Over the past few decades, the complicated divides of geography, class, religion, and race created deep fractures in the United States, each side fighting to advance its own mythology and political interests. We lack a central story, a common ground we can celebrate and enrich with deeper meaning. Unable to agree on first principles, we cannot agree on what it means to be American. As we dismantle or disregard symbols and themes that previously united us, can we replace them with stories and rites that unite our tribes and maintain meaning in our American identity? Against this backdrop, Our American Story features leading thinkers from across the political spectrum—Jim Banks, Pulitzer Prize–winner David W. Blight, Spencer P. Boyer, Eleanor Clift, John C. Danforth, Cody Delistraty, Richard A. Epstein, Nikolas Gvosdev, Cherie Harder, Jason Kuznicki, Gerard N. Magliocca, Markos Moulitsas, Ilya Somin, Cass R. Sunstein, Alan Taylor, James V. Wertsch, Gordon S. Wood, and Ali Wyne. Each draws on expertise within their respective fields of history, law, politics, and public policy to contribute a unique perspective about the American story. This collection explores whether a unifying story can be achieved and, if so, what that story could be.
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About the Author
Joshua A. Claybourn is an author and attorney working primarily with governmental entities and elected officials. His work has appeared in USA Today, the Hill, the American Spectator, National Review Online, American Thinker, and World Magazine, as well as numerous regional publications. On television he has commented on current events on CNN and MSNBC.
Table of Contents
Introduction Joshua A. ClaybournPart 1: Building Blocks of a National Narrative 1. Composite Nation? David W. Blight 2. National Narratives as Habits of Thought James V. Wertsch 3. The Plastic Age Jason Kuznicki 4. In Pursuit of an Idea: America’s Ongoing Quest Ali WynePart 2: Conceptual Unifying Narratives 5. Can the United States Be One People? Gordon S. Wood 6. Holding Ourselves Together John C. Danforth 7. Society and Service Jim Banks 8. The Story of Us: Community Cohesion Cherie Harder 9. An American Community Nikolas Gvosdev 10. A Dream for Anyone and Everyone Markos Moulitsas 11. Foot-Voting Nation Ilya Somin 12. Transatlantic Perspectives Spencer P. BoyerPart 3: Stories as the Basis for Narrative 13. Embattled Farmers Cass R. Sunstein 14. America as a Social Movement Eleanor Clift 15. Yankee Ingenuity Gerard N. MaglioccaPart 4: Skeptical Approaches to an American Story 16. American Minimalism: Why No Robust Account of National Identity Is Possible—or Desirable Richard A. Epstein 17. One Nation Divisible Alan Taylor 18. America’s Broken Narrative of Exceptionalism Cody Delistraty List of Contributors