Manifest Destinies by Steven E. Woodworth
America's Westward Expansion and the Road to the Civil War

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 8 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

A sweeping history of the 1840s, Manifest Destinies captures the enormous sense of possibility that inspired America’s growth and shows how the acquisition of western territories forced the nation to come to grips with the deep fault line that would bring war in the near future.

Steven E. Woodworth gives us a portrait of America at its most vibrant and expansive. It was a decade in which the nation significantly enlarged its boundaries, taking Texas, New Mexico, California, and the Pacific Northwest; William Henry Harrison ran the first modern populist campaign, focusing on entertaining voters rather than on discussing issues; prospectors headed west to search for gold; Joseph Smith founded a new religion; railroads and telegraph lines connected the country’s disparate populations as never before.

When the 1840s dawned, Americans were feeling optimistic about the future: the population was growing, economic conditions were improving, and peace had reigned for nearly thirty years. A hopeful nation looked to the West, where vast areas of unsettled land seemed to promise prosperity to anyone resourceful enough to take advantage. And yet political tensions roiled below the surface; as the country took on new lands, slavery emerged as an irreconcilable source of disagreement between North and South, and secession reared its head for the first time.

Rich in detail and full of dramatic events and fascinating characters, Manifest Destinies is an absorbing and highly entertaining account of a crucial decade that forged a young nation’s character and destiny.
 

About Steven E. Woodworth

See more books from this Author
Steven Woodworth is professor of history at Texas Christian University.
 
Published November 2, 2010 by Knopf. 432 pages
Genres: History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Manifest Destinies

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Woodworth (History/Texas Christian Univ.; Sherman: Lessons in Leadership, 2009, etc.) examines the political and military conflicts that accompanied the westward flow in the 1840s and exacerbated hostilities between the North and South.

Oct 21 2010 | Read Full Review of Manifest Destinies: America's...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

The 1840s was a decade of exuberant national growth and consolidation that laid the groundwork for schism and strife, argues this colorful history. Woodworth (Nothing but Victory) presents a vivid, ep

Sep 13 2010 | Read Full Review of Manifest Destinies: America's...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Woodworth contrasts this flood of pioneering and settlement with a rickety, sclerotic political party system that papered over the problem of slavery, epitomized by the vapid populist sloganeering—"Tippecanoe, and Tyler too!"—of Whig presidential candidate William Henry Harrison in 1840.

Sep 13 2010 | Read Full Review of Manifest Destinies: America's...

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

Admission of new states like Texas and California brought the conflict over slavery to the forefront of national politics — the new states would have to either be allowed or be forbidden slavery.

Dec 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Manifest Destinies: America's...

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

But any praise should be tempered with some moral skepticism: if slavery was an evil, and the two-party system acted to perpetuate that evil by suppressing its open debate, and if the young nation aspired to be something better than Old Europe by protecting the rights of all citizens, then the tw...

Dec 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Manifest Destinies: America's...

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

The era before the Civil War was one of opportunity and conflict: it was a time of westward expansion, war with Mexico, and slavery.

Dec 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Manifest Destinies: America's...

The Wall Street Journal

See more reviews from this publication

"America's manifest destiny to overspread the continent," Mr. Woodworth writes, "became its manifest destiny to face the issue of slavery."

Dec 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Manifest Destinies: America's...

Bookmarks Magazine

as the country took on new lands, slavery emerged as an irreconcilable source of disagreement between North and South, and secession reared its head for the first time.

Rich in detail and full of dramatic events and fascinating characters, Manifest Destinies is an absorbing and hig...

Dec 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Manifest Destinies: America's...

Reader Rating for Manifest Destinies
55%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 11 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review