William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic

William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic William Cooper And James Feni Cooper, A Father And Son Who Embodied The Contradictions That Divided America In The Early Years Of The Republic, Are Brought To Life In This Pulitzer Prize Winning Book William Cooper Rose From Humble Origins To Become A Wealthy Land Speculator And US Congressman In What Had Until Lately Been The Wilderness Of Upstate New York, But His High Handed Style Of Governing Resulted In His Fall From Power And Political Disgrace His Son James Feni Cooper Became One Of This Country S First Popular Novelists With A Book, The Pioneers, That Tried To Come To Terms With His Father S Failure And Imaginatively Reclaim The Estate He Had Lost In William Cooper S Town, Alan Taylor Dramatizes The Clash Between Gentility And Democracy That Was One Of The Principal Consequences Of The American Revolution, A Struggle That Was Waged Both At The Polls And On The Pages Of Our National Literature Taylor Shows How Americans Resolved Their Revolution Through The Creation Of New Social Reforms And New Stories That Evolved With The Expansion Of Our Frontier

Alan Shaw Taylor is a historian specializing in early American history He is the author of a number of books about colonial America, the American Revolution, and the Early American Republic He has won a Pulitzer Prize and the Bancroft Prize for his work.Taylor graduated from Colby College, in Waterville, Maine, in 1977 and earned his Ph.D from Brandeis University in 1986 Currently a professor

❴Reading❵ ➷ William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic Author Alan Taylor – Ultimatetrout.info
  • Paperback
  • 576 pages
  • William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic
  • Alan Taylor
  • English
  • 07 July 2017
  • 9780679773009

10 thoughts on “William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic

  1. says:

    William Cooper s Town certainly deserved recognition with the 1996 Pulitzer Prize It is an intriguing look at the development of a frontier community in the earliest days of the republic The story of parvenu William Cooper s rise and eventual decline from political and social prominence in Upstate New York is well told with keen insight into the fractiousness of early U.S politics James Feni Cooper s first great success in the literary world was a fictionalized account of his father s life While there are many valuable histories of early American life, Taylor s book is particularly fascinating due to the parallel between William Cooper s life story and his son s novel, The Pioneers William Cooper s Town is an unusual combination of political history, social analysis and biography linked to a study on James Feni Cooper s literary effort to vindicate his father s struggle for wealth, social prominence and prestige Taylor s book is an interesting new twist on the old story of a rising man on America s frontier I recommend it highly It is well worth your reading time.

  2. says:

    What is interesting about this book is that while it is nominally a history, it is interlaced with a delicious helping of literary criticism.The William Cooper of the title is the father of James Feni Cooper, and as Taylor shows, Cooper s novels were than Revolutionary era romances They also romanticized the Cooper family s personal history The Pioneers, in particular, functioned as a retelling of William s life story only with an ending to James Feni s liking than what happened in real life.I grew up in Central New York, not that far from Cooperstown, and I ve read quite a few histories of this part of the country William Cooper s Town which won a Pulitzer ranks as one of the best I particularly appreciated Taylor s description of how the Revolutionary War disrupted the Colonial era status quo both socially and economically I ve known for some time, for instance, that many New York State Loyalists fled to Canada or England after the war Taylor pulls back the curtain on this story when the Loyalists left, rogues and opportunists took advantage of the ensuing chaos to make claims often of dubious legal standing on abandoned property William Cooper was one of those rogues From a start as a barely literate wheelwright, he became one of the era s prominent land speculators and, by the standards of the time, enormously rich And Cooperstown, New York, was the eponymous capital of his primary holding the Otsego Patent There William presided over his land leases and mortgages and related business concerns, and built a mansion and ran for political office and also tried to re fashion himself as an aristocrat The latter effort failed, ultimately partly because he simply didn t know how to conduct himself in society, and partly because he was actually a terrible business manager When he died, his children lived the high life for a few years, but all too soon the his entire estate was bankrupt, auctioned off to pay creditors James Feni was protected from abject poverty because he d married wealth And then he got the idea to write a novel set in Revolutionary Era New York State I should add one other thing Most people today probably know Cooperstown for the Baseball Hall of Fame, but it s also home to the Feni Art Museum, which has incredible collections American Folk Art, North American Indian art, Hudson River School art, and 19th century genre paintings Cooperstown has one of the coolest craft breweries in the country as well Ommegang , the highly regarded Leatherstocking Golf Course resort course I ve never played it but I d love to , and a vibrant performing arts scene, including the internationally acclaimed Glimmerglass Opera.After William s death in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the town struggled economically Today, it s a jewel of a community, and well worth the trip if you are looking for a summer vacation spot in the Northeastern United States Maybe I ll even see you there

