Series Overview

The Making of America series traces the constitutional history of the United States through overlapping biographies of American men and women. The debates that raged when our nation was founded have been argued ever since: How should the Constitution be interpreted? What is the meaning, and where are the limits, of personal liberty? What is the proper role of the federal government? Who should be included in “we the people”? Each biography in the series tells the story of an American leader who helped shape the United States of today.

Book 1: Alexander Hamilton (March 7, 2017)

Book 2: Andrew Jackson (Spring 2018)

Book 3: Abraham Lincoln, tentatively scheduled for Fall 2018.

Books 4, 5, and 6 titles to be announced.

Book 1

The America that Alexander Hamilton knew was largely agricultural and built on slave labor. He envisioned something else: a multi-racial, urbanized, capitalistic America with a strong central government. He believed that such an America would be a land of opportunity for the poor and the newcomers. But Hamilton’s vision put him at odds with his archrivals who envisioned a pastoral America of small towns, where governments were local, states would control their own destiny, and the federal government would remain small and weak.

The disputes that arose during America’s first decades continued through American history to our present day. Over time, because of the systems Hamilton set up and the ideas he left, his vision won out. Here is the story that epitomizes the American dream—a poor immigrant who made good in America. In the end, Hamilton rose from poverty through his intelligence and ability, and did more to shape our country than any of his contemporaries.

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Book 2

Andrew Jackson tells the story of one of our most controversial presidents.

Born in the Carolina backwoods, Jackson joined the American Revolutionary War at the age of thirteen. After a reckless youth of gunfights, gambling, and general mischief, he rose to national fame as the general who defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans.

Jackson ran for president as a political outsider, championing the interest of common farmers and frontiersmen. Determined to take down the wealthy, well-educated East Coast “elites,” he pledged to destroy the national bank—which he believed was an engine of corruption serving the interest of bankers and industrialists. A stanch nationalist, he sought to secure and expand the nation’s borders. Believing that “we the people” included white men only, he protected the practice of slavery, and opened new lands for white settlers by pushing the Native people westward.

Jackson, a polarizing figure in his era, ignited a populist movement that remains a powerful force in our national politics.

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Considered by many to be our greatest president, the steady leader who guided America through its greatest constitutional crisis, the Great Emancipator who freed the slaves and paved the way for the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. Hated by others as a tyrant who trampled the Constitution and failed to avert the war that left more than six hundred thousand American soldiers dead. Denounced by others who saw him as a secret racist and even a white supremacist who disliked slavery for economic reasons and had no wish to see blacks given equal footing with whites.

Here is Abraham Lincoln in all his complexity. Born in a cabin deep in the backwoods of Kentucky, growing up in a family considered “the poorest of the poor,” he rose to become a highly respected lawyer and statesman. He often used different arguments with different people depending upon the needs of the moment, leading one exasperated opponent to called him two-faced, and leaving others to marvel at his effectiveness as a politician and leader.

Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Abraham Lincoln forever altered the United States Constitution.

Abraham Lincoln is the third book in the Making of America series, continuing the themes began in the first two books. The first three books in the series—Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln—read together, tell the story of the first one hundred years of America’s constitutional history.

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TEACHING RESOURCES AVAILABLE FOR ALL 3 BOOKS.

Jackson

Kanefield

Lincoln

Kanefield