Historian Jane Dailey Offers New Account of America for the Digital Age

Thomas Gaulkin

The University of Chicago Press has published a groundbreaking new history of America co-authored by history professor Jane Dailey.

Building the American Republic is a narrative textbook that begins with the earliest Americans and ends with the 2016 election. Dailey wrote the book’s second volume, which recounts the political and economic history of the nation from 1877 onward.


The first volume was prepared by Harry L. Watson, Atlanta Distinguished Professor of Southern Culture at the University of North Carolina. Together, Dailey and Watson combine centuries of scholarly perspectives and voices into a multifaceted account of the United States and its people.


 “At a time when our public discourse is threatened by ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts,’ the current generation of students—our future leaders—needs Building the American Republic’s even-handed, carefully crafted, and readily accessible history of our nation’s most fundamental democratic traditions,” said Dailey, Associate Professor in the Department of History, the Law School, and the College.


Dailey’s primary research interests center on the political and legal history of African American resistance to white domination from Reconstruction through the 1950s. Her previous books include The Age of Jim Crow: A Norton Documentary History and Before Jim Crow: The Politics of Race in Postemancipation Virginia. She is currently finishing a book on race, sex, and the civil rights movement from emancipation to the present.


The Press announced last year that it would be making the new textbook available for free as an e-book. The publication is now downloadable under a Creative Commons license, making it one of the first peer-reviewed American-history textbooks to be offered completely free in digital form.