By Rick Halpern
The concept that American ancient improvement isn't like that of alternative international locations is an previous one, but it exhibits no signal of wasting its emotive strength. 'Exceptionalism' maintains to excite, beguile, and frustrate scholars of the yankee previous. The essays during this quantity discover the ways that the method of sophistication formation within the usa should be acknowledged to be certain. Focusing upon the impression of liberal political proposal, race and immigration, and the function of the war-time kingdom, they problem particularist and nation-centred modes of clarification. evaluating American old improvement with Italian, South African, and Australian examples, the essays reinvigorate a drained debate.
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Extra info for American Exceptionalism?: US Working-Class Formation in an International Context
Joyce Appleby, among others, insists that exceptionalism ought not be redefined as difference because 'all nations are different' . Exceptionalism has, historically, referred to something much more. 42 But even historians as comparatively careful as Appleby get sucked into the miasmic incoherence of exceptionalist discourse when they return to more pristine, powerful postulations. Like so many before her, Appleby conftates figures of archetype and asylum. " In the vortex of exceptionalist excess, Appleby also adds other confusions all her own to the conversation.
Turner took a deep aversion to ideas, an unabashed anti-intellectualism, as a crucial component of the exceptionalism he spent his scholarly career trying to specify. And multitudes followed where he led. In the 1950s, the apogee of exceptionalist thinking, Daniel Boorstin, took that Turnerian insight to its apotheosis. " And yet, in the other of those two epiphanal articulations, Louis Hartz held theory itself the deepest secret of American life. Hartz insisted that, in the United States, a particular complex of ideas that he called liberalism governed politics and set the shape of the possible more largely.
Kammen, 'Problem of Exceptionalism', 11. Kammen, 'Problem of Exceptionalism', 28. Kammen, 'Problem of Exceptionalism', 6. Kammen, 'Problem of Exceptionalism', 6, 24. For Kammen's explicit embrace of 'the spirit of Herder's relativism', see 26. Degler, 'Pursuit', 235, 236; Degler, reply to Laurence Veysey, American Historical Review 92 (1987), 1082. ' , 94, 96. ', in Katznelson and Zolberg, Working-Class Formation, 400-1, 454-5. For another gibe at the logic of Deglerian relativism, see Laurence Veysey, 'The Autonomy of American History Reconsidered', American Quarterly 31 (1979),466-79.