  3. says:

    This is a really great work of history very well crafted Taylor blends literary analysis and social history and biography to examine in detail the changes that occurred in American society in the early republic period William Cooper, a relatively uneducated wheelwright, took advantage of the changes brought by the Revolution to reinvent himself as a great proprietor landholder He tried his best to assume a new position among the genteel elite He and the other elites believed that the Revolution should not be allowed to go too far, that America s new society should not change all that much from the old colonial societythe United States would be simply be ruled by American elites, rather than British elites But they couldn t control the government they had created, and democracy overtook the land The antics and mayhem of the American experiment ensued Later, after the Cooper family had basically lost the frontier empire William built, his son James Feni built a career for himself as a novelist, creatively re writing the history of the frontier the way he wished it had transpired I really admire Taylor s work He goes so far as to analyze the records of the library in William Cooper s hometown, to see which books Cooper was checking out compared to other patrons, and to show that he was giving himself a crash course in how to be a gentleman Taylor also does a great job explaining why Cooper s first major venture founding Cooperstown worked out, and why his subsequent ventures fell into such difficulty This book also helped me understand the Revolution of 1800 Jefferson s election much better than any other book I ve read In places like New York, the politics were much complicated than simply a question of Jefferson vs Adams The Federalists couldn t get themselves together and the Jeffersonian Republicans basically invented the party based campaign This is a must read for anyone working on early America early Republic.

  4. says:

    This took me a while Pretty disappointing, though still an important book with some key insights I just didn t like the novel biography aspects nor really understand the point until the final 30 or so pages So must of the experience could have been interesting, as it is in the other Taylor books I ve read.

  5. says:

    An impressive accomplishment It s too heavy on blow by blow political history for my taste, but it certainly does what it tries to do historically Yet I don t entirely buy into the personal story.Alan Taylor describes how William Cooper father of novelist James Feni Cooper rose from poor wheelwright to New York land magnate after the Revolution thanks to a long series of fraudulent land deals how he became an influential but awkward local community leader in the frontier town he built to bear his name and how he provoked a political and social reaction from other common men hoping to rise in the new republic Taylor presents Cooper s story as a microcosm of the social and cultural transformation of the United States after the Revolution Cooper was economically a man of the new era of competitive getting forward, but intellectually a man of a genteel and deferential age He tried to work his way up into the gentry, not recognizing or not accepting the values of the bourgeois economy he was helping to create Likewise, he seems to have subscribed only imperfectly to either the old patronage politics or the new spoils system politics, demanding absolute loyalty from his Cooperstown subordinates while frequently provoking the anger of state politicians and their allies through his own ambition No aristocrat himself, he tried to become an oligarch through sharp dealing, only to find himself surrounded by democrats By the end of his life, his county had turned against him politically.Taylor, I think, finds Cooper ultimately a sympathetic though tragic character I have a harder time finding any value in him It is hard to see any significant sign of personal integrity in Cooper willful pride is not the same thing He came from, but usually didn t subscribe to, a Quaker tradition that taught him plain dealing and personal humility, yet everything he accomplished was built on bad faith and pursued for personal aggrandizement of one kind or another At his death, he left a large estate hopelessly compromised by debts and faulty title deeds a neglected and broken wife and at least two spendthrift sons who had apparently never learned from him how to control their appetites He was, to be sure, a symptom of his age, but nothing in this book gives me a reason to care about him.

