This volume offers students and teachers a unique view of American history prior to the Civil War. Distinguished historian David Brion Davis has chosen a diverse array of primary sources that show the actual concerns, hopes, fears, and understandings of ordinary antebellum Americans. He places these sources within a clear interpretive narrative that brings the documents to life and highlights themes that social and cultural historians have called to our attention in recent years. Beginning with the family and the issue of socialization and influence, the units move on to struggles over access to wealth and power: the plight of outsiders in an open society: and ideals of progress, perfection, and mission. The reader of this volume hears a great diversity of voices but also grasps the unities that survived even the Civil War.
David Brion Davis is Sterling Professor of History at Yale University. He has won many awards for his work, including the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 1967, the Beveridge Award in 1975, the National Book Award in history and biography in 1976, and the Bancroft Prize in 1976. He is the author of many books, most recently, Revolutions: Reflections on American Equality and Foreign Liberations (1990).