A captivating and lucid narrative of America's revolutionary generation, Jefferson's America takes the reader from the earliest rumblings of colonial dissent, through the crises of revolution and nation-making, to the heroic drama of the War of 1812. Risjord deftly weaves together strands of biography and social history with military and political history to depict the rich fabric of the young republic. While most writers on this period conclude with the end of the Revolution, the ratification of the Constitution, or the election of Jefferson, Risjord contends that there is a fundamental continuity in the history of the Early Republic. The basic problems involved in creating a stable, representative government were not resolved until the "second war of independence," a symbolic end for the Revolutionary generation, which produced a sense of national unity and determined the viability of the new nation. Risjord incorporates new social and economic perspectives, and he deals suggestively with the struggle over "who shall rule at home." Yet he still presents the pivotal events of the War for Independence, the framing of the Constitution, the "Revolution of 1800," and the war of 1812 in an interesting and understandable way. This is no watered-down version of the national myth, but a subtle and well-told story.
Author Biography: Norman K. Risjord is emeritus professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he taught for over three decades. He is author of Chesapeake Politics, 1781-1800; The Old Republicans: Southern Conservatism in the Age of Jefferson; Representative Americans; and Thomas Jefferson. Professor Risjord has also written several widely-adoptedcollege and high school history textbooks. He is the general editor of the American Profiles series for Madison House.