Of the People: Volume I: To 1877 with Sources 5th Edition

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Of the People: A History of the United States does more than tell the history of America–of its people and places, of its dealings and ideals. It unfolds the story of American democracy, carefully marking how this country’s evolution has been anything but certain, from its complex beginnings to its modern challenges.

The authors see American history as a story “of the people,” of their struggles to shape their lives and their land. Their narrative focuses on the social and political lives of people–some famous, some ordinary–revealing the compelling story of America’s democracy from an individual perspective, from across the landscapes of diverse communities, and ultimately from within the larger context of the world.

The theme of democracy concentrates attention on the most fundamental concerns of history: people and power. These concerns have been especially relevant as the authors completed revising the book for this new edition. The tumultuous presidential campaign of 2020, one of the most divisive in American history, took place in the midst of a deadly pandemic and culminated in the extraordinary storming of the federal Capitol building in Washington, D.C. in January 2021. Recent history is always a challenge and always subject to revision, but the authors have wanted to show how contemporary struggles over democracy are rooted in the past. Their balanced, inclusive approach makes it more possible for teachers and students to deal with the most controversial events.


Of the People includes strong scholarship, written in a style that is unhurried and balanced. The features in each chapter that delve more deeply into particular aspects of that era allow the students to dig-in a little more, and there are good visuals to support the text in terms of maps, figures, and tables. Of the People is a really solid text and covers a lot of information without being too unwieldy.”–Jennifer Lawrence, Tarrant County College

“The writing style is smooth, consistent, and flows well. The ‘Struggles for Democracy’ features are really well executed–they often open up some wonderful insights that are extensively developed in a way that is often not possible in textbooks.”–Michael Holm, Boston University

“The text effectively weaves diverse voices to convey the complicated and contentious sweep of U.S. history, and its strengths include a thorough treatment of national politics, an innovative use of place and memory, and a highly readable, engaging style.”–Ian Hartman, University of Alaska, Anchorage

Of the People is affordable and easy to use for many types of learners. The writing is clear and accessible.”–Ana Fodor, Danville Community College

Book Description:

People, Places, and Power: The Story of American Democracy

About the Author:

Michael McGerr is Paul V. McNutt Professor of History at Indiana University-Bloomington.

Camilla Townsend is Distinguished Professor of History at Rutgers University.

Karen M. Dunak is Associate Professor of History at Muskingum University.

Mark Summers is Thomas D. Clark Professor of History at the University of Kentucky.

Jan Ellen Lewis was Professor of History and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-Newark.


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