American Political Cultures / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 25%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 96%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (19) from $1.99   
  • New (5) from $32.10   
  • Used (14) from $1.99   

More About This Textbook


This work challenges the thesis first formulated by de Tocqueville and later systematically developed by Louis Hartz, that American political culture is characterized by a consensus on liberal capitalist values. Ranging over three hundred years of history and drawing upon the seminal work anthropologist Mary Douglas, Richard Ellis demonstrates that American history is best understood as a contest between five rival political cultures: egalitarian community, competitive individualism, hierarchical collectivism, atomized fatalism, and autonomous hermitude.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195111385
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/28/1996
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Individualism and Community in American Life 3
Individualism's Contemporary Critics 5
Puritanism and Community 8
Classical Republicanism, Commerce, and Civic Virtue 12
Abolitionism, Perfectionism, and Competition 16
Progressivism and the Public Interest 20
The Paradox of Crusading Capitalism 24
2 Radical Lockeanism 28
Interpreting Locke on Property 29
Tom Paine: Constructing an Egalitarian Locke 31
Radicalizing Locke in the Jacksonian Era 33
The Radical Reconstruction of Locke 35
Populism: Locked In? 38
The End of History? 41
3 Rival Visions of Equality: Process Versus Results 43
Merchants and Radicals in Revolutionary Philadelphia 44
Democrats and Republicans in Antebellum America 46
Populists and Entrepreneurs in the Gilded Age 48
The Origins of American Exceptionalism: From Paine to Jackson 49
The Populist Challenge to American Exceptionalism 53
The New Left: A New American Exceptionalism? 56
The Demise of American Exceptionalism: Redefining Discrimination 59
4 Competing Conceptions of Democracy 63
Anti-Federalists and Federalists: Mirrors and Filters 63
Jacksonians and Whigs: Delegates and Trustees 67
The Contemporary Debate Over Participation 69
"Our Practice of Your Principles" 70
5 An Anti-Authority Consensus? 74
The Competing Antipower Ethics of Tom Paine and James Madison 74
The Two Federalists 78
The "Splendid Venom" of Wendell Phillips 82
Stephen Douglas and Popular Sovereignty 85
Exit, Voice, and Loyalty 89
6 Hierarchy in America 95
Virginia's Gentlemen-Planters 96
New England Federalists 105
Mugwumps, Bosses, and Capitalists in the Gilded Age 110
Hierarchy in Modern America 114
7 Fatalism in America: The Case of Slavery 120
Slavery as Hierarchy 121
Slaves as Fatalists 122
Slaves as Individualists 124
Slaves as Communitarians 126
The Social Relations of Slavery 129
Br'er Rabbit and Amoral Individualism 131
Fatalism as a Rational Response to a Capricious Environment 134
Fatalism and Freedom 138
8 A Life of Hermitude: Thoreau at Walden Pond 140
"A little world all to myself" 142
"My greatest skill has been to want but little" 143
"Trade curses every thing it handles" 144
"Such sweet and beneficent society in Nature" 145
"Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in" 146
"Read not the Times, Read the Eternities" 147
The Hermit's Relationship to the Outside World 148
9 Culture, Context, and Consensus 151
Classical Republicanism and Modern Liberalism 152
Cultures in Context 154
Conflict Within Consensus: The Theories of Samuel P. Huntington, Seymour Martin Lipset, and J. David Greenstone 157
Explaining the Growth of Government: James Morone and the Democratic Wish 162
The Subcultures of Daniel Elazar: Individualism, Traditionalism, and Moralism 165
The American Jeremiad: From Consensus to Hegemony 170
Culture: A Prism, Yes; A Prison, No 174
Notes 177
Index 241
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)