Title:Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and Its Politics
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“Few commentators have studied the history of American politics as thoroughly as Barone. . . . As Congress once again debates immigration reform, Barone delivers a timely history lesson.” – Kirkus Reviews
New York Times bestselling author Michael Barone is an authority on political America, its history, and the demographic patterns and details that explain the United States from the inside out. In SHAPING OUR NATION: How Surges of Migrations Transformed America and Its Politics (Crown Forum; October 1, 2013), Barone investigates America’s unique history and the dramatic waves of migration that have sculpted the American political, economic, and cultural landscape. From its colonial beginnings, America has been diverse and unpredictable, shaped by people moving from one place to another, pursuing dreams and escaping nightmarish situations. Barone sheds light on the mass movements of people to and within the US over the last few centuries, chronicling the rise of America’s people and power.
The population concentrations in China, India, the Muslim world, Western Europe, and Russia are very similar today to what they were in the 1600s. Only North America looks vastly different from what it was 400 years ago.
Among Barone’s observations:
• In the early 19th century, two migrations — Yankees moving westward and plantation slavery expanding inland — put Northerners and Southerners in competition for control of the nation’s interior, leading to the culture clash that would become the Civil War.
• The Irish migration to the US after the 1845 potato blight was the first surge to end in cities rather than the countryside. As Irish Catholics populated places like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, their presence came to characterize the politics and pop culture of urban America — the effects of which are still felt today.