America's British Culture / Edition 1

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Overview

It is an incontestable fact of history that the United States, although a multiethnic nation, derives its language, mores, political purposes, and institutions from Great Britain. The two nations share a common history, religious heritage, pattern of law and politics, and a body of great literature. Yet, America cannot be wholly confident that this heritage will endure forever. Declining standards in education and the strident claims of multiculturalists threaten to sever the vital Anglo-American link that ensures cultural order and continuity. In America's British Culture, now in paperback, Russell Kirk offers a brilliant summary account and spirited defense of the culture that the people of the United States have inherited from Great Britain.

Kirk discerns four essential areas of influence. The language and literature of England carried with it a tradition of liberty and order as well as certain assumptions about the human condition and ethical conduct. American common and positive law, being derived from English law, gives fuller protection to the individual than does the legal system of any other country. The American form of representative government is patterned on the English parliamentary system. Finally, there is the body of mores—moral habits, be-liefs, conventions, customs—that compose an ethical heritage. Elegantly written and deeply learned, America's British Culture is an insightful inquiry into history and a plea for cultural renewal and continuity.

Adam De Vore in The Michigan Review said of the book: "A compact but stimulating tracta contribution to an overdue cultural renewal and reinvigoration. Kirk evinces an increasingly uncommon reverence for historical accuracy, academic integrity and the understanding of one's cultural heritage," and Merrie Cave in The Salisbury Review said of the author: "Russell Kirk has been one of the most important influences in the revival of American conservatism since the fifties. [Kirk] belongs to an almost extinct species on both sides of the Atlantic—an independent man of letters."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Kirk chronicles the transference of British traditions across the Atlantic not with the xenophobia of stereotypical cultural conservatives but rather with the scrupulous care of a seasoned thinker: Kirk evinces an increasingly uncommon reverence for historical accuracy, academic integrity and the understanding of one’s cultural heritage. . . . [Kirk] succeeds in marshaling the primary arguments against multiculturalism, situating them within a broader understanding of culture, and defining the responsibility incumbent upon individuals to preserve their cultural patrimony.” —Adam DeVore, The Michigan Review “Kirk discusses four main categories in which British culture has been absorbed by the United States in its conception and development. These are the English language and literature; the English system of common law; the American form of representative government based upon the British parliamentary system; and moral beliefs and intellectual disciplines, what Tocqueville called mores. Each of these areas deeply affected the settlers that first journeyed to North America, and we see their influence upon our founding fathers in their creation of the republic. These British influences are undeniable, and Kirk explains that without them, our nation would not be the success that it has become.” —Robert Paterno, The Dartmouth Review “In a timely new book, America’s British Culture, Russell Kirk, one of our foremost men of letters and editor of the Library of Conservative Thought series, points out that contemporary America is a product of the long evolution of law, governmental structure, religion, philosophy and literature of the larger Western world and, more particularly, of Great Britain, through which this Western culture in its British form reached the new world.” —Allan Brownfeld, America’s Future
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412804578
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 136
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Russell Kirk (1918-1994) was the author of The Conservative Mind; Eliot and His Age; The Roots of American Order; and twenty-six other books in several fields. He was the president of two educational foundations, editor of the quarterly University Bookman, recipient of several literary awards, and visiting distinguished professor on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Table of Contents

1 The necessity for a general culture 1
2 The language and the literature 13
3 The supremacy of law 29
4 The heritage of representative government 47
5 Mores and minds 69
6 Renewing a shaken culture 83
App What did Americans inherit from the ancients? 95
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