A place for history teachers, students and enthusiasts

The American Early Republic Era
History Reading Group

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

More Information

Current Book Weekly Reading Schedule

  1. Week 1 :: What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe: Introduction and Prologue

    Thought Questions (keep these in mind as you continue reading)
    - Why does the author begin his work with a focus on the twin revolutions of communication and transportation?
    - What were the elements, time line, consequences and repercussions of the communication and transportation revolutions in the United States during the early Republic?
    - What political statement was being sent by the use of Numbers 23:23 and its reference to Jacob and Israel (transformation)? How does this reflect "post-millennialism" in a deist culture (a "golden age" is coming closer as we overcome our problems)?
    - Morse was a Calvinist (think predestination and manifest destiny) but most of the people he was interacting with were utilitarian "gentry" deists (think secular Conquistador). How did this convergence (not uncommon in the borderlands between New England and the rest of the North) compliment each other? How was this similar to the colonial era Colonizers?
    - Why does the author begin the Prologue with the story of Jackson? How does this relate to the author's thesis in the Introduction?

    - Brief Biography: Samuel F. B. Morse
    - The Battle of New Orleans
    - Samuel Morse’s Other Masterpiece

    Primary Sources
    - Index of links to patents related to the telegraph
    - Samuel F. B. Morse Papers at the Library of Congress
    - Samuel Morse - Artworks

    Supplemental Reading
    - Begin American Notes by Charles Dickens

We will also be reading Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville and American Notes by Charles Dickens while reading this book. This will provide a valuable insight into how the European gentry, intellectual and property classes viewed the United States "experiment". Regardless of bias, individuals such as this were significant because their views filtered into and effected European society - including soon to be immigrants and the young European leaders that in time would make decisions that effected the United States during the Civil War.

Ideas and migrants evolve and move in interesting ways.

Reading Discussion

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
    (We will also be reading Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville and American Notes by Charles Dickens while reading this book)
  3. The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution by Charles R. Morris
    (We'll be listening to The Great Courses lectures on the Industrial Revolution by Professor Patrick N. Allitt while reading this book)
  4. The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846 by Charles Sellers
  5. A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent by Robert W. Merry
    (We will be reading A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and Its War with the United States by Timothy J. Henderson while reading this book)
  6. American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard
  7. The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government by Fergus M. Bordewich
  8. Inheriting the Revolution: The First Generation of Americans by Joyce Appleby
  9. Trans-Appalachian Frontier, Third Edition: People, Societies, and Institutions, 1775-1850 by Malcolm J. Rohrbough
  10. John Marshall and the Heroic Age of the Supreme Court by R. Kent Newmyer
  11. John Quincy Adams: American Visionary by Fred Kaplan
  12. Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times by H.W. Brands
  13. Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859 by Elizabeth R. Varon
  14. America's First Great Depression: Economic Crisis and Political Disorder after the Panic of 1837 by Alasdair Roberts
  15. Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800 by John Ferling
  16. The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies by Alan Taylor
  17. The Birth of Modern Politics: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and the Election of 1828 by Lynn Hudson Parsons
  18. America 1844: Religious Fervor, Westward Expansion, and the Presidential Election That Transformed the Nation by John Bicknell
  19. A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico by Amy S. Greenberg
  20. Lone Star Nation: The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence by H.W. Brands
  21. A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America by Jon Kukla
  22. The Great Divide: The Conflict between Washington and Jefferson that Defined a Nation by Thomas Fleming
  23. Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson by Gordon S. Wood
  24. Jefferson and Hamilton: The Rivalry That Forged a Nation by John Ferling
  25. Madison and Jefferson by Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg

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.