Gordon S. Wood's The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United PDF

By Gordon S. Wood

ISBN-10: 1101515147

ISBN-13: 9781101515143

The preeminent historian of the yank Revolution explains why it is still the main major occasion in our history.

More than nearly the other country on this planet, the us all started as an concept. consequently, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. wooden believes that the yank Revolution is an important occasion in our heritage, bar none. when you consider that American id is so fluid and never in response to any universally shared historical past, we have now needed to consistently go back to our nation's founding to appreciate who we're. within the concept of the USA, wooden displays at the start of yank nationhood and explains why the revolution is still so essential.

In a chain of stylish and illuminating essays, wooden explores the ideological origins of the revolution-from historic Rome to the ecu Enlightenment-and the founders' makes an attempt to forge an American democracy. As wooden unearths, whereas the founders was hoping to create a virtuous republic of yeoman farmers and bored stiff leaders, they in its place gave beginning to a sprawling, licentious, and materialistic renowned democracy.

Wood additionally strains the origins of yankee exceptionalism to this era, revealing how the progressive iteration, regardless of residing in a far off, moderately populated nation, believed itself to be the main enlightened humans on the earth. The revolution gave americans their messianic experience of purpose-and might be our endured propensity to advertise democracy round the world-because the founders believed their colonial uprising had common importance for oppressed peoples in every single place. but what could appear like audacity looking back mirrored the truth that within the eighteenth century republicanism used to be a really radical ideology-as radical as Marxism will be within the nineteenth-and person who certainly encouraged revolutionaries the realm over.

Today there exists what wooden calls a terrifying hole among us and the founders, such that it calls for virtually an act of mind's eye to totally recapture their period. simply because we now take our democracy with no consideration, it really is approximately most unlikely for us to understand how deeply the founders feared their grand scan in liberty may possibly evolve into monarchy or dissolve into licentiousness. Gracefully written and jam-packed with perception, The inspiration of America is helping us to recapture the fears and hopes of the progressive new release and its makes an attempt to translate these beliefs right into a operating democracy.

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Extra info for The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States

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I have ploughed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! ” In the Gage version, Truth spoke of bearing the lash and seeing her children sold into slavery. Truth’s manifest physical capacity was matched by the emotional strength required of many African American women. “And when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! ” To establish her ethos and play on the audience’s sympathies, Truth speaks of having “borne thirteen children,” while there is historical evidence of five.

But ah! m As the prayers and tears of Christians will avail the finally impenitent nothing; neither will the prayers and tears of the friends of humanity avail us any thing, unless we possess a spirit of virtuous emulation within our breasts. ” No; they first made powerful efforts to raise themselves, and then God raised up those illustrious patriots, Washington and Lafayette, to assist and defend them. And, my brethren, have you made a powerful effort? Have you prayed the Legislature for mercy’s sake to grant you all the rights and privileges of free citizens, that your daughters may rise to that degree of respectability which true merit deserves, and your sons above the service situations which most of them fill.

8 Within a few years, Truth became one of the best-known opponents of slavery and the subjugation of women. Part of the reason for her celebrity was the publication in 1850 of her autobiography, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave, dictated to Olive Gilbert, an educated white woman and fellow Millerite. 9 Although Truth spoke widely and often, her famous speech at the Woman’s Rights Convention at Akron, Ohio, on May 28, 1851, is a potent distillate of her wide-ranging speaking career.

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The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States by Gordon S. Wood


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