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America, Land of Principles and Promises: America's History from Discovery to Reconstruction Review by Jennifer LadewigPhilip W. Winkler
32 South Center
Mesa, Arizona 85210
America, Land of Principles and Promises: America’s History from Discovery to Reconstruction is a 549-page hardcover history textbook. The textbook begins with a brief overview of geography in chapter one and chapter two begin with “The Discovery of a New World.”The textbook takes the student through 1877 and the election of Rutherford B. Hayes and Reconstruction ending. The textbook is filled with colorful maps, photographs, sketches, and illustrations. This textbook can be purchased for $50.00.
This textbook would be suitable for both the homeschool or classroom setting. This textbook is intended for 7th grade and above. Each chapter has built in tools to engage the student in their learning. Throughout the chapters you will find words in red print. These words are of significance. Spread out throughout the chapter students will come across chapter “Check Ups” that contain: vocabulary, people to know, as well as short answer comprehension questions.Throughout the chapters students will also find blue boxes entitled, “More of the Story” which gives students a bit more insight into a specific topic such as the “Effects of The Stamp Act on Political Parties.” There are also several other colored boxes highlighting other key interests as well such as historical figures and words of wisdom. At the end of each chapter students will complete a chapter review. There is also a QR code that they can snap with their phones for more resources. At the end of the textbook the appendix includes the following useful historical documents and aids:
- Learning to Think Like America’s Founders; The Search for the Balanced Center
- The Mayflower Compact
- The Declaration of Independence
- The United States Constitution
- The Monroe Doctrine
- The Emancipation Proclamation
- The Gettysburg Address
- The Presidents of the United States
- The 50 United States of America
- The States as They Entered the Union
My 7th grader has been working her way through America, Land of Principles and Promises. My daughter is an avid reader and so I wasn’t concerned with her ability to comprehend the text. As an educator I really liked that the chapters are not extremely long, they are on average 12 pages in length.
My daughter said, “I normally learn history by reading novels, biographies, historical fiction, etc. and so this was the first time that I had used an actual textbook for learning history. I didn’t have any problem understanding the content of the textbook. This method was so different than what I am used to using for learning history that after completing a chapter or chapters I found myself forgetting the material. I did learn a lot of new vocabulary and interesting historical facts. It wasn’t that I forgot everything that I read but I definitely learn better by reading book instead of a textbook. I did learn a lot from the time that I spent working through this textbook though.”
A very interesting piece of history found in a, “Patriot Profile”on Noah Webster, America’s SchoolMaster, is just one such example of the additional write-ups that your student will learn about. “Noah Webster had a deep commitment for helping his country. He found his contribution in recording the American version of the English language. … Believing a national language is a bond of national union and that the spelling book does more to form the language of a nation than all other books, his first book was a spelling book, published in 1783. … After twenty years of research and writing he published An American Dictionary of the English Language in 1828.”
Overall, I think that America, Land of Principles and Promises is a good textbook. For those that are looking for a history textbook this is a good option and covers the topics of America’s History from Discovery to Reconstruction quite well. In my opinion, this textbook with the addition of a couple of supplemental biographies, historical fiction, or historical based novels would make a wonderful well-rounded year long history curriculum.
-Product review by Jennifer Ladewig, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July, 2018