  6. says:

    Immeditaley, following the War for Independence and the Constitution, the U.S was a very unstable place both politically and econmically Anyone who thought that free land meant freedom was mistaken 9at leat that s what I got out of this book Taylor teaches at UC Davis and I ve caught many of his lectures He is very wise to a forgotten p eriod of AMerican history, the highly contentions 1790 political battles This book documents politics on the Amreican forntier in upstate New York, as William Cooper, self made gentleman of the Republic amassed a fortuen thorugh land specualtion, only to lose it all becasue he failed to navigate the destablizing effects of non propertied Americans voting and their erosion of traditional social s William Cooper s son was none other than james Fenni Cooper, author of Last of the Mohicans and Leathersotcking and Deerslayer Cooper examines J.F Cooper s novels to see how he treid to reddem his father s life and the values of aristocracy on the expanding American frontier.

  7. says:

    It helps if you have some ties to the area I used to live in the county Cooper helped organize , but this remains a sharp, deep dive into a local version of the post Revolutionary political and social struggles.

  8. says:

    I enjoyed the biographical parts, but the rest was very dry More about politics than I was expecting.

  9. says:

    An intricate look at the founding and first few decades of Cooperstown, NY immediately after the Revolutionary War, Alan Taylor combines a biography of William Cooper with the history of the American frontier as it was then located in rural NY While the book certainly covers Cooper from birth to death, and contains much biographical content, I thought this was closer to being considered American history Cooper himself does not come across well impatient, scheming, manipulative, intense He took on too much at one time, and often than not got himself into costly messes that he could not easily disentangle himself from His founding of the town that he named after himself modesty was not one of his traits was his biggest achievement After that, he got into a series of costly, impetuous adventures that steadily drained his income and ended up causing major headaches for his children after his death on 1809 He was also a judge, and served in Congress as a Federalist However, Taylor barely touches on Cooper s congressional service other than to note his absences from Cooperstown and his vote in the deadlocked presidential election of 1800 That is not the focus of this book, so I understand why Cooper steers clear of that part of Cooper s life Cooper had many children, one of which was the famous author James Feni Cooper Throughout the book, Taylor continually makes reference to The Pioneers, the first of the so called Leather stocking Tales I have read some of those works, but this one Taylor makes references literally throughout the book, so had I known this, I would have read that novel before picking this up While not required to understand what is going on, the references are non stop, so having a good understanding of that novel would be helpful Taylor is very good at describing early American society away from the big cities and Revolutionary fervor that inhabited them It is a nice change of pace to read a book devoted to looking at a very specific area, rather than reading about the Founding Fathers or war battles as so many books focus on nothing at all wrong with that He juxtaposes Cooper s actions with those of others in town, and with how Cooper s many children grow up and then squander his estate Cooper was an ardent partisan and created many enemies He also subscribed to a highly elitist view of society, thinking that, once he became wealthy, he belonged to a group of people destined to lead the common folk But Cooper forgot where he came from, as he was from the working class himself The final two chapters deal with the fallout from Cooper s death and the misfortunes of his heirs, especially James Within a decade of his death, all but two of William s children were dead They had soft lifestyles as Cooper was trying to create some type of elite family dynasty James was no exception to this Prior to becoming a successful novelist, he was kicked out of Yale and basically did nothing with his life The last chapter is basically a literature review of The Pioneers After being subjected to periodic reviews of the novel, this was not really how I was hoping the book would end Grade B

  10. says:

    A beautiful book Taylor doesn t make much of a new argument in this book, rather illustrates the myriad changes wrought by the Revolution by following the life of NY land speculator William Cooper As a young man, WC embodies the mobility afforded to white men by the Revolution, as he emerges from modest origins to get enough money to speculate in land in upstate NY, recently taken from the Iroquois WC tries to makes himself a gentleman in the fashion of the colonial order by educating himself Once in his new town, Cooper embodies Federalist paternalism as he expects the settlers to respect his preponderance of power and social superiority This doesn t work out, as the rise of Republicanism is NY challenges WC s worldview, and throws him out of power I really noticed how dirty politics and patronage were back then NY governor burned votes to get his way This story was foundation for WC s son James Feni Cooper s novel, The Frontiersman There are so many connections in this book while making a succinct and powerful point Truly deserved the Pulitzer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *