The American Experiment and the Idea of Democracy in British Culture, 1776-1914

The American Experiment and the Idea of Democracy in British Culture, 1776-1914


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In nineteenth-century Britain, the effects of democracy in America were seen to spread from Congress all the way down to the personal habits of its citizens. Bringing together political theorists, historians, and literary scholars, this volume explores the idea of American democracy in nineteenth-century Britain. The essays span the period from Independence to the First World War and trace an intellectual history of Anglo-American relations during that period. Leading scholars trace the hopes and fears inspired by the American model of democracy in the works of commentators, including Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, Alexis de Tocqueville, Charles
Dickens, John Stuart Mill, Richard Cobden, Charles Dilke, Matthew Arnold, Henry James and W. T. Stead. By examining the context of debates about American democracy and notions of ‘culture', citizenship, and race, the collection sheds fresh light on well-documented moments of British political history, such as the Reform Acts, the Abolition of Slavery Act, and the Anti-Corn Law agitation. The volume also explores the ways in which British
Liberalism was shaped by the American example and draws attention to the importance of print culture in furthering radical political dialogue between the two nations. As the comprehensive introduction makes clear, this collection makes an important contribution to transatlantic studies and our growing sense of a nineteenth-century modernity shaped by an Atlantic exchange. It is an essential reference point for all interested in the history of the idea of democracy, its political evolution, and its perceived cultural consequences.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781409400806
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 10/28/2013
Series: Ashgate Series in Nineteenth-Century Transatlantic Studies Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 254
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Ella Dzelzainis is a Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature in the School of English, Newcastle University, and Ruth Livesey is Reader in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Thought, Royal Holloway University of London, UK.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction, Ella Dzelzainis and Ruth Livesey; Representing America: Paine and the new democracy, Mark Philp; Morals, manners and liberty: British radicals and perceptions of America in the 1790s, Jon Mee; Dickens, democracy, and spit, Ella Dzelzainis; Democracy at the crossroads: Tocqueville, Mill and the conflict of interests, Lucy Hartley; ‘Let America be the test': democracy and reform in Britain, 1832-1867, Robert Saunders; America, protectionism and democracy in British free trade debates, 1815-1861, Simon Morgan; John Bull and Brother Jonathan: Cobden, America and the liberal mind, Anthony Howe; British liberties, American emancipation and the democracy of race, Richard Huzzey; Victorian radicalism and the idea of America: Reynolds's Newspaper, 1850-1900, Adam I.P. Smith; Land and tariffs: the American economy and British liberalism, 1867-1914, Edmund Rogers; W.T. Stead and democracy: the Americanization of the World, Laurel Brake; Democracy, culture and criticism: Henry James revisits America, Ruth Livesey; Dreaming the future: Anglo-America as Utopia, 1880-1914, Duncan Bell; Works cited; Index.

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