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Vacation 2 USA   >   History

   
 

History


Humans are believed to have first reached North America around 20,000 years ago, by crossing the Bering land bridge from Asia. These people settled and became the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas prior to the arrival of the Europeans.

The first European settlement in North America was established by Leif Erikson and the Vikings in 1000 AD, in what is today Newfoundland. However, this colony did not last for long, and it was several hundred years before Europeans reached the continent again. It has also been claimed that muslim explorers from Spain or Northwest Africa may have reached the continent, but this claim remains disputed.

The first European that is certain to have reached United States territory is Christopher Columbus who landed in Puerto Rico in 1492. Following Columbus, more and more Europeans began to arrive in the Americas, and the first expedition to what is not the continental United states was made by the Spaniard, Juan Ponce de León who is known to have explored Florida in 1513.

As the Americas were gradually explored, a variety of European countries including Denmark, France, Great Britain, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, began to establish permanent colonies in the New World. In North America, the most successful of these was Great Britain, which by the end of the Seven Years War (known in the US as the "French and Indian War") had conquered most of the French territory in North America.

However, with the removal of the French military threat, disputes began to arise between Great Britain and her colonists over issues like taxation. These disputes eventually culiminated in American Revolution (1775 to 1783) which resulted in the formation of the United States from 13 former British colonies which had won their independence in the Revolutionary War.

Additional lands were gradually acquired by the US from France, Spain, the United Kingdom and Mexico, and within a century, the United States stretched across the entire North American continent. In 1867, Alaska was purchased from Russia. Further terroritorial acquistions followed with the annexation of Hawaii (1898), and following the Spanish-American war, of Puerto Rico. The final major addition to the US was the purchase of the Virgin Islands from Denmark in 1917.

The US has not been without difficulties during its history, the most noteable of these being the American Civil War (1861 to 1865) which was fought over the issues of slavery and states' rights. In the American Civil War, a large (Southern) part of the country, tried (ultimately unsuccessfully) to secede from the Union in an attempt to prevent the abolition of slavery, as well as to main and increase the individual states' rights.

In the 20th century, the US participated in both World Wars, and was on the victorious side in both conflicts. Following the end of World War II, the US engaged for over 40 years in a political, economic and military conflict with the USSR, known as the Cold War.

Today, the US is the most powerful country in the world, both economically and militarily, and US cultural influences can be seen all over the world in food, music, movies and the arts. Despite this, the US is today not without challenges, most notably the threat of terrorism, which was dramatically brought to the world's attention with the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001.

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  • Here are some books about the history of the United States:


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    A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to America's Age of Entitlement, Revised Edition

    By Larry Schweikart

    WaterBrook Press
    Released: 2014-11-25
    Paperback (1008 pages)

    A Patriot s History of the United States: From Columbus s Great Discovery to America s Age of Entitlement, Revised Edition
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    • Sentinel
    Product Description:
    The revised, 10th anniversary edition of the #1 New York Times bestseller

    Over the past decade, A Patriot’s History of the United States has become the definitive conservative history of our country, correcting the biases of historians and other intellectuals who downplay the greatness of America’s patriots. Professors Schweikart and Allen have now revised, updated, and expanded their book, which covers America’s long history with an appreciation for the values that made this nation uniquely successful.

    A Short History of the United States: From the Arrival of Native American Tribes to the Obama Presidency

    By Robert V. Remini

    Harper Perennial
    Released: 2009-12-01
    Paperback (416 pages)

    A Short History of the United States: From the Arrival of Native American Tribes to the Obama Presidency
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    • Harper Perennial
    Product Description:
    In A Short History of the United States, National Book Award winner Robert V. Remini offers a much-needed, concise history of our country. This accessible and lively volume contains the essential facts about the discovery, settlement, growth, and development of the American nation and its institutions, including the arrival and migration of Native Americans, the founding of a republic under the Constitution, the emergence of the United States as a world power, the outbreak of terrorism here and abroad, the Obama presidency, and everything in between.

    United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination, 2018 Edition

    By John J Newman

    Perfection Learning
    Paperback (800 pages)

    United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination, 2018 Edition
    List Price: $26.50*
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    Product Description:
    This text is designed for a one-semester or one-year United States history course for students preparing to take the current AP U.S. History Exam. Includes Summer 2017 College Board revisions to the course and exam description. Teachers can assign the book as the course textbook or as a supplement to a college-level textbook.

