American Political Thought, Fifth Edition (American Political Th... Cover Art

American Political Thought, Fifth Edition (American Political Thought (CQ Press)) (Paperback)

By: Kenneth M. Dolbeare (Editor)



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Short Desription

In the aftermath of 9/11, Dolbeare and Cummings challenge students to examine their own political identities. They are asked to take their newfound concern about Islamic fundamentalism and focus it toward the issue of American fundamentalism, or the foundations of American political thought. Students are invited to examine such basic ideals as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as well as private and free enterprise, the rule of law, institutional checks and balances, and the people's right to revolt against oppression.

From European and Iroquois precursors, the American colonists' revolutionary experience, and two centuries of robust development sprang a body of political thought and practice that has both inspired and repulsed the rest of the world. The editors outline three organizing themes to help readers understand and analyze seminal and revisionist readings:

  • the social and historical foundations of American political thought,

  • the key transformations in American political thought and practice, and

  • the individual and collective political identity of Americans.

By stressing the value of examining and understanding their own political beliefs in historical context, students can decide what beliefs are most appropriate for them as Americans in facing the unique challenges of the 21st century.

The book's organization remains the same, except the post-World War II period has been split into two separate periods: 1945-1990 and 1990-2004. The entirely new Part VI taps the richly provocative diversity of American political thought since 1990, exploring a wide range of thinkers from liberal President Bill Clinton and conservative President George W. Bush to new political voices inspired by concerns of populism, nationalism, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, social class, and the well-being of the earth itself.

In addition to the new, modern readings, the fifth edition also adds a few key contributions from earlier times. Federalist Paper #54 shows just how conflicted the Founders were over slavery. A piece by Mark Twain reflects the novelist's signature political themes, including the abolition of slavery and opposition to imperialism. A selection of entries from Civil War soldier and postwar columnist Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary comprises a cohesive philosophy of political cynicism that rings all too true today, while the sad lament of Lakota holy man Black Elk offers both an indictment of the American past and an invitation to a profoundly different and better future.



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