By Thomas Hamilton
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2009
Online Publication Date:August 2010
Original Publication Year:1833
Subjects: American history: general interest , Early republic and Antebellum history
Throughout Men and Manners in America, Thomas Hamilton (1789–1842) describes with scathing honesty, and a sometimes sarcastic wit, the political and social structures of the newly independent United States. Hamilton journeyed to America in 1830, determined to write a conclusive and impartial account of its democracy. On his return, however, he was desperately aware that this impartiality had produced writings with the potential to deeply offend. Men and Manners in America was, in fact, published almost a year later (1833) when Hamilton finally felt duty-bound to speak the truth. His writings serve as a discerning and thorough study of the beginnings of American democracy, and as a delightfully unintended example of the 'prejudices natural to an [nineteenth- century] Englishman'. Volume 1 describes his experiences of New York, Boston, New England, and Philadelphia.