Revolt Against Destiny: An Intellectual History of America

Paul A. Carter, Author Columbia University Press $46.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-231-06616-7
Must republics inevitably degenerate into empires? That is the underlying question behind this erudite, prickly survey of American history. Carter takes pains to demonstrate the stamp of Roman republicanism on American democracy, and he is alert to the perils the U.S. has courted in pursuing imperialist ambitions--as Rome did. His judgments are frequently unorthodox: he characterizes Abraham Lincoln as a ``lay Calvinist theologian'' who saw the Civil War as divine judgment against both North and South. Professor at the University of Arizona, Carter ( Another Part of the Twenties ) offers a series of meditations on such topics as the frontier, the place of the artist in American life, environmentalism, the impact of religion on politics. The author's belief that historical progress is never inevitable fuels his fondness for independent spirits such as Revolutionary War poet Philip Freneau and Margaret Fuller, a New England writer who threw herself into Italy's freedom struggles of 1848. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 331 pages - 978-0-231-51602-0
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