Roark’s The American Promise is available in this lower priced version — full narrative, fewer maps and photos — telling the story of the nation through the lives of a wide range of Americans, from the famous to the marginalized.
Table of Contents
The Combined version contains Chapters 1-31. Volume 1 contains Chapters 1-16. Volume 2 contains Chapters 16-31.
Chapter 1, Ancient American, before 1492
An American Story: Archeologists discover that humans resided in North America ten thousand years earlier than had been known
Why do historians rely on the work of archaeologists?
When and how did humans migrate into North America?
Why were people absent from the Western Hemisphere for most of human history?
Who were the people that migrated south into North America?
When and how did Archaic hunter-gatherers inhabit ancient America?
How did Archaic Great Plains people hunt bison?
How did Archaic people survive in the Great Basin?
How did Archaic cultures exploit the Pacific coast environment?
How did Archaic peoples adapt to eastern Woodland forests?
How did agriculture influence ancient American cultures?
Why did ancient Southwestern cultures adopt agriculture?
What connected Woodland chiefdoms and burial mounds?
What ancient American cultures inhabited North America in the 1490s?
What ancient Americans inhabited the eastern Woodland and Great Plains in the 1490s?
What ancient Americans resided in the Southwestern and West during the 1490s?
What traits did ancient American cultures share in the 1490s?
How did the Mexican empire amass power and riches?
Conclusion: How did ancient Americans shape their world and ours?
Chapter 2, Europeans Encounter the New World, 1492–1600
An American Story: Queen Isabella of Spain supports Christopher Columbus’s risky plan to sail west across the Atlantic
Why did Europeans launch explorations in the fifteenth century?
What fueled European expansion?
Why did the Portuguese pioneer the search for a new route to the East?
What did Spaniards discover in the western Atlantic?
Why did Columbus sail west and what did he find?
How did knowledge of the New World launch a geographic revolution and the Columbian exchange?
How did Spaniards conquer and colonize New Spain?
How did Cortés conquer Mexico?
Why did Spaniards search for other Mexicos?
Why did Spaniards build outposts in Florida and New Mexico?
How and why did Spaniards establish the colony of New Spain?
How did the Spanish conquest and colonization impact Indians?
How did New Spain influence Europe?
What was the Protestant Reformation and how did it influence Spain?
What lessons did other Europeans learn from Spain?
Conclusion: What did the New World promise Europeans?
Chapter 3, The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century, 1601–1700
An American Story: A young woman from England travels to America as a servant
How did settlers’ encounters with Native Americans shape the colony of Virginia?
Why was the Jamestown settlement fragile?
How did natives and newcomers engage in cooperation and conflict?
Why did Virginia become a royal colony?
How did tobacco influence Chesapeake society?
Why did Chesapeake settlers grow tobacco?
Why did a servant labor system develop?
How did indentured servants live and work?
How did Virginia and Maryland settlers express their faith in tobacco and religion?
Why did Chesapeake society change by the 1670s?
How did social and economic polarization develop?
How did government policies lead to political conflict?
What was the impact of Bacon’s Rebellion?
Why did a slave labor system develop in England’s southern colonies?
Why did Indians revolt in New Mexico and Florida?
Why did colonists in the West Indies use enslaved Africans to grow sugar?
How was South Carolina similar to the West Indies?
Why did a slave labor system emerge in the Chesapeake?
Conclusion: How did export crops contribute to the growth of the southern colonies?
Chapter 4, The Northern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century, 1601–1700
An American Story: Roger Williams is banished from Puritan Massachusetts
Why did Puritans emigrate to North America?
How did the English Reformation give rise to Puritanism?
Why did separatist Pilgrims establish Plymouth colony?
Why did Puritans create Massachusetts Bay colony?
How did New England society change during the seventeenth century?
How did Puritans enforce conformity?
How did Puritans govern for Puritanism?
Why did Puritanism splinter?
What were the consequences of religious and economic changes?
How did the middle colonies differ from New England and the southern colonies?
How did the Dutch colony of New Netherland become the English colony of New York?
Why were the colonies of New Jersey and Pennsylvania created?
Why did Pennsylvania accept toleration and diversity?
How did the English empire influence the colonies?
How did English policies regulate colonial trade?
How did King Philip’s War lead to the consolidation of royal authority?
Conclusion: Was there an English model of colonization in North America?
Chapter 5, Colonial America in the Eighteenth Century, 1701–1770
An American Story: The Robin Johns experience horrific turns of fortune in the Atlantic slave trade
How did the British North American colonies change during the eighteenth century?
Why did New England life and culture change?
How did natural increase affect land distribution?
What were the pillars of the New England economy?
Why did the middle colonies grow rapidly?
