Sins Of The Parents: Politics Of National Apologies In The U.S.

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Temple University Press, Sep 3, 2009 - Political Science - 256 pages
Debates have swirled around the question of national forgiveness for the past fifty years. Using two examples—the land claims of the Oneida Indians and the claims for reparations to Japanese Americans interned during World War II—Brian Weiner suggests a way of thinking about national misdeeds. Arguing beyond collective "innocence" or "guilt," Sins of the Parents offers a model of collective responsibility to deal with past wrongs in such a way as to reinvigorate our notion of citizenship. Drawing upon the writings of Abraham Lincoln and Hannah Arendt, Weiner offers a definition of political responsibility that at once defines citizenship and sidesteps the familial, racial, and ethnic questions that often ensnare debates about national apologies. An original contribution to political theory and practice, Sins of the Parents will become a much discussed contribution in the debate about what it is to be an American.
 

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Contents

Past Wrongs Present Responsibilities
1
The Oneida Land Claims Cases
26
The Civil Liberties Act of 1988
47
3 The Birth and Death of Political Memories
84
4 The Political Responsibilities of Citizens
113
5 The Political Promise and Limitations of National Apologies
138
Citizenship in the Shadows of Misdeeds
174
Notes
189
Bibliography
225
Index
239
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About the author (2009)

Brian A. Weiner is Associate Professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco.