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 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"?
Chapter 17, The Contested West, 1865-1900
An American Story: Frederick Jackson Turner delivers his "frontier thesis"
What did U.S. expansion mean for Native Americans?
How did the U.S. government remove Native Americans from their land and establish the reservation system?
What led to the decimation of the great bison herds?
What led to the collapse of Comanchería?
How did the Sioux fight to keep the Black Hills?
In what ways did different Native American groups defy and resist colonial rule?
How were Indian Schools used to wage war on Native American culture?
How did the Dawes Allotment Act mark a new departure in Indian policy?
How did Native Americans resist and survive white encroachment?
How did mining shape American expansion?
What was life like on the Comstock Lode?
What groups fought for the West?
How did the fight for land and resources in the West unfold?
What role did homesteaders and speculators play in the development of the West?
What was life like for those who did not own land – tenants, sharecroppers, and migrants?
How did commercial farming give rise to industrial cowboys?
Conclusion: How did the West set the tone for the Gilded Age?
Chapter 18, The Gilded Age
An American Story: The Big Four make millions building the transcontinental railroad
How did the railroads stimulate big business?
How did the railroads become America’s first big business?
How did Andrew Carnegie pioneer vertical integration in steel?
What means did John D. Rockefeller use to create the Standard Oil Trust?
How did new inventions like the telephone and electricity transform American life?
Why did the ideas of social Darwinism appeal to wealthy Americans?
How did J.P. Morgan come to dominate finance capitalism?
What was the relationship between the theories of social Darwinism and laissez-faire?
What factors influenced political life in the late nineteenth century?
Why was party loyalty so important to America’s voters?
What role did sectionalism and the New South play in national politics?
How did gender and race influence politics?
How were women active in politics before they got the vote?
What issues shaped party politics in the late nineteenth century?
How did corruption and party strife come to dominate American politics?
How did Garfield’s assassination lead to civil service reform?
What role did reform and scandal play in the presidential campaign of 1884?
How did Henry George use the issue of inequality to campaign for mayor of New York?
What role did economic issues play in party realignment?
Why was the tariff such a potent political issue in the 1880s and 1890s?
How did the federal government regulate trusts and railroads?
What was the fight for free silver about?
Conclusion: How did business dominate the Gilded Age?
Chapter 19, The City and Its Workers
An American Story: Workers build the Brooklyn Bridge
Why did American cities experience explosive growth in the late nineteenth century?
How did the urban explosion in the United States reflect a global migration?
How did racism lead to the cry for immigration restriction?
How did the city magnify extremes of wealth and poverty?
What kinds of work did people do in industrial America?
Who were America’s diverse workers?
What role did women and children play in the family economy?
Who were the white-collar workers?
Why did labor unions arise in the late 1870s and 1880s?
What led to the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 and what were its results?
What were the philosophical and strategic differences between the Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor?
What was the Haymarket bombing and what were its long term effects?
How did urban industrialism shape home life and the world of leisure?
What role did domesticity play in American culture of the nineteenth century?
What were the cheap amusements of working-class Americans?
How did municipal governments respond to the challenges of urban expansion?
How did the landscape of American cities change?
How did American cities suffer from "boss rule"?
How did New York demonstrate the consolidation of the capitalist class?
How was Chicago perceived as both the white city and city of sin?
Conclusion: Who built the cities?
Chapter 20, Dissent, Depression, and War
An American Story: Frances Willard participates in the creation of the Populist Party in 1892
Why did American farmers organize alliances in the late nineteenth century?
How did the Farmers’ Alliance aim to protect family farmers?
How did the Farmers Alliance become the Populist Party?
What led to the labor wars in the 1890s?
What precipitated the Homestead lockout and subsequent strike?
What led to the Cripple Creek miners’ strike of 1894 and why did it succeed?
Why did Eugene V. Debs lead the Pullman strike?
How were women involved in late-nineteenth-century politics?
What were the goals of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union?
How did Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony organize the movement for woman suffrage?
How did economic depression affect American politics in the 1890s?
What was "Coxey’s Army"?
Why is the election of 1896 considered one of the most important elections in U.S. history?
Why did the United States largely abandon its isolationist foreign policy in the 1890s?
How did both markets and missionaries promote U.S. expansion?
How did the Monroe Doctrine and the Open Door Policy forge American foreign policy at the turn of the 20th century?
Why was the Spanish-American war called "a splendid little war"?
