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Authors: James MacGregor Burns

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THE REVOLUTIONARY ASIANS

PART III • Liberation Struggles

CHAPTER 8
Striding Toward Freedom

ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS

MARCHING TO WAR

WE SHALL OVERCOME

CHAPTER 9
The World Turned Upside Down

PEOPLE OF THIS GENERATION

ROLLING THUNDER

INTO THE QUICKSAND

SONGS OF THE SIXTIES

CHAPTER 10
Liberty, Equality, Sisterhood

BREAKING THROUGH THE SILKEN CURTAIN

THE LIBERATION OF WOMEN

THE PERSONAL IS POLITICAL

PART IV • The Crosswinds of Freedom

CHAPTER 11
Prime Time: Peking and Moscow

FINDING CHINA

PEACE WITHOUT PEACE

FOREIGN POLICY: THE FALTERING EXPERIMENTS

CHAPTER 12
Vice and Virtue

WATERGATE: A MORALITY TALE

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

CARTER: THE ARC OF MORALITY

GUN AND BIBLE

CHAPTER 13
The Culture of the Workshop

THE DICING GAME OF SCIENCE

THE RICH AND THE POOR

CROSSWAYS, LAND AND SKY

PART V • The Rebirth of Freedom?

CHAPTER 14
The Kaleidoscope of Thought

HABITS OF INDIVIDUALISM

KINESIS: THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIANS

SUPERSPECTATORSHIP

THE NEW YORKERS

THE CONSERVATIVE MALL

CHAPTER 15
The Decline of Leadership

REPUBLICANS: WAITING FOR MR. RIGHT

THE STRUCTURE OF DISARRAY

REALIGNMENT? WAITING FOR LEFTY

A REBIRTH OF LEADERSHIP?

MEMORIES OF THE FUTURE: A PERSONAL EPILOGUE

NOTES

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

INDEX

The American Experiment
The Vineyard of Liberty
James MacGregor Burns

To the vital cadres of history—the archivists, librarians, research assistants, and secretaries—who make possible the writing of history

I sought in my heart to give myself unto wine; I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards; I made me gardens and orchards, and pools to water them; I got me servants and maidens, and great possessions of cattle; I gathered me also silver and gold, and men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all sorts, and whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them; I withheld not my heart from any joy. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and behold! all was vanity and vexation of spirit! I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as light excelleth darkness.

From
Ecclesiastes,
as quoted by Thomas Jefferson, 1816

Contents

PROLOGUE
The Vineyard

PART I • Liberty and Union

CHAPTER 1
The Strategy of Liberty

THE GREAT FEAR

A RAGE FOR LIBERTY

PHILADELPHIA: THE CONTINENTAL CAUCUS

CHAPTER 2
The Third Cadre

THE ANTI-FEDERALISTS

THE COURSE IS SET

VICE AND VIRTUE

CHAPTER 3
The Experiment Begins

THE FEDERALISTS TAKE COMMAND

THE NEW YORKERS

THE FEDERALIST THRUST

THE DEADLY PATTERN

DIVISIONS ABROAD AND AT HOME

CHAPTER 4
The Trial of Liberty

PHILADELPHIANS: THE EXPERIMENTERS

QUASI-WAR ABROAD

SEMI-REPRESSION AT HOME

THE VENTURES OF THE FIRST DECADE

SHOWDOWN: THE ELECTION OF 1800

PART II • Liberty in Arcadia

CHAPTER 5
Jeffersonian Leadership

“THE EYES OF HUMANITY ARE FIXED ON US”

TO LOUISIANA AND BEYOND

CHECKMATE: THE FEDERALIST BASTION STANDS

CHAPTER 6
The American Way of War

“THE HURRICANE …NOW BLASTING THE WORLD”

