Higher Education

Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People, Concise Edition, 6th Edition

  • John M. Murrin Princeton University
  • Paul E. Johnson University of South Carolina, Distinguished Professor Emeritus
  • James M. McPherson Princeton University, Emeritus
  • Alice Fahs University of California, Irvine
  • Gary Gerstle Vanderbilt University
  • Emily S. Rosenberg University of California, Irvine
  • Norman L. Rosenberg Macalester College
  • ISBN-10: 113394762X  |  ISBN-13: 9781133947622
  • 896 Pages
  • © 2014 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $128.00
  *Why an online review copy?
  • It's the greener, leaner way to review! An online copy cuts down on paper and on time. Reduce the wait (and the weight) of printed texts. Your online copy arrives instantly, and you can review it anytime from your computer or favorite mobile device.

If you prefer a print copy to review, please contact your representative.



LIBERTY, EQUALITY, POWER offers students a clear, concise understanding of how America transformed itself, in a relatively short time, from a land inhabited by hunter-gatherer and agricultural Native American societies into the most powerful industrial nation on earth. The authors promote this understanding by telling the story of America through the lens of three major themes: liberty, equality, and power. This approach helps students understand not only the effect of the notions of liberty and equality, which are often associated with the American story, but also how dominant and subordinate groups have affected and been affected by the ever-shifting balance of power. LIBERTY, EQUALITY, POWER continues to offer strong political, social, and cultural coverage and valuable pedagogical tools including "History Through Film" to help draw students into the material and show the relevance of history to their own lives. Available in the following split options: LIBERTY, EQUALITY, POWER: A HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, CONCISE SIXTH EDITION Complete, Volume 1: To 1877, and Volume 2: Since 1863.

Additional Product Information

Features and Benefits

  • The very popular "History Through Film" features encourage students to think critically about what they see on screen and get them thinking about historical questions through a medium with which they are already familiar and comfortable. The features offer summaries of the films, note the interesting historical questions that they intentionally or unintentionally raise (and that students can fruitfully discuss), and offer a commentary on the accuracy or inaccuracy of historical figures and events as seen through the lens of the camera and the vision of the director. Featured films include 1776 (Chapter 5), A MIDWIFE'S TALE (Chapter 8), AMISTAD (Chapter 11), THE JAZZ SINGER (Chapter 24), SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (Chapter 26), and JFK (Chapter 28).
  • "Discovery" sections at the end of each chapter guide students through the process of analyzing historical sources by taking a second, closer look at selected images, maps, charts, and quotes. Discovery questions provide opportunities for students to practice "doing history." An accompanying introduction at the beginning of the text explains how historians use source materials and encourages students to develop critical-thinking skills.
  • The strength of the book's author team accounts for its high-quality narrative and analysis. Among the members of this distinguished team are James McPherson, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and John Murrin, one of the pre-eminent colonial historians today. The concise sixth edition also incorporates the work of coauthor Alice Fahs (University of California, Irvine) who is an accomplished historian of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with special expertise in cultural history and the history of gender.
  • LIBERTY, EQUALITY, POWER includes a guide to using maps to help students identify the different types of maps (political, demographic, topographic, and military) and how these maps illustrate various types of information. This overview explains the importance of scale, using a legend, using the captions and topographic elements, as well as using maps for review when studying in order to help students get the most out of the book.
  • Map captions highlight the major features and significant relationships between geographical locations, point to specific geographic/topographic features or spatial relationships, and encourage comparison between maps.
  • "Musical Link to the Past" features lend an ear to musical movements and musicians of various eras. The features provide brief commentary, quotes from significant lyrics, and a "link" to sound recordings available on CD or accessible online. Features include music from "Oh Susanna" (1847, Chapter 10) to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's "The Message" (1982, Chapter 31).

