THE NEW NATION by Charles M. Wiltse


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This solid book by a biographer of John C. Calhoun is the first of a new 6-volume interpretative history of the United States, The Making of America, designed, according to its publisher, ""to provide a broad picture of the entire course of America's history."" Accordingly, the author writes less of actual events than of their underlying forces and the men who shaped them. He emphasizes Jefferson's insistence on states' rights, the importance of such men as Clay, Calhoun and Lowndes in shaping early American policies, and John Marshall, the Chief Justice whose ""cold intelligence and iron control ... made these United States something better than its parts."" He writes of the War of 1812 and its bungling and ineptitude, which made the new country ""determine to assume a separate and equal station among the powers of the earth,"" and of the Monroe Doctrine, an offshoot of the war. The rise of manufacturing in the North and of slavery in the South, the Missouri Compromise, the Westward movement and Texas, helped divide the country and led not only to the Mexican War of 1846, but to the Civil War; tariffs and abortive political parties were a part of the teeming politics of the day. Here, too, is the sorry story of the Bank of the United States, looted by its own officers and the more inspiring tale of Jackson, ""an authentic liberal,"" who destroyed the bank; here are panics and elections, Daniel Webster and Senator Benton, generals and politicians. An excellent analysis of the political and social background of the United States before 1846, this book will find its chief appeal among historians and scholars, and should form an excellent text and reference book for teachers and students. Armchair historians may find it soporific.

Publisher: Hill and Wang