A Nation Rising: Untold Tales of Flawed Founders, Fallen Heroes, and Forgotten Fighters from America's Hidden History
Kenneth C. Davis
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Following his New York Times bestseller America's Hidden History, Kenneth C. Davis explores the gritty first half of the nineteenth century—among the most tumultuous periods in this nation's short life.
In the dramatic period that spans roughly from 1800 through 1850, the United States emerged from its inauspicious beginning as a tiny newborn nation, struggling for survival and political cohesion on the Atlantic seaboard, to a near-empire that spanned the continent. It was a time in which the "dream of our founders" spread in ways that few men of that Revolutionary Generation could possibly have imagined. And it was an era that ultimately led to the great, tragic conflagration that followed—the American Civil War.
The narratives that form A Nation Rising each exemplify the "hidden history" of America, exploring a vastly more complex path to nationhood than the tidily packaged national myth of a destiny made manifest by visionary political leaders and fearless pioneers. Instead, Davis (whose writing People magazine compared to "returning to the classroom of the best teacher you ever had") explores many historical episodes that reverberate to this day, including:
* Aaron Burr's 1807 trial, showcasing the political intrigue of the early Republic and becoming one of our nation's first media circuses
* an 1813 Indian uprising and an ensuing massacre that exposes the powerful conflicts at the heart of America's expansion
* a mutiny aboard the slave ship Creole and the ways in which the institution of slavery both destroyed lives and warped our nation's founding
* the "Dade Massacre" and the start of the second Seminole War, a long, deadly conflict between Indian tribes, their African American allies, and the emergent U.S. Army
* the bloody "Bible Riots" in Philadelphia, demonstrating how deadly anti-immigrant sentiment could be
* the story of Jessie Benton FrÉmont and Lt. John C. FrÉmont, a remarkable couple who together helped open the West, bring California into the Union, and gave literal shape to the nation today
The issues raised in these intertwined stories—ambition, power, territorial expansion, slavery, intolerance, civil rights, freedom of the press—continue to make headlines. The resulting book is not only riveting storytelling in its own right, but a stirring reminder of the ways in which our history continues to shape our present.
again after his defeat at the hands of a much smaller British force near the Canadian border. Wilkinson was never given another command, and eventually he returned to his plantation near New Orleans. He died in Mexico City awaiting a land grant in Texas in 1825. His one significant contribution to the American cause was keeping Mobile and its harbor out of British hands. But after the Fort Mims Massacre, that American victory was small comfort to the people of the Alabama Territory. Fear
going up; I cannot stay here.” The mutiny aboard the Creole was under way. Elijah Morris, who had first raised the alarm as part of a ruse to lure Gifford into the hold and overwhelm him, emerged from the darkness and fired a shot that grazed Gifford’s head. Then Washington shouted to the other slaves in the hold, “We have commenced and must go through; rush, boys, rush…. We have got them now.” Realizing how frightened many of them were, he called out, “Come up every damned one of you; if you
and I was appointed to superintend the cooking department, and the distribution of food and water.” Then Northup describes a conversation with another of the captives: For a long time we talked of our children, our past lives, and of the probabilities of escape. Obtaining possession of the brig was suggested by one of us. We discussed the possibility of our being able, in such an event, to make our way to the harbor of New-York. I knew little of the compass; but the idea of risking the
than 1,300 local chapters around the country and had 250,000 members. But the public at large did not share the sentiments of these nineteenth-century reformers, whose ideas about the races, about temperance, and about votes for women were far from the mainstream of American public opinion. Mobs frequently struck at abolitionist meetings, attacking the speakers and destroying their printing presses. The antipathy toward “nigger lovers” and the whole gamut of “papists, micks, wops, and dagos”
sickness. The second route involved sailing all the way around South America aboard a steamship or the new generation of clipper ships being built for the voyage to California and for the opening of trade with Asia. But the voyage was expensive and also took six months. The third choice was to cross the jungles of Panama. This was a shorter trip, but it was incredibly arduous. And it was the choice that Jessie Benton Frémont had made. The journey had begun in New York, where her father saw