Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
The Young America Movement and the Transformation of the Democratic Party, 1828–1861

The Young America Movement and the Transformation of the Democratic Party, 1828–1861


  • Date Published: November 2007
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521875646

£ 72.00

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • The phrase 'Young America' connoted territorial and commercial expansion in the antebellum United States. During the years leading up to the Civil War, it permeated various parts of the Democratic party, producing new perspectives in the realms of economics, foreign policy, and constitutionalism. Led by figures such as Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois and editor John L. O'Sullivan of New York, Young America Democrats gained power during the late 1840s and early 1850s. They challenged a variety of orthodox Jacksonian assumptions, influencing both the nation's foreign policy and its domestic politics. This 2007 book offers an exclusively political history of Young America's impact on the Democratic Party, complementing existing studies of the literary and cultural dimensions of this group. This close look at the Young America Democracy sheds light on the political realignments of the 1850s and the coming of the Civil War, in addition to showcasing the origins of America's longest existing political party.

    • Provides broad overview of Jacksonian era in beginning to acquaint a variety of readers with period, not just historians
    • Textured character portraits of leading politicians of era
    • Brings history to life through vivid retelling
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Persuasive and revealing, this author confirms many of the reviewer's own findings … Eyal presents a skilled, thorough study of Young America that should be on every specialist's shelf and in advanced classes and seminars on antebellum politics.' The Historian

    Review of the hardback: 'Yonatan Eyal has written a smart and subtly provocative new book on the political ideology, aims, and long-term effects of the Young America movement in the Democratic Party. His study should prove both useful and challenging for specialists in antebellum political history and the history of the Democratic Party.' Padraig Riley, H-CivWar (

    Review of the hardback: 'This book makes an important contribution to our understanding of antebellum political party development, particularly of the Democrats; and for some time it will likely be an important resource for information about the lives and political activities of the still-underappreciated New Democrats of the Young America Movement. Rethinking the relationship between Democrats and the market revolution, Yonatan Eyal argues for splitting the antebellum period in two … This is the book's primary contention, and it is convincing.' Stewart Winger, The American Historical Review

    Review of the hardback: 'De Alva Stanwood Alexander, the noted journalist, politician, and historian, memorably described the politics of 19th-century New York as 'a labyrinth of wheels within wheels … understood only by the managers'. In The Young America Movement and the Transformation of the Democratic Party, Yonatan Eyal brings clarity and understanding to the momentous changes wrought by the political realignments of the 1850s. This work sheds considerable light on how America's longest existing party survived the crisis of the Union.' Jonathan Earle, University of Kansas, and author of Jacksonian Antislavery and the Politics of Free Soil, 1824–1854

    Review of the hardback: 'A sympathetic portrayal of a nationalistic movement within Jacksonian Democracy: the expansionist, pro-business, and internationally interventionist 'Young America'.' Daniel Walker Howe, University of California at Los Angeles, and author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848

    Review of the hardback: 'Recommended …' Choice

    Review of the hardback: 'Yonatan Eyal's new book on the Young America Democrats offers a fresh interpretation of the party of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren … By undertaking a study of the political Young America, he offers a new perspective that is important for scholars of the second American party system to assess.' Mark Cheathem, Journal of Southern History

    Review of the hardback: 'This impressive first book challenges us to look anew at the Democratic party of the late antebellum period … Eyal has written a thought-provoking book, one that demands the attention of historians of the nineteenth-century United States. Eyal's book seeks to keep us honest - to insure that we will not fall back on easy, one-dimensional characterizations of the complex and contentious antebellum Democrats. It can and should provoke continued debate on whether it is fair to label the antebellum Democrats as the party of slavery, and it raises that debate to a new level of sophistication … the book is an important reminder that the perfectionist middle-class culture of the North was not inherently Whiggish but instead a site for partisan competition. Most important, this book can serve as an example for graduate students of how to write a dissertation that matters.' Elizabeth R. Varon, Reviews in American History

    Review of the hardback: 'This book is a welcome challenge to the prevailing historiographical paradigm of partisan competition … a remarkable achievement in recovering the diversity of visionary and progressive ideals that emerged within the Democratic Party and reshaped the nation in the Civil War era.' Matthew Isham, Civil War History

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2007
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521875646
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 240 x 161 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.518kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the spirit of Young America
    1. Orthodox Jacksonianism, 1828–44
    2. Trade and improvements: the economic orientation of Young America Democrats
    3. Rails, canals, and a new commercial spirit
    4. Young America Democrats and the revolutions of 1848
    5. A new international consciousness
    6. The fires of perfection revisited
    7. The anti-slavery democracy
    8. New Democrats and the coming of the Civil War
    Conclusion: Lincoln on Young America.

  • Author

    Yonatan Eyal, University of Toronto

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.