Mark Malvasi

Mark Malvasi

About Mark Malvasi

Mark Malvasi is Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative and Professor of History at Randolph-Macon College, where he teaches "The Idea and Problem of Slavery." Dr. Malvasi is the author of The Unregenerate South: The Agrarian Thought of John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, and Donald Davidson, Slavery in the Western Hemisphere Circa 1500-1888, and Dark Fields: Poems and an Essay.

A Return to Normalcy? George Babbitt’s America

By |2019-09-30T23:47:57-06:00September 29th, 2019|Categories: Books, Civil Society, Imagination, Literature, Mark Malvasi, Senior Contributors|

For Sinclair Lewis, ”Babbitt” was a vehicle through which to explore and critique American society during the 1920s. The eponymous hero of the novel finds himself trapped in a conflict between the man he is and the man he wants to be, between the demands of society and the desires of the heart. Lewis sought [...]

The First World War Economy & the Rise of American Power

By |2019-08-11T23:28:44-06:00August 11th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Economics, History, Mark Malvasi, Senior Contributors, War, World War I|

The architects of the Great War set the world on the path to self-destruction. Although the worst has not taken place, the world still treads along the same perilous course. For human beings have yet to devise a sure way of imposing rational limits on irrational acts of violence. I. The Progressives could not [...]

World War I: War as Revolution

By |2019-07-07T21:57:22-06:00July 7th, 2019|Categories: Foreign Affairs, Mark Malvasi, Politics, Progressivism, Senior Contributors, War, World War I|

When World War I ended in disillusionment, with much of Europe in chaos and ruin, many Progressives blamed Woodrow Wilson. It was he, in the end, who betrayed the cause of democracy. Only after the war did John Dewey and other Progressives admit that the Allies had never championed democratic values at all, but [...]

American Eden: The Rise and Fall of New World Man

By |2019-07-02T16:45:32-06:00June 30th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Federalist Papers, James Madison, Literature, Mark Malvasi, Thomas Jefferson, Timeless Essays|

Americans transcribed the Edenic myth and heralded the supremacy of the New World over the Old. Yet, many could not suppress the fear that they were already losing their sense of purity, innocence, and power, and would in time come face to face with the disappointments of history, the sorrows of the human condition, [...]

Progressives at War: The United States Enters The Great War

By |2019-05-26T22:22:51-06:00May 26th, 2019|Categories: Defining America Series, History, Mark Malvasi, Senior Contributors, War, Western Civilization, World War I|

I. Entry into the First World War revealed the entanglement of interest and idealism that has long characterized American politics and thought. Yet, apart from fears about the disruption of international commerce, few Americans regarded the outbreak of another war in the Balkans as a matter demanding serious attention or concern. Still fewer could [...]

A Connecticut Yankee and the Failure of Progressivism

By |2019-09-03T18:31:08-06:00April 15th, 2019|Categories: Books, History, Literature, Mark Malvasi, Mark Twain, Modernity, Progressivism, Senior Contributors|

No writer so early recognized and so credibly exposed the dangerous inadequacies concealed in the Progressive world view than did Mark Twain in his sardonic novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. I. By 1912, the triumph of Progressivism was complete. Both Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt had advertised themselves as Progressive candidates, [...]

Progressivism and Democracy

By |2019-10-08T16:25:18-06:00March 10th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Capitalism, Defining America Series, Democracy, Economics, History, Mark Malvasi, Politics, Senior Contributors|

Could democratic government solve, or even effectively address, the problems of a modern society? For decades, this question vexed Progressive reformers as they navigated the transformation of the United States from a country of small farms and rural communities to a nation of factories, corporations, and cities. Before the Civil War, Americans never doubted [...]

Defining America

By |2019-11-14T10:10:48-06:00February 10th, 2019|Categories: Civilization, Culture, Defining America Series, History, Mark Malvasi, Senior Contributors|

What older societies expressed in myth, custom, and tradition, Americans established through scholarship, in a heroic effort to sustain a national character and national consciousness that were often more ephemeral and certainly more elusive than they may at first have appeared or than Americans have been wont to believe… There is nothing new in [...]

Versailles at 100

By |2018-12-31T12:59:10-06:00January 1st, 2019|Categories: Civilization, Democracy, Europe, History, Mark Malvasi, Nationalism, Senior Contributors, War, Western Civilization, Woodrow Wilson, World War I, World War II|

The Great War, in Woodrow Wilson’s view, had to become precisely what the delegates to the Congress of Vienna feared: a moral crusade, an instrument of social and political revolution… For American president Woodrow Wilson, the First World War was the “war to end all wars” by making “the world safe for democracy,” not [...]

The Death of Europe: Two Classic Films and the Great War

By |2019-10-15T21:57:31-06:00November 10th, 2018|Categories: Ethics, Europe, Film, Friendship, Mark Malvasi, Nationalism, Senior Contributors, War, Western Civilization, World War II|

So incisive and troubling did the Nazis find Jean Renoir’s indictment of war and his embrace of the shared culture of Europe, that when the Wehrmacht invaded France and occupied Paris in the spring of 1940, Renoir’s film La Grande Illusion was among the first cultural artifacts Nazi officials confiscated… The Great War was a catastrophe for Europe. [...]

Nature, Science, and Civilization

By |2019-06-10T11:19:01-06:00September 26th, 2018|Categories: Civilization, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Leviathan, Mark Malvasi, Nature, Science, Senior Contributors, Technology, Western Civilization|

At its finest, the new conception of nature enabled people to appreciate, and wish to safeguard, the natural environment on which life depends. At its worst, this reverence for the natural world gave rise to a mindless sentimentality that regarded all human activity as harmful and exploitive. I. The English mathematician and philosopher Alfred North [...]

Do Americans Really Value Hard Work?

By |2019-09-02T09:45:54-06:00September 2nd, 2018|Categories: Character, Economics, Labor/Work, Mark Malvasi, Modernity, Timeless Essays|

The tiresome cant about the work ethic notwithstanding, Americans do not celebrate, or even recognize, the dignity of labor. Although they profess to disdain both the idle rich and the idle poor, they do not at the same time esteem those who must work for a living, even as most count themselves among that number... [...]

Immigration: A Troubled History

By |2019-11-14T12:57:44-06:00August 5th, 2018|Categories: American Republic, Culture, History, Immigration, Mark Malvasi|

Immigrants became American, or at least what they thought of as American, because they had no alternative. Educated in the rituals and standards of citizenship, they conformed to the vague but robust doctrine of “Americanism,” and sought, above all, to avoid being “un-American”… I. On August 6, 1676, Nicholas Spencer, secretary of the Virginia [...]

A Healthy Respect for Limits: Recovering the American Founding

By |2019-10-16T13:17:59-06:00July 2nd, 2018|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Declaration of Independence, Independence Day, Mark Malvasi|

The Founding Fathers and their heirs wanted to establish and maintain a prosperous republic, yet they welcomed limitations on prosperity as much as they had welcomed restraints on power. This healthy respect for limits offers a way to recover the political and moral realism that contemporary Americans have lost… Somewhere I recall reading the [...]