82000 Prior efforts at self-government had been ongoing since the earliest settlements in the early decades of the 17th century. They included The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut in 1639 – West New Jersey’s Fundamental Laws of 1677 – The Albany Plan of Union in 1754 which was rejected at that time – and numerous Resolutions, Instructions, Declarations, Articles and Ordinances of the revolutionary period. These, in turn, drew from classical and contemporary history and philosophy with which the more intellectual leaders in the colonies were intimately familiar. One of the latest full-service entries in the history survey sweepstakes, American Passages is a beautiful text that is well-designed. It is written in an engaging style. The volumes have a friendly tone that is warm without being suffocating. Most students and faculty should find them appealing. The massive amount of carefully chosen illustrations of various kinds are nicely reproduced. The maps are also good, with some exceptions. Each paper volume has the same set of appendices, including the Declaration of Independence. the Constitution. the nations population, 1790-1998. the admission of states to the Union. presidential elections and administrations. and the justices of the Supreme Court. The volumes split in an unusual way, which is an improvement on the traditional arrangement, especially for Reconstruction specialists. There are two overlap chapters rather than one, and the second volume begins in mid-war, with early Union occupations and the first stirrings of release, rather than in 1865, reflecting an interpretative trend pioneered by Eric Foner. This novel approach owes much to the breadth and vision of lead author Edward L. Ayers, whose interest in and knowledge of Southern history and Civil War culture is well known. Volume one takes the story to 1877, ending with chapter sixteen, while volume two begins with chapter fifteen, "Blood and Freedom, 1863-1867." Two maps start each volume: the first shows the states and their capitals, with important places in the text highlighted. the second is topographical. . .