The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States

Gordon S. Wood, Author
Gordon. S. Wood, Penguin Press, $29.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-59420-290-2
Reviewed on: 02/21/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Compact Disc - 978-0-14-242939-6
Paperback - 385 pages
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-101-52625-5
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-101-50574-8
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-101-51514-3
Hardcover - 542 pages - 978-1-61173-162-0
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Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Wood challenges the popular view that the war for American independence was fought for practical and economic reasons, like unfair taxation. In this exceptional collection of essays (some previously published and others originating as lectures) he argues brilliantly to the contrary, that the Revolution was indeed fought over principles, such as liberty, republicanism, and equality. As he points out, Americans believed they alone had the virtues republicanism requires (such as simplicity and egalitarianism) and thus were supportive but skeptical of revolutions in France and Latin America. When joined to Protestant millennialism, Americans grew to believe that they were God's chosen people, with a mission to lead the world toward liberty and republican government, a view that Wood uses to explain America's continued attempts to create republics in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a remarkable study of the key chapter of American history and its ongoing influence on American character. (May)
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