What was the debate over American imperialism following the war?
Conclusion: How did domestic strife influence foreign policy?
Chapter 21, Progressive Reform
An American Story: Jane Addams founds Hull House
How did grassroots progressives attack the problems of urban industrial America?
How did reformers work to "civilize the city"?
How did middle class progressives ally with the working class?
What were the key tenets of progressive theory?
What was the theory of reform Darwinism?
What did progressive city and state government look like?
How did Theodore Roosevelt advance the progressive agenda?
What was Roosevelt’s Square Deal?
How effective was Roosevelt as a reformer?
Why did Roosevelt champion conservation?
Why did Roosevelt describe his foreign policy with the phrase "Speak Softly but Carry a Big Stick"?
Why did William Howard Taft have such a troubled presidency?
How did progressivism evolve during Woodrow Wilson’s first term?
How could all four presidential candidates in 1912 claim to be Progressives?
Why did Wilson focus his progressive reforms on the tariffs, banking, and trusts?
Why has Wilson been called a reluctant progressive?
What were the limits of progressive reform?
What were some radical alternatives to progressive reform?
Why was progressivism for white men only?
Conclusion: How did the Progressive Era give rise to the liberal state?
Chapter 21 Review
Chapter 22, World War I: The Progressive Crusade
An American Story: Doughboy George "Brownie" Browne sees combat on the front lines in France
What was Woodrow Wilson’s foreign policy agenda?
How did Wilson seek to tame the Americas?
How did Europe descend into war?
What was Wilson’s policy of neutrality?
How did the United States enter the war?
How did the United States build an army?
What did Americans experience in France?
What impact did the war have on the home front?
What did progressive want from the war?
How did the war aid the advance of women?
What happened to dissent in wartime?
How did Woodrow Wilson win the war but lose the peace?
What were Wilson’s Fourteen Points?
What part did Wilson play at the Paris peace conference?
What were the sides in the fight for the treaty?
Why was America’s transition from war to peace so turbulent?
How did labor fare after the war?
What factors led to the Red scare?
What stimulated the Great Migration of Black people and Mexicans?
What did the election of 1920 signal?
Conclusion: Victory, but at what cost?
Chapter 23, From New Era to Great Depression
An American Story: Henry Ford puts America on wheels
How did big business shape the "New Era" of the 1920s?
What did it mean that the U.S. had a business government?
How did the government promote prosperity and peace abroad?
How did the automobile shape the American economy?
How did consumer culture take root in American life?
In what ways did the Roaring Twenties challenge traditional values?
How successful was the experiment of prohibition?
How did women’s roles change in the 1920s?
How did the New Negro expand Black cultural life?
What explains the rise of popular culture?
Why did the Lost Generation find a home abroad?
Why did the relationship between urban and rural America deteriorate in the 1920s?
What were the consequences of the rising anti-foreigner sentiment?
How was the Ku Klux Klan reborn?
How did the Scopes trial reflect the divide between urban and rural America?
How did the election of 1928 reflect Republican strength?
How did President Hoover respond to the economic crash of 1929?
What reputation did Herbert Hoover bring to the presidency?
What factors distorted the U.S. economy?
What caused the crash of 1929?
How did Hoover respond to the economic crisis?
What impact did the economic depression have on everyday life?
What was the human toll of the Great Depression?
How did Americans try to escape the realities of the Great Depression?
How did the working class rise up?
Conclusion: Why did the hope of the 1920s turn to despair?
Chapter 24, The New Deal Experiment
An American Story: "Migrant Mother" Florence Owens struggles to survive in the Great Depression
Why was Franklin D. Roosevelt elected president in 1932?
How did Roosevelt’s background shape his political ideas?
What contributed to FDR’s victory in the 1932 election?
What were the goals and achievements of the first New Deal?
Who were the New Dealers?
How did the New Deal reform banking and finance?
How did the New Deal conserve natural resources?
How did the New Deal address agricultural problems?
How did the New Deal try to stimulate industrial recovery?
Who opposed the New Deal?
Why did business leaders oppose New Deal policies?
Why did New Deal agricultural policies fail to help many rural people?
What political challenges confronted New Deal policies?
Why did the New Deal begin to create a welfare state?
How did the New Deal create jobs?
How did the New Deal support workers?
Why did the New Deal create Social Security and increase taxes on wealth?
What Americans did the New Deal neglect?
Why did the New Deal lose support during Roosevelt’s second term as president?
