the idea of america

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The Idea Of America

Author : Gordon S. Wood
ISBN : 9781101515143
Genre : History
File Size : 76. 16 MB
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The preeminent historian of the American Revolution explains why it remains the most significant event in our history. More than almost any other nation in the world, the United States began as an idea. For this reason, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood believes that the American Revolution is the most important event in our history, bar none. Since American identity is so fluid and not based on any universally shared heritage, we have had to continually return to our nation's founding to understand who we are. In The Idea of America, Wood reflects on the birth of American nationhood and explains why the revolution remains so essential. In a series of elegant and illuminating essays, Wood explores the ideological origins of the revolution-from ancient Rome to the European Enlightenment-and the founders' attempts to forge an American democracy. As Wood reveals, while the founders hoped to create a virtuous republic of yeoman farmers and uninterested leaders, they instead gave birth to a sprawling, licentious, and materialistic popular democracy. Wood also traces the origins of American exceptionalism to this period, revealing how the revolutionary generation, despite living in a distant, sparsely populated country, believed itself to be the most enlightened people on earth. The revolution gave Americans their messianic sense of purpose-and perhaps our continued propensity to promote democracy around the world-because the founders believed their colonial rebellion had universal significance for oppressed peoples everywhere. Yet what may seem like audacity in retrospect reflected the fact that in the eighteenth century republicanism was a truly radical ideology-as radical as Marxism would be in the nineteenth-and one that indeed inspired revolutionaries the world over. Today there exists what Wood calls a terrifying gap between us and the founders, such that it requires almost an act of imagination to fully recapture their era. Because we now take our democracy for granted, it is nearly impossible for us to appreciate how deeply the founders feared their grand experiment in liberty could evolve into monarchy or dissolve into licentiousness. Gracefully written and filled with insight, The Idea of America helps us to recapture the fears and hopes of the revolutionary generation and its attempts to translate those ideals into a working democracy. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway musical Hamilton has sparked new interest in the Revolutionary War and the Founding Fathers. In addition to Alexander Hamilton, the production also features George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Aaron Burr, Lafayette, and many more. From the Hardcover edition.

The Woman And The Dynamo

Author : Stephen Cox
ISBN : 9781351322744
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 49. 29 MB
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Novelist, columnist, cultural critic, political theorist-- Isabel Paterson was one of the most extraordinary personalities of the 1930s, renowned for her incisive wit and her unique interpretation of the American experience. The Woman and the Dynamo is the first biography of a woman who has long been a source of rumor and legend. From interviews, private papers, and her millions of published words, Stephen Cox weaves a narrative that brings Paterson vividly to life. A radical individualist in both theory and practice, Paterson spent her early life on the Western frontier, "lavished" two years on formal education, set a record for high-altitude flight, became a journalist by "accident," and made herself a fearless chronicler and conscience of New York literary life. At the same time, she made a permanent contribution to American political thought. Paterson identified the fundamental issues at stake in the crises of the twentieth century and responded with an original theory of history and political economy. In her view, the individual mind is the dynamo of history, working through the "long circuit" of institutions that maintain and enhance individual liberty; and America is the place where the advanced forms of those institutions were invented and are currently undergoing their severest trial. While other intellectuals derided the American ideal of progress and called for the restraint or abolition of the capitalist system, Paterson demanded a scrupulous application of the "engineering principles" on which American civilization had been built. The Woman and the Dynamo provides one of the few broad and detailed accounts of the origins of the American political Right, emphasizing the special role that women and imaginative writers played in its creation, and posing new questions about what it means to be "left" or "right," "liberal" or "conservative" in America. This will be compelling reading for those interested in twentieth century intellectual history, literature, and politics.

Stanley Cavell Literature And Film

Author : Andrew Taylor
ISBN : 9780415509640
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 77. 22 MB
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This is the first book to offer a thorough examination of the relationship that Stanley Cavell’s celebrated philosophical work has to the ways in which the United States has been imagined and articulated in its literature. Establishing the contours of Cavell’s most significant readings of American philosophical and cultural activity, the volume explores how his philosophy and the kind of reading it demands have an important relation to broader considerations of the American national imaginary. Focused, coherent, and original essays from a wide range of philosophers and critics consider how his investigations of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, for example, represent a sustained engagement with the ways in which philosophy might provide us with new ways of thinking and of living. This is the first detailed and comprehensive treatment of "America" as a category of enquiry in Cavell’s writing, engaging with the terms of Cavell’s various configurations of the nation and offering readings of American texts that illustrate the possibilities that Cavell’s work has, in turn, for literary and film criticism. This study of the role played by philosophy in the articulation of the American self-imaginary highlights the ways in which the reading of literature, and the practice of philosophy, are conjoined in the ethical and political project of national self-definition.

