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Past Forward

Articles from the Journal of American History, Volume 1: From Colonial Foundations to the Civil War

James Sabathne and Jason Stacy

Publication Date - 01 September 2016

ISBN: 9780190299286

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

Bringing together the work of professional historians to meet the needs of students and teachers of the U.S. history survey


Over the last fifteen years, undergraduate U.S. history courses have made great progress in incorporating primary sources and diverse voices into the survey. However, teachers still struggle to find professional writing by working historians in a format useful to undergraduates. Also, in 2014, the College Board redesigned the AP U.S. History curriculum and assessments to require students to demonstrate a critical approach to historical writing by professional historians. These facts have increased demand among teachers for access to high-quality secondary material by professional historians in a single, convenient publication.

Past Forward: Articles from the Journal of American History selects some of the best articles from The Journal of American History to meet the needs of students and teachers of the U.S. history survey. Exploring all of the required "key concepts" and "historical thinking skills" required in the new AP U.S. History curriculum, the book provides pedagogical and historiographical supports for each article. It also contains concise academic biographies of the authors that highlight their path to practicing history and their major publications, which will draw students deeper into historical discourses.

About the Author(s)

James Sabathne teaches AP U.S. History at Hononegah High School in Rockton, Illinois, and is Co-Chair of the College Board AP U.S. History Development Committee. He is a coauthor of Strive for a 5: Preparing for the AP* World History Exam (2013).

Jason Stacy is Associate Professor of U.S. History and Social Science Pedagogy at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of several books, including Documenting United States History: Themes, Concepts, and Skills for the AP* Course (2015), Walt Whitman's Selected Journalism (2015), and Walt Whitman's Multitudes: Labor Reform and Persona in Whitman's Journalism and the First Leaves of Grass, 1840-1855 (2008).


"Designed to expose budding historians to the work of professional scholars, Past Forward is exactly what the UP U.S. History Course needs as it launches into a more conceptual, thematic, and skills-based approach. This course expects students to use the skills of a historian; having more access to the work of professional historians will help them develop in this area."--Stephen Klawiter, Lafayette High School, Wildwood, MO

"Past Forward has excellent secondary sources, a new addition to the AP U.S. History curriculum. The article questions are thoughtful. The beginning of the text--teaching students how to read the articles--is excellent. I would use this all year long. The primary strength of the text is in the Introduction, which teaches students how to read secondary sources. The article questions are also thoughtful and well written."--Jeanine Alexander, Moorpark High School, Moorpark, CA

"Past Forward does an excellent job of introducing and expanding on historical perspectives that are not regularly presented in traditional textbooks."--Frank Shoemaker, Lake Travis High School, Austin, TX

Table of Contents


    1. Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox, Edmund S. Morgan

    2. People of the Dawn, People of the Door: Indian Pirates and the Violent Theft of an Atlantic World, Matthew R. Bahar

    3. From Captives to Slaves: Commodifying Indian Women in the Borderlands, Juliana Barr

    4. Suicide, Slavery, and Memory in North America, Terri L. Snyder

    5. The Transformation of Urban Politics, 1700-1765, Gary B. Nash

    6. Popular Mobilization and Political Culture in Revolutionary Virginia: The Failure of the Minutemen and the Revolution from Below, Michael A. McDonnell

    7. Aristocracy Assailed: The Ideology of Backcountry Anti-Federalism, Saul Cornell

    8. A Road Closed: The Rural Insurgency in Post-Independence Pennsylvania, Terry Bouton

    9. "The Common Rights of Mankind': Subsistence, Shad, and Commerce in the Early Republic South, Harry L. Watson

    10. The Evangelical Movement and Political Culture in the North During the Second Party System, Daniel Walker Howe

    11. Limits of Political Engagement in Antebellum America: A New Look at the Golden Age of Participatory Democracy, Glenn C. Altschuler and Stuart M. Blumin

    12. National Identity on a Shifting Border: Texas and New Mexico in the Age of Transition, 1821-1848, Andrés Reséndez

    13. Young American Males and Filibustering in the Age of Manifest Destiny: The United States Army as a Cultural Mirror, Robert E. May

    14. The Two Faces of Republicanism: Gender and Proslavery Politics in Antebellum South Carolina, Stephanie McCurry

    15. "We Are Engaged as a Band of Sisters": Class and Domesticity in the Washingtonian Temperance Movement, 1840-1850, Ruth M. Alexander

    16. The Slave Trader, the White Slave, and the Politics of Racial Determination in the 1850s, Walter Johnson

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