How did the election of 1936 influence Roosevelt’s political outlook?
Why did Roosevelt try to pack the Supreme Court?
How did politics and a new economic slump slow New Deal reforms?
What reforms were enacted while the New Deal lost steam?
Conclusion: What were the achievements and limitations of the New Deal?
Chapter 25, The United States and the Second World War
An American Story: Colonel Paul Tibbets drops the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan
How did isolationism shape American foreign policy in the 1930s?
How did the depression influence U.S. isolationism?
Why did Roosevelt support the good neighbor policy?
How did isolationism influence American foreign policy?
How did war in Europe and Asia influence U.S. foreign policy?
How did Nazi aggression start war in Europe?
How did America become the arsenal of democracy?
Why did Japan attack Pearl Harbor?
How did the United States mobilize for war?
Why did the wartime emergency lead to internment of Japanese Americans?
How did the U.S. build a citizen army?
How did the U.S. convert to a war economy?
How did the Allies reverse Axis advances in Europe and the Pacific?
What turned the tide in the Pacific?
How did the Allies counterattack against Nazi advances in Europe and Africa?
How did war change the American home front?
How did American women and families contribute to the war effort?
Why did Black activists support the Double V campaign?
How did the war influence the 1944 presidential election?
How did the U.S. respond to the Holocaust?
How did the Allies win the war?
How did the Allies’ European campaign defeat Nazi Germany?
How did the Allies defeat Japan?
Conclusion: Why did the United States emerge as a superpower at the end of the war?
Chapter 26, The New World of the Cold War
An American Story: Helen Gahagan Douglas, congresswoman and loyal Truman ally, supports the Marshall Plan, the creation of NATO, and the war in Korea
How did the Cold War begin?
Why did U.S.-Soviet tensions emerge after World War II?
How did the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan reflect new U.S. priorities?
What were the elements of the national security state?
In what ways did anticommunism shape U.S. politics and policy?
How did superpower rivalry play out across the globe?
What contributed to the rise of McCarthyism?
What were the effects of the anti-communist crusade at home?
Why did the United States go to war in Korea?
How did containment lead to military intervention?
What was the war’s impact on domestic politics?
How did the Korean War shape U.S. defense policy?
How did the U.S. approach to the superpower struggle evolve in the 1950s?
What was the "New Look" in foreign policy?
Why and how did the U.S. apply containment in Vietnam?
What prompted U.S. interventions in Latin America and the Middle East?
Why did the U.S. and Soviet Union engage in a nuclear arms race?
Conclusion: What were the costs and consequences of the Cold War?
Chapter 27, Postwar Culture and Politics
An American Story: Vice President Richard Nixon debates Russian premier Nikita Khrushchev
Why did domestic reform wane after World War II?
How did the U.S. reconvert to a peacetime economy?
What was the Fair Deal and why did it falter?
How did the New Deal fare under Eisenhower?
What fueled postwar prosperity?
How did technology transform agriculture and industry?
What led Americans to move to the suburbs?
Why did the postwar Sun Belt grow so quickly?
What role did higher education play in economic expansion?
How did the economic boom affect American society?
What characterized American consumer culture?
What explains the postwar revival of domesticity and religion?
How did television transform culture and politics?
Who were the critics of the affluent society?
Why did civil rights struggles erupt in the 1950s?
What was the state of race relations and civil rights in the postwar period?
How did Black activists challenge the Supreme Court and the president?
What led to the Montgomery mass protest?
Conclusion: What challenges did prosperity mask?
Chapter 28, Rights, Rebellion, and Reaction
An American Story: African American lawyer and activist Pauli Murray breaks barriers to fight for civil rights
How did Kennedy and Johnson expand the role of government?
What were JFK’s foreign and domestic priorities?
How did LBJ wage the War on Poverty?
What were the aims of the Great Society?
What were the legacies of the Great Society?
How did the courts revolutionize rights?
How did the Black freedom movement evolve?
What strategies did civil rights activists adopt in the 1960s?
How did the federal government respond to calls for racial justice?
What were the roots of Black power and urban rebellions?
Why did so many social movements emerge in the 1960s?
What were the goals of Red Power?
How did the Chicano movement mobilize?
Why did young people join the New Left and counterculture?
What and how did gay men and lesbians protest?
What explains the rise of a new environmentalism?
What sparked a new wave of feminism?
What were the causes of feminists protest?
