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In this major book, Thomas Bender recasts the developments central to American history by setting them in a global context, and showing both the importance and ordinariness of America’s international entanglements over five centuries. Bender focuses on five major themes, beginning with 1492 and 'the age of discovery,' when people everywhere first felt the transforming effects of oceanic trade. He asks us to see our Revolution as one of several similar rebellions around the globe, and the Civil War as part of a larger history associating the new meaning of nationhood with freedom. He also examines the American commitment to empire from Jefferson’s presidency to our own time, and makes it clear that America’s responses to capitalist industrialization and urbanization were part of a worldwide conversation.