Table of Contents

1. When Old Worlds Collide: Contact, Conquest, Catastrophe.
2. The Challenge to Spain and the Settlement of North America.
3. England Discovers Its Colonies: Empire, Liberty, and Expansion.
4. Provincial America and the Struggle for a Continent.
5. Reform, Resistance, Revolution.
6. The Revolutionary Republic.
7. Completing the Revolution, 1789-1815.
8. Northern Transformations, 1790-1850.
9. The Old South, 1790-1850.
10. Toward an American Culture.
11. Whigs and Democrats.
12. Antebellum Reform.
13. Manifest Destiny: An Empire for Liberty--or Slavery?
14. The Gathering Tempest, 1853-1860.
15. Secession and Civil War, 1860-1862.
16. A New Birth of Freedom, 1862-1865.
17. Reconstruction, 1863-1877.
18. A Transformed Nation: The West and the New South, 1865-1900.
19. The Rise of Corporate America, 1865-1914.
20. Cities, Peoples, Cultures, 1890-1920.
21. Progressivism.
22. Becoming a World Power, 1898-1917.
23. War and Society, 1914-1920.
24. The 1920s.
25. The Great Depression and the New Deal, 1929-1939.
26. America during the Second World War.
27. The Age of Containment, 1946-1953.
28. Affluence and Its Discontents, 1953-1963.
29. America during Its Longest War, 1963-1974.
30. Uncertain Times, 1974-1992.
31. Economic, Social, and Cultural Change in the Late 20th Century.
32. A Time of Hope and Fear, 1993-2012.

What's New

  • Chapters 19 and 20 have been substantially revised. The reorganized Chapter 19, "The Rise of Corporate America, 1865-1914," incorporates material from the fifth edition chapters 19 and 20 so that the story of growth of American corporations is now covered in one place. Much of the material in the revised chapter 20, "Cities, Peoples, Cultures, 1890-1920," is new and deepens the textbook's engagement with cultural and intellectual history.
  • Chapters 29, 30, and 32 have been substantially revised. Chapter 29 has been streamlined and reorganized to clarify and focus narrative. Chapter 30 has been completely reorganized along thematic lines and includes a new section, "The Reagan Revolution." Chapter 32 has been completely revised and updated and includes analysis of the 2012 presidential election.
  • New "Visual Link to the Past" features focus on a single piece of art, material culture, or photography that reveals something important about the historical era in which it was produced. Extended captions explore the historical significance of the object and then pose a question for individual assignment or classroom discussion. Topics include "A Southern View of Slavery" (Chapter 9), "Manifest Destiny" (Chapter 13), "The New Woman" (Chapter 19), and "It's Okay, We're Hunting Communists" (Chapter 27).
  • New "Link to the Past" features spotlight brief primary source excerpts and include a question to involve students in "doing history." Topics include "A City Upon a Hill" (Chapter 2), "A Slave Mother and the Slave Trade" (Chapter 9), "Humor and the Woman Suffrage Movement" (Chapter 21), and "Civil Liberties in Wartime: Korematsu v. United States" (Chapter 26).
  • Identification lists have been added to the study aids at the end of each chapter.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"I have been using [LIBERTY, EQUALITY, POWER] for 10 years at 4 different colleges; I believe it provides excellent value for the money. . . appreciate & enjoy the social history strand woven through the narrative which elevates the interest & participation of my students. . . good overall narrative appropriate for a lower division survey at the right level for the average students."

— Jamie Underwood, Montana State University Northern

"I like the thematic approach [of LIBERTY, EQUALITY, POWER]--it helps students to connect the material from chapter to chapter. It also enables us to track the progress of the country in the selected areas."

— Gary Damron, Seward County Community College

"I also love the movie and music features as well as the primary documents. [Students] get at a lot of different ways to access and understand historical processes."

— William B. Feis, Buena Vista University


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

PowerLecture  (ISBN-10: 1285059336 | ISBN-13: 9781285059334)

An all-in-one multimedia resource for class preparation, presentation, and testing. The Instructor's Resource Manual includes chapter outlines, chronologies, thematic topics, suggested essay topics, lecture outlines, and additional teaching resources. Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides of lecture outlines, as well as images and maps from the text, can be used as offered or customized by importing personal lecture slides or other material; JoinIn™ PowerPoint® slides with clicker content are also provided. An Image Library contains .jpg images from the text. The Test Bank includes multiple-choice, true/false, completion, identification, short answer, and essay questions. ExamView®, an easy-to-use assessment and tutorial system, allows instructors to create, deliver, and customize tests in minutes. Instructors can build tests with as many as 250 questions using up to 12 question types. Using the complete word-processing capabilities of ExamView®, instructors can enter an unlimited number of new questions or edit existing ones.