How did radical feminism depart from earlier women’s movements?
What opposition did feminists encounter?
Why and where did the conservative movement gain ground?
Who joined the grassroots right?
What did the 1968 election mean for liberal reforms?
Conclusion: What were the lasting effects of sixties-era liberalism?
Chapter 29, Confronting Limits at Home and Abroad
An American Story: Lieutenant Frederick Downs Jr. is wounded in Vietnam and returns home to a country divided over the war
What led to the United States’ deepening involvement in Vietnam?
How did anticommunism shape Kennedy’s foreign policy?
How did JFK respond to the insurgency in Southeast Asia?
Why did LBJ widen the U.S. commitment to Vietnam?
Who served in the Vietnam War?
How did a war abroad provoke a war at home?
What fueled the antiwar movement?
Why was the Tet Offensive a turning point in the war?
How did divisions over Vietnam influence the 1968 election?
How did U.S. foreign policy shift under Nixon?
What were the results of détente with the Soviet Union and China?
Where and why did the U.S. intervene around the globe?
How did the Vietnam War end?
What were the legacies of U.S. defeat in Southeast Asia?
How did the aftermath of the Vietnam conflict affect the Cold War?
What accounted for the Americans’ political shift to the right in the 1970s?
How did economic and energy crises affect the nation?
In what ways did Nixon appeal to the Right?
What was the Watergate scandal?
How did Democrats make gains in the post-Watergate years?
What challenges did the Carter administration face?
Why did a Democratic president retreat from liberalism?
Why did energy and the environment capture national attention?
How did a focus on human rights alter foreign policy?
What new crises did the U.S. face abroad?
Conclusion: How did the constraints of the 1970s transform U.S. policy and politics?
Chapter 30, Political Divisions in a Conservative Era
An American Story: Phyllis Schlafly promotes conservatism
What conservative goals were realized during Reagan’s presidency?
How did Reagan appeal to the New Right?
What economic policies did the new administration adopt?
Who were the winners and losers in the 1980 economy?
How did liberals fight the conservative turn?
What political battles wound up in the courts and Congress?
Why was feminism on the defensive?
How did gay men and lesbians secure rights?
Why did the Cold War intensify, and how did it end?
What led to renewed militarization in the 1980s?
What was the Iran-Contra Scandal?
How were Soviet-American relations transformed?
How new was the "new world order"?
Why did the U.S. intervene in Central America and the Persian Gulf?
Why did domestic politics become more polarized in the 1990s?
How did gridlock become a problem for governing?
What agenda did the "New Democrats" pursue?
How did conservative activism shape politics?
What were the "culture wars"?
Why was Clinton impeached?
How did the U.S. respond to the challenges of globalization?
What was the "new economy" and whom did it leave behind?
How did globalization affect the U.S. economy?
Why did American debate the benefits of free trade?
How did the U.S. define its role in the post-Cold War world?
Conclusion: What were the legacies of the "Reagan Revolution"?
Chapter 31, America in a New Century
An American Story: Immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas achieves success and faces uncertainty as anti-immigrant sentiments persist in the U.S.
How did U.S. foreign and domestic policy shift under George W. Bush?
Why was the election of 2000 disputed?
What were the effects of the 9/11 attacks?
How did Americans weigh tensions between security and civil liberties?
How did the U.S. wage the "War on Terror"?
What were Bush’s domestic successes and failures?
What was Obama’s reform agenda, and what obstacles did he face?
Did the 2008 election signal a post-racial America?
What were Obama’s domestic aims and accomplishments?
Why did partisanship escalate, and with what consequences?
What were the results of the multilateral approach to foreign policy?
How were new social movements and new media changing politics?
Why and how did progressives mobilize around economic equality?
What new rights movements emerged in the 21st century? What sparked the Black Lives Matter movement?
How did social media tools transform political activism?
What was the significance of Trump’s presidency?
How did the 2016 election disrupt expectations?
Why were right wing populism and white nationalism on the rise?
What was Trump’s record in office?
In what ways did the U.S. retreat from global leadership?
In an intensely divided nation, was there any common ground?
How did COVID-19 reveal inequalities and rifts among Americans?
How did the 2020 election lead to an attack on the U.S. Capitol?
How did crises shape the early Biden administration?
Conclusion: Was America becoming more or less democratic in the 21st century?
The Declaration of Independence
The Constitution of the United States
Amendments to the Constitution with Annotations (including the six unratified amendments)