Wednesday, October 2, 2013
From the Bookshelves: Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and Its Politics by Michael Barone
The peopling of the United States is one of the most important stories of the last 500 years, and in "Shaping Our Nation," bestselling author and demographics expert Michael Barone illuminates a new angle of America’s rise. He uses a vast array of political and social data to show that America is the product of a series large, unexpected mass movements — both internal and external — that typically lasted only one or two generations but in that time reshaped the nation and created enduring tensions that were difficult to resolve. Barone highlights the surprising trends and connections between the America of today and that of its migrant past, such as how the areas of major Scots-Irish settlement in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War are the same areas where John McCain performed better in the 2008 election than George W. Bush did in 2004, and how in the years following the Civil War, migration across the Mason-Dixon line all but ceased until the annealing effect that the shared struggle of World War II produced. Barone takes us all the way up to present day, showing what the surge of Hispanic migration between 1970 and 2010 means for the elections and political decisions to be made in the coming decades. Barone shows how since the 18th century, people have moved to America in part to make a better living, but more importantly to create new communities in which they could thrive and live as they wanted. And the founders’ formula of limited government, civic equality, and tolerance of religious and cultural diversity has provided a ready and useful template for not only to coping with these new cultural influences, but also for prospering as a nation with cultural variety.
Sweeping, thought-provoking, and ultimately hopeful, "Shaping Our Nation" is an unprecedented addition to our understanding of America’s cultural past, with deep implications for the immigration, economic, and social policies of the future.
Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner and author of the New York Times bestseller "Our First Revolution" and "Hard America, Soft America." A resident fellow at AEI, he is also a Fox News Channel contributor and coauthor of "The Almanac of American Politics," now in its 22nd edition.