The United States: An Experiment in Democracy
Transaction Publishers, 01/10/2000 - 333 páginas
According to Carl Becker "if the framers of the Constitution could come back to earth and see what the federal government is doing to-day, they would all agree that this monstrous thing was no child of theirs; for to-day the federal government exercises as a matter of course powers which they never dreamed of." This prescient statement rings as true today as it did when Becker wrote An Experiment in Democracy nearly eighty years ago. This American classic is an engaging, gracefully rendered piece of historical literature as well as a non-ideological meditation on the "meaning of America."
Carl Becker's ruminations are invariably provocative, notably wise, and remarkably enduring. He clearly believed in what has been called a "living Constitution," one that must be adapted to changing circumstances and imperatives in America life, and his faith in democracy seems to have strengthened as the decades progressed.
In his new introduction, Michael Kammen places this American classic in historical perspective. Kammen sees Becker as more than an archival historian, but rather as a master of the "creative synthesis" looking at familiar sources in fresh ways and developing new points of view that were frequently revisionist and, on occasion, radically arresting. Much has changed between 1920 and the present; but Carl Becker's sagacity persists, just as his expository prose will continue to please a new generation of historians and students of American social history. Carl Becker was the author of "Kansas"; The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas; Modern History: The Rise of a Democratic, Scientific, and Industrial Civilization; "Benjamin Franklin"; "Everyman His Own Historian"; The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers; How New Will the Better World Be?; and Freedom and Responsibility in the American Way of Life.
MichaelG. Kammen is professor of American History and Culture at Cornell University. He is the author of numerous books in the field including Selvages and Biases: The Fabric of History in American Culture; Politics and Society on Colonial America; and Constitutional Pluralism: Conflicting Interpretations of the Founders' Intentions.
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Página 133 - With the movements in this hemisphere we are of necessity more immediately connected, and by causes which must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers. " The political system of the allied powers is essentially different in this respect from that of America.
Página 123 - Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.
Página 266 - ... and it is further ordered, that where any town shall increase to the number of one hundred families or householders they shall set up a grammar school, the master thereof being able to instruct youth so far as they may be fitted for the university...
Página 122 - The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible.
Página 266 - It is therefore ordered, that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to the number of fifty householders, shall then forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read, whose wages shall be paid either by the parents or masters of such children, or by the inhabitants in general...
Página 52 - That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Página 273 - It shall be the duty of the General Assembly, as soon as circumstances will permit, to provide, by law, for a general system of education, ascending in a regular gradation from township schools to a State University, wherein tuition shall be gratis, and equally open to all.
Página 122 - Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance...
Página 184 - Up to and including 1880 the country had a frontier of settlement, but at present the unsettled area has been so broken into by isolated bodies of settlement that there can hardly be said to be a frontier line.