For the People: American Populist Movements from the Revolution to the 1850s / Edition 1

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Overview

For the People offers a new interpretation of populist political movements from the Revolution to the eve of the Civil War and roots them in the disconnect between the theory of rule by the people and the reality of rule by elected representatives. Ron Formisano seeks to rescue populist movements from the distortions of contemporary opponents as well as the misunderstandings of later historians.

From the Anti-Federalists to the Know-Nothings, Formisano traces the movements chronologically, contextualizing them and demonstrating the progression of ideas and movements. Although American populist movements have typically been categorized as either progressive or reactionary, left-leaning or right-leaning, Formisano argues that most populist movements exhibit liberal and illiberal tendencies simultaneously. Gendered notions of "manhood" are an enduring feature, yet women have been intimately involved in nearly every populist insurgency. By considering these movements together, Formisano identifies commonalities that belie the pattern of historical polarization and bring populist movements from the margins to the core of American history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Formisano's theme is crucial in American history.--Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

Draw[s] on extensive research and a thorough examination of modern scholarship. . . . Essential reading for students of early American politics. . . . Greatly expands our understanding of and appreciation of the complex and paradoxical nature of American populist movements. . . . Will have important implications for current scholarly debates about the meaning and legacy of popular sovereignty in the decades after the Revolution.--Common-Place

[Formisano's] linkage of seemingly disparate movements should provoke new questions . . . . An important contribution to the history of populist movements and United States political history in general.--Maryland Historical Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807831724
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 2/25/2008
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald P. Formisano is William T. Bryan Chair of American History at the University of Kentucky. He is author of four books, including Boston Against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s.
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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Introduction: Populisms, Progressive and Reactionary
2 The American Revolution and the Anti-Federalist Legacy
3 The Taming of the American Revolution
4 The Rise of New Social Movements
5 Anti-Masonry: A New Kind of Populist Movement
6 Anti-Masonry: Progressive and Reactionary
7 Anti-Masonry, the Parties, and the Changing Public Sphere
8 Two "Wars" of the 1840s
9 Epilogue and Prologue: The Know-Nothings
Notes
Index

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