The Boisterous Sea of Liberty: A Documentary History of America from Discovery through the Civil War

Synopsis

Drawing on a gold mine of primary documents--including letters, diary entries, personal narratives, political speeches, broadsides, trial transcripts, and contemporary newspaper articles--The Boisterous Sea of Liberty brings the past to life in a way few histories ever do. Here is a panoramic look at American history from the voyages of Columbus through the bloody Civil War, as captured in the words of Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe and many other historical figures, both famous and obscure. In these pieces, the living voices of the past speak to us from opposing viewpoints--from the vantage point of loyalists as well as patriots, slaves as well as masters--providing a more sophisticated understanding of the forces that have shaped our society, from the power of public opinion to the nearly absolute power of the slaveholder. For instance, on the issue of race, we find first-hand accounts of oppression suffered by Indians and slaves; the antislavery argument made before the Supreme Court by John Quincy Adams; the writings of Frederick Douglass and other abolitionists; and the bitter response of Southern politicians--all to give a richer portrait of this complex issue. Likewise, documents collected here provide a fuller understanding of such historical issues as Columbus's dealings with Native Americans, the Stamp Act Crisis, the Declaration of Independence, the Whiskey Rebellion, the Missouri Crisis, the Mexican War, and Harpers Ferry, to name but a few. Compiled by Pulitzer Prize winning historian David Brion Davis and Steven Mintz, and accompanied by extensive illustrations of original documents, The Boisterous Sea of Liberty brings the reader back in time, to meet the men and women who lived through the momentous events that shaped our nation.

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