American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony / Edition 1 available in Paperback
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From this antagonism between the ideals of democracy and the realities of power have risen four great political upheavals in American history. Every third generation, Huntington argues, Americans have tried to reconstruct their institutions to make them more truly reflect deeply rooted national ideals. Moving from the clenched fists and mass demonstrations of the 1960s, to the moral outrage of the Progressive and Jacksonian Eras, back to the creative ideological fervor of the American Revolution, he incisively analyzes the dissenters’ objectives. All, he pungently writes, sought to remove the fundamental disharmony between the reality of government in America and the ideals on which the American nation was founded.
Huntington predicts that the tension between ideals and institutions is likely to increase in this country in the future. And he reminds us that the fate of liberty and democracy abroad is intrinsically linked to the strength of our power in world affairs. This brilliant and controversial analysis deserves to rank alongside the works of Tocqueville, Bryce, and Hofstadter and will become a classic commentary on the meaning of America.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
1. The Disharmonic Polity
"Our Practice of Your Principles"
The One, the Two, and the Many:
Structural Paradigms of American Politics
Ideals versus Institutions
2. The American Creed and National Identity
Political Thought in America
Sources, Scope, and Stability of the Creed
Political Ideas and National Identity
3. The Gap: The American Creed versus Political
Authority Consensus and Instability
The Gap in Comparative Perspective
4. Coping with the Gap
The American Case of Cognitive Dissonance
Patterns of Response
The Gap and American Political Style
5. The Politics of Creedal Passion
Creedal Passion Periods in American History
The Climate of Creedal Passion
Creedal Conflict: The Movement and the Establishment
Reform and its Limits
Political Earthquakes and Realignment
6. The Sources of Creedal Passion
Why Creedal Passion Periods?
General Sources: Comparable Phenomena in Other Societies
Specific Sources: The Timing of Creedal Passion Periods
Original Sources: The Roots of It All in the English Revolution
The Protestantism of American Politics
7. The S&S Years, 1960-1975
From the Fifties to the Seventies: The Changing Pattern of Response
Complacency and the End(?) of Ideology
Interlude of Hypocrisy, Surge of Moralism
The Mobilization of Protest
The Dynamics of Exposure
Reform and the IvI Gap
The Misuse and Erosion of Authority
Cynicism and the Restoration of Authority
8. The Viability of American Ideals and Institutions
The Future of the Gap
History versus Progress?
America versus the World?
Power and Liberty: The Myth of American Repression
The Promise of Disappointment
What People are Saying About This
Samuel Huntington is not only a preeminent scholar of modern governing institutions and their underlying ideas, democratic and otherwise; he has also often served as adviser to policymakers in several nations, including our own. His book should be read by everyone who is concerned with the capacity of our institutions to meet the fearful challenges they now face.
Austin Ranney, American Enterprise Institute
Professor Huntington has brilliantly set forth the persisting conflict between American ideals and American institutions which can energize our society or paralyze it, depending on whether it is understood for what it is. A liberating insight; a brilliant book.
This controversial book will spark considerable debate about American values, the origins and meaning of reform, and foreign policy. It will influence current discussions of the United States, and it will change the way we think about American political and social behavior.
Seymour Martin Lipset, Stanford University