The struggle between individual rights and the good of the community has been the basis of nearly every major disagreement in our history, from the debates at the Constitutional Convention to the fights surrounding the agendas of the Federalists, the Progressives, and the Tea Party. In American Character, Colin Woodard traces these key strands in American politics through the four centuries of the nation's existence, and how different regions of the country have successfully or disastrously accommodated them. Woodard argues that maintaining a liberal democracy requires finding a balance between protecting individual liberty and nurturing a free society. Going to either libertarian or collectivist extremes results in tyranny. But where does the “sweet spot” lie in the United States, a federation of disparate regional cultures that have always strongly disagreed on these issues? Woodard leads readers on a riveting and revealing journey through four centuries of struggle, experimentation, successes and failures to provide an answer.
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About the Author
Jonathan Yen was inspired by the Golden Age of Radio, and while the gold was gone by the time he got there, he's carried that inspiration through to commercial work, voice acting, and stage productions. From vintage Howard Fast science fiction to naturalist Paul Rosolie's true adventures in the Amazon, Jonathan loves to tell a good story.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Maintaining Freedom 1
Chapter 2 Two Paths to Tyranny 25
Chapter 3 The Rival Americas 57
Chapter 4 The Elite and the Masses (1607-1876) 85
Chapter 5 The Rise and Fall of Laissez-Faire (1877-1930) 111
Chapter 6 The Rise and Fall of National Liberalism (1933-1967) 147
Chapter 7 Dixie Takes Over (1968-2008) 183
Chapter 8 Rise of the Radicals (2008-) 223
Chapter 9 A Lasting Union 243
Acknowledgments and Suggested Reading 267