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United States, US, USA


European explorers, North American continent, United States History, modern times, Atlantic Coast

Deeper web pages:

>  Early Cultural Interaction

>  Colonial Experiments

>  Growth of the English Colonies

>  American Westward Movement

>  Resistance and Revolution

>  Forging a New Nation

>  Launching the Nation: Federalists and Jeffersonians

>  United States Expansion

>  Louisiana Purchase

>  Social Development: North and South

>  Jacksonian Democracy

>  Coming of the Civil War

>  The Civil War Brief

>  American Civil War

>  Reconstruction

>  The Trans-mississippi West

>  Industrialization and Urbanization

>  Imperialism

>  Progressivism and Reform

>  America and World War I

>  America in a New Age

>  The Great Depression

>  America and World War II

>  The Cold War


>  A World of Plenty

>  The Liberal Agenda and Domestic Policy: the 1960s

>  Foreign Policy, Vietnam War, and Watergate

>  End of the 20th Century

>  The Early 21st Century

United States History, story of how the republic developed from colonial beginnings in the 16th century, when the first European explorers arrived, until modern times. As the nation developed, it expanded westward from small settlements along the Atlantic Coast, eventually including all the territory between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans across the middle of the North American continent, as well as two noncontiguous states and a number of territories. At the same time, the population and the economy of the United States grew and changed dramatically. The population diversified as immigrants arrived from all countries of the world. From its beginnings as a remote English colony, the United States has developed the largest economy in the world. Throughout its history, the United States has faced struggles, both within the country—between various ethnic, religious, political, and economic groups—and with other nations. The efforts to deal with and resolve these struggles have shaped the United States of America into the 21st century.


For younger readers

Faber, Harold. From Sea to Sea: The Growth of the United States. Scribner, 1992. For middle school readers.

Hakim, Joy. A History of US. 10 vols. Oxford University Press, 1998. For readers in grades 7 and up.

Herb, Angela. Beyond the Mississippi: Early Westward Expansion of the United States. Lodestar, 1996. For middle school and high school readers.

Hoose, Phillip. We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History. Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2001. For readers in grades 5 to 8.

Johnston, Robert D. The Making of America: The History of the United States from 1492 to the Present. National Geographic, 2002. Highly recommended, for readers in grades 5 to 8.

King, David C. First Facts About U.S. History. Blackbirch, 1996. For readers in grades 4 to 7.

Rubel, David. Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times. Scholastic, 1997. For readers in grades 4 to 8.

Steins, Richard. The Making of America: Exploration and Settlement. Raintree Steck-Vaughn, 2000. For readers in grades 5 to 8.

Van Zandt, Eleanor. A History of the United States Through Art. Thomson Learning, 1996. For readers in grades 5 to 8.

Exploration and expansion of the United States

Ambrose, Stephen E. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. Simon & Schuster, 1996. Account of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Bartlett, Richard A. New Country: A Social History of the American Frontier, 1776-1890. Oxford University Press, 1974, 1986. Territorial expansion during the 1800s.

Goetzmann, William H. Exploration and Empire. Texas State Historical Association, 1993. Pulitzer Prize-winning account of exploration of American West; first published in 1966.

Herb, Angela M. Beyond the Mississippi: Early Westward Expansion of the United States. Lodestar, 1996. A personal perspective on the westward movement.

Jones, Howard, and Donald A. Rakestraw. Prologue to Manifest Destiny: Anglo-American Relations in the 1840s. Scholarly Resources, 1997. History of boundary disputes in the early 1800s.

Maddow, Ben. A Sunday Between Wars: The Building of American Life from 1865 to 1917. Norton, 1979. Primary sources reveal major social issues.

Morrison, Michael A. Slavery and the American West: The Eclipse of Manifest Destiny and the Coming of the Civil War. University of North Carolina Press, 1997. History of the growth of sectionalism prior to the Civil War.

Nobles, Gregory H. American Frontiers: Cultural Encounters and Continental Conquest. Hill & Wang, 1997. History of continental expansion in the United States.

