Higher Education

Speaking of America: Readings in U.S. History, Vol. I: To 1877, 2nd Edition

  • Laura A. Belmonte Oklahoma State University
  • ISBN-10: 0495050172  |  ISBN-13: 9780495050179
  • 432 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2004
  • © 2007 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $87.75



SPEAKING OF AMERICA is a two-volume, interdisciplinary source reader that exposes college students to a variety of sources on United States history, from the colonial era to the present day. The collection includes a wide array of primary documents, poems, short stories, song lyrics, monograph and article excerpts, and news accounts encompassing multicultural and regional perspectives. The selected readings address important episodes in politics, economics, and foreign policy as well as social and cultural changes. Both famous and ordinary Americans are featured.

Features and Benefits

  • The unique range of content in SPEAKING OF AMERICA includes such interdisciplinary source materials as newspaper accounts, speeches, short stories, poems, song lyrics, photographs, maps, and paintings. No other major reader for the U.S. history course uses this American Studies style approach or incorporates as much art history and literature.
  • Introductory paragraphs that guide students into the source material precede each primary source document.
  • Each document is accompanied by questions that can be assigned in class that ask students to evaluate the source.
  • Each chapter includes between eight and fifteen short primary documents.
  • Race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, and class are among the multicultural perspectives represented in the readings.

Table of Contents

Christopher Columbus, Journal (1492). Bartolomé De Las Casas, Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies (1542). Captain John Smith Describes the Founding of Jamestown (1607). John Winthrop, Reasons for Emigrating to New England (1629). William Bradford on Sickness Among the Natives (1633). The Indians of the Six Nations to William & Mary College (1744). Jesuit Comparison of French and Native Life (1657-1658). Jesuit Observations on the "Enslavement" of Native American Women (1610-1614). Reverend John Heckewelder Challenges European Stereotypes of Native American Gender Relations (1819).
The London Company Instructs the Governor in Virginia (1622). The Experiences of an Indentured Servant in Virginia (1623). Race, Gender, and Servitude in Virginia Law (1661-1691). Trial and Interrogation of Hutchinson (1637). Edward Randolph, The Causes and Results of King Philip''s War (1675). Mary Rowlandson, Captivity Narrative (1682). The Examination and Confession of Ann Foster at Salem Village (1692). "Pennsylvania, The Poor Man''s Paradise" (1698). Images of the Rise of a Consumer Society (1729-1750). John Lawson, A New Voyage to Carolina (1709). Rev. Charles Woodmason on Religion in the Carolina Backcountry (1767-68). Olaudah Equiano Recalls the Horrors of the Middle Passage (1756). Alexander Falconbridge, The African Slave Trade (1788). A Puritan Prescription for Marital Concord (1712). Jane Colman Turell, "Lines on Childbirth" (1741).
Jonathan Edwards, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" (1741). Thomas Hutchinson Recounts the Mob Reaction to the Stamp Act in Boston (1765). Benjamin Franklin, Testimony Against the Stamp Act (1766). Milcah Martha Moore, "The Female Patriots Address''d to the Daughters of Liberty in America" (1768). Captain Thomas Preston''s Account of the Boston Massacre (1770). Paul Revere, The Bloody Massacre (1770 image). Samuel Adams, "The Rights of Colonists" (1772). "Plain English," REIGN OF KING MOB (1775). Thomas Paine, Introduction to COMMON SENSE (1776). John Dickinson, A Speech Against Independence (1776). Joseph Brant Pledges Mohawk Loyalty to Britain (1776). Abigail and John Adams on Women''s Rights (1776). James Thacher Describes the Battle of Trenton (1777). An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery (1780).
Thomas Jefferson Calls for Religious Freedom in Virginia (1786). The Northwest Ordinance (1787). General Benjamin Lincoln Recalls Shays''s Rebellion (1786). James Madison, FEDERALIST Number 10 (1788). Patrick Henry, Speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention (1788). The Bill of Rights (1791). Thomas Jefferson on Slavery and Race (1781-1787). Benjamin Banneker to Thomas Jefferson (1791). Judith Sargent Murray, "On the Equality of the Sexes" (1790). Alexander Hamilton, Report on Manufactures (1791). George Washington''s "Farewell Address" (1796). A Republican Broadside (1796). James Madison, The Virginia Resolutions (1798).
Solomon on Gabriel''s Rebellion (1800). Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address (1801). Thomas Jefferson Instructs Robert Livingston (1802). John Marshall, MARBURY V. MADISON (1803). Lewis and Clark Reach the Pacific Ocean (1805). Lessons from a New England Primer (1807). Images of American Indians (1804, 1821). Tecumseh''s Plea to the Choctaws and the Chickasaws (1811). The "Niles Weekly Register" Pushes for War (1812). Report and Resolutions of the Hartford Convention (1815). John Luttig Describes the Western Fur Trade (1812). James Flint Recalls the Panic of 1819 (1822). James Tallmadge Denounces Slavery in Missouri (1819). The Monroe Doctrine (1823). Henry Clay Calls for Economic Development (1824).
Margaret Bayard Smith on Andrew Jackson''s Inaugural (1829). Davy Crockett, Advice to Politicians (1833). George Caleb Bingham, County Election (1852 image). The Cherokees Resist Removal (1830). Andrew Jackson''s Second Annual Message to Congress (1830). John C. Calhoun, SOUTH CAROLINA EXPOSITION AND PROTEST (1828). Daniel Webster''s Second Reply to Robert Y. Hayne (1830). Bishop McIlvaine Decries the Curse of Intemperance (undated). Dorothea Dix Calls for Human Treatment of the Mentally Ill (1843). Horace Mann on Education Reform (1840). Women Workers Protest "Lowell Wage Slavery" (1847). David Walker, APPEAL TO THE COLOURED CITIZENS OF THE WORLD (1829). William Lloyd Garrison on Slavery (1831). Elizabeth Cady Stanton, DECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS (1848).
Joshua and Sally Wilson, Letters to George Wilson (1823). Catherine Beecher on Domestic Economy (1841). Henry Clarke Wright on Marriage and Parentage (1858). Reverend Peter Cartwright, "A Muscular Christian" (1830). Joseph Smith, The Wentworth Letter (1842). Frances Trollope, DOMESTIC MANNERS OF THE AMERICANS (1831). Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835). The Wonders of Phrenology Revealed (1841). Nathaniel Hawthorne, A Letter from Brook Farm (1841). John Humphrey Noyes on Free Love at Oneida (1865). "Jim Crow," A Minstrel Song (undated). Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself" (1855). John Neagle, "Pat Lyon at the Forge" (1826-1827 image).
Anne Newport Royall Describes the Alabama Frontier (1821). Life in the Pine Woods (1831). Managing the Butler Estate (1828). Fanny Kemble Describes Plantation Slavery (1863). Religion as Social Control: A Catechism for Slaves (1854). George Fitzhugh Defends Southern Society (1854). Daniel R. Hundley, The Southern Yeomen (1860). Nat Turner''s "Confession" (1831). Frederick Douglass on Slavery (1845). Uncle Ben on the Punishment of Slaves (1910). Slave Music and Resistance. Benjamin Drew, Narratives of Escaped Slaves (1855). Images of Slavery.
Sharitarish on Indian Life (1822). George Catlin on Pigeon''s Egg Head (1837-39 image, 1842). Richard Henry Dana on the Coast of California (1835). General Manuel de Mier y Terán on Texas (1828). John O''Sullivan, Annexation (1845). Thomas Corwin Opposes the Mexican War (1847). José Fernando Ramírez Describes the U.S. Occupation of Mexico City (1847). Henry David Thoreau, "Civil Disobedience" (1849). Elizabeth Dixon Smith Greer Describes Life on the Frontier (1847-1850). Alonzo Delano, A Forty-Niner (1849-1850).
John C. Calhoun, Proposal to Preserve the Union (1850). William H. Seward, "Higher Law" Speech (1850). Harriet Beecher Stowe, UNCLE TOM''S CABIN (1852). The Know-Nothing Party Platform. Charles Sumner on "Bleeding Kansas" (1856). DRED SCOTT V. SANDFORD (1857). Hinton Rowan Helper, The Impending Crisis (1857). The Lincoln-Douglas Debates (1858). John Brown and His Critics (1859).
John Smith Preston Advocates Secession (1861). Horace Greeley and Abraham Lincoln on Slavery and the Union (1862). Jefferson Davis Responds to the Emancipation Proclamation (1863). Clara Barton,Medical Life at the Battlefield (1862). Tally Simpson, Letter from Fredericksburg (1862). Corporal James Kendall Hosmer, On the Firing Line (1863). Anna Elizabeth Dickinson Describes the New York Draft Riots (1863). James Henry Gooding, Letter to President Lincoln (1863). Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address (1863). Mary Boykin Chesnut Describes Richmond at War (1863-1864). Robert E. Lee on the Use of Slaves as Soldiers (1865). Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address (1865).
Elizabeth Hyde Botume, A Northern Teacher''s View of the Freedmen (1863-1865). The Louisiana Black Code (1865). African Americans Seek Protection (1865). Thaddeus Stevens Attacks Presidential Reconstruction (1865). President Johnson Opposes Black Suffrage (1867). A White Planter Responds to Emancipation (1866). Howell Cobb, A White Southern Perspective on Reconstruction. Equal Rights Association Proceedings (1869). Susan B. Anthony on Women''s Rights (1873). Ku Klux Klan During Reconstruction (1872).

