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New Spirits

Americans in the Gilded Age: 1865-1905

Third Edition

Rebecca Edwards

Publication Date - May 2015

ISBN: 9780190217174

266 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Sweeps away old 'gilded age' stereotypes and offers fresh and diverse perspectives on the U.S. in the late 19th century


New Spirits: Americans in the "Gilded Age," 1865-1905, Third Edition, provides a fascinating look at one of the most crucial chapters in U.S. history. Rejecting the stereotype of a "Gilded Age" dominated by "robber barons," author Rebecca Edwards invites us to look more closely at the period when the United States became a modern industrial nation and asserted its place as a leader on the world stage.

In a concise, engaging narrative, Edwards recounts the contradictions of the era, including stories of tragedy and injustice alongside tales of humor, endurance, and triumph. She offers a balanced perspective that considers many viewpoints, including those of native-born whites, Native Americans, African Americans, and an array of Asian, Mexican, and European immigrants.

New to this Edition

  • Offers expanded coverage of key topics, including electoral politics in the 1870s and 1880s; immigrant experiences; education; Social Darwinism; eugenics and scientific racism; and Plessy v. Ferguson and the evolution of Jim Crow segregation
  • Substantially reorganized and edited to help students trace the chronology of events more clearly
  • Includes new chapter subtitles--to help orient students to the thematic material in each chapter--and new photographs, cartoons, charts, and tables that invite students to interpret the past

About the Author(s)

Rebecca Edwards is Professor of History on the Eloise Ellery Chair at Vassar College. She is the author of Angels in the Machinery: Gender in American Party Politics from the Civil War to the Progressive Era (OUP, 1997) and coauthor, with James A. Henretta and Robert O. Self, of America's History, Seventh Edition (2011).

Previous Publication Date(s)

March 2010
December 2005


"Edwards does an excellent job of identifying cultural trends and changes of the period and provides extensive examples, derived from a prodigious amount of research."--Dorothy Pratt, University of South Carolina

"Edwards has accomplished a remarkable feat: she has written a book that folds four decades of American history into a superb and short synthesis without sacrificing details and people usually rendered to the margins of the master narrative."--Ann-Marie Adams, Rutgers University-New Brunswick

"Edwards deftly mirrors the process of critical thinking. By avoiding the traditional themes of race, class, gender, and so on, she develops new ways of grouping the historical materials that bring new life to the issues she discusses."--Reynolds J. Scott-Childress, State University of New York at New Paltz

Table of Contents

    Introduction: A "Gilded Age"?
    PART I: THE WEDGE, 1865-1890
    1. An Uneasy Peace: The Legacies of Civil War
    2. Reach: Energy, Corporations, and People in the Global Economy
    3. Work: Moving Up or Getting By
    4. A State of War: The Violence of Incorporation
    5. Money
    6. Youth
    7. Sex
    8. Faith
    9. Science
    PART III: THE FIRES, 1890-1905
    10. Cooperative Dreams: Populists and Progressives
    11. Executive Powers: Presidents, Corporations, and American Empire
    Epilogue: The Partridges and the Hippopotamus
    Questions for Discussion

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