THE IRRESISTIBLE WAR

WATERSIDE YANKEES: THE FEDERALISTS AT EBB TIDE

FEDERALISTS: THE TIDE RUNS OUT

CHAPTER 7
The American Way of Peace

GOOD FEELINGS AND ILL

ADAMS’ DIPLOMACY AND MONROE’S DICTUM

VIRGINIANS: THE LAST OF THE GENTLEMEN POLITICIANS

THE CHECKING AND BALANCING OF JOHN QUINCY ADAMS

JUBILEE l826: THE PASSING OF THE HEROES

CHAPTER 8
The Birth of the Machines

FARMS: THE JACKS-OF-ALL-TRADES

FACTORIES: THE LOOMS OF LOWELL

FREIGHT: THE BIG DITCHES

THE INNOVATING LEADERS

PART III • Liberty and Equality

CHAPTER 9
The Wind from the West

THE REVOLT OF THE OUTS

THE DANCE OF THE FACTIONS

JACKSONIAN LEADERSHIP

CHAPTER 10
Parties: The People’s Constitution

EQUALITY: THE JACKSONIAN DEMOS

STATE POLITICS: SEEDBED OF PARTY

MAJORITIES: THE FLOWERING OF THE PARTIES

CHAPTER 11
The Majority That Never Was

BLACKS IN BONDAGE

WOMEN IN NEED

MIGRANTS IN POVERTY

LEADERS WITHOUT FOLLOWERS

PART IV • The Empire of Liberty

CHAPTER 12
Whigs: The Business of Politics

THE WHIG WAY OF GOVERNMENT

THE ECONOMICS OF WHIGGERY

EXPERIMENTS IN ESCAPE

CHAPTER 13
The Empire of Liberty

TRAILS OF TEARS AND HOPE

ANNEXATION: POLITICS AND WAR

THE GEOMETRY OF BALANCE

CHAPTER 14
The Culture of Liberty

THE ENGINE IN THE VINEYARD

RELIGION: FREE EXERCISE

SCHOOLS: THE “TEMPLES OF FREEDOM”

LEADERS OF THE PENNY PRESS

ABOLITIONISTS: BY TONGUE AND PEN

PART V • Neither Liberty Nor Union

CHAPTER 15
The Ripening Vineyard

THE CORNUCOPIA

THE CORNUCOPIA OVERFLOWS

“IT WILL RAISE A HELL OF A STORM”

THE ILLINOIS REPUBLICANS

CHAPTER 16
The Grapes of Wrath

SOUTH CAROLINIANS: THE POWER ELITE

THE GRAND DEBATES

 THE POLITICS OF SLAVERY

CHAPTER 17
The Blood-Red Wine

THE FLAG THAT BORE A SINGLE STAR

MEN IN BLUE AND GRAY

THE BATTLE CRIES OF FREEDOM

NOTES

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

INDEX

PROLOGUE
The Vineyard

A
S AMERICANS GAINED THEIR
liberty from Britain in the 1780s, they had only the most general idea of the great lands stretching to the west. But the scattered reports from explorers had indicated abundance and diversity: a huge central plain and valley drained by a river four thousand miles long; beyond that, an endless series of mountain ranges rising to rocky peaks and interspersed with burning deserts; and then a final mountain range sloping down to a green coastal fringe on the Pacific. There were stories of boundless physical riches in the bottomlands of the rivers, the herds of buffalo stretching for hundreds of miles, primeval forests so thick that migrating geese could fly over them for a thousand miles and never see a flash of sunlight on the ground below.

People living in the thirteen states in the east savored these reports, but they savored even more the diversity and abundance of their own regions. They too could boast of lush valleys and lofty mountain ranges, ample farmlands and invigorating climate. New Hampshire farmers could still be battling blizzards while Virginians saw their first tobacco plants breaking through the red soil. And their own explorers spoke of the matchless beauties of the east. One of these was Thomas Pownall, an eminently practical young Englishman who had helped plan the war against the French and Indians, and in the 1750s had been rewarded with the governorship of Massachusetts.

A tireless traveler along the seaboard and into the mountains, Pownall set about making a map of the “middle British colonies.” A no-nonsense type, he ended his map at the Mississippi and dismissed most of the topography of central Pennsylvania as “Endless Mountains.” But Pownall, in doing his work, was constantly distracted by the charm and luxuriance of the land he charted—the wild vines and cherries and pears and prunes; the “flaunting Blush of Spring, when the Woods glow with a thousand Tints that the flowering Trees and Shrubs throw out”; the wild rye that sprouted in winter and appeared green through the snow; above all, by the autumn leaves: the “Red, the Scarlet, the bright and the deep Yellow, the warm Brown,” so flamboyant that the eye could hardly bear them.

Pownall was eager for Americans to learn from European experience with the cultivation of crops. But he was cautious about trying to transplant
European vines to the American climate, with its extremes of dry and wet, its thunderous showers followed by “Gleams of excessive Heat,” when the skins of “Exotic grapes” might burst. Better, he said, that Americans try to cultivate and meliorate their native vines, small and sour and thick-skinned though the grapes be. Given time and patience, even these vines could grow luxuriant and their grapes delicious.

Some ten thousand years ago or more, big-game hunters from Siberia crossed over the Bering Strait and pushed down along an ice-free corridor through Canada to the grasslands below. These were the first Americans. As they fanned out to the south and east they hunted down and killed countless bison, mastodons, mammoths, and other game with their grooved spears. It took the descendants of these onetime Mongols about a hundred and fifty years to reach the present-day Mexican border and the Atlantic coast, and another six hundred to cross the Isthmus into South America. By that time, they had killed off almost all the big game and had mainly turned to growing maize and other grains.

By the 1780s, Americans living along the Atlantic—immigrants from the opposite direction, the east—had lived with the Indians, as they were misnamed, for a century and a half. Whites tended either to idealize red people as noble savages or to fear and despise them as shiftless, thieving, cruel, ignorant, and Godless. Actually, the Indians were as polyglot and diverse in character as were the European Americans three centuries after Columbus had arrived in the New World with his ship’s company of Spaniards, Italians, Irishmen, and Jews.

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