||Machine generated contents note: A more perfect union -- The landscape of our collective dreams -- Barack Obama: American historian -- Prologue A more perfect union: Barack Obama's American history -- God damn America -- America can change -- The substance of our common creed -- The audacity of hope -- WE HOLD THESE truths -- What makes us exceptional -- what makes us American -- The arc of the moral universe -- Where the perfection begins -- 1. Our starting point as Americans: The American colonies -- Our starting point as Americans -- In a hall that still stands across the street -- The spring of 1787 -- Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots -- Who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution -- ; -- A city upon a hill -- You would have thought I was Cotton Mather -- We are no longer just a Christian nation -- Community, democracy, and homespun virtues -- He lived usefully -- The first settlers -- America's original sin -- A question that divided the colonies -- Our starting point as Americans -- 2. The substance of our common creed: The Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution -- The substance of our common creed -- Creed -- A subject of King George -- In the year of America's birth -- Let it be told to the future world -- From this time forward forever -- Enlightenment thinkers like Hobbes and Locke -- Its roots in eighteenth-century liberal and republican thought -- What makes us exceptional -- What makes us American -- Farmers and scholars -- Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots -- All men are created equal -- An American family -- Liberty -- Where the perfection begins -- The pursuit of happiness -- 3. The foundation of our government: The Constitution and the new nation -- The foundation of our government -- Stained by this nation's original sin -- Finally made real -- We the People -- A "deliberative democracy" -- One of the Founders' central insights -- Before the ink on the constitutional parchment was dry -- A sufficient defense against tyranny -- The Supreme Court's role in determining the law -- Fundamentalist faith -- The freedom of the apostate -- Fidelity to our founding principles -- The context of an ever-changing world -- A "wall of separation" between church and state -- Defending organized religion -- In God We Trust E Pluribus Unum -- Through the early days of the Union -- Conservative or liberal, we are all constitutionalists -- 4. A new birth of freedom: Slavery and the Civil War -- This nation's original sin -- A house that was built by slaves -- The answer to the slavery question -- The hope of slaves -- We're the slaves who built the White House -- Any final resolution -- Government of the people, by the people, for the people -- The self-imposed gag rule -- A lawmaker was beaten unconscious on the Senate floor -- Who would walk into the Supreme Court a free man and leave a slave -- A house divided against itself -- What does this say about our democracy? -- The cranks, the zealots, the prophets, the agitators, and the unreasonable -- William Lloyd Garrison -- Denmark Vesey -- Frederick Douglass -- Harriet Tubman -- John Brown -- I'M LEFT THEN with Lincoln -- Power in words -- We unified a nation and set the captives free -- 5. We Shall Overcome: Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and civil rights -- ... -- The Nation's Second Founding -- While the Civil War raged in the background -- The United States fiercely debated -- Robert Smalls, came to prominence -- To build a nation of free and equal citizens -- To vote here in Selma and much of the South -- "Separate but equal" -- How far we've come -- A long line of heroes -- The students who walked passed angry crowds -- Dr. King's mighty cadence -- The culmination of it all -- The strength and courage of nonviolence -- The folks whose names you never heard of -- As old as our beginnings and as timeless as our hopes -- For we were born of change -- We know the march is not yet over -- 6. The chief business of the American people: Property and liberty -- She touched her finger to a screen and cast her vote -- An active national government -- Our starting point as Americans -- The earliest settlers -- Farmers and scholars -- Government has been called upon -- Hamilton understood -- Jefferson ... feared -- The government's vital role in regulating the marketplace -- The transition from an agricultural to an industrial society -- The triumph of a real democracy -- "The chief business of the American people is business" -- FDR understood -- The era of big government is over -- The dogmas of the quiet past -- Economic rights that have to be dealt with -- That he may "ride the storm and direct the whirlwind" -- 7. Beyond our borders: Native Americans and other foreign affairs -- A conquest that ... contradicted America's founding principles -- Americas "original sin" -- The impulse to expand -- Manifest destiny -- Before the court of the conqueror -- Washington thought it knew what was best -- What makes us American -- The history that we share -- A beacon of freedom and opportunity -- The world's dominant power -- The distortions of politics, the sins of hubris, the corrupting effects of fear -- Their world turned upside down -- A part of America's story -- A useful metaphor -- We might live as Indonesians lived -- He lived to see -- Epilogue Out of many, one: American history's Barack Obama -- She lived to see -- The Joshua generation -- The stories -- became our story, my story -- A tall, gangly, self-made Springfield lawyer -- My story is part of the larger American story -- E pluribus unum. Out of many, one -- We the People -- Yes, we can -- A more perfect union.
||Barack Obama's politics are deeply informed by his profound knowledge and understanding of his country's history. His articles, books, and speeches are replete with references to America's past and how that relates to the present he sees and the future he envisions. Exploring Obama's own words, Steven Sarson examines his interpretation of American history from colonial times to the present, showing how Obama sees American history as beginning with the "common creed" of equality and liberty proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and the "more perfect union" created by the Constitution. He analyses Obama's understanding of the colonies, revolution, and early nation, slavery and the civil war, segregation and civil rights, economy and society, Native Americans and foreign policy. An epilogue explores how Obama personifies the American dream through the stories of individuals, including his own. A unique and fascinating take on the past and how we interpret it, this book will appeal to all students and scholars of American history, as well as anyone interested in Obama's presidency.-- Provided by Publisher.