History 233 Reading Guide

DISCUSSION:  Inheriting the Revolution

  • Joyce Appleby, Inheriting the Revolution:  The First Generation of Americans (2000)


  • What (considered complexly) did the generation, born between 1776 and 1800, inherit?
  • How did that inheritance shape their experiences, very broadly conceived?  How did their experiences in a transformative society determine their response to that inheritance?
  • How can we best characterize the changes that she describes in this many-threaded, multi-layered cultural history?
  • Why did she present the cultural themes in this particular order?  What arguments is she making about each theme, how does she link them, and toward what larger argument?
  • Whose story is this?  Who has been left out of the story?  How does that inclusion, and that omission, shape some of her conclusions?
  • According to Appleby, what did the inheriting generation achieve?  What did it leave still unresolved?
  • Are you persuaded?