Why did German and Scots-Irish immigrants come to the middle colonies?
What industries helped the middle colonies prosper?
How did indentured and enslaved labor enrich the middle colonies?
Why did the middle colonies grow and prosper?
Why did slavery come to define the southern colonies?
Why did the enslaved population of the southern colonies grow so dramatically?
How did enslaved people build an African American culture?
How did the labor of enslaved Black people bring prosperity to the southern colonies?
What unified colonists in British North America during the eighteenth century?
How did commerce and consumption shape colonial identity?
How did colonists’ religious experiences change?
How did trade and conflict affect the North American borderlands?
How did the policies of the British empire affect colonial politics?
Conclusion: Why did British North American colonists develop a dual identity?
Chapter 6, The British Empire and the Colonial Crisis, 1754-1775
An American Story: Loyalist governor Thomas Hutchinson stands his ground in radical Massachusetts
How did the Seven Years’ War lay the groundwork for the colonial crisis?
Why did the Seven Years’ War begin in the Ohio Country?
What was the objective of the Albany Congress and why did it fail?
How did the war transform imperial power in North America?
Why did British victory lead to Pontiac’s War and the Proclamation of 1763?
How did imperial authorities and British colonists differ about taxing the colonies?
Why did Grenville’s Sugar Act fail in its objectives?
Why did the Stamp Act provoke widespread colonial resistance?
What forms did colonial resistance take?
Why did resistance spread through the colonies?
Why did the colonial crisis worsen after the repeal of the Stamp Act?
Why did the modest Townshend duties provoke such resistance?
How did the nonconsumption movement engage women in political action?
What provoked the "massacre" in Boston and how did it radicalize opinion?
How did colonial tensions ease and then explode after the repeal of the Townshend duties?
Why didn’t the repeal of the Townshend duties bring a more permanent peace?
Why did residents of Boston dump tea in their harbor?
What were the Coercive Acts?
How did the conflict spread beyond Boston?
How did New Englanders escalate tensions with imperial authorities?
What were the objectives of the First Continental Congress?
Why did armed conflict break out in Lexington and Concord?
How did enslaved people react to the colonial rebellion?
Conclusion: What changes did the American colonists want in 1775?
Chapter 7, The War for America, 1775-1783
An American Story: Deborah Sampson masquerades as a man to join the Continental army
What persuaded British North American colonists to support independence?
What did the Second Continental Congress accomplish in its initial months?
What were the military aims of each side in 1775?
Why did Thomas Paine’s Common Sense affect public opinion?
What led the Continental Congress to declare independence?
How did the military objectives of each side shape the course of the war’s early years?
How did the Continental Army take shape?
What was the British war strategy and how was it implemented?
What battles most shaped the war’s first year?
How did the war transform the home front?
What role did local associations play on the home front?
Who remained loyal to Britain and why?
Who was a traitor?
How did the war affect the finances and economy of the United States?
How did a war for independence unleash a broader social transformation?
How did the American Revolution become a war among continental and global powers?
What was Burgoyne’s strategy and why did it fail?
How did the American Revolution look in the West?
How did the French Alliance shape the course of the war?
What were the principal causes of the British defeat?
What was the British southern strategy?
How did the southern strategy result in guerrilla warfare?
Why did the British lose at Yorktown?
Who were the war’s losers and winners?
Conclusion: Why did the British lose the American Revolution?
Chapter 8, Building a Republic, 1775-1789
An American Story: James Madison comes of age in the midst of revolution
What kind of government did the Articles of Confederation create?
How and why were powers of taxation limited by the Articles of Confederation?
How did conflicting colonial land claims pose problems for the new government?
How did a weak government wage war?
How was republican government implemented?
How did states implement republican ideals in their constitutions?
Who were "the People"?
How did the new republican governments confront the institution of slavery?
Why did the Articles of Confederation fail?
How did Congress’s financial constraints nearly result in the overthrow of republican government?
How did the Haudenosaunee lose more land after the revolution?
How did Congress try to organize the Northwest Territory and how did Native Americans resist?
How did the confederation government’s financial constraints boil into crisis?
How did the Constitution change the nation’s form of government?
What events led to a new Constitutional Convention?
How were the principal challenges to the new Constitution resolved?
How did the Constitution limit and balance political power?
Why did so many Americans object to the Constitution?
Who were the Federalists and what did they believe?
Who were the Antifederalists and what did they believe?
How did the Federalists win the debate?
Conclusion: What was the "republican remedy"?
Chapter 9, The New Nation Takes Form, 1789-1800
An American Story: Brilliant and brash, Alexander Hamilton becomes a polarizing figure in the 1790s
What were the sources of political stability in the 1790s?