The Expatriate Perspective American Novelists And The Idea Of America

Author : Harold T. McCarthy
ISBN : 0838611508
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 74. 20 MB
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Assesses the attitudes toward America held by writers since the time of James Fenimore Cooper who have left the country to live in Europe.

The Idea Of America

Author :
ISBN : 9780983541400
Genre :
File Size : 71. 40 MB
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What Does it mean to be an American?In The Idea of America: What IT Was and How It Was Lost, visionaries Pierre Lemieux and William Bonner tackle these timeless questions with a refreshingly unique approach. Lemieux and Bonner carefully chose each of the written works included in this striking anthology to spark imagination, thought, and debate. Readers are invited to reexamine long accepted notions of what America is and what it means to be an American.Each of the selections builds on the next, engaging readers in an exploration of concepts that are fundamental to our view of who we are. No stone is left unturned as subjects ranging from individual liberty to religion and self reliance are covered through the words of some of the most creative thinkers ever to put pen to paper. This newly-updated, arresting second edition contains one of the most unique mixes of works ever to be compiled. From the documents that gave birth to America - the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights - to the insightful reflections from the always delightful H.L. Mencken on the American character and Ralph Waldo Emerson's classic words on individual and religious self reliance. The Idea of America is a true celebration of the spirit that is America.

Imagining A Great Republic

Author : Thomas E. Cronin
ISBN : 9781538105726
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 79. 32 MB
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In the first comprehensive reading of dozens of American literary and social culture classics, Tom Cronin, one of America’s most astute students of the American political tradition, tells the story of the American political experiment through the eyes of forty major novelists, from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Hunter S. Thompson. They have been moral and civic consciousness-raisers as we have navigated the zigs and zags, the successes and setbacks, and the slow awkward evolution of the American political experiment. Constitutional democracy, equal justice for all, the American Dream, and American Exceptionalism are all part of our country’s narrative. But, as Imagining a Great Republic explains, there has never been just a single American narrative—we have competing stories, just as we have competing American Dreams and competing ways of imagining a more perfect political union. Recognizing and understanding these competing values is a key part of being American. Cronin’s book explains how this is possible and why we should all be proud to be American.

Redeemer Nation

Author : Ernest Lee Tuveson
ISBN : 0226819213
Genre : History
File Size : 55. 10 MB
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Ernest Tuveson here shows that the idea of the redemptive mission which has motivated so much of the United States foreign policy is as old as the Republic itself. He traces the development of this element of the American heritage from its beginning as a literal interpretation of biblical prophecies. Pointing to the application of the millenarian ideal to successive stages of American history, notably apocalyptic events like the Civil War, Tuveson illustrates its pervasive cultural influences with examples from the writings of Jonathan Edwards, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Timothy Dwight, and Julia Ward Howe, among others.

The Idea Of America

Author : Wendy Lynn Wall
ISBN : STANFORD:36105025919908
Genre :
File Size : 23. 14 MB
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The World Next Door

Author : Rajini Srikanth
ISBN : 159213081X
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 26. 21 MB
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This book grows out of the question, "What is South Asian American writing and what insights can it offer us about living in the world at this particular moment of tense geopolitics and inter-linked economies?" South Asian American literature, with its focus on the multiple geographies and histories of the global dispersal of South Asians, pulls back from a close-up view of the United States to reveal a wider landscape of many nations and peoples. Drawing on the cosmopolitan sensibility of scholars like Anthony Appiah, Vinay Dharwadker, Martha Nussbaum, Bruce Robbins, and Amartya Sen, this book argues that to read the body of South Asian American literature justly, one must engage with the urgencies of places as diverse as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Burma, Pakistan, and Trinidad. Poets, novelists, and playwrights like Indran Amirthanayagam, Meena Alexander, Amitav Ghosh, Michael Ondaatje, Shani Mootoo, Amitava Kumar, Tahira Naqvi, and Sharbari Ahmed exhort North American residents to envision connectedness with inhabitants of other lands. These writers' significant contribution to American literature and to the American imagination is to depict the nation as simultaneously discrete and entwined within the fold of other nations. The world out there arrives next door.

The Idea Of America

Author : H. Michael Hartoonian
ISBN : 9780879352608
Genre : History
File Size : 72. 70 MB
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Debate keeps America vibrant. Debate over what course America should take. Debate over our shared, democratic values. Debate over the extent that our shared values influence public policy—and in which direction. Far from being a sign that our democratic republic is failing, this raucous, controversial, enduring debate—this Great Debate—indicates our republic is healthy. Americans continually seek, in the words of the Preamble to the Constitution, “to form a more perfect union.” Not everyone agrees on how best to do that—and that’s where civic and civil debate comes in. Americans have debated what course the nation should take since before there was a nation.

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