Democracy, Revolution, and Monarchism in Early American Literature

By Paul Downes | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
An epistemology of the ballot box:
Brockden Brown's secrets

It is an eminent advantage incident to democracy, that … its inherent tendency is to annihilate [secrets].

(William Godwin, An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, 531)

It is said, that you are afraid of the very Windows, and have a Man planted under them to prevent Secrets and Doings from flying out.

(William Paterson to William Ellsworth, a delegate at the
Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, August 23, 1787,
quoted in A Rising People)


INTRODUCