Patrick's Reviews > Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815

Empire of Liberty by Gordon S. Wood
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's review
Jan 03, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: history
Read from January 03 to May 01, 2012


This book gave to me an understanding of the formative years of American history like no other, and I walk away a better American for completing this heavyweight of a read. For me, this book was so well done that it was a close to taking a college course without paying the tuition. Not only focusing on the politics, but also the social and intellectual history of the period, I can think of no other book that best encapsulates a period of time as Dr Wood's Empire of Liberty did.

For me the most important aspects in this book were:

The nature of the Federalists and why they thought the way they did. Wood does a magnificent job of explaining the importance of hierarchies as a method of grasping the Federalists;

The Revolution as a social force to be continued through the rise of Jefferson and the Republicans, particularly the idea of leveling as a positive force;

The fragility and dangers of an American democracy, as seen particularly through the eyes of the waning Federalist Party.

This is the fourth volume of the emerging Oxford's History of the United States, and I will probably read through them all in the next decade (or two). I would recommend this book to any serious student of American history.


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