A bold new vision of how the United States shed its colonial identity and became a distinctive nation
The transformation of British America, a cluster of colonies along the Atlantic, into American America, a nation-state, was not the sudden event of legend. The process extended well beyond the American Revolution—even beyond the War of 1812 the "Second American Revolution.” Indeed, the making of the American nation was only realized well into the nineteenth century.
In telling this story, Thomas Bender's British America, American America offers a brisk, novel, and highly readable account of social, political, and cultural developments from the years of settlement to the emergence of a continental nation. A pioneer in the growing field of transnational history, he integrates the most recent scholarship into the American story and stresses the interconnections, commonalities, and differences among British and French colonies in the Americas.
Bender stresses that the nineteenth-century nation-state was defined by two elements: a political system based on popular sovereignty, and a distinctive national culture. The United States was a forerunner of popular sovereignty, but it took longer to establish a recognized culture. With the paintings of the Hudson River School and the emergence of a distinctive literary language in the masterpieces of Herman Melville and Walt Whitman this goal was realized.
About the Author
Thomas Bender, professor of history and the humanities at New York University, is the author and editor of more than a dozen books. He lives in New York City.