By Colin Woodard
The writer of American Nations examines the historical past of and strategies to the most important American query: how most sensible to reconcile person liberty with the upkeep of a loose society
The fight among person rights and the great of the group as a complete has been the foundation of approximately each significant war of words in our historical past, from the debates on the Constitutional conference and within the run as much as the Civil warfare to the fights surrounding the agendas of the Federalists, the Progressives, the recent buyers, the civil rights circulation, and the Tea social gathering. In American Character, Colin Woodard strains those key strands in American politics during the 4 centuries of the nation’s life, from the 1st colonies throughout the Gilded Age, nice melancholy and the current day, and he explores how varied areas of the rustic have effectively or disastrously accommodated them. The self sustaining streak came upon its so much pernicious shape within the antebellum South yet was once balanced within the Gilded Age via communitarian reform efforts; the hot Deal used to be an instance of a profitable coalition among communitarian-minded japanese elites and Southerners.
Woodard argues that keeping a liberal democracy, a society the place mass human freedom is feasible, calls for discovering a stability among keeping individual liberty and nurturing a unfastened society. Going to both libertarian or collectivist extremes leads to tyranny. yet the place does the “sweet spot” lie within the usa, a federation of disparate nearby cultures that experience consistently strongly disagreed on those matters? Woodard leads readers on a riveting and revealing trip via 4 centuries of fight, experimentation, successes and screw ups to supply a solution. His traditionally proficient and pragmatic feedback on how one can do so stability and holiday the nation’s political impasse should be of curiosity to somebody who cares concerning the present American predicament—political, ideological, and sociological.
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Extra resources for American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good
At the Institute, I learned how Geertz and Albert Hirschman were towering figures in the important the extra-intellectual context is for achieving field. To watch the interplay between these two, so differ- something exciting and convincing. ent in their intellectual temperaments, so well matched in The highlight of the School of Social Science was—and their cognitive brilliance, and so close in their friendship, still is, I believe—the Thursday Luncheon Seminar. For a was an unforgettable experience.
The same time it has deeply influenced the way I have tried In some places, I dare say, so-called institutes for advanced to help create new institutions—which became one of my study are being created even before there are proper pro- main occupations after 1989. visions for basic studies. I think I am able to judge. After In 1986, I was elected rector of the Wissenschaftskolleg, a position I held until 2001. In conjunction with European 36 Unusual Business all, I have conducted unusual business at the Institute for Advanced Study.
We now divide our lectual and artistic world. Jane F.
American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good by Colin Woodard