Friday, 24 January 2014

American History

An Outline of American History
Delving further into the American collection held in the Official Publications I thought that I should start at the beginning of the collection and I found this lovely book.
It was published in 1953 and distributed by the United States Information Service.  In the introduction it states “This booklet is an attempt to supply some of the answers in a concise and convenient form and to trace some of the major currents of thought and development in the nation’s growth.”
It has 7 chapters: the Colonial period, the winning of independence, the formation of a National Government, Westward expansion and regional differences, sectional conflict, the era of expansion and reform and ending with America in the modern world.
The chapters are easy to read and have many interesting points.   In the chapter titled "Westward expansion and regional differences", there is a small section about women’s suffrage.  Interestingly the unmarried women in most respects apparently enjoyed the same legal rights as men, apart from voting, but as soon as she married (and the custom was to marry early) then it changed.  It states that “the awakening of women began with a visit to America of Frances Wright, a Scotswoman of advanced views.  Her appearance before audiences to deliver lectures on theology and women’s rights shocked the public.”
The biggest chapter is on the Sectional Conflict
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.  I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free” Abraham Lincoln.
There is a picture in black and white showing the Confederates firing upon Fort Sumter which began the Civil war on the 12th April 1861.  There also is a small  map of the battle area of the Civil War.
This book is only 146 pages but full of very fascinating facts, and well worth a read.  You can find it at shelfmark F1/AA.4.24