A Big History of North America: From Montezuma to Monroe (Paperback)

A Big History of North America: From Montezuma to Monroe By Kevin Jon Fernlund Cover Image

A Big History of North America: From Montezuma to Monroe (Paperback)


The special relationship between the United Kingdom, an established and secure power, and the United States, a rising one, began after the War of 1812, as the former enemies sought accommodation with, rather than the annihilation of, one another. At the same time, Mexico, also a rising power, was not so fortunate. Its relationship with Spain, an established but declining power, turned hostile with Spain’s final exit from North America after Mexico’s War of Independence, leaving its former colony isolated, internally unstable, and vulnerable to external attack. Significantly, Mexico posed little threat to its northern neighbor. By the third decade of the eighteenth century, then, the fate of North America was largely discernable.

Nevertheless, the three-century journey to get to this point had been anything but predictable. The United States’ rise as a regional power was very much conditioned by constantly shifting transcontinental, transpacific, and above all transatlantic factors, all of which influenced North America’s three interactive cultural spheres: the Indigenous, the Hispano, and the Anglo. And while the United States profoundly shaped the history of Canada and Mexico, so, too, did these two transcontinental countries likewise shape the course of U.S. history.

In this ground-breaking work, Kevin Fernlund shows us that any society’s social development is directly related to its own social power and, just as crucially, to the protective extension or destructive intrusion of the social power of other societies.
Kevin Jon Fernlund is a Professor of History at the University of Missouri - St. Louis and is the author of Lyndon B. Johnson and Modern America (2009) and William Henry Holmes and the Rediscovery of the American West (2000). From 2001 to 2002, he was a Fulbright Scholar in Vietnam and between 2006 and 2012, he directed the Western History Association.  
Product Details ISBN: 9780826222749
ISBN-10: 0826222749
Publisher: University of Missouri
Publication Date: January 16th, 2023
Pages: 376
Language: English
A Big History of North America: From Montezuma to Monroe is a welcome perspective compared to the traditional national histories that we’ve all grown up with.”—David R. Blanks, Arkansas Tech University, editor of the Journal of Big History

“North America’s geopolitical fortunes were neither manifest nor destined, as Kevin Fernlund makes clear in his spirited re-examination of the continent’s relation to rising, ruling, and receding powers.  A provocative and timely retelling, full of apt comparisons.”—Stephen Pyne, author of The Great Ages of Discovery and The Pyrocene

“Kevin Fernlund takes us past national histories to one of the North American continent. He weaves together Canadian, Mexican, and US human history with that of the continent itself and its biological diversity. The result is a synthesis not only of humans on the continent over past centuries, but of that with geology and life there for even longer. This big history of North America gives us a sweeping saga across disciplinary and national boundaries.”—Lowell Gustafson, Villanova University, contributing co-editor of Science, Religion and Deep Time, author of Big History and Political Science

“Geography is destiny, and Kevin Jon Fernlund’s Big History of North America shows us how sharing a continent means that Canada, the United States, and Mexico also share both a past and a future. This book will change how you see the American story.”—Ian Morris, Stanford University, author of Geography Is Destiny - Britain and the World: A 10,000-Year History

“Fernlund’s work is one of the few that try to tackle a big topic, and unlike many authors, he has put in the effort and collated the research to pull off a decent and ambitious early history of continental North America. The result is a book ideally suited for teaching an undergraduate course on the history of North America. It is one of those big books that should be located on your office shelf, one that you pull out when you need to look something up. It is no doubt a good investment for any interested historian.”–H-Environment