Brian DeLay, associate professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley, discusses how the backwater of western Europe emerged from the devastation of the fourteenth century to generate the power, wealth, knowledge, institutions, and energy to initiate and develop a worldwide expansion.
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, James Duncan Professor of History and director of the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University, examines cloth-making in the colonial era in New England as a household industry, how and why cloth from the eighteenth century was preserved during the colonial revival, and why eighteenth-century women marked the cloth they made with their names and other details of their lives.
Professor John Fea of Messiah College discusses the European motivations--gold, gospel, and glory--for exploration in the Americas, taking Europeans from the Crusades to the Spanish conquest and the exploitation of resources in the Caribbean. He explores as well the question of whether the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs was "complete"--military, political, economic, religious, and cultural.
NYU Professor of the Humanities Thomas Bender argues that the idea of American exceptionalism has hobbled the study of American history. Bender traces the study of history from the "men of letters" historians of the nineteenth century up to the present, and explains why a more worldly history curriculum would help students to better understand events throughout American history.
Michael F. Holt is the Langbourne M. Williams Professor of History and chair of the history department at the University of Virginia. The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party presents the first full-scale history of the American Whig Party and shows how the Whig Party struggled unsuccessfully to achieve a compromise between North and South.
Joyce Appleby, Professor Emerita, University of California, Los Angeles, explores how the men and women born after the American Revolution experienced and developed the theoretical ideas of liberty and independence put in place by their parents and grandparents.