The current emphasis on structural influences reflects a twist in traditional political history and its focus on the clash of great personalities. Alan Taylor’s excellent recent history, “American Republics,” covering the period between 1783 and 1850, for example, is relatively light in his coverage of classic set pieces of American history, such as Andrew Jackson’s war on the First Bank of the United States. United States. Instead, it delves into previously neglected topics such as the status of Hispanic residents of Texas, California, and other countries seized in the Mexican-American War, or the contrasting American and British approaches to the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest. The most recent volume in the Oxford History of the United States, Richard White’s book on Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, is so focused on sweeping social and economic trends that it barely covers political history.


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