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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Liveblogging Wood's The Idea of America: The Vision of the Founders

Many politicians campaign based on getting back to "the America of the Founders": that America, of course, interpreted through the lens of their own political position. But the thing is, there never was any "America of the Founders," except in their minds: the actual polity immediately began diverging from their vision:
The American leaders may have begun their Revolution trying to recover an idealized and vanished Roman republic, but they soon realized that they had unleashed forces that were carrying them and their society much further than they had anticipated. Instead of becoming a new and grand incarnation of ancient Rome, a land of virtuous and contented farmers, America within decades of the Declaration of Independence had become a sprawling, materialistic and licentious popular democracy unlike any state that had ever existed. (p. 75)
The world you imagine your revolution will bring about is never the world it actually brings about!

1 comment:

  1. I think you need to admit you're a reactionary already.

    ReplyDelete