Academic Books
History of the United States of America
Tigran Yepremyan

Yerevan, YSU Press, 2024, p. 544

ISBN 978-5-8084-2658-0

DOI: https://doi.org/10.46991/YSUPH/9785808426580

This textbook presents the formative periods and perspectives of American history from the colonial era to contemporary times, from the establishment of the thirteen colonies to a global superpower. It proceeds with the origins of American nationhood, presents and comprehensively analyzes the unity and diversity of American society and how differences in international affairs, geography, ethnicity, race, religion, community, class, society, economy, culture, and human experience have shaped the historical comprehension, self-understanding, and collective memory of the United States. Based on a bunch of secondary and key primary sources and formative documents of the history of the United States, the textbook presents how foreign policy doctrines, geopolitics, class and race relations, socio-philosophical ideas and political ideologies, developments of social and economic systems, scientific and technological innovations influenced the course of the American history.

Looking at global interactions across time and space within the context of world history, this textbook provides a deeper understanding of the historical, international, geopolitical, cultural, and socio-economic forces that shaped the present United States of America. It provides an opportunity to study the emergence of the American nation and the impulses and stages of its historical development.

The textbook presents the fundamental aspects and structural cycles of American history thematically and chronologically. Nevertheless, history is not just a simple memorization of events, names, and dates. The study of history is an extremely complex task and an extremely dynamic process. Historians pose historical problems, and research questions, weigh the evidence of primary sources, examine and challenge competing interpretations, and argue their conclusions. Therefore, history is also an ongoing discourse about the narratives of the past. Old conclusions are subjected to the scrutiny of new shreds of evidence, new perspectives, new references, new theories, and interpretations. Historical interpretation requires method, rigor, perspective, and reverse perspective. The study of international and transnational processes is extremely important for the understanding of world history. The names of the leaders and the dates of the events may not change, but the weight that scholars give them and the context in which they are formed are constantly evolving.

The other idea, which is reflected in the textbook, concerns the fundamental processes of evolution through revolutions, i.e. the United States managed to evolve stronger due to the accurate assessment of internal and external crises. Unlike other historical environments and entities, the United States has managed to turn those crises into incentives for development. The past and the present of this country unfold as a historical process: from crisis to crisis. And every time after an ‘apparent end’ it appears in a new historical outfit.

The study of American history enables access to one of the richest repositories of human experience, as the laboratory of American experience and the American nation-building endeavor encompasses the implementation of the most innovative achievements of Western civilizational values and socio-political ideas and intellectual thought. They have a pan-historical significance and content; therefore, they are universal for understanding the historical development paths of societies formed on the basis of republican ideals. Accordingly, the textbook identifies and explains the major historical processes underlying colonialism, the American Revolution, and the creation of the American nation, as well as the major impetuses of Manifest Destiny, the westward expansion, the ‘civilizing mission’ and the enlargement of the American frontier. The textbook consists of 22 chapters that start with the discovery of the New World, clashing civilizations, colliding cultures, competing empires, and different paradigms of European colonization exemplified with New Spain, New France, and New England. It covers, presents, and interprets the most important events and processes of American history, the main areas of social agreements and disagreements, co-existential convergencies and divergencies, intra-societal fusion and division; the sectional crisis and the deep causes of the Civil War; the Industrial Revolution and Capitalism; the Age of Imperialism and the First World War; the Great Depression and the paradigm for overcoming it; the Second World War and the Cold War; the New World Order and the Old; the only superpower and the lonely superpower; the end of history and the return of it.

Thus, this comprehensive overview offers a deeper understanding of continuity and change, tradition and innovation in American history, and how the United States has transformed from the perspective of the early republic to the present. Hence, the civilizational, socio-economic, and geopolitical heritage of the United States, as well as the impact of intercultural encounters on the transformation of American society is evaluated within the context of world history.

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