What precedents did Washington set in creating the executive branch?
Why did Congress almost immediately amend the Constitution?
How did an ideology of republican motherhood emerge?
What was Alexander Hamilton’s economic policy?
How did the U.S. economy grow in the 1790s?
Why did Hamilton’s plan to shore up the nation’s credit provoke such controversy?
Why did the First Bank of the United States and the Report on Manufactures provoke controversy?
What threats did the United States face in the west?
Why were American settlers in the west discontented?
What dynamics shaped U.S. diplomacy with Creeks in the Southwest?
How did the United States finally defeat the Northwest Confederacy?
What threats did the United States face in the Atlantic world?
How did the United States respond to France’s Revolution and its war with Great Britain?
Why was the Jay Treaty so controversial?
How did the Haitian Revolution affect the United States?
How did partisan rivalries shape the politics of the late 1790s?
What distinguished Federalists from Republicans?
Why did the U.S. break with France, its former ally?
How did partisan conflict culminate in the Alien and Sedition Acts?
Conclusion: Why did the United States form political parties?
Chapter 10, Republicans in Power, 1800-1828
An American Story: The Shawnee chief Tecumseh attempts to forge a pan-Indian confederacy
What was the revolution of 1800?
Were the election of 1800 and Gabriel’s rebellion revolutionary?
How did Jefferson try to implement his vision of Republican Government?
How did the United States get enmeshed in a Mediterranean war?
How did the Louisiana Purchase affect the United States?
How did the United States acquire Louisiana?
Why was the Lewis and Clark expedition into Indian Country significant?
How did Native American power west of the Mississippi shape U.S. policy?
What led to the War of 1812?
How did maritime tensions grow between the United States and Great Britain?
How did British and Native American conflicts intersect?
Who won the War of 1812?
How did the civil status of free American women and men differ in the early Republic?
How did Dolley Madison change elite political sociability?
How did women’s legal status change in the early nineteenth century?
How did women involve themselves in church governance?
How did women’s education change gender relations?
Why did partisan conflict increase during the administrations of Monroe and Adams?
How did suffrage for white men increase in the early nineteenth century?
Why was the conflict over Missouri statehood so bitter?
How did the collapse of Spain’s American empire affect the United States?
In what ways did the Election of 1824 mark a turning point?
Why did John Quincy Adams’s administration fail?
Conclusion: How did republican simplicity become complex?
Chapter 11, The Expanding Republic, 1815-1840
An American Story: The Grimké sisters speak out against slavery
What economic developments reshaped the U.S. economy after 1815?
How was transportation revolutionized after 1815?
How did labor relations change after 1815?
How did the financial and legal systems shape economic change?
In what ways did the Panic of 1819 signal a new economic era of booms and busts?
How did the new practices of party politics shape Andrew Jackson’s election and agenda?
What political changes did the election of 1828 usher in?
How did issues of personal character shape the election of 1828?
How did Jackson govern differently from previous presidents?
What was Andrew Jackson’s impact on the presidency?
What characterized U.S.-Native American dynamics in the 1830s?
Why were tariffs so controversial and how did Jackson respond?
What was the Bank War?
What were the most significant social and cultural changes in the 1830s?
How did ideas of gender change in the 1830s?
What kinds of religious and moral reform movements reshaped the United States?
How and why did the antislavery movement take new forms starting in the 1830s?
What political and economic events dominated Martin Van Buren’s presidency?
How did politics and slavery shape Van Buren’s presidency?
What caused the Panic of 1837 and what effect did it have?
Conclusion: The Age of Jackson or the era of reform?
Chapter 12, The North and the West
An American Story: With the support of his wife, Abraham Lincoln struggles to survive in antebellum America
Why did "industrial evolution" occur?
Why did agricultural production boom?
How did manufacturing and mechanization boost productivity?
How did railroads break the bonds of nature?
How did the free-labor ideal explain economic inequality?
What was the free-labor ideal?
How did the free-labor ideal justify economic inequality?
How did immigrants experience the free-labor system?
What spurred westward expansion?
What was Manifest Destiny?
What did migrants encounter in Oregon and on the Overland Trail?
What caused the Mormon exodus to the Great Salt Lake?
Why did the U.S. and Mexico clash in the Mexican borderlands?
Why did the United States go to war with Mexico?
How did expansion shape politics?
How did U.S. expectations of the war with Mexico compare with realities?
How did the U.S. achieve victory in Mexico?
How did gold transform California?
What changes did social reformers seek in the 1840s and 1850s?
What reforms did women’s rights activists seek?
How did abolitionists try to end slavery?
How did transcendentalists and utopians seek reform?
Conclusion: How did the free-labor ideal contribute to economic growth?
