Boats Against the Current provides a fascinating account of how American culture emerged from the sheltered, elitist world of the eighteenth century into the dynamic, turbulent civilization that reached full bloom after the Civil War. The antebellum years were times of flux and change, years of a society rushing into the western wilds, muscular and ambitious, yet haunted by uncertainty about its future and its past. Renowned scholar Lewis Perry begins his study with a fresh look at Andrew Jackson-vividly recreating a time when Americans, feeling their ties to the past disintegrating, fostered a new fascination with history. Then Perry introduces us to the observations of such articulate foreign travelers as Alexis de Tocqueville and Fredrika Bremer. He deftly weaves together these writers' perspectives to provide a fascinating look at our emergent nation. Here, too, are the women of the cities and frontier, the peddlers, preachers, and showmen, along with such writers as Hawthorne, Emerson, Whittier, and Parker. Perry brings these personalities and writings together to show us how early nineteenth century America saw itself, in both its promise and its fears. Now available for the first time in paperback, Boats Against the Current offers a brilliant portrait of a society in the midst of change, expansion, and reflection about its own future and past. Written by one of our leading intellectual historians, it makes a major contribution to our understanding of the emergence of modern American culture.
Lewis Perry is professor of history at Saint Louis University.
Part 0 Prologue Part 0 Nashville Chapter 0 Contrasts Chapter 0 A New Way of Life Chapter 0 The Hero and His Roles Chapter 0 A Vagabond's View of Civilization Part 0 The Dead Past Chapter 0 Looking for Connections Chapter 0 Choosing a Past Chapter 0 Holding onto History Chapter 0 Anti-History Part 0 Travelers Chapter 0 Ruins and Stumps Chapter 0 Tocqueville: Wilderness and Civilization Chapter 0 Bremer: Home and Citizenship Chapter 0 The Opening of the American Mind Chapter 0 Ambiguous Argonaut Part 0 Life as a Masquerade Chapter 0 City of Unwork Chapter 0 Excursion Chapter 0 Specimens of Equivoke Chapter 0 On the Road Chapter 0 Confidence and Sincerity Chapter 0 Emerson on the World of Shows Part 0 Modernity Chapter 0 Against the Current Chapter 0 A Step Toward Modernity Chapter 0 The Experience of Change Part 0 Epilogue: Retelling the Story Part 0 Notes Part 0 Index