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It was Thomas Jefferson who envisioned the United States as a great “empire of liberty.” This paradoxical phrase may be the key to the American saga: How could the anti-empire of 1776 became the world's greatest superpower? And how did the country that offered unmatched liberty nevertheless found its prosperity on slavery and the dispossession of Native Americans? In this new single-volume history spanning the entire course of US history—from 1776 through the election of Barack Obama—prize-winning historian David Reynolds explains how tensions between empire and liberty have often been resolved by faith—both the evangelical Protestantism that has energized American politics for centuries and the larger faith in American righteousness that has driven the country's expansion. Written with verve and insight, Empire of Liberty brilliantly depicts America in all of its many contradictions.