The Birth of Empire: DeWitt Clinton and the American Experience, 1769-1828

Overview

The Birth of Empire chronicles not only the life of an important political leader but the accomplishments that underlay his success. As mayor of New York City, for example, Clinton was instrumental in the founding of the public-school system. He sponsored countless measures to promote cultural enrichment as well as educational opportunities for New Yorkers, and helped to establish and lead such institutions as the New-York Historical Society, the American Academy of the Arts, and the Literary and Philosophical ...
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The Birth of Empire: DeWitt Clinton and the American Experience, 1769-1828

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Overview

The Birth of Empire chronicles not only the life of an important political leader but the accomplishments that underlay his success. As mayor of New York City, for example, Clinton was instrumental in the founding of the public-school system. He sponsored countless measures to promote cultural enrichment as well as educational opportunities for New Yorkers, and helped to establish and lead such institutions as the New-York Historical Society, the American Academy of the Arts, and the Literary and Philosophical Society. As shown here, Clinton's career was marked by frequent attempts to integrate his cultural and scientific interests into his identity as a politician, thus projecting the image of a man of wide learning and broad vision, a scholar-statesman of the new Republic. Ironically, the political innovations that Clinton set in motion - the refinement of patronage and the spoils system, appeals to immigrant voters, and the professionalization of politics - were precisely what led to the extinction of the scholar-statesman's natural habitat. DeWitt Clinton was born into the aristocratic culture of the 18th century, yet his achievements and ideas crucially influenced (in ways he did not always anticipate) the growth of the mass society of the 19th century.
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Editorial Reviews

New Yorker
In Cornog's telling, the life and times of DeWitt Clinton make a fascinating guide to the complex interaction of personality, popularity, and policy in our infant republic.
David Walton
...Clinton...Cornog writes, [may] have understood better than most the harsh lesson of imperial glory — that it contained within its success the seeds of its ultimate failure. —The New York Times Book Review
Alan Taylor
[Cornog] creates a forceful and colorful portrait of his vital and powerful subject....Clinton...helped to make New York into the empire state, but the success of his grandiose regional vision did little to alleviate the uncertainty that continued to cloud the national prospects for sustaining an empire of liberty.
The New Republic
Kevin A. Swope
...[B]rief but illuminating....While acknowledging [DeWitt] Clinton's weaknesses Cornog is clearly an admirer....[He] seeks to disprove the notion that activist government began with the two Roosevelts by recalling the ways in which Clinton used state power to better the lives of New Yorkers almost 200 years ago. —The Washington Monthly
Kevin A. Swope
...[B]rief but illuminating....While acknowledging [DeWitt] Clinton's weaknesses, Cornog is clearly an admirer....[He] seeks to disprove the notion that activist government began with the two Roosevelts by recalling the ways in which Clinton used state power to better the lives of New Yorkers almost 200 years ago.
The Washington Monthly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195140514
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Evan Cornog was educated at Harvard and Columbia, and has taught American history at Columbia, LaGuardia Community College (CUNY), and Lafayette College. He also worked as Press Secretary for former Mayor Edward I. Koch of New York City. Currently, he is Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Gentlemen of New York
1. Political Apprentice
2. Political Journeyman
3. Clintonians and Burrites
4. Mayor Clinton
5. Clintonian Culture
6. Clintonians and Quids
7. New York and the Nation
8. Launching the Canal
9. Clintonian Intellect
10. The Governor
11. Resurrection
12. The Canal and Its Consequences
13. End of a Career

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