    An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (ReVisioning American History)

    By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

    Beacon Press
    Released: 2015-08-11
    Paperback (312 pages)

    An Indigenous Peoples  History of the United States (ReVisioning American History)
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    • Beacon Press
    Product Description:
    2015 Recipient of the American Book Award

    The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples

     
    Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire.

    In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz adroitly challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the Indigenous peoples was colonialist and designed to seize the territories of the original inhabitants, displacing or eliminating them. And as Dunbar-Ortiz reveals, this policy was praised in popular culture, through writers like James Fenimore Cooper and Walt Whitman, and in the highest offices of government and the military. Shockingly, as the genocidal policy reached its zenith under President Andrew Jackson, its ruthlessness was best articulated by US Army general Thomas S. Jesup, who, in 1836, wrote of the Seminoles: “The country can be rid of them only by exterminating them.”
     
    Spanning more than four hundred years, this classic bottom-up peoples’ history radically reframes US history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative.


    From the Hardcover edition.

    A People's History of the United States

    By Howard Zinn

    Harper Perennial Modern Classics
    Released: 2015-11-17
    Paperback (784 pages)

    A People s History of the United States
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    • Harper Perennial Modern Classics
    Product Description:

    With a new introduction by Anthony Arnove, this updated edition of the classic national bestseller reviews the book’s thirty-five year history and demonstrates once again why it is a significant contribution to a complete and balanced understanding of American history.

    Since its original landmark publication in 1980, A People's History of the United States has been chronicling American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official version of history taught in schools—with its emphasis on great men in high places—to focus on the street, the home, and the, workplace.

    Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History of the United States is the only volume to tell America's story from the point of view of—and in the words of—America's women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers. As historian Howard Zinn shows, many of our country's greatest battles—the fights for a fair wage, an eight-hour workday, child-labor laws, health and safety standards, universal suffrage, women's rights, racial equality—were carried out at the grassroots level, against bloody resistance.

    Covering Christopher Columbus's arrival through President Clinton's first term, A People's History of the United States, which was nominated for the American Book Award in 1981, features insightful analysis of the most important events in our history. 

    A Young People's History of the United States: Columbus to the War on Terror (For Young People Series)

    By Howard Zinn

    Triangle Square
    Released: 2009-06-02
    Paperback (464 pages)

    A Young People s History of the United States: Columbus to the War on Terror (For Young People Series)
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    • Triangle Square
    Product Description:
    A Young People's History of the United States brings to US history the viewpoints of workers, slaves, immigrants, women, Native Americans, and others whose stories, and their impact, are rarely included in books for young people. A Young People's History of the United States is also a companion volume to The People Speak, the film adapted from A People's History of the United States and Voices of a People’s History of the United States.
    Beginning with a look at Christopher Columbus’s arrival through the eyes of the Arawak Indians, then leading the reader through the struggles for workers’ rights, women’s rights, and civil rights during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and ending with the current protests against continued American imperialism, Zinn in the volumes of A Young People’s History of the United States presents a radical new way of understanding America’s history. In so doing, he reminds readers that America’s true greatness is shaped by our dissident voices, not our military generals.

    Barron's AP United States History, 4th Edition: With Bonus Online Tests

    By Eugene V. Resnick M.A.

    Barron's Educational Series
    Released: 2018-08-01
    Paperback (576 pages)

    Barron s AP United States History, 4th Edition: With Bonus Online Tests
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    Product Description:
    This extensive test prep manual covers the AP United States History curriculum, and will help prepare students for the most current exam.
    • Two full-length practice tests with all questions answered and explained
    • Test-taking strategies for answering both the test's multiple choice, short answer, long essay, and document-based questions
    • A detailed review of U.S. history, from pre-contact American Indian societies and the evolution of Colonial society, the American Revolution, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the growth of industrial America, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, America in the age of Clinton, Bush, and Obama, and much more.
    BONUS ONLINE PRACTICE TESTS: Students who purchase this book or package will also get FREE access to three additional full-length online AP U.S. History tests with all questions answered and explained. The online exams can be easily accessed by computer, tablet, and smartphone.

    The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 (Oxford History of the United States)

    By Robert Middlekauff

    Oxford University Press
    Released: 2007-03-09
    Paperback (752 pages)

    The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 (Oxford History of the United States)
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    • The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 (Oxford History of the United States)
    Product Description:
    The first book to appear in the illustrious Oxford History of the United States, this critically acclaimed volume--a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize--offers an unsurpassed history of the Revolutionary War and the birth of the American republic.

