Down, Down, Down, No More: Environmental History Moves Beyond Declension
PART IV. COMMODIFICATION OF PEOPLE
13. The Vexed Story of Human Commodification Told by Benjamin Franklin and Venture Smith
14. Wages, Sin, and Slavery: Some Thoughts on Free Will and Commodity Relations
—Amy Dru Stanley
15. Commodified Freedom: Interrogating the Limits of Anti-Slavery Ideology
in the Early Republic
16. The Pedestal and the Veil: Rethinking the Capitalism/Slavery Question
PART V. PUBLIC, PRIVATE, AND SPIRIT WORLDS
17. Sex and Sexuality: The Public, the Private, and the Spirit Worlds
—Patricia Cline Cohen
18. Space in the Early American City
19. A History of all Religions
—Leigh E. Schmidt
20. Questions, Suspicions, Speculations
—David S. Shields
Afterword: The Quest for Universal Understanding
"Succeeds at challenging students, researchers, and teachers to ponder the future of the field."—Journal of Southern History