This Pulitzer Prize-winning history by Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period of American history from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the United States expanded to the Pacific and won control over the richest part of the North American continent.
What Hath God Wrought is both a capacious narrative of a tumultuous era in American history and a heroic attempt at synthesizing a century and a half of historical writing about Jacksonian democracy, antebellum reform, and American expansion ... Howe relies on decades of prodigious scholarship in women’s history—arguably, a field of inquiry that constitutes a revolution in its own right—to tie his thesis together ... The women’s-rights movement, which grew out of the antislavery movement, which grew out of revivalism, which was made possible by advances in transportation and communication, is the strongest evidence for the interpretive weight that Howe places on social, cultural, and religious forces as agents of change, and makes What Hath God Wrought a bold challenge both to Sellers, who is more interested in economics, and to Wilentz, who is more interested in politics. Howe’s synthesis does what a synthesis is supposed to do: it brings all these things together.
What Hath God Wrought examines the United States from 1815 to 1848, weaving the young nation's chiliasm and calculation into a seamless narrative. For Howe...it is the crowning achievement of a lifetime devoted to studying the era ... Howe surveys the entirety of the American experience, drawing in equal measure from political, diplomatic, and military history on the one hand and, social, economic, and cultural history on the other. Never does he lose sight of the country's underlying unease: a people that loudly proclaimed the Enlightenment and yet trembled at the approaching millennium ... Howe is an engaging writer, whose lively prose bursts with telling anecdotes ... For now, those who wish to understand the world of William Miller and Samuel Morse can hardly do better than to read and consider What Hath God Wrought—and marvel at what Howe hath wrought.
Historian Howe, professor emeritus at Oxford University and UCLA, stylishly narrates a crucial period in U.S. history ... Supported by engaging prose, Howe’s achievement will surely be seen as one of the most outstanding syntheses of U.S. history published this decade.