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The Politicians and the Egalitarians: The Hidden History of American Politics

Sean Wilentz (Princeton University)

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Norton
04 August 2017
History; History of the Americas; Political parties; Economic history
One of our most eminent historians reminds us of the commanding role party politics has played in America’s enduring struggle against economic inequality.

"There are two keys to unlocking the secrets of American politics and American political history." So begins The Politicians & the Egalitarians, Princeton historian Sean Wilentz’s bold new work of history.

First, America is built on an egalitarian tradition. At the nation’s founding, Americans believed that extremes of wealth and want would destroy their revolutionary experiment in republican government. Ever since, that idea has shaped national political conflict and scored major egalitarian victories?from the Civil War and Progressive eras to the New Deal and the Great Society?along the way.

Second, partisanship is a permanent fixture in America, and America is the better for it. Every major egalitarian victory in United States history has resulted neither from abandonment of partisan politics nor from social movement protests but from a convergence of protest and politics, and then sharp struggles led by principled and effective party politicians. There is little to be gained from the dream of a post-partisan world.

With these two insights Sean Wilentz offers a crystal-clear portrait of American history, told through politicians and egalitarians including Thomas Paine, Abraham Lincoln, and W. E. B. Du Bois?a portrait that runs counter to current political and historical thinking. As he did with his acclaimed The Rise of American Democracy, Wilentz once again completely transforms our understanding of this nation's political and moral character.
By:   Sean Wilentz (Princeton University)
Imprint:   Norton
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 208mm,  Width: 140mm,  Spine: 28mm
Weight:   307g
ISBN:   9780393354133
ISBN 10:   039335413X
Pages:   400
Publication Date:   04 August 2017
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Sean Wilentz is the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University and author of the Bancroft Prize-winning The Rise of American Democracy, Bob Dylan in America, and many other works. He is completing his next book, No Property in Man, on slavery, antislavery, and the Constitution, based on his Nathan I. Huggins Lectures delivered at Harvard in 2015.

Reviews for The Politicians and the Egalitarians: The Hidden History of American Politics

A shrewd and engaging assessment of the variable American tradition of egalitarianism... scrupulously detailed, elegantly written, incisively argued, and effectively combative. -- Philip Roth Wilentz sets forth a provocative idea that may provide vital perspective to the politics of this very year. -- The Boston Globe


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