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The Myth of American Individualism: The Protestant Origins of American Political Thought

ISBN: 9780691029122

Product: Book, Paperback

May have wear from normal use.

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Sharpening the debate over the values that formed America's founding political philosophy, Barry Alan Shain challenges us to reconsider what early Americans meant when they used such basic political concepts as the public good, liberty, and slavery. We have too readily assumed, he argues, that eighteenth-century Americans understood these and other terms in an individualistic manner. However, by exploring how these core elements of their political thought were employed in Revolutionary-era sermons, public documents, newspaper editorials, and political pamphlets, Shain reveals a very different understanding--one based on a reformed Protestant communalism.

In this context, individual liberty was the freedom to order one's life in accord with the demanding ethical standards found in Scripture and confirmed by reason. This was in keeping with Americans' widespread acceptance of original sin and the related assumption that a well-lived life was only possible in a tightly knit, intrusive community made up of families, congregations, and local government bodies. Shain concludes that Revolutionary-era Americans defended a Protestant communal vision of human flourishing that stands in stark opposition to contemporary liberal individualism. This overlooked component of the American political inheritance, he further suggests, demands examination because it alters the historical ground upon which contemporary political alternatives often seek legitimation, and it facilitates our understanding of much of American history and of the foundational language still used in authoritative political documents.

ISBN/UPC:

9780691029122

Product:

Book, Paperback

Title:

The Myth of American Individualism: The Protestant Origins of American Political Thought

Contributors
Publisher:

Princeton University Press, 1996

Pages:

416

Languages:

English

Specification:

9.2 x 6.0 x 1.0 inches, 2 pounds

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Acceptable:Fairly worn but fully readable and intact. Pages may include notes, highlighting, or minor water damage. Dust jacket, CDs, product codes, or other inclusions may be missing or expired.
Good:Shows signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes or highlighting. Dust jacket, CDs, product codes, or other inclusions may be missing or expired.
Very Good:Item has seen limited use and has minimal signs of wear. Pages are clean without markings. Dust jacket, CDs, product codes, or other inclusions may be missing or expired.
Like New:Shows little to no signs of wear. Spine has no signs of creasing. Pages are clean without markings. CDs, product codes, or other inclusions may be missing or expired.