THE HISTORY CLUB

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Early American History Reading Group

The American Early Republic Era
History Reading Group

Startintg April 2017

This is a friendly group of people interested in reading great books about the American Early Republic Period c.1789 to 1848. It is intended to cover general surveys of the period and significant issues and events within the American Early Republic Era.

Please Read: Suggestions on how to Meaningfully and Constructively Participate in our History Reading Groups

Thank you for your interest.

Our Current Book and Reading

Current Book Weekly Reading Schedule

  1. Introduction: Rip Van Winkle’s America and Experiment in Republicanism

    Thought Questions
    - How does the Jeffersonian Humanism contrast with the Federalist Puritanism view of the nature of man and the role of government?
    - What were the Republican virtues that Revolutionary leaders thought necessary for a Republic?
    - How did Americans challenge and redefine the concept of a "gentleman" or "lady"from an aristocratic model into a Republican model?
    - How did the "man of leisure" model for a public servant conflict with the model of a public servant that the descendants of Quaker and Puritan?
    - How did the "middling sort" differ from the "gentry" and "commoners" and how did they contest the definition of each?
    - How the founding generation of Americans dealt with or failed to deal with issues had impacts in later American generations. What thematic issues does the author introduce the reader to?

    Primary Sources
    - Articles of Confederation; March 1, 1781
    - Constitution of the United States - 1787
    - Federalist Paper 25

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving
  2. A Monarchical Republic

    Thought Questions:
    - What were the unanswered questions about the structure of government 1789?
    - What were the different points of view on the inclusion of a "Bill of Rights" in the Constitution?

    Primary Sources
    - The Constitution and Bill of Rights of the United States

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
  3. The Federalist Program

    Thought Questions:
    - Describe the different principles behind the "Federalist Program"
    - What were the purposes of the three major reports Hamilton prepared and what was their intended cumulative effect?

    Primary Sources
    - Hamilton's Report on the Public Credit - January 9, 1790
    - Hamilton's Report on Manufacturing - December 3, 1791
    - The Papers of Alexander Hamilton

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - The Pride of the Village by Washington Irving
  4. The Emergence of the Jeffersonian Republican Party

    Thought Questions:
    - Describe the different principles behind the "Jeffersonian Republican" shift away from Federalism.
    - What different social factors effected the debate between Jeffersonian Republicans and Federalists?
    - In what ways was the Federalist and Jeffersonian split a warning of future sectional divisions?
    - In what ways was the Federalist and Jeffersonian split not a sectional issue?

    Primary Sources
    - Hamilton's Report on a National Bank - December 11, 1790
    - Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank - February 23, 1791
    - Thomas Jefferson's Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, 1791

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Begin reading "Notes on the State of Virginia" by Thomas Jefferson
  5. The French Revolution in America

    Thought Questions
    - How did the French Revolution effect the development of political factions in the United States?
    - How did the ongoing disputes between European powers effect economic relations with the United States?
    - What reasons did some Ameicans have to identify with Britain and others with France?
    - How did the French Revolution set the stage for the Jacksonian Revolution? (keep reading, this will come up again)

    Primary Sources
    - Pacificus No. III, 6 July 1793
    - Pacificus No. IV, 10 July 1793
    - Pacificus No. V, 13–17 July 1793
    - Pacificus No. VI, 17 July 1793
    - Pacificus No. VII, 27 July 1793
    - James Madison, Letters of Helvidius, 1793

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Continue reading "Notes on the State of Virginia" by Thomas Jefferson
  6. John Adams and the Few and the Many

    Thought Questions
    - How and why did the idea of an electoral college evolve and how did it become different from what it was first envisioned as?
    - What was John Adams view of government? What was his view of politics?
    - What were John Adams strengths? What were his weaknesses?
    - How was John Adams different from other Federalists?
    - How did issues of land and currency emerge in the Revolutionary era?
    - Who was William Findley and how did he change American politics?
    - How did social friction among individuals from different economic and educational backgrounds effect the development of Federalism and Republicanism?

