A narrative of America's revolutionary generation, this book takes the reader from the earliest rumblings of colonial dissent, through the crises of revolution and nation-making, to the heroic drama of the war of 1812. The author combines strands of biography and social history with military and political history to depict the young republic. While most writers on this period conclude with the end of the Revolution, the ratification of the Constitution or the election of Jefferson, Risjord contends that there is a fundamental continuity in the history of the Early Republic. The basic problems involved in creating a stable, representative government were not resolved until the "second war of independence", a symbolic end for the Revolutionary generation, which produced a sense of national unity and determined the viability of the new nation. #Risjord incorporates new social and economic perspectives, and deals with the struggle over "who shall rule at home". He also presents the pivotal events of the War for Independence, the framing of the Constitution, the "Revolution of 1800" and the war of 1812.
Norman K. Risjord is professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was a prize-winning teacher for more three decades. He is the author of thirteen books on American history, including a biography of Thomas Jefferson.