Civic Wars: Democracy and Public Life in the American City during the Nineteenth Century / Edition 1

Civic Wars: Democracy and Public Life in the American City during the Nineteenth Century / Edition 1

by Mary P. Ryan
     
 

ISBN-10: 0520216601

ISBN-13: 9780520216600

Pub. Date: 11/18/1998

Publisher: University of California Press

The near extinction of civic life in American cities has been proclaimed for many years. Today, multiculturalism and political correctness are deemed the villains. Yet in the nineteenth century, at the apex of public processions, ceremonies, and civic celebrations, American cities were arguably as full of cultural differences and as fractured by social and economic…  See more details below

Overview

The near extinction of civic life in American cities has been proclaimed for many years. Today, multiculturalism and political correctness are deemed the villains. Yet in the nineteenth century, at the apex of public processions, ceremonies, and civic celebrations, American cities were arguably as full of cultural differences and as fractured by social and economic changes as any metropolis today. To investigate how their citizens formed an integral public culture despite their heterogeneity, Mary Ryan, an award-winning scholar of the nineteenth century, began her research for this book. Quite unexpectedly, she found not harmonious communities but nearly incessant civic conflict which, she argues, erupted into full-scale municipal warfare even before the onset of the War between the States. Locating her study in New York, New Orleans, and San Francisco, Ryan analyzes these conflicts on spatial, ceremonial, and political planes. The story begins in 1825 with an account of how the residents of antebellum cities created a democratic political culture out of multifarious differences. It quickly turns to the trials, failures, and reversals of the democratic experiment that characterized the 1850s and 1860s. When the Civil War ended in 1865, Ryan demonstrates, the people of these cities recast their differences as bolder division, especially those of race and gender, and sometimes class as well. In the end, Ryan reclaims this tumultuous urban history as the durable crucible of democracy. Through her graceful and powerful narrative of the fate of public life in the last century, she discovers the foundations of America's resilient democratic culture.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520216600
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
11/18/1998
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
394
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.88(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction: From Public Realm to Civic Warfare1
Pt. 1Heterogeneous Compounds and Kaleidoscopic Varieties: Creating a Democratic Public, 1825-1849
Ch. 1People's Places21
Ch. 2The Performance of People in Association58
Ch. 3Public Meetings and the "Principles of Pure Democracy"94
Pt. 2The Interregnum, 1850-1865
Ch. 4Civil Wars in the Cities135
Pt. 3"The Huge Conglomerate Mass": Democracy Contained and Continued, 1866-1880
Ch. 5The "Vague and Vast Harmony" of People in Space183
Ch. 6The People in Ceremony: Multiply, Divide, Explode, Transcend223
Ch. 7Publicity and Democratic Practice259
Epilogue305
Notes317
Selected Bibliography341
Index363

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