Thursday, July 20, 2006

Alan Guelzo reviews Gitlin

The Intellectuals and the Flag

"The American Left has always had difficulty understanding its own history, largely because there has never been anything you could call an American Right against which it could define itself. There was serious dissension about banks, corporations, and government sponsorship of commercial projects (road-building, canals, tariffs) throughout the decades between Jefferson and Lincoln. But apart from the American Tories and the most radical Calhounites, there was no serious American political movement in the early republic which dissented from liberal democracy or the premises of the Declaration of Independence or which thought monarchy was a good thing. Most of what passed for political debate was accusation and counter-accusation that someone was not taking democracy or the Declaration seriously enough."

I couldn't have said it better myself.


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