    Beginning with the French and Indian War and continuing to the election of George Washington as first president, Robert Middlekauff offers a panoramic history of the conflict between England and America, highlighting the drama and anguish of the colonial struggle for independence. Combining the political and the personal, he provides a compelling account of the key events that precipitated the war, from the Stamp Act to the Tea Act, tracing the gradual gathering of American resistance that culminated in the Boston Tea Party and "the shot heard 'round the world." The heart of the book features a vivid description of the eight-year-long war, with gripping accounts of battles and campaigns, ranging from Bunker Hill and Washington's crossing of the Delaware to the brilliant victory at Hannah's Cowpens and the final triumph at Yorktown, paying particular attention to what made men fight in these bloody encounters. The book concludes with an insightful look at the making of the Constitution in the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 and the struggle over ratification. Through it all, Middlekauff gives the reader a vivid sense of how the colonists saw these events and the importance they gave to them. Common soldiers and great generals, Sons of Liberty and African slaves, town committee-men and representatives in congress--all receive their due. And there are particularly insightful portraits of such figures as Sam and John Adams, James Otis, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and many others.

    This new edition has been revised and expanded, with fresh coverage of topics such as mob reactions to British measures before the War, military medicine, women's role in the Revolution, American Indians, the different kinds of war fought by the Americans and the British, and the ratification of the Constitution. The book also has a new epilogue and an updated bibliography.

    The cause for which the colonists fought, liberty and independence, was glorious indeed. Here is an equally glorious narrative of an event that changed the world, capturing the profound and passionate struggle to found a free nation.

    The Oxford History of the United States
    The Oxford History of the United States is the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. The series includes three Pulitzer Prize winners, a New York Times bestseller, and winners of the Bancroft and Parkman Prizes. The Atlantic Monthly has praised it as "the most distinguished series in American historical scholarship," a series that "synthesizes a generation's worth of historical inquiry and knowledge into one literally state-of-the-art book." Conceived under the general editorship of C. Vann Woodward and Richard Hofstadter, and now under the editorship of David M. Kennedy, this renowned series blends social, political, economic, cultural, diplomatic, and military history into coherent and vividly written narrative.

    An African American and Latinx History of the United States (ReVisioning American History)

    By Paul Ortiz

    Beacon Press
    Released: 2018-01-30
    Hardcover (296 pages)

    An African American and Latinx History of the United States (ReVisioning American History)
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    Product Description:
    An intersectional history of the shared struggle for African American and Latinx civil rights

    Spanning more than two hundred years, An African American and Latinx History of the United States is a revolutionary, politically charged narrative history arguing that the “Global South” was crucial to the development of America as we know it. Ortiz challenges the notion of westward progress, as exalted by widely taught formulations such as “manifest destiny” and “Jacksonian democracy,” and shows how placing African American, Latinx, and Indigenous voices unapologetically front and center transforms American history into the story of the working class organizing against imperialism.

    In precise detail, Ortiz traces this untold history from the Jim Crow-esque racial segregation of the Southwest, the rise and violent fall of a powerful tradition of Mexican labor organizing in the twentieth century, to May 1, 2006, International Workers’ Day, when migrant laborers—Chicana/os, Afro-Cubanos, and immigrants from nearly every continent on earth—united in resistance on the first “Day Without Immigrants.”

    Incisive and timely, An African American and Latinx History of the United States is a bottom-up history told from the viewpoint of African American and Latinx activists and revealing the radically different ways people of the diaspora addressed issues still plaguing the United States today.

    A Little History of the United States (Little Histories)

    By James West Davidson

    Yale University Press
    Paperback (344 pages)

    A Little History of the United States (Little Histories)
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    • Yale University Press
    Product Description:
    A fast-paced, character-filled history that brings the unique American saga to life for readers of all ages

    How did a land and people of such immense diversity come together under a banner of freedom and equality to form one of the most remarkable nations in the world? Everyone from young adults to grandparents will be fascinated by the answers uncovered in James West Davidson’s vividly told A Little History of the United States. In 300 fast-moving pages, Davidson guides his readers through 500 years, from the first contact between the two halves of the world to the rise of America as a superpower in an era of atomic perils and diminishing resources.
     
    In short, vivid chapters the book brings to life hundreds of individuals whose stories are part of the larger American story. Pilgrim William Bradford stumbles into an Indian deer trap on his first day in America; Harriet Tubman lets loose a pair of chickens to divert attention from escaping slaves; the toddler Andrew Carnegie, later an ambitious industrial magnate, gobbles his oatmeal with a spoon in each hand. Such stories are riveting in themselves, but they also spark larger questions to ponder about freedom, equality, and unity in the context of a nation that is, and always has been, remarkably divided and diverse.


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