The Backside of the Universe: Walter McDougall’s “Throes of Democracy”

By |2020-08-07T14:33:29-05:00March 19th, 2014|Categories: Books, History|Tags: , , , |

Walter McDougall’s “Throes of Democracy” shows us a more human, recog­nizable, and uncomfortable past—a more complicated past than the defenders of American pretense will ever acknowledge. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1852 novel, The Blithedale Romance, has been overshadowed for many years by The Scarlett Letter and The House of the Seven Gables. Perhaps its unsparing analysis of [...]

American Identity

By |2014-03-12T14:42:11-05:00March 9th, 2014|Categories: Immigration, Politics|Tags: |

Defining the essential attributes of being an “American” is a dangerous undertaking. Although I’m hardly a member of a marginalized minority, it wasn’t too long ago that my Irish ancestors were considered by many to be not-quite-American by virtue of their Celtic heritage (and often their Catholic faith). Faced with a nation not only comprised [...]

Questioning American Exceptionalism

By |2016-07-26T15:44:12-05:00November 7th, 2013|Categories: American Republic, Politics|Tags: , |

“Never to be roused is to forget what honor demands.”–Cicero As of this moment, the American Left no longer carries sole imprimatur to publish recursive screeds dispelling American exceptionalism. The American Right is hereby officially in on the act (from an opposing angle, naturally) with a single noteworthy reservation: the sui generis manner of our [...]

Reconsidering American Exceptionalism

By |2016-10-06T21:10:27-05:00October 8th, 2013|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , |

Illustration by Michael Hogue The old kept us out of conflict; the new leads to empire. In 1765, John Adams unwittingly penned one of the proof texts of American exceptionalism. “I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder,” the young lawyer wrote in his diary, “as the opening of a [...]

The Challenge Confronting Conservatives: Sustaining a Republic of Hustlers

By |2020-08-31T13:19:24-05:00April 15th, 2013|Categories: Conservatism, Foreign Affairs|Tags: , , |

If in fact the prudential, im­mediate goal of conservatives is simply to defend what remains of our heritage and forestall a slide into anarchy, then what is it conservatives can do to sustain our Republic of Hustlers? At our 2009 annual meeting, the Scholars Council of the Library of Congress was exposed to some surreal [...]

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