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The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675by Bernard Bailyn
Bernard Bailyn gives us a compelling account of the first great transit of people from Britain, Europe, and Africa to British North America, their involvements with each other, and their struggles with the indigenous peoples of the eastern seaboard. They were a mixed multitude--from England, the Netherlands, the German and Italian states, France, Africa, Sweden, and Finland. They moved to the western hemisphere for different reasons, from different social backgrounds and cultures, and under different auspices and circumstances. Even the majority that came from England fit no distinct socioeconomic or cultural pattern. They came from all over the realm, from commercialized London and the southeast; from isolated farmlands in the north still close to their medieval origins; from towns in the Midlands, the south, and the west; from dales, fens, grasslands, and wolds. They represented the entire spectrum of religious communions from Counter-Reformation Catholicism to Puritan Calvinism and Quakerism. They came hoping to re-create if not to improve these diverse lifeways in a remote and, to them, barbarous environment. But their stories are mostly of confusion, failure, violence, and the loss of civility as they sought to normalize abnormal situations and recapture lost worlds. And in the process they tore apart the normalities of the people whose world they had invaded. Later generations, reading back into the past the outcomes they knew, often gentrified this passage in the peopling of British North America, but there was nothing genteel about it. Bailyn shows that it was a brutal encounter--brutal not only between the Europeans and native peoples and between Europeans and Africans, but among Europeans themselves. All, in their various ways, struggled for survival with outlandish aliens, rude people, uncultured people, and felt themselves threatened with descent into squalor and savagery. In these vivid stories of individual lives--some new, some familiar but rewritten with new details and contexts--Bailyn gives a fresh account of the history of the British North American population in its earliest, bitterly contested years.
Education presents a far different prospect. The history of American education offers great opportunities for re-study, but not because it has been neglected or because it was strewn with technical abstractions during the early period. Instead, it has suffered at the hands of specialists who, with the development of public education at heart, sought historical arguments to strengthen their "cause."
Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Bernard Bailyn brings us a book that combines portraits of American revolutionaries with a deft exploration of the ideas that moved them and still shape our society today.
In this book, Bailyn discusses the intense, nation-wide debate on the ratification of the Constitution, stressing the continuities between that struggle over the foundations of the national government and the original principles of the Revolution.
The text of three lectures delivered by the author on how pre-Revolutionary politics generated the Revolution.
In this introduction to his large-scale work The Peopling of British North America, Bernard Bailyn identifies central themes in a formative passage of our history: the transatlantic transfer of people from the Old World to the North American continent that formed the basis of American society. Voyagers to the West, which covers the British migration in the years just before the American Revolution and is the first major volume in the Peopling project, is also available from Vintage Books.
With these character sketches of key figures of the American Revolution and illuminating probes of its circumstances, Bernard Bailyn reveals the ambiguities, complexities, and uncertainties of the founding generation as well as their achievements. Using visual documentation--portraits, architecture, allegorical engravings--as well as written sources, Bailyn, one of our most esteemed historians, paints a complex picture of that distant but still remarkably relevant world. He explores the powerfully creative effects of the Founders' provincialism and lays out in fine detail the mingling of gleaming utopianism and tough political pragmatism in Thomas Jefferson's public career, and the effect that ambiguity had on his politics, political thought, and present reputation. And Benjamin Franklin emerges as a figure as cunning in his management of foreign affairs and of his visual image as he was amiable, relaxed, and amusing in his social life. Bailyn shows, too, why it is that the Federalist papers--polemical documents thrown together frantically, helter-skelter, by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay in a fierce political battle two hundred years ago--have attained canonical status, not only as a penetrating analysis of the American Constitution but as a timeless commentary on the nature of politics and constitutionalism. Professor Bailyn concludes, in a wider perspective, with an effort to locate the effect of the Founders' imaginative thought on political reformers throughout the Atlantic world. Precisely how their principles were received abroad, Bailyn writes, is as ambiguous as the personalities of the remarkably creative pro- vincials who founded the American nation.
The winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in History is reinterpreted by the foremost colonial historian of American history, using the perspective of migration as an organizing principle. 32 photos, 19 maps.
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