What's New

  • The new "Themes to Consider" feature, which appears in each chapter introduction, allows students to make connections between the readings, see how the documents are related, and think about what those documents reveal about the time period.
  • The assignable "Focus Questions" now emphasize the critical issues addressed by each document.
  • To make the reader more manageable as a supplemental text, Belmonte has streamlined the document selections.


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

InfoTrac® 2- Semester, Wadsworth American History Resource Center Instant Access Code  (ISBN-10: 0495316415 | ISBN-13: 9780495316411)

Save time, save money—and eliminate the trek to the library and long waits for reserved readings with InfoTrac® College Edition, an online university library of more than 5,000 academic and popular magazines, newspapers, and journals.

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Student Supplements

InfoTrac® 2- Semester, Wadsworth American History Resource Center Instant Access Code  (ISBN-10: 0495316415 | ISBN-13: 9780495316411)

Save time, save money—and eliminate the trek to the library and long waits for reserved readings with InfoTrac® College Edition, an online university library of more than 5,000 academic and popular magazines, newspapers, and journals.

List Price = $35.00  | CengageBrain Price = $35.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $35.00

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Laura A. Belmonte

Laura A. Belmonte is Department Head and Professor of History at Oklahoma State University. A specialist in the history of U.S. foreign relations, she is author of SELLING THE AMERICAN WAY: U.S. PROPAGANDA AND THE COLD WAR (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008) and numerous articles on cultural diplomacy. She is editor of SPEAKING OF AMERICA: READINGS IN U.S. HISTORY (Cengage, 2nd Edition, 2006). She is working on two additional major projects. The first examines U.S. global policy on HIV/AIDS. The second synthesizes the history of the international LGBT rights movement (Continuum, 2017). She is a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Historical Advisory Committee on Diplomatic Documentation. After participating in the 2005 National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar “Rethinking America in Global Perspective,” she began teaching undergraduate and graduate courses with a transnational focus including “America in International Perspective” and “HIV/AIDS in Transnational Perspective.”