The Birth of America: From Before Columbus to the Revolution

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The Birth of America: From Before Columbus to the Revolution

Author: William R. Polk
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Copyright: 2006
Pages: 416
Cover Price: $ 25.95

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In this provocative account of colonial America, William R. Polk explores the key events, individuals, and themes of this critical period. With vivid descriptions of the societies that people from Europe came from and with an emphasis on what they believed they were going to, Polk introduces the native Indians encountered in the New World and the black Africans who were brought across the Atlantic.

With insightful analysis, he also discusses the dual truths of colonial societies' "growing up" and "growing apart." As John Adams would point out to Thomas Jefferson, the long years that witnessed the formation of our national character and the growth of our spirit of independence were indeed the real revolution. That story forms the basis of The Birth of America. In addition to its discussion of the influence the British had on the colonies, The Birth of America covers the pivotal roles played by the Spanish, French, and Dutch in early America.

From the fearful crossing of the stormy Atlantic to the growth of the early settlements, to the French and Indian War and the unrest of the 1760s, William Polk brilliantly traces the progress of the colonies to the point where it was no longer possible to recapture the past and the break with England was inevitable. America had been born.

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Background Information

Spanish colonization in North America was most active in Mexico, although Catholic missions extended Spanish influence farther north. The French were more interested in an empire based on trade than one with large populations of French colonists. The despite the small size of Holland, the Dutch sent out explorers that had a significant impact on the exploration of the New World.