American Character

Author: Colin Woodard
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0698181719
Size: 55.39 MB
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The author of American Nations examines the history of and solutions to the key American question: how best to reconcile individual liberty with the maintenance of a free society The struggle between individual rights and the good of the community as a whole has been the basis of nearly every major disagreement in our history, from the debates at the Constitutional Convention and in the run up to the Civil War to the fights surrounding the agendas of the Federalists, the Progressives, the New Dealers, the civil rights movement, and the Tea Party. In American Character, Colin Woodard traces these two key strands in American politics through the four centuries of the nation’s existence, from the first colonies through the Gilded Age, Great Depression and the present day, and he explores how different regions of the country have successfully or disastrously accommodated them. The independent streak found its most pernicious form in the antebellum South but was balanced in the Gilded Age by communitarian reform efforts; the New Deal was an example of a successful coalition between communitarian-minded Eastern elites and Southerners. Woodard argues that maintaining a liberal democracy, a society where mass human freedom is possible, requires finding a balance between protecting individual liberty and nurturing a free society. Going to either libertarian or collectivist extremes results in tyranny. But where does the “sweet spot” lie in the United States, a federation of disparate regional cultures that have always strongly disagreed on these issues? Woodard leads readers on a riveting and revealing journey through four centuries of struggle, experimentation, successes and failures to provide an answer. His historically informed and pragmatic suggestions on how to achieve this balance and break the nation’s political deadlock will be of interest to anyone who cares about the current American predicament—political, ideological, and sociological. From the Hardcover edition.

Hawthorne Melville And The American Character

Author: John McWilliams
Publisher: CUP Archive
ISBN: 9780521259002
Size: 46.17 MB
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This book considers the portrayal of the American national character in the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. It examines Hawthorne's abiding concern with the development of New England from colony to province to republic, and analyses Melville's changing evocation of 'the new American', and the difficulties he faced in sustaining his heady nationalistic faith.

Tocqueville On American Character

Author: Michael A. Ledeen
Publisher: Truman Talley Books
ISBN: 0312274513
Size: 38.77 MB
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In 1831, Alexis De Tocqueville, a twenty-six-year-old French aristocrat, spent nine months travelling across the United States. From the East Coast to the frontier, from the Canadian border to New Orleans, Tocqueville observed the American people and the revolutionary country they'd created. His celebrated Democracy in America, the most quoted work on America ever written, presented the new Americans with a degree of understanding no one had accomplished before or has since. Astonished at the pace of daily life and stimulated by people at all levels of society, Tocqueville recognized that Americans were driven by a series of internal conflicts: simultaneously religious and materialistic; individualistic and yet deeply involved in community affairs; isolationist and interventionist; pragmatic and ideological. Noted author Michael Ledeen takes a fresh look at Tocqueville's insights into our national psyche and asks whether Americans' national character, which Tocqueville believed to be wholly admirable, has fallen into moral decay and religious indifference. Michael Ledeen's sparkling new exploration has some surprising answers and provides a lively new look at a time when character is at the center of our national debate.

The Politics Of Individualism

Author: Lawrence Frederick Kohl
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780195361834
Size: 37.44 MB
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In the fifty years following the Revolution, America's population nearly quadrupled, its boundaries expanded, industrialization took root in the Northeast, new modes of transportation flourished, state banks proliferated and offered easy credit to eager entrepreneurs, and Americans found themselves in the midst of an accelerating age of individualism, equality, and self-reliance. To the Jacksonian generation, it seemed as if their world had changed practically overnight. The Politics of Individualism looks at the political manifestations of these staggering social transformations. During the 1830s and 1840s, Americans were consumed by politics and party loyalties were fierce. Here, Kohl draws on the political rhetoric found in speeches, newspapers, periodicals, and pamphlets to place the Democrats and the Whigs in a solid social and psychological context. He contends that the political division between these two parties reflected the division between Americans unsettled by the new individualistic social order and those whose character allowed them to strive more confidently within it. Democrats, says Kohl, were more "tradition-directed," bound to others in more personal ways; Whigs, on the other hand, were more "inner-directed" and embraced the impersonal, self-interested relationships of a market society. By examining this fascinating dialogue of parties, Kohl brings us bright new insight into the politics and people of Jacksonian America.

Shaping The American Character The Significance Of The Frontier In American History

Author: Frederick Jackson Turner
Publisher: Now and Then Reader LLC
ISBN: 1937853101
Size: 47.65 MB
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More than a hundred years after it was first articulated, Frederick Jackson Turner's "frontier thesis" remains one of the key interpretations of American history. Turner argued that the European heritage of Americans was less important in understanding the country they had made than their own experience in settling a continent. It was the circumstances of life on the frontierin fact a succession of frontiers that moved inexorably westwardthat were a determining influence on American character and institutions. Turner read this paper propounding his thesis at the meeting of the American Historical Association in Chicago, July 12, 1893, as part of the World's Columbian Exposition. It was timely, he suggested, because the Census of 1890 had announced the closing of the frontier in the United States and thus the end of an important stage of American development.

People Of Plenty

Author: David M. Potter
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226676319
Size: 46.79 MB
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America has long been famous as a land of plenty, but we seldom realize how much the American people are a people of plenty—a people whose distinctive character has been shaped by economic abundance. In this important book, David M. Potter breaks new ground both in the study of this phenomenon and in his approach to the question of national character. He brings a fresh historical perspective to bear on the vital work done in this field by anthropologists, social psychologists, and psychoanalysts. "The rejection of hindsight, with the insistence on trying to see events from the point of view of the participants, was a governing theme with Potter. . . . This sounds like a truism. Watching him apply it however, is a revelation."—Walter Clemons, Newsweek "The best short book on national character I have seen . . . broadly based, closely reasoned, and lucidly written."—Karl W. Deutsch, Yale Review

American Character Classic Reprint

Author: Brander Matthews
Publisher: Forgotten Books
ISBN: 9780428833053
Size: 66.51 MB
Format: PDF
View: 7467
Excerpt from American Character In the Spring of 1929 I felt that I had finished this ph of v when I read Joseph Wood Krutch's The Madm Tamer: A Study and 4 Con jassim. Here in one volume, written with real dis tincdon of style and with abundant knowledge of all phases of contemporary thought, is the mood gen erated in the author by the intellectual convictions current in his time. He was determined to follow out every thought as far as he could without caring where it would lead and without tempering any conclusion out of consideration to either his own sensibilities or those of any one else. The masters of the modern mind found in him a sympathetic and even submis sive disciple. From the books which they had written and from the words which some of them had spoken to him, he felt himself carried in a general direction which kept him side by side With many of them. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.

Ads Fads And Consumer Culture

Author: Arthur Asa Berger, San Francisco State University
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 1442241268
Size: 30.46 MB
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Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture—now in its fifth edition—draws on both academic and applied perspectives to offer a lively critique of contemporary advertising and its effects on American society.

House Arrest

Author: Anna Deavere Smith
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service Inc
ISBN: 9780822218425
Size: 80.14 MB
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THE STORY: HOUSE ARREST is a fascinating and compelling look at nothing less than the civil rights movement, the issues of slavery and racism, and the relationship between the press and the presidency over the course of American history. It begins