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The Shaping of America

The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History, Volume 1: Atlantic America 1492-1800

D. W. MEINIG
Copyright Date: 1986
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 524
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt32bqpx
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  • Book Info
    The Shaping of America
    Book Description:

    This entirely fresh interpretation of American history by a renowned historical geographer is the first in a projected three-volume series. Meinig here focuses on colonial America, examining how an immense diversity of ethnic and religious groups-Europeans, Africans, American Indians-ultimately created a set of distinct regional societies. Richly illustrated with more then forty specially prepared maps and contemporary illustrations, this volume prompts us to rethink the settling of North America."A standard work in its field. . . . For readers seeking a bird's-eye view of early American geography. . . there is no better guide available."-William Cronon,New YorkTimes Book Review"Simply the best book in the English language by a contemporary geographer I have read over the past forty-odd years, and one of the most important. . . . A magisterial achievement, a grand shaking up and reassembling of fact and ideas."-Wilbur Zelinsky,Journal of Geography"All historians of the American experience should read and come to terms with this book."-Malcolm J. Rohrbough,Georgia Historical Quarterly"This book is a masterpiece in the best and old sense of the word."-Alfred W. Crosby,Southwestern Historical Quarterly

    eISBN: 978-0-300-17396-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xi)
  3. List of Illustrations and Tables
    (pp. xii-xiv)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xv-xx)
    D. W. Meinig
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  6. PART ONE OUTREACH: THE CREATION OF AN ATLANTIC WORLD
    (pp. 3-76)

    We begin in Europe because it was the Europeans who reached across the Atlantic and initiated the radical reshaping of America. That outreach to and encounter with the American World was at once a sequence of events and a set of processes. We shall be concerned with both, but in a special and limited way. There is no need to rehearse all the rich history of the voyages of discovery and the trials of early colonization, for these have been recounted in a huge and splendid and continually expanding literature. Nor shall we attempt to assess and apply in any...

  7. PART TWO IMPLANTATIONS: THE CREATION OF AMERICAN DIVERSITY
    (pp. 79-254)

    The Atlantic World bound together a vast diversity of peoples and places. At the broadest scale these would become defined by the aggressive European creators of this system in crude racial and continental terms: White, Red, Black; Europe, America, Africa. And by their conquests, migrations, and conversions Europeans would impose further broad religious and political differentiations: Catholic, Protestant, “heathen”; Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, English.

    We are concerned with diversities related to race, religion, and nation but we must come into focus on a much finer scale than any of the above. We cannot, of course, deal with persons and families,...

  8. PART THREE REORGANIZATIONS: THE CREATION OF AN AMERICAN MATRIX
    (pp. 257-418)

    We now need to bind these localities, societies, and regions back into the larger Atlantic World. We begin with a generalized description of the several networks that actually, functionally, bound Northwest Europe and North America together as of about 1750. That will bring into focus a set of points and areas and peoples to form a panorama of empire within which we can identify some systems of interaction, gradations of political power, and directions of cultural change.

    We must then deal with the series of great upheavals that radically altered those patterns of empire during the next few decades. First...

  9. PART FOUR CONTEXT: THE UNITED STATES, CIRCA 1800
    (pp. 421-454)

    It is time to pause and again ponder the broader view. The end of the eighteenth century is commonly considered an important moment in American history. Our perspective is rather different; we are not so directly concerned with new political persons, parties, and philosophies, but the same date can serve us well, for we are on the eve of dramatic new geographies following upon the sudden surprising addition of the whole of Louisiana to the American republic.

    We have come into focus on the United States because it was the most remarkable European creation on this side of the Atlantic...

  10. Sources of Quotations
    (pp. 455-460)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 461-480)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 481-501)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 502-502)