Freethought on the American Frontier

Overview

The great majority of historians of American philosophy and intellectual life have concentrated on the East as representative of the whole nation. Yet the West produced its own vibrant culture and outstanding personalities, who embodied the qualities of hardy individualism and devotion to freedom of thought and expression. This remarkable anthology of freethought writing from the American Midwest and West provides a bracing view of a rich and vital democratic culture that has ...
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Overview

The great majority of historians of American philosophy and intellectual life have concentrated on the East as representative of the whole nation. Yet the West produced its own vibrant culture and outstanding personalities, who embodied the qualities of hardy individualism and devotion to freedom of thought and expression. This remarkable anthology of freethought writing from the American Midwest and West provides a bracing view of a rich and vital democratic culture that has existed on the "American frontier" over the past 150 years.

Freethought on the American Frontier illustrates the historical roots of contemporary social conflicts in the United States on such vital and timely issues as women's rights, the tension between science and religion, constitutional rights of free speech and free press, and the advancement of humanism in an often hostile environment.

This important collection of cultural life in America's heartland will prove indispensable to our understanding of the history of the struggle between the forces of repression and Puritanism on the one hand, and those who raised on high the banner of free thought on the other. The issues and ideas generated by this historical conflict continue to play a critical role in our present-day debates on ethics, education, culture, and the very future of the American people.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
YA-- This collection of memoirs, essays, political cartoons, songs, and poetry is an excellent primary source on the social history of the West. Its major focus is on the free-thought movement that was taking place during the 19th century, thus providing a contrast to the movements that were coming out of the East at that time. Essays by such social critics as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Mark Twain, Carl Sandburg, and Langston Hughes are included. Populist, Socialist, and labor-related issues are also presented. The book has good illustrations and political cartoons. However, there is no index, and some background information is required.-- Edward M. Cooley, R . E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Booknews
A stirring anthology that documents, in poetry, song, stories, memoirs, and essays, the breadth and scope of secularism from the early 19th century to the present. Included are pieces by the notables--Twain, Dreiser, Lindsay, Service, Sandburg, Hughes, Masters, et al.--as well as grassroots contributions. Also included are photographs of authors, historical sites, and The Truth seeker cartoons of Watson Hedges. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879756987
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/1992
  • Pages: 314
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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