Fighting for America

Fighting for America

The Struggle for Mastery in North America, 1519-1871
Jeremy Black
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 09/06/2011
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-35660-4
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2012 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection

Prize winning author Jeremy Black traces the competition for control of North America from the landing of Spanish troops under Hernán Cortés in modern Mexico in 1519 to 1871 when, with the Treaty of Washington and the withdrawal of most British garrisons, Britain accepted American mastery in North America. In this wide-ranging narrative, Black makes clear that the process by which America gained supremacy was far from inevitable. The story Black tells is one of conflict, diplomacy, geopolitics, and politics. The eventual result was the creation of a United States of America that stretched from Atlantic to Pacific and dominated North America. The gradual withdrawal of France and Spain, the British accommodation to the expanding U.S. reality, the impact of the American Civil War, and the subjugation of Native peoples, are all carefully drawn out. Black emphasizes contingency not Manifest Destiny, and reconceptualizes American exceptionalism to take note of the pressures and impact of international competition.

Author Bio

Jeremy Black is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He is author of more than 100 books including War and Technology (IUP, 2013). Black received the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize from the Society for Military History in 2008.


“In this wide-ranging narrative, Black makes clear that the process by which America gained supremacy was far from inevitable, telling a story of conflict, diplomacy, geopolitics, and politics.”

“A refreshing take on Manifest Destiny. . . . American (and Canadian) readers will learn a lot of new things and be led into new ways of viewing old ones. An important contribution.”
 — Walter Nugent, author of Into the West: The Story of Its People

“This fascinating book describes the 300-plus year history of North America, from the landing of the first Spanish explorers until 1871, when American businessmen and politicians finally succeeded in stretching the national border from the Atlantic to the Pacific with the completion of the transcontinental railroad.”
 — Military Heritage

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations
1. Sixteenth-Century Background
2. Creating New Frontiers, 1600-74
3. Britain, France and the Natives, 1674-1715
4. Multiple Currents, 1715-53
5. War for Dominance, 1754-64
6. Britain Triumphant to America Independent, 1765-76
7. Britain Defeated, 1775-83
8. Flexing Muscles, 1783-1811
9. Florida, But Not Canada: From the War of 1812 to the Monroe Doctrine, 1812-1823
10. Expansionism and its Problems, 1823-43
11. From the Oregon Question to the Gadsden Purchase, 1844-53
12. A Great Power in the Making? America, 1853-61
13. America Divided, 1861-63
14. Winning the War, 1863-5
15. Settling the North American Question, 1865-71
16. Postscript, 1871-2010