Civic Wars: Democracy and Public Life in the American City during the Nineteenth Century
Mary P. Ryan traces the fate of public life and the emergence of ethnic, class, and gender conflict in the nineteenth-century city in this ambitious retelling of a key period of American political and social history. Basing her analysis on three quite different cities—New York, New Orleans, and San Francisco—Ryan illustrates how city spaces were used, understood, and fought over by a dazzling variety of social groups and political forces. She finds that the democratic exuberance America enjoyed in the 1820s and 1840s was irrevocably damaged by the Civil War. Civic life rebounded after the War but was, in Ryan's words, "less public, less democratic, and more visibly scarred by racial bigotry."
Ryan's analysis is played out on three different levels—the spatial, the ceremonial, and the political. As she follows the decline of informal democracy from the age of Jackson to the heyday of industrial capitalism, she finds the roots of America's resilient democratic culture in the vigorous, often belligerent urban conflicts that found expression in the social movements, riots, celebrations, and other events that punctuated daily life in these urban centers. With its insightful comparisons, meticulous research, and graceful narrative, this study illustrates the ways in which American cities of the nineteenth century were as full of cultural differences and as fractured by social and economic changes as any metropolis today.
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CIVIC WARS: Democracy and Public Life in the American City During the Nineteenth CenturyUser Review - Jane Doe - Kirkus
Bancroft Prizewinning historian Ryan finds the roots of American democracy at its best in the public passions of New York City, New Orleans, and San Francisco, circa 182580. Ryan (Univ. of Calif ... Read full review
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Civic Wars: Democracy and Public Life in the American City During the ...
Mary P. Ryan
Limited preview - 1997
African Americans Alta California American cities antebellum antebellum cities associations Broadway called Catholic celebration Chinese citizens citizenship City Hall city's civic ceremonies civic culture Civil color committee Croton Aqueduct Daily Alta California democratic election electoral elite ethnic Fernando Wood festival Fourth of July French gender Golden Gate Park groups History identity immigrants Irish American Jacksonian labor ladies Lafayette Square Loco-Focos Louisiana major Manhattan mayor ment mobilization municipal nativists nineteenth century organized Orleans Daily Picayune parade Park partisan Patrick's Picayune Plaza police political population procession Protestant public ceremony public democracy public meeting public space public sphere race racial Radical Radical Republicans Reconstruction reformers Republicans riot San Francisco social differences Society spatial streets suffrage tion U.S. Census Bureau Union University Press urban space vigilantes vote Whigs women workers Workingmen's Party York City York Evening Post York Tribune York's Yorkers
Page 8 - Thus the most democratic country on the face of the earth is that in which men have in our time carried to the highest perfection the art of pursuing in common the object of their common desires, and have applied this new science to the greatest number of purposes.
Page 6 - the public sphere" we mean first of all a realm of our social life in which something approaching public opinion can be formed. Access is guaranteed to all citizens. A portion of the public sphere comes into being in every conversation in which private individuals assemble to form a public body.
Page 6 - We take then our point of departure from the objective fact that human acts have consequences upon others, that some of these consequences are perceived, and that their perception leads to subsequent effort to control action so as to secure some consequences and avoid others.
Page 9 - Everything is in motion around you ; here, the people of one quarter of a town are met to decide upon the building of a church ; there, the election of a representative is going on ; a little...
Page 8 - This ceaseless agitation which democratic government has introduced into the political world, influences all social intercourse. I am not sure that upon the whole this is not the greatest advantage of democracy; and I am much less inclined to applaud it for what it does than for what it causes to be done.