Contested Truths / Edition 1

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Contention, argument, and power have always been the tradition in American political talk. Any country that began in a revolution was bound to have this history. But the language of argument uses particular words with particular, sometimes shifting, meanings and to know what they are and what they meant over time is a critical contribution to political history. It is true that politicians may act as though they are part of no particular ideological tradition, but history shows that, more often than not, they use an understood meaning to enhance their actions. As Daniel Rodgers shows in this book, rhetoric has consequences.
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Editorial Reviews

Tom Bender
Contested Truths is the best synthesis and interpretation of American political ideas since the work of [Richard] Hofstadter...Rogers has made a major contribution to intellectual history.
Benjamin Barber
Daniel Rodgers offers a vivid retelling of the American political experience as a contest of words and a contest for ideas by a people to whom language had become an indispensable tool of revolution and statecraft.
Isaac Kramnick
An absolutely first-rate intellectual treat. I cannot remember when I so enjoyed a book about ideas, history, and politics. A must read for anyone interested in how and why Americans have used and transformed the language of politics for 200 years.
Benjamin Barber
Daniel Rodgers offers a vivid retelling of the American political experience as a contest of words and a contest for ideas by a people to whom language had become an indispensable tool of revolution and statecraft. -- Benjamin Barber
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674167117
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 284
  • Sales rank: 1,084,901
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel T. Rodgers is Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at Princeton University.
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Table of Contents


Words and Acts

Tools and Paradigms



The Puzzling Failure of Jeremy Bentham



Quicksands of Expediency

The Frame of Political Argument



A State of Nature

Delimiting Rights

Certain Political Rituals



Mechanics and Majorities

Popular Sovereignty

Revolutionary Assemblies

The Identity of the People


The Rhetoric of Counterrevolution

A Christian Party In Politics

Property Reconsidered

Human Rights and Sacred Obligations

The People Deposed


Professional Political Science

Constitutional Law

The Grammar of a Profession

Webs of Contradiction

The Uses of an Abstraction


Highbrow and Lowbrow

The Common Good

Utilitarianism Redivivus

Empirical Political Science

The Disappearing Public

The Rhetoric of Realism


The Conflations of Freedom

Rights without Retrospection

Public Talk


Guide To Further Reading


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