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The New Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations

Volume 1. Dimensions of the Early American Empire, 1754–1865


Part of The New Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations

  • Date Published: April 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107536227

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About the Authors
  • Since their first publication, the four volumes of the Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations have served as the definitive source for the topic, from the colonial period to the Cold War. This entirely new first volume narrates the British North American colonists' pre-existing desire for expansion, security and prosperity and argues that these desires are both the essence of American foreign relations and the root cause for the creation of the United States. They required the colonists to unite politically, as individual colonies could not dominate North America by themselves. Although ingrained localist sentiments persisted, a strong, durable Union was required for mutual success, thus American nationalism was founded on the idea of allegiance to the Union. Continued tension between the desire for expansion and the fragility of the Union eventually resulted in the Union's collapse and the Civil War.

    • Links American foreign relations to American nationalism
    • Comments on the origins and growth of federal power by arguing that foreign policy power extended to the central government by the Constitution inevitably migrated inward, culminating in the invasion of the South
    • Suggests a vision of Lincoln as a strong, visionary leader who allowed confrontation over slavery to occur to rebuild the Union as a foundation of freedom
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'William Weeks is to be congratulated on his concise and masterful synthesis relating the rise of the American republic. His account provides the best explanation we have of how the concept of 'empire' can integrate both external and internal developments in the formative era of American history. Teachers and students alike will both admire and benefit greatly from the skill with which Weeks accomplishes this task.' J. C. A. Stagg, University of Virginia

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107536227
    • length: 338 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 154 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Origins of the American empire and union
    2. A perilous union, 1783–96
    3. The 'Empire of Liberty' on land and sea
    4. Towards hemispheric superiority
    5. Freedom's empire
    6. Expansionist vistas: Canada, Oregon, California and Texas
    7. Bullying Britain, conquering Mexico, claiming the canal
    8. Disunion
    9. The imperial crisis, 1861–5.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • American Foreign Policy
  • Author

    William Earl Weeks, San Diego State University
    William Earl Weeks is Lecturer in History at San Diego State University. He is the author of John Quincy Adams and American Global Empire (1992) and Building the Continental Empire, 1815–1861, and co-editor of American Foreign Relations since 1600: A Guide to the Literature (2003).

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