Esmond Wright, one of the world's foremost historians of the United States, here tells the story of its origins and foundation. Beginning with an account of pre-Columbian North America and its native peoples, he goes on to describe the establishment of the first European settlements and the long struggle between England, France and Spain for control of the continent, leading to the origins of the Independence movement and the founding of the modern United States. The book then goes on to describe the country's first century, from the formation of government and its constitution, through the Indian Wars and the drive to the West, to the war between the states and attempts at national reconstruction and reconciliation. By this time the USA was already set on its course to world economic and political pre-eminence. Colonial society can be seen as essentially European - the people of the United States, the author argues, were increasingly the progenitors of their own ideas, their own culture and their own institutions. This book is as much the history of individuals - Franklin, Edwards, Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, Cooper, Lee and Grant - as of the movements they helped to create or destroy. Esmond Wright is the author of A Search for Liberty , Washington and the American Revolution , A Time for Courage , The Fire of Liberty , Franklin of Philadelphia .