Higher Education

Discovering the American Past, Brief Edition, 1st Edition

  • William Bruce Wheeler University of Tennessee
  • Susan D. Becker University of Tennessee
  • ISBN-10: 0618011587  |  ISBN-13: 9780618011582
  • 384 Pages
  • © 2000 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $113.25



A briefer version of the popular Discovering the American Past text, this book is a unique resource, providing an active approach to learning that draws students directly into the history of America.

Table of Contents

Note: Each chapter includes The Problem, Background, The Method, Questions to Consider, and an Epilogue.
1. First Encounters: The Confrontation Between Cortes and Montezuma (1519-1521)
The Evidence
Letter by Cortes to King Charles V of Spain
Artwork by Aztecs and Europeans
Written impressions of Cortes by Aztecs
2. Rhythms of Colonial Life: The Statistics of Colonial Massachusetts Bay
The Evidence
Statistics on population, mortality rates, farms, marriage, migration, wealth distribution, taxables, and poor relief
3. What Really Happened in the Boston Massacre? The Trial of Captain Thomas Preston
The Evidence
Map of the site of the Boston Massacre
Excerpts from trial testimony of witnesses
Drawing of position of "charged bayonets"
Diagram of a musket
Paul Revere's engraving of the Boston Massacre
4. Away from Home: The Working Girls of Lowell
The Evidence
Excerpts from the Boston Quarterly Review on slave labor versus free labor
Excerpts from the Reverend Henry A. Mills, Lowell, As It Was, and As It Is
Timetable of the Lowell Mills
Excerpt from the Voice of Industry
Title page of the Lowell Offering
Selections from the Lowell Offering
"Song of the Spinners"
Selection from Lucy Larcom, A New England Girlhood
Photos of women factory workers
Letters from women factory workers
5. The "Peculiar Institution": Slaves Tell Their Own Story
The Evidence
Reminiscences and narratives from former slaves
Slave songs
Excerpts from autobiographies of Frederick Douglass and Linda Brent (Harriet Jacobs)
6. The Price for Victory: The Decision to Use African American Troops
The Evidence: From the North:
Petition of northern blacks to President Lincoln
Excerpts from reminiscences and newspaper articles
Excerpts from Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation
Selections from the writings and letters of President Lincoln
The Evidence: From the South:
Excerpts from newspaper articles and editorials, correspondence, laws, and proclamations
7. Reconstructing Reconstruction: The Political Cartoonist and the National Mood
The Evidence
Political cartoons of Thomas Nast
8. How They Lived: Middle-Class Life, 1870-1917
The Evidence
Advertisements for clothing, beauty and health aids, firearms, books and home study courses, typewriters, insurance, bicycles, automobiles, household appliances and furnishings.
Architectural drawings and descriptions of houses
9. The "New" Woman of the 1920s: Image and Reality
The Evidence
Popular fiction versus nonfiction views of women in the 1920s
Still photographs of Mary Pickford and Clara Bow
10. Documenting the Depression: The FSA Photographers and Rural Poverty
The Evidence
Documentary photographs as instruments of reform
11. The Burdens of Power: The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb, 1945
The Evidence
Excerpts from memoirs and reminiscences by Truman, Stimson, Eisenhower, and others involved in the decision
12. A Generation in War and Turmoil: The Agony of Vietnam
The Evidence
Suggested release forms for oral history interviews
Responses of five males and two females to the Vietnam War
Family photographs
13. Democracy and Diversity: Affirmative Action in California
The Evidence
Excerpts pertaining to the American ideal of "equality"
Excerpts from Proposition 209
Speeches, articles, statistics, and opinion polls for and against affirmative action

Meet the Author

Author Bio

William Bruce Wheeler

William Bruce Wheeler received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1967. He is co-author of DISCOVERING THE GLOBAL PAST (2012), DISCOVERING THE AMERICAN PAST (2012), and DISCOVERING THE WESTERN PAST (2008). He has also written books on Tennessee history and the Tellico Dam.

Susan D. Becker

Susan Becker received her Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in 1975. Her areas of interest include U.S. social, cultural, and women’s history. She has written THE ORIGINS OF THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT (Greenwood Press, 1981), along with a host of articles on women’s history.