Ideas that Shape a Nation
James L. Smith

Ideas That Shape A Nation is an ideal supplement to the study of U.S. history. The book presents an overview of historical ideas shaping the development of the U.S. government, its laws, economic system, and social movements. Students who examine the original writings and speeches from a variety of influential thinkers will find themselves exploring questions confronting Americans since the founding of Jamestown. A rich source of meaningful documents and significant ideas, the book promotes a deeper understanding of human nature and a heightened awareness of issues facing Americans in the modern world.

Look inside the book
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
Sample Chapter – Henry George

“In Ideas That Shape a Nation James L. Smith has brilliantly composed a virtual chorus of the many voices that have molded American democracy. Wisely selected, carefully edited, and accompanied by exceptionally thoughtful learning exercises, these documents are indispensable to understanding the distinctive character of America—including her foundational principles, the conflicts that have beset her, and the singular resilience of her people and institutions.”
–DAVID M. KENNEDY, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 and co-author, with Thomas A. Bailey and Lizabeth Cohen, of The American Pageant

“In this wonderful selection from the many basic documents of American history, James Smith deftly reveals ‘the power of ideas’ to form a nation and its people.… With documents supplemented by challenging questions and compelling exercises, the book will be a boon to teachers and a pleasure to students.”
–JAMES M. BANNER, JR., historian and co-author, with Harold C. Cannon, of The Elements of Teaching and The Elements of Learning

“[James Smith] has used primary source documents to help students understand the complex issues faced by historians.…Teachers who wish their students to truly understand their American heritage will be drawn to this book. Additionally, [
Ideas That Shape a Nation] will enable students to think like historians and develop critical skills that they will continue to use for their entire lives.”
–GERRY GIORDANO, Dean of the College of Education, Utah State University

Ideas That Shape a Nation is an important survey of the landscape of ideas that have shaped American society and politics.…[James Smith] has been careful to include not only the classic ideational factors, but has also captured the right sense of the ideas involved in the interplay of the contemporary and continued shaping of American society.”
–JOYOTPAUL CHAUDHURI, Professor of Political Science, Arizona State University

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