CourseMate with InfoTrac® 2-Semester Instant Access, Concise  (ISBN-10: 128506402X | ISBN-13: 9781285064024)

Cengage Learning's History CourseMate brings course concepts to life with interactive learning, study tools, and exam preparation tools that support the printed textbook. Use Engagement Tracker to monitor student engagement in the course and watch student comprehension soar as your class works with the printed textbook and the textbook-specific website. An interactive eBook allows students to take notes, highlight, search, and interact with embedded media (such as quizzes, flashcards, primary sources, and videos). Learn more at www.cengage.com/coursemate.

List Price = $135.00  | CengageBrain Price = $135.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $135.00

CourseReader 0-30: U.S. History Instant Access Code  (ISBN-10: 1111475520 | ISBN-13: 9781111475529)

COURSEREADER: U.S. HISTORY is Cengage Learning’s easy, affordable way to build your own online customizable reader. Through a partnership with Gale, COURSEREADER: U.S. HISTORY searches thousands of primary and secondary sources, readings, and audio and video clips from multiple disciplines. Select exactly and only the material you want your students to work with. Each selection can be listened to (using the “Listen” button), to accommodate varied learning styles. Additionally, an instructor can choose to add her own notes to readings, to direct students’ attention or ask them questions about a particular passage. Each primary source is accompanied by an introduction, and questions to help students understand the reading. COURSEREADER: U.S. HISTORY is the perfect complement to any class.

List Price = $67.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $67.00

Rand McNally Atlas of American History  (ISBN-10: 0618842012 | ISBN-13: 9780618842018)

Featuring more than eighty maps, this comprehensive atlas also covers global perspectives.

List Price = $64.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $48.75

Student Supplements

LMS Integrated for CourseMate™, 2 terms (12 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 128575722X | ISBN-13: 9781285757223)

List Price = $135.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $135.00

CourseMate with InfoTrac® 2-Semester Instant Access, Concise  (ISBN-10: 128506402X | ISBN-13: 9781285064024)

The more you study, the better the results. Make the most of your study time by accessing everything you need to succeed in one place. Read your textbook, take notes, review flashcards, watch videos, read primary sources, and take practice quizzes--online with CourseMate.

List Price = $135.00  | CengageBrain Price = $135.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $135.00

CourseReader 0-30: U.S. History Instant Access Code  (ISBN-10: 1111475520 | ISBN-13: 9781111475529)

Easy-to-use and affordable access to readings, audio, and video selections for your courses with this customized online reader. COURSEREADER: U.S. HISTORY helps you to stay organized and facilitates convenient access to course material, no matter where you are.

List Price = $67.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $67.00

Rand McNally Atlas of American History  (ISBN-10: 0618842012 | ISBN-13: 9780618842018)

This comprehensive atlas features more than 80 maps, with new content covering global perspectives, including events in the Middle East from 1945 to 2005, as well as population trends in the U.S. and around the World. Additional maps document voyages of discovery; the settling of the colonies; major U.S. military engagements, including the American Revolution and World Wars I and II; and sources of immigration, ethnic populations, and patterns of economic change.

List Price = $64.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $48.75

Meet the Author

Author Bio

John M. Murrin

John M. Murrin studies American colonial and revolutionary history and the early republic. He has edited one multivolume series and five books, including two essay collections−COLONIAL AMERICA: ESSAYS IN POLITICS AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT, Sixth Edition (2010), and SAINTS AND REVOLUTIONARIES: ESSAYS IN EARLY AMERICAN HISTORY (1984). His own essays cover topics ranging from ethnic tensions, the early history of trial by jury, the emergence of the legal profession, the Salem witch trials, and the political culture of the colonies and the new nation to the rise of professional baseball and college football in the nineteenth century. He served as president of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic in 1998−1999.

Paul E. Johnson

A specialist in early national social history, Paul E. Johnson is the author of THE EARLY AMERICAN REPUBLIC, 1789–1829 (2006); SAM PATCH, THE FAMOUS JUMPER (2003); and A SHOPKEEPER'S MILLENNIUM: SOCIETY AND REVIVALS IN ROCHESTER, NEW YORK, 1815–1837, 25th Anniversary Edition (2004). In addition, he is coauthor (with Sean Wilentz) of THE KINGDOM OF MATTHIAS: SEX AND SALVATION IN 19TH-CENTURY AMERICA (1994) and is editor of AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY: ESSAYS IN HISTORY (1994). He was awarded the Merle Curti Prize of the Organization of American Historians (1980), the Richard P. McCormack Prize of the New Jersey Historical Association (1989), and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (1985–1986), the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (1995), the Gilder Lehrman Institute (2001), and the National Endowment for the Humanities We the People Fellowship (2006-2007).

