Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth by Randall M. MillerPennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth by Randall M. Miller

Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth

EditorRandall M. Miller

Paperback | October 22, 2002

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The Keystone State, so nicknamed because it was geographically situated in the middle of the thirteen original colonies and played a crucial role in the founding of the United States, has remained at the heart of American history. Created partly as a safe haven for people from all walks of life, Pennsylvania is today the home of diverse cultures, religions, ethnic groups, social classes, and occupations. Many ideas, institutions, and interests that were first formed or tested in Pennsylvania spread across America and beyond, and continue to inform American culture, society, and politics. This book tells that story—and more. It recenters Pennsylvania in the American historical narrative.

Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth offers fresh perspectives on the Keystone State from an array of distinguished scholars who view the history of this Commonwealth critically and honestly, using the latest and best scholarship to give a modern account of Pennsylvania's past. They do so by emphasizing the evolution of Pennsylvania as a place and an idea. The book, the first comprehensive history of Pennsylvania in almost three decades, sets the Pennsylvania story in the larger context of national social, cultural, economic, and political development. Without sacrificing treatment of the influential leaders who made Pennsylvania history, the book focuses especially on the lives of everyday people over the centuries. It also magnifies historical events by examining the experiences of local communities throughout the state.

Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth is divided into two parts. Part I offers a narrative history of the Commonwealth, paying special attention to the peopling process (the movement of people into, around, and out from the state); the ways people defined and defended communities; the forms of economic production; the means of transportation and communication; the character, content, and consequences of people's values; and the political cultures that emerged from the kinds of society, economy, and culture each period formed and sustained. Part II offers a series of "Ways to Pennsylvania's Past"nine concise guides designed to enable readers to discover Pennsylvania's heritage for themselves. Geography, architecture, archaeology, folklore and folklife, genealogy, photography, art, oral history, and literature are all discussed as methods of uncovering and understanding the past. Each chapter is especially attuned to Pennsylvania's place in the larger American context, and a Foreword, Introduction, and Epilogue to Part I explore general themes throughout the state's history. An important feature of the book is the large selection of illustrations—more than 400 prints, maps, photographs, and paintings carefully chosen from repositories across the state and beyond, to show how Pennsylvanians have lived, worked, and played through the centuries. This book is the result of a unique collaboration between Penn State Press and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), the official history agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Together they gathered scholars from all over the Commonwealth to envision a new history of the Keystone State and commit their resources to make imagining and writing a new history possible.

Randall M. Miller is William Dirk Warren '50 Sesquicentennial Chair and Professor of History at Saint Joseph's University and past president of the Pennsylvania Historical Association. William Pencak (1951–2013) was Professor of History at The Pennsylvania State University and editor of Pennsylvania History, the journal of the Pennsylv...
Title:Pennsylvania: A History of the CommonwealthFormat:PaperbackDimensions:712 pages, 10.49 × 9.08 × 1.78 inPublished:October 22, 2002Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271022140

ISBN - 13:9780271022147


Table of Contents


Foreword by Brent D. Glass


Introduction: Why Should We Care About Pennsylvania History?

Part I: The History

1. The First Pennsylvanians

Daniel K. Richter

2. Encounter and Experiment: The Colonial Period

Susan E. Klepp

3. The Promise of Revolution: 1750–1800

William Pencak

4. Building Democratic Communities: 1800–1850

Emma Lapsansky

5. Civil Wars: 1850–1900

Walter Licht

6 Reforming the Commonwealth: 1900–1950

David R. Contosta

7 The Postindustrial Age: 1950–2000

Philip Jenkins

Epilogue: The Making and Unmaking of the Pennsylvanian Empire

Michael Zuckerman

Part II: Ways to Pennsylvania’s Past

8. Geography

Wilbur Zelinsky

9. Architecture

Richard J. Webster

10. Archaeology

Verna L. Cowin

11. Folklore and Folklife

Simon J. Bronner

12. Genealogy

James M. Beidler

13. Photography

Linda Ries

14. Art

Randall M. Miller and William Pencak

15. Oral History

Linda Shopes

16. Literature

David Demarest

Appendix: Popular Vote for Governor of Pennsylvania, 1633–1998

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Editorial Reviews

“With suggested readings and a bibliography, this thoroughly enjoyable work will appeal to both lay readers and specialists. Highly recommended for area academic, public, and high school libraries.”

—Charles L. Lumpkins, Pennsylvania State University