    Articles
    - Hugh Henry Brackenridge Brief Biography - Pittsburgh Post Gazzette

    Primary Sources
    - Federalist #10

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Finish reading "Notes on the State of Virginia" by Thomas Jefferson
  7. The Crisis of 1798–1799

    Thought Questions
    - What was the Crisis of 1798 and how did European events effect America?
    - What was the "XYZ" scandal?
    - Who were the French Jacobins and how was the term used against Jeffersonians?
    - How was immigration and citizenship and issue in the late1790s?
    - What was the Alien Act?
    - What was the Sedition Act?
    - What were the Nationalization Acts of the 1790s?
    - What was the Alien Friends Act?
    - What did Jefferson express regarding immigration in his Notes on the State of Virginia?

    Primary Sources
    - 1798 : The Alien Act - An Act Respecting Alien Enemies : July 6
    - 1798 : The Sedition Act - An Act in Addition to the Act, Entitled "An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes Against the United States." : July 14
    - 1798 - Virginia Resolution : December 24
    - 1798 - Kentucky Resolution : Draft; October
    - 1799 - Kentucky Resolution : December 3
    - The Jay Treaty 1794 and Associated Documents

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Begin reading The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757 by James Fenimore Cooper
    (We will be reading this until the end of the current book - Empire of Liberty)
  8. The Jeffersonian Revolution of 1800

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Primary Sources
    - X

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Continue reading The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757 by James Fenimore Cooper
    (We will be reading this until the end of the current book - Empire of Liberty)
  9. Republican Society

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Primary Sources
    - X

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Continue reading The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757 by James Fenimore Cooper
    (We will be reading this until the end of the current book - Empire of Liberty)
  10. The Jeffersonian West

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Primary Sources
    - X

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Continue reading The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757 by James Fenimore Cooper
    (We will be reading this until the end of the current book - Empire of Liberty)
  11. Law and an Independent Judiciary

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Primary Sources
    - X

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Continue reading The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757 by James Fenimore Cooper
    (We will be reading this until the end of the current book - Empire of Liberty)
  12. Chief Justice John Marshall and the Origins of Judicial Review

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Primary Sources
    - X

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Continue reading The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757 by James Fenimore Cooper
    (We will be reading this until the end of the current book - Empire of Liberty)
  13. Republican Reforms

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Primary Sources
    - X

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Continue reading The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757 by James Fenimore Cooper
    (We will be reading this until the end of the current book - Empire of Liberty)
  14. Between Slavery and Freedom

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Primary Sources
    - X

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Continue reading The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757 by James Fenimore Cooper
    (We will be reading this until the end of the current book - Empire of Liberty)
  15. The Rising Glory of America

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Primary Sources
    - X

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Continue reading The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757 by James Fenimore Cooper
    (We will be reading this until the end of the current book - Empire of Liberty)
  16. Republican Religion

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Primary Sources
    - X

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Continue reading The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757 by James Fenimore Cooper
    (We will be reading this until the end of the current book - Empire of Liberty)
  17. Republican Diplomacy

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Primary Sources
    - X

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Continue reading The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757 by James Fenimore Cooper
    (We will be reading this until the end of the current book - Empire of Liberty)
  18. The War of 1812

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Primary Sources
    - X

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Continue reading The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757 by James Fenimore Cooper
    (We will be reading this until the end of the current book - Empire of Liberty)
  19. A World Within Themselves and Bibliographical Essay

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Primary Sources
    - X

    American Literature Focus Reading
    - Finish reading The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757 by James Fenimore Cooper
    (We will be reading this until the end of the current book - Empire of Liberty)

The surveys below blend political, economic, social and military aspects of the American Early Republic era.

American Early Republic Group Reading List

  1. Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 by Gordon S. Wood
  2. What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe
  3. The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution by Charles R. Morris
  4. A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent by Robert W. Merry
  5. The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government by Fergus M. Bordewich
  6. American Slavery, American Freedom by Edmund S. Morgan
  7. The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846 by Charles Sellers
  8. The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War by Michael F. Holt
  9. Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800 by John Ferling
  10. The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies by Alan Taylor
  11. Lone Star Nation: The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence by H.W. Brands
  12. A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico by Amy S. Greenberg
  13. The Slave's Cause: A History of Abolition by Manisha Sinha
  14. Inheriting the Revolution: The First Generation of Americans by Joyce Appleby
  15. John Quincy Adams: American Visionary by Fred Kaplan
  16. Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times by H.W. Brands

After the first books listed above we will select the next books we read from the list here.

Provide us feedback and suggestions for our next book by clicking here.