By Philip Jenkins
This established introductory text provides a lucid, authoritative account of the process American background, discussing political, social, fiscal and cultural advancements. during this revised and updated new version, Jenkins reports the 2008 presidential election, the industrial drawback and up to date environmental issues.
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Extra resources for A History of the United States (Palgrave Essential Histories)
The symbolism of England and its monarchy sufficed for much of colonial history, and did not need to be transformed too massively to accommodate the needs of a new nation, with the elevation of a hero president to near-kingly status. This was equally true in religious matters, where an established church was succeeded by a number of independent but none the less militantly Protestant denominations. The coming of new ethnic and religious groups complicated this matter. As a consequence the United States has tended to emphasize notions of overarching patriotism and national destiny that appear excessive to European eyes, most strikingly devotion to the flag as a Page xviii much displayed national symbol.
In exchange, even the best-intentioned left a disastrous legacy in the form of European diseases that decimated native populations long before there was any systematic policy of ‘Indian removal’. This process was accelerated by famine resulting from the destruction of familiar environments and (from the eighteenth century) the spread of liquor. The effects of disease, war and environmental collapse were harrowing. In California the Indian population was probably around 300 000 in 1750, but less than 50 000 by the 1860s.
These people left their mark on the landscape in the form of tombs with elaborate grave goods, and public ritual structures that would have been quite familiar to the ancient Europeans who built Stonehenge and megalithic monuments. The most impressive are the extensive mound sites, which can be seen as humbler versions of the pyramid temples of Central America, and some great earthwork complexes and geometric enclosures. The Moundsville Complex of West Virginia and the Serpent Mound of Ohio are among the finest surviving remnants of this cultural flowering.