Early nineteenth-century America could just about be summed up by Henry David Thoreau's words when he said, "Eastward I go only by force, but westward I go free." It was an exuberant time for the diverse citizens of the United States, who included a range of folk from mountain men and railroad builders to whalers and farmers, as they pushed forward into the open frontier and all their hopes and fears are captured in Liberty For All? In addition to colorful accounts of the massive westward migration, the California Gold Rush, a war with Mexico, the Oregon boundary conflict, Texas and the Alamo, Liberty for All? takes a deep look at the issue that began to gnaw at the country's core: How, in the land where "all men are created equal," could there be slaves?
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