Political Thought in America: Conversations and Debates by Philip  Abbott
385 pages, $44.95 list
1-57766-627-5
978-1-57766-627-1
eBook availability
Political Thought in America
Conversations and Debates
Fourth Edition
Political Thought in America is based on the idea that there are three major “languages” or traditions of discourse that Americans have employed to interpret the national experience: biblical thought, republicanism, and liberalism, interpreted through the lens of two other languages—conservatism and radicalism.

The author’s engaging style brings the American political experience to life with clarity and vision, immersing readers into the politics surrounding eleven great crises in our nation’s history. Through the eyes of philosophers, writers, and orators of each period and the voices of commentators both historical and current, political theories are outlined in the context of the debates and conversations of the men and women who have struggled to extricate the nation from crisis.

New to the fourth edition are an analysis of the impact of Barack Obama on contemporary American political discourse, recent developments in the war on terror, and a section on gay and lesbian protest. A new chapter has been added that discusses the phenomenon of globalization and its challenge to American exceptionalism. As in previous editions, each chapter ends with an insightful author commentary and contains an up-to-date and comprehensive bibliographical essay, along with a list of major works for each period.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Three American "Languages"
Biblical Thought / Republicanism / Liberalism / Conservatism and Radicalism / Common Moorings / American Crises

1. Inventing New Communities
Introduction / Massachusetts: The "City Upon a Hill" / Pennsylvania: The "Holy Experiment" / Virginia: A "Pious and Christian Plantation" / Summary and Comment

2. Revolution
Introduction / The Americanization of Republicanism / Varieties of American Republicanism / The American Republican Synthesis / Loyalist Critique / Summary and Comment

3. Founding
Introduction / The First Founding and Its Critics / The Second Founding and Its Critics / Summary and Comment

4. Faction
Introduction / Federalists / Republicans / Democrats / Whigs / Summary and Comment

5. Civil War
Introduction / Abolitionists / The Southern "Reactionary Enlightenment" / Lincoln's Resolution / The Dilemma of Reconstruction / Summary and Comment

6. Industrialization
Introduction / The Promise of Social Darwinism / The Americanization of Spencerism / Applied Social Darwinism / Three Challenges / Summary and Comment

7. Depression
Introduction / Hoover, Service Individualism, and the American System / The Challenge of the Depression / FDR, the New Social Contract, and the New Deal / New Deal Critics / Summary and Comment

8. Cold War
Introduction / Cold Warriors / Cold War Critics / The Reagan Revolution and the End of the Cold War / Summary and Comment

9. Discrimination
Introduction / Black Protest / Obama and the Racial Stalemate / Feminist Protest / Gay and Lesbian Protest / Summary and Comment

10. 9/11 and the War on Terror
Introduction / Interregnum: Clinton and 1990s / Individualism and Empire / Three Models of Patriotism / Just War Doctrine and Terrorism / Summary and Comment

11. The Next Crisis: Globalization and the End of American Exceptionalism?
Two Global Perspectives / A Global America? / Two Views on Immigration / Summary and Comment