People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization

Overview

From the beginning, what has given our culture its distinctive texture, pattern, and thrust, according to Michael Kammen, is the dynamic interaction of the imported and the indigenous. He shows how, during the years of colonization, some ideas and institutions were transferred virtually intact from Britain, while, simultaneously, others were being transformed in the New World. As he unravels the tangled origins of our culture, he makes us see that unresolved contradictions in the American experience have created ...

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People of Paradox

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Overview

From the beginning, what has given our culture its distinctive texture, pattern, and thrust, according to Michael Kammen, is the dynamic interaction of the imported and the indigenous. He shows how, during the years of colonization, some ideas and institutions were transferred virtually intact from Britain, while, simultaneously, others were being transformed in the New World. As he unravels the tangled origins of our culture, he makes us see that unresolved contradictions in the American experience have created our national style. Puritanical and hedonistic, idealistic and materialistic, peace-loving and war-mongering: these opposing strands go back to the genesis of our history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A lively, wide-ranging book . . . highly impressive. . . . I wish I had written People of Paradox."—Marcus Cunliffe, New York Times Book Review

"Puts forth an interpretation that all American historical scholars will have to take seriously as they prepare their own versions of American history."—Carl Bridenbaugh, Yale Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801497551
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1990
  • Series: Cornell Paperbacks Series
  • Edition description: REISSUE
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,153,122
  • Product dimensions: 5.04 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

PART ONE: THE UNRECORDED HUM OF IMPLICATION
Prolegomenon
Chapter 1: The Old World and the New, Pari Passu
Chapter 2: The Quest for Legitimacy in Colonial America
Chapter 3: Invertebrate America: The Problem of Unstable Pluralism
Epilogism: Some Interconnections

PART TWO: A STRANGE HYBRID, INDEED
Prolegomenon
Chapter 4: Biformity: A Frame of Reference
Chapter 5: Conflict, Crisis, and Change: The Context of English Colonization
Chapter 6: Contradictory Tendencies in Colonial America
Epilogism: Some Comparisons

PART THREE: THE IMPLICATIONS OF BIFORMITY
Prolegomenon
Chapter 7: Ambiguities of the American Revolution
Chapter 8: Encrustations of Space and Time, circa 1825–1925
Chapter 9: The Contrapuntal Civilization

Bibliographical Suggestions
Index

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