The Liberal Tradition in America: An Interpretation of American Political Thought Since the Revolution

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1955 - History - 329 pages
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Hartz’s influential interpretation of american political thought since the Revolution. He contends that americanca gave rise to a new concept of a liberal society, a “liberal tradition” that has been central to our experience of events both at home and abroad. New Introduction by Tom Wicker; Index.
 

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Folks can argue about Hartz's work until the cows come home, which is why everyone should read it.

Contents

THE PERSPECTIVES OF 1776
35
IH AMERICAS SOCIAL REVOLUTION
67
Part Three The Emergence of Democracy
87
THE WHIG DILEMMA 1 Jacksonian Democracy the July Revolution and the First Reform
89
The Atrophy of Whig Progressivism
96
The Search for an Aristocratic Anchor
102
The Attack on Popular Government
106
The Idea of Democratic Capitalism
110
Race Religion and the Greek Ideal
167
Oblivion and Defeat
172
THE CRUSADE AGAINST FREE SOCIETY 1 Feudal Paternalism and Social Science
178
Positive Metaphysics
184
Tory Socialism and Capitalist Promotionalism
189
The Reactionary Enlightenment Whiggery and the Theory of Democratic Capitalism
198
DEMOCRATIC
203
PROGRESSIVES AND SOCIALISTS
228

HERCULES AND HAMLET 1 Social CrossBreeding and the Democratic Psyche
114
Aristocrat Farmer Laborer
119
The Problem of the Majority
128
Conscience and Appetite
134
The Problem of Unanimity
139
Part Four The Feudal Dream of the South
143
THE REACTIONARY ENLIGHTENMENT 1 Conservatism in a Liberal Society
145
Calhoun and Fitzhugh
158
THE NEW DEAL
259
AMERICA AND THE WORLD
284
notes
313
INDEX
321
96
322
139
323
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About the author (1955)

Louis Hartz was born in Youngstown, Ohio, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, but grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. After graduating from Technical High School in Omaha, he attended Harvard University, financed partly by a scholarship from the Omaha World Heraldnbsp;.Hartz graduated in 1940, spent a year traveling abroad on a fellowship, then returned to Harvard as a teaching fellow in 1942. He earned his doctorate in 1946 and became a full professor of government in 1956. Hartz was known at Harvard for his talented and charismatic teaching. He retired in 1974 due to ill health and spent his last years living in London, New Delhi, New York, then Istanbul, where he died.Hartz is best known for his classic book The Liberal Tradition in America (1955) which presented an original view of America's past that sought to explain its conspicuous absence of ideologies. Hartz argued that American political development occurs within the context of an enduring, underlying Lockean liberal consensus, which has shaped and narrowed the landscape of possibilities for U.S. political thought and behavior. He attributed the triumph of the liberal worldview in America to its lack of a feudal past, and thus the absence of a struggle to overcome a conservative internal order; to its vast resources and open space; and to the liberal values of the original settlers, who represented only a narrow middle-class slice of European society. Hartz was chiefly concerned with explaining the failure of socialism to become established in America, and believed that Americans' pervasive, unthinking consensual acceptance of classic liberalism was the major barrier. Hartz thus firmly rejected Marxist ideas about the inevitability of class struggle.In The Founding of New Societies (1964), Hartz developed the idea that the nations that developed from settler colonies were European "fragments" that in a sense froze the class structure and underlying ideology prevalent in the mother country at the time of their foundation, not experiencing the further evolution experienced in Europe. He considered Latin America and French Canada to be fragments of feudal Europe, the United States, English Canada, and Dutch South Africa to be liberal fragments, and Australia and English South Africa to be "radical" fragments (incorporating the non-Socialist working class radicalism of early 19th century Britain).

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