A single-author book offers students a consistently clear and accessible synthesis of American history
Eric Foner excels at showing students the big picture—how events and developments fit together like the pieces of a puzzle—without cluttering the account with excessive detail. The single authorship of Give Me Liberty! results in a coherent, streamlined, and engaging narrative.
The freedom theme
The freedom theme is threaded throughout the narrative:
The freedom theme integrates social and political history in the text by following changes in the meaning and boundaries of American freedom. The book charts the changing limits of freedom and the social groups that have been included and excluded, and helps integrate disparate political, social, and economic developments in American history.
The freedom theme motivates students by showing them that freedom, while a birthright for some Americans, has been a distant dream for others, a goal that required great effort and sacrifice from many to achieve, but often with only partial success. Nor has there been a straight-line development of freedoms in American history. Freedoms won have then been lost. The book reminds students that freedoms are always at risk,without vigilance and knowledge.
The freedom theme is highly relevant to our everyday lives, as we seek a balance between the demands of security and the freedoms we wish to preserve. As Foner shows, this tension is not new. From the Alien and Sedition Acts in the 1790s to the USA PATRIOT Act, access to American freedoms has been a contentious issue throughout American history. The freedom theme makes this history alive for students today.
A global context for American history
In the Third Edition, discussions of the global dimension of American History are threaded through the text:
Chapter 8 discusses how the slave revolution in Saint Domingue, which established the black republic of Haiti, affected black and white Americans, slave and free.
Chapter 10 includes a new section discussing the response in the United States to the Latin American wars of independence of the early 19th century, and the similarities and differences between these struggles and our own War of Independence.
A new section in Chapter 11 discusses the abolition of slavery elsewhere in the Western hemisphere, and how the aftermath of emancipation in other areas affected the debate over slavery in the United States.
In Chapter 16, a new section places the westward movement in the US in the context of the settlement of frontier regions of other countries ranging from Argentina to Australia and South Africa, and discusses the consequences for native populations in these societies.
In Chapter 19, the discussion of the aftermath of WW I is strengthened by examining the impact around the world of President Wilson’s rhetoric concerning national self-determination, and the disappointment when the principle was not applied to the colonies of European empires.
Chapter 25 on the Sixties includes a discussion of the global events that occurred in1968, examining uprisings throughout the world in that pivotal year.
Ample primary source documents
Give Me Liberty! provides ample opportunity for students to engage with primary source documents:
• Paired Voices of Freedom Documents: Each chapter of Give Me Liberty! has a feature called “Voices of Freedom,” which pairs primary source excerpts that represent differing ideas of freedom in the period. These excerpts include headnotes and critical questions.
• Visions of Freedom feature: In the Third Edition, each chapter includes a visual document in the history of freedom, with a headnote and critical questions.
• Freedom-Themed Documents in the Appendix: The Appendix includes freedom-related documents such as Frederick Douglass’s speech “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro,” The Seneca Falls Declaration and Resolutions, the Omaha Platform of the Populist party, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address, and Barack Obama’s inaugural address.
• Voices of Freedom Reader: As a companion to the text we offer the “Voices of Freedom” documents reader in two volumes, compiled and edited by Eric Foner. The new pieces in the reader, approximately 15 percent of the total, reflect the global theme in the textbook.
• Sources of Freedom on StudySpace: On the new Give Me Liberty! StudySpace, there are more rich-media documents—text, audio, video, still image—that students can access and instructors can incorporate into the course. Each document includes a media-analysis worksheet, which can be submitted to the instructor via email.
The pedagogy in the Third Edition has been enhanced and includes:
• Chapter-Opening Vignettes: Each chapter opens with a vignette on a person or event that is emblematic of the chapter discussions and will draw students into the chapter. Throughout the book, Foner makes excellent use of quotations and of personal stories to bring the history to life.
• Illustrations and Maps: More than 700 illustrations appear in the book, many of which appear here for the first time in a textbook, and over 100 captioned maps, many full-page.
• Part Structure: The book is divided into six parts, each with a substantive, comprehensive part-opening introduction to each major period.
• Key Term and Concept Definitions: Foner defines unusual terms in parentheses right in the text.
• Expanded end-of-chapter review material: All of the end-of-chapter reviews have been expanded from one page to two-page spreads, and now include double the number of key terms and new “freedom theme” questions (approximately 5 per chapter), as well as review questions and chapter chronologies.
• Glossary: The end of the book includes a Glossary with many terms entered and defined by Foner himself.
Superior tools for students and instructors
The Third Edition is supported by the best emedia program in the field, with terrific materials for review, enrichment, and course management. The StudySpace website helps students access and analyze review materials, textbook coverage, and primary sources. StudySpace also features US History Tours, powered by GoogleEarth, 20 new Author Insights by Eric Foner, interactive maps and worksheets, chrono-sequencers, and more. Instructors have access to a full suite of resources for a dynamic classroom, including free coursepacks, state of the art test banks, and tools for lecture presentation.