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Cover Art
Author Smith, Rogers M., 1953-

Title Civic ideals : conflicting visions of citizenship in U.S. history / Rogers M. Smith.

Published New Haven : Yale University Press, [1997]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  323.60973 SMIT    AVAILABLE
Physical description x, 719 pages ; 25 cm.
Series The Yale ISPS series.
Yale ISPS series.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages [645]-672) and indexes.
Contents 1. The Hidden Lessons of American Citizenship Laws -- 2. Fierce New World: The Colonial Sources of American Citizenship -- 3. Forging a Revolutionary People, 1763-1776 -- 4. Citizens of Small Republics: The Confederation Era, 1776-1789 -- 5. The Constitution and the Quest for National Citizenship -- 6. Attempting National Liberal Citizenship: The Federalist Years, 1789-1801 -- 7. Towards a Commercial Nation of White Yeoman Republics: The Jeffersonian Era, 1801-1829 -- 8. High Noon of the White Republic: The Age of Jackson, 1829-1856 -- 9. Dred Scott Unchained: The Bloody Birth of the Free Labor Republic, 1857-1866 -- 10. The America That "Never Was": The Radical Hour, 1866-1876 -- 11. The Gilded Age of Ascriptive Americanism, 1876-1898 -- 12. Progressivism and the New American Empire, 1898-1912 -- Epilogue: The Party of America.
Summary Is civic identity in the United States really defined by liberal, democratic political principles? Or is U.S. citizenship the product of multiple traditions -- not only liberalism and republicanism but also white supremacy, Anglo-Saxon supremacy, Protestant supremacy, and male Supremacy? In this powerful and disturbing book, Rogers Smith traces political struggles over U.S. citizenship laws from the colonial period through the Progressive era and shows that throughout this time, most adults were legally denied access to full citizenship, including political rights, solely because of their race, ethnicity, or gender. Basic conflicts over these denials have driven political development and civic membership in the U.S., Smith argues. These conflicts are what truly define U.S. civic identity up to this day.
Others have claimed that nativist, racist, and sexist traditions have been marginal or that they are purely products of capitalist institutions. In contrast, Smith's pathbreaking account explains why these traditions have been central to American political and economic life. He shows that in the politics of nation building, principles of democracy and liberty have often failed to foster a sense of shared "peoplehood" and have instead led many Americans to claim that they are a "chosen people", a "master race" or superior culture, with distinctive gender roles. Smith concludes that today the United States is in a period of reaction against the egalitarian civic reforms of the last generation, with nativist, racist, and sexist beliefs regaining influence. He suggests ways that proponents of liberal democracy should alter their view of U.S. citizenship in order to combat thesedevelopments more effectively.
"An important and original argument that ranges through a long period of American history and makes a major contribution to the debate about the bases of American nationality and civic identity". -- Eric Foner, Columbia University
Subject Citizenship -- United States -- History.
Discrimination -- Law and legislation -- United States -- History.
Minorities -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States -- History.
United States -- Race relations.
ISBN 0300069898 (alk. paper)