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Liberty and Power: The Politics of Jacksonian America
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Liberty and Power: The Politics of Jacksonian America

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  121 ratings  ·  10 reviews
As an engaging and persuasive survey of American public life from 1816 to 1848, Harry L. Watson's Liberty and Power remains a landmark achievement. Now updated to address twenty-five years of new scholarship, the book brilliantly interprets the exciting political landscape that was the age of Jackson-a time that saw the rise of strong political parties and an increased pop...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Hill and Wang (first published 1990)
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Christopher Smith
Clear, compelling, and educational. I found the afterword, with its blow-by-blow historiographical overview of the concept of a "Market Revolution," especially useful.
Watson does a great job of explaining how the U.S. moved from the Jeffersonian ideal of an Agrarian Economy to a Market Economy and the impact of this change on American politics and culture between 1820-1850. Topics of particuliar interest include; polarization of North/South relationship, increase of Federal power, comparison of wage labor to slavery and the building of transportation infrastructure.
***2.5 stars***

Kind of a flat read. Covered all the details that one would expect about this amazing era, but it felt a little "text-booky." I've gotten spoiled by some of the other historians I've been reading lately (Ellis, Elkins, McCullough), ones who dare to sprinkle some personality into their prose. Makes for a more enjoyable read.

Jared Lovell
A lot of good information packed into a fairly short volume. Does a pretty good job of trying to wade through all of the complexities Jacksonian era politics and the formation of the second two party system. It is not devoid of some of the typical mainstream views of this era. But overall, helpful.
Kyle Worlitz
Honestly had to read this one for class. It was a decent overview of the subject. Nothing really to criticize here in that it was a fairly balanced presentation. It reaffirmed my views on Andrew Jackson. He is 25% hero, 75% monster.
Drew Dickson
Definitely one of those books that shapes how I see the world. A great political history of Jacksonian America that explains the continuing tensions between American concepts of freedom and order.
Super engaging read about Jacksonian politics. Would recommend to nerds.
Jul 07, 2008 Debbie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Debbie by: Several professors
Shelves: american-history
One of the best descriptions of Jacksonian American political history. Still relevant today; the basic tension between these two concepts is ever with us.
Aug 02, 2011 Lillian added it
Shelves: history, politics
I would have finished reading it if I had time. A thorough analysis of early 1800s America, following the "agrarians vs. merchants" theory.
Tom Mackie
This work is a reasonable brief survey but I prefered What God Hath Wrought as a survey.
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