James Horn is the president of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation. He is author and editor of five books on colonial American history, including A Land As God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America and A Kingdom Strange: The Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.
Readers may question whether the 1619 election deeply influenced our institutions, but it was the first, and Horn has expertly illuminated a little-known era following Jamestown's settlement. --Kirkus No one today knows more about early Virginia than James Horn. In evocative and clear-headed prose, he dissects the core events of its turbulent founding to reveal how the rule of law and self-government took hold the same year that the arrival of Africans in Jamestown announced English Americans' horrific original sin. 1619, built from Horn's unparalleled mastery of a vast body of evidence, is the most thoughtful book we have on this formative moment in our nation's history. --Peter C. Mancall, author of Fatal Journey: The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson Mix English political theory, several hundred settlers trying to better themselves, and a shipload of slaves; add four centuries, and you have America. James Horn explains why Jamestown is our national starting point. --Richard Brookhiser, author of John Marshall: The Man Who Made the Supreme Court Freedom and slavery in America were born at the same time and the same place, two hundred years ago in Virginia. Master historian James Horn tells these two inextricably linked stories in his powerful new book, 1619: Jamestown and the Forging of American Democracy. Inspired by a vision of establishing a just commonwealth, the Virginia Company authorized the first meeting of an elected legislature in English America in late July or early August; a few weeks later an English privateer sold approximately 20 enslaved Africans to Virginia planters. If at the first the coincidence seemed unremarkable to colonists, its consequences soon proved fateful for Virginia-and ultimately for America. If the tragic legacies of racial slavery are still with us, so too is the possibility of progress in an enlightened, self-governing commonwealth. --Peter S. Onuf, University of Virginia