Cover image for The roots of democracy : American thought and culture, 1760-1800
The roots of democracy : American thought and culture, 1760-1800
Shalhope, Robert E., 1941-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Twayne, [1990]

Physical Description:
xvii, 190 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JA84.U5 S49 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



"The last half of the eighteenth century was a period of enormous cultural and intellectual ferment in America-an era of fundamental transformation in law, politics, and religion, as well as deep changes in the American social order. At the center of the turmoil was the American Revolution, an event with roots reaching far back into the colonial period and effects extending well into the nineteenth century. In The Roots of Democracy: American Thought and Culture, 1760-1800 Robert E. Shalhope traces the dramatic shifts in attitudes and behavior from before the Revolution, through the war itself, the creation of republican governments, and the conflicts of the 1790s. This outstanding synthesis addresses a number of recurrent themes in American cultural history, including the persistence of conflict between democratic impulses and elitist tendencies-a conflict that has resurfaced in our own time. Anyone seeking to understand American political thought will find this straightforward and provocative book a useful entry into the subject and will come away with a deeper awareness of the origins and meaning of American democracy. The Roots of Democracy is an outstanding synthesis that provides provocative insights into a vital time in which the forces that formed modern American democracy took shape."

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

The last two decades have seen an effusion of analytic work on American cultural and political origins. In the first volume of Twayne's new American Thought and Culture series, Shalhope synthesizes this recent thought. By the late eighteenth century, he documents, the American elite had absorbed the thought pattern of the English gentility, assuming a stance of classical republicanism whose watchword was "virtue," or the willingness of the individual to subordinate private interests for the good of the community. Seemingly in opposition was a more liberal concept afield, which manifested itself in an aggressive individualism, materialism, and pragmatism. Shalhope finds that, in effect, the two schools of thought were one: republicanism creating the social, political, and cultural framework within which the liberal strivings emerged. A fine argument. Bibliography; to be indexed. --Allen Weakland

Table of Contents

About the Author
1 The Old Order in Americap. 1
2 Revolutionary Republicanismp. 27
3 The Arts in the New Republicp. 53
4 The Creation of Republican Governmentsp. 83
5 A Republican Culturep. 112
6 The Emergence of a Democratic Societyp. 139
Epiloguep. 167
Notes and Referencesp. 169
Bibliographic Essayp. 179
Indexp. 185