By Colin Woodard
The writer of American Nations examines the historical past of and strategies to the foremost American query: how top to reconcile person liberty with the upkeep of a loose society
The fight among person rights and the great of the group as an entire has been the root of approximately each significant confrontation in our historical past, from the debates on the Constitutional conference and within the run as much as the Civil struggle to the fights surrounding the agendas of the Federalists, the Progressives, the recent purchasers, the civil rights flow, and the Tea occasion. 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 in the course of 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 autonomous streak came upon its such a lot pernicious shape within the antebellum South yet used to be balanced within the Gilded Age by means of communitarian reform efforts; the recent Deal was once an instance of a profitable coalition among communitarian-minded jap elites and Southerners.
Woodard argues that conserving a liberal democracy, a society the place mass human freedom is feasible, calls for discovering a stability among holding individual liberty and nurturing a loose 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 regularly strongly disagreed on those concerns? 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 expert and pragmatic feedback on the right way to accomplish that stability and holiday the nation’s political impasse could be of curiosity to someone who cares in regards to the present American predicament—political, ideological, and sociological.