The First New Nation: The United States in Historical States in Historical and Comparative Perspective

By Seymour Martin Lipset | Go to book overview
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6
Values and
Democratic
Stability

Parts I and II of this study examined how the United States produced a particular set of "structured predispositions," which is one way of defining values, for handling strains generated by social change. These predispositions have affected the status system, the "American character," the pattern of American religion, and the development of class interests among the workers. The effort has been to demonstrate that American status concerns, "other-directedness," religious participation, church organization, labor union structure, and the like, differed from those of other nations because of our distinctive value system. Within self‐ imposed limitations, this has represented an effort to present an integrated view of American society. Only in the treatment of trade-union behavior did the analysis move toward an attempt also to explain behavior in other countries.

In this concluding section of the book, I turn from a concentration on the United States to comparative analysis of a given institutional structure—the organization of democratic polities. 1 In a sense, the dis- /

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1
I have dealt with such problems in preceding publications. Thus Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1960) is addressed to an analysis of the relationship between stages or degrees of economic development and political systems, and to the effect of varying types of legitimacy on the intensity of conflict within political systems. Union Democracy, with Martin Trow and James Coleman (Glencoe, III.: The Free Press, 1956) and Agrarian Socialism (Berkeley: University of California Press,

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