James M. McPherson

James M. McPherson is a distinguished Civil War historian. He won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for his book BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM: THE CIVIL WAR ERA. His other publications include MARCHING TOWARD FREEDOM: BLACKS IN THE CIVIL WAR, Second Edition (1991); ORDEAL BY FIRE: THE CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION, Third Edition (2001); ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND THE SECOND AMERICAN REVOLUTION (1991); FOR CAUSE AND COMRADES: WHY MEN FOUGHT IN THE CIVIL WAR (1997), which won the Lincoln Prize in 1998; CROSSROADS OF FREEDOM: ANTIETAM (2002); HALLOWED GROUND: A WALK AT GETTYSBURG (2003); and TRIED BY WAR: ABRAHAM LINCOLN AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF (2008), which won the Lincoln Prize for 2009. Professor McPherson served as president of the American Historical Association (2003-2004).

Alice Fahs

Alice Fahs is a specialist in American cultural history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her book THE IMAGINED CIVIL WAR: POPULAR LITERATURE OF THE NORTH AND SOUTH, 1861–1865 (2001) was a finalist in 2002 for the Lincoln Prize. Together with Joan Waugh, she published the edited collection THE MEMORY OF THE CIVIL WAR IN AMERICAN CULTURE (2004). She also edited Louisa May Alcott's HOSPITAL SKETCHES (2004), an account of Alcott's nursing experiences during the Civil War first published in 1863. Fahs's most recent book is OUT ON ASSIGNMENT: NEWSPAPER WOMEN AND THE MAKING OF MODERN PUBLIC SPACE (2011). Her honors include an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship and a Gilder Lehrman Fellowship, as well as fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the Newberry Library, and the Huntington Library.

Gary Gerstle

Gary Gerstle is the Paul Mellon Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge. He previously taught at Princeton University, the Catholic University of America, the University of Maryland, and Vanderbilt University. A historian of the twentieth-century United States, he is the author, coauthor, and coeditor of six books and the author of nearly 35 articles. His books include WORKING-CLASS AMERICANISM: THE POLITICS OF LABOR IN A TEXTILE CITY, 1914–1960 (1989); AMERICAN CRUCIBLE: RACE AND NATION IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (2001), winner of the Saloutos Prize for the best work in immigration and ethnic history; THE RISE AND FALL OF THE NEW DEAL ORDER, 1930–1980 (1989); and RULING AMERICA: WEALTH AND POWER IN A DEMOCRACY (2005). A new book on the principles underlying the use of public power in America from the Revolution to the present will soon be published by Princeton University Press. He has served on the board of editors of the Journal of American History and the American Historical Review. His honors include a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, the Harmsworth Visiting Professorship of American History at the University of Oxford, and membership in the Society of American Historians.

Emily S. Rosenberg

Emily Rosenberg specializes in U.S. foreign relations in the twentieth century and is the author of SPREADING THE AMERICAN DREAM: AMERICAN ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL EXPANSION, 1890–1945 (1982); FINANCIAL MISSIONARIES TO THE WORLD: THE POLITICS AND CULTURE OF DOLLAR DIPLOMACY (1999), which won the Ferrell Book Award; A DATE WHICH WILL LIVE: PEARL HARBOR IN AMERICAN MEMORY (2004); and TRANSNATIONAL CURRENTS IN A SHRINKING WORLD, 1870–1945 (2014). Her other publications include (with Norman L. Rosenberg) IN OUR TIMES: AMERICA SINCE 1945, Seventh Edition (2003), and numerous articles dealing with foreign relations in the context of international finance, American culture, and gender ideology. She has served on the board of the Organization of American Historians, on the board of editors of the American Historical Review, and as president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

Norman L. Rosenberg

Norman L. Rosenberg specializes in legal history with a particular interest in legal culture and First Amendment issues. His books include PROTECTING THE 'BEST MEN': AN INTERPRETIVE HISTORY OF THE LAW OF LIBEL (1990) and (with Emily S. Rosenberg) IN OUR TIMES: AMERICA SINCE 1945, Seventh Edition (2003). He has published articles in Rutgers Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Constitutional Commentary, Law and History Review, and many other journals and law-related anthologies.