Smith, Page. The Rise of Industrial Democracy: A People's History of the Post-Reconstruction Era. McGraw-Hill, 1984. Emphasis on the battle between labor and capital in the late 19th century.

Stephanson, Anders. Manifest Destiny: American Expansionism and the Empire of Right. Hill & Wang, 1995. Broad history of expansionism from colonial times through the 20th century.

Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America. HarperCollins, 1988. Frenchman's keen observations on America during presidency of Andrew Jackson; originally published in 2 volumes, 1835-1840.

Trask, David F. The War with Spain in 1898. Macmillan, 1981, 1996. History and consequences.

Turner, Frederick Jackson, and John Mack Faragher. Rereading Frederick Jackson Turner: “The Significance of the Frontier in American History” and Other Essays. Holt, 1994. Ten of Turner's essays with introductions and a concluding essay.

Wexler, Alan, and Carl Waldman, eds. Atlas of Westward Expansion. Facts on File, 1995. Numerous maps, photographs, and drawings with accompanying text.

United States (History)

Adams, James Truslow, and others, eds. Dictionary of American History. 8 vols. Rev. ed. Scribner, 1976-1978. 2 vol. Supplement , 1996. Articles by experts; concise edition published in 1983.

Boorstin, Daniel J. The Americans. 3 vols. Random House, 1958-1973, 1984-1985. How Europeans became Americans.

Bruun, Erik, and Jay Crosby, eds. Our Nation's Archive: The History of the United States in Documents. Black Dog & Leventhal, 1999. More than 1,000 primary sources and documents.

Faragher, John Mack, ed. The American Heritage Encyclopedia of American History. Holt, 1998. Current source with almost 3,000 entries and numerous photos.

Foner, Eric, and John A. Garraty, eds. The Reader's Companion to American History. Houghton, 1991. Substantial alphabetical entries on full range of topics.

Hofstadter, Richard. The American Political Tradition, and the Men Who Made It. 2nd ed. Knopf, 1973. Reprint Vintage, 1989. Analyzes the careers of Jefferson, Jackson, Calhoun, Bryan, the Roosevelts, Wilson, Hoover, and others.

Jenkins, Philip. A History of the United States. St. Martin's, 1997. General survey with emphasis on culture and religion.

McPherson, James, ed. To the Best of My Ability: The American Presidents. Dorling Kindersley, 2000. A comprehensive survey.

Morison, Samuel Eliot. The Growth of the American Republic. 2 vols. 7th ed. Oxford University Press, 1980. Classic work on American history.

Morris, Richard B., and Jeffrey B. Morris, eds. Encyclopedia of American History. 7th ed. HarperCollins, 1996. Chronological, topical, biographical.

Pohanka, Brian C. An Illustrated History of the Civil War: Images of an American Tragedy. Time-Life Education, 2000. Photographs from the finest archival collections.

Sandler, Martin W. America! A Celebration. Dorling Kindersley, 2000. A historical tribute to America with more than 1,000 photographs.

Virga, Vincent, and Alan Brinkley. Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States. Knopf, 1997. Numerous photos and illustrations.

Wilentz, Sean. The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln. W. W. Norton., 2005. A lengthy and detailed account of the growth of democracy in the United States, culminating with the debate over slavery and the subsequent Civil War.

Zinn, Howard. A People's History of the United States. 20th ed. HarperCollins, 1999. History from the perspective of the poor and disadvantaged.


Johnson, Paul E., B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Professor of History, University of South Carolina. Co-author of Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People and The Kingdom of Matthias: A Story of Sex and Salvation in 19th-Century America.

Woloch, Nancy, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Adjunct Associate Professor of History, Barnard College, Columbia University. Author of Women and the American Experience. Co-author of The American Century: A History of the United States Since the 1890s.

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Article key phrases:

European explorers, North American continent, United States History, modern times, Atlantic Coast, largest economy, immigrants, United States of America, struggles, republic, century, world, country, territory, middle, countries, nations, efforts

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