The Roots of Democracy
American Thought and Culture, 17601800
By (author) Robert E. Shalhope
Publication date:18 August 2004
Length of book:216 pages
PublisherRowman & Littlefield Publishers
The last half of the eighteenth century was a period of enormous cultural and intellectual ferment in America-an era of fundamental transformation in law, politics, and religion, as well as deep changes in the American social order. At the center of the turmoil was the American Revolution, an event with roots reaching far back into the colonial period and effects extending well into the nineteenth century. In The Roots of Democracy: American Thought and Culture, 1760-1800 Robert E. Shalhope traces the dramatic shifts in attitudes and behavior from before the Revolution, through the war itself, the creation of republican governments, and the conflicts of the 1790s. This outstanding synthesis addresses a number of recurrent themes in American cultural history, including the persistence of conflict between democratic impulses and elitist tendencies-a conflict that has resurfaced in our own time. Anyone seeking to understand American political thought will find this straightforward and provocative book a useful entry into the subject and will come away with a deeper awareness of the origins and meaning of American democracy. The Roots of Democracy is an outstanding synthesis that provides provocative insights into a vital time in which the forces that formed modern American democracy took shape.
This is a fascinating, well-crafted, and much-needed book. Shalhope sums up the best current research on the origins of early national thought and culture in the United States, showing the inextricable relationship of republicanism and liberalism in our democratic heritage. The book is wide-ranging, thoughtful, and extremely well-written.