Because the U.S. began as an idea, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood believes that the American Revolution is the most important event in our history, bar none. American identity is not based on any universally shared heritage, so we have had to return to our nation's founding to understand who we are. Wood explores the ideological ...
Because the U.S. began as an idea, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood believes that the American Revolution is the most important event in our history, bar none. American identity is not based on any universally shared heritage, so we have had to return to our nation's founding to understand who we are. Wood explores the ideological origins of the revolution's attempts to forge an American democracy, and traces the origins of American exceptionalism. What may simply seem like audacity now was considered radical in the 18th century. Today there exists what Wood calls a terrifying gap between the founders and us, such that it requires almost an act of imagination to fully recapture their era. Because we now take our democracy for granted, it is nearly impossible for us to appreciate how deeply the founders feared their grand experiment in liberty could evolve into monarchy or dissolve into mob rule. Gracefully written and filled with insight, The Idea of America helps us to
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Publishers Weekly, 2011-02-21 Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Wood challenges the popular view that the war for American independence was fought for practical and economic reasons, like unfair taxation. In this exceptional collection of essays (some previously published and others originating as lectures) he argues brilliantly to the contrary, that the Revolution was indeed fought over principles, such as liberty, republicanism, and equality. As he points out, Americans believed they alone had the virtues republicanism requires (such as simplicity and egalitarianism) and thus were supportive but skeptical of revolutions in France and Latin America. When joined to Protestant millennialism, Americans grew to believe that they were God's chosen people, with a mission to lead the world toward liberty and republican government, a view that Wood uses to explain America's continued attempts to create republics in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a remarkable study of the key chapter of American history and its ongoing influence on American character. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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