Chapter 13, The Slave South
An American Story: Slave Nat Turner leads a revolt to end slavery
Why did the South become so different from the North?
Why was the cotton kingdom also a slave empire?
What did it mean that the South was black and white?
What were the key elements of the plantation economy?
What was plantation life like for slaveowners and their wives?
How did slavery encourage paternalism and the concept of male honor?
What was myth and what reality of the lives of southern ladies?
What was plantation life like for enslaved people?
What kinds of work did enslaved people do?
How did family and religion fare in the quarter?
How did enslaved people demonstrate resistance and rebellion?
How did nonslaveholding southern whites work and live?
How did plantation-belt yeomen live?
How did upcountry yeomen live?
Who were the poor whites?
What was the culture of the plain folk?
What place did free Black people occupy in the South?
Why was freedom for Black people precarious?
How were some free Black people able to achieve despite restrictions?
How did slavery shape southern politics?
What changes came to the southern political arena?
Why did planter power persist?
Conclusion: How did slavery come to define the South?
Chapter 14, The House Divided
An American Story: Abolitionist John Brown takes his war against slavery to Harpers Ferry, Virginia
Why did the acquisition of land from Mexico contribute to sectional tensions?
What did the Wilmot Proviso propose regarding the expansion of slavery?
What were the issues of the election of 1848?
What was the Compromise of 1850?
What upset the balance between slave and free states?
Why was the Fugitive Slave Act so disruptive?
What was the impact of Uncle Tom’s Cabin?
Why was the Kansas-Nebraska Act so explosive?
How did the party system change in the 1850s?
What happened to the old parties of Whigs and Democrats?
What defined the new parties of Know-Nothings and Republicans?
What did the Election of 1856 reveal?
Why did northern fear of the "Slave Power" intensify in the 1850s?
Why did Kansas turn violent?
Why did the Dred Scott decision fan sectionalism?
Why was Abraham Lincoln a Republican?
What issues did Lincoln and Douglas debate?
Why did some southern states secede immediately after Lincoln’s election?
What were the consequences of John Brown’s raid?
Why did the Republicans win in 1860?
What led to secession?
Conclusion: Why did political compromise fail?
Chapter 15, The Crucible of War
An American Story: Slave Robert Smalls liberates slaves and fights for freedom in the Civil War
How did southern states respond to secession?
What was the result of the attack on Fort Sumter?
Why did the upper South have to choose sides?
Why did each side expect to win?
How did they expect to win?
How did Lincoln and Davis mobilize?
How did each side fare in the early years of the war?
Why did stalemate develop in the eastern theater?
What made Union victories in the western theater so important?
How did the Union dominate in the Atlantic theater?
What was King Cotton diplomacy?
How did the war for union become a fight for Black freedom?
How did slaves become contraband?
How did contraband become free people?
What part did Black people play in the fighting?
What problems did the Confederacy face at home?
What was radical about Confederate policy?
Why did poor southerners suffer so much?
How did the enslaved help end slavery?
How did the war affect the economy and politics of the North?
How did the Lincoln administration strengthen the Union?
How did northern women contribute to the war effort?
What fed the Democrat’s dissent?
How did the Union finally win the war?
Why were Vicksburg and Gettysburg significant?
What happened when Grant took command?
Why was the election of 1864 significant?
How did the Confederacy end?
Why was the war’s bloody toll so high?
Conclusion: In what ways was the Civil War a "Second American Revolution"?
Chapter 16, Reconstruction
An American Story: James T. Rapier emerges in the early 1870s as Alabama’s most prominent Black leader
How did competing plans for wartime reconstruction differ?
Why did Congress object to Lincoln’s plan "to bind up the nation’s wounds"?
How did land and labor systems change?
What did former slaves want from freedom?
What did early reconstruction reveal about the North’s and South’s intentions?
What was Johnson’s program of reconciliation?
How did white southerners react to Johnson’s reconciliation efforts?
How did Republicans respond to the South’s black codes?
How radical was congressional reconstruction?
What did Republicans hope to achieve with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment?
Why did Congress pass the Military Reconstruction Act?
Why was President Johnson impeached?
Why did the Fifteenth Amendment snub women?
How successful were the South’s Republican governments?
Who were the southern Republicans?
How did plantations and labor systems change?
Why did Reconstruction collapse?
What struggles did Grant’s troubled presidency face?
How did northern resolve wither?
How did white supremacy triumph in the South?
How did the election of 1876 end in compromise?
Conclusion: Was Reconstruction "a revolution but half accomplished"?
The Declaration of Independence
The Constitution of the United States
Amendments to the Constitution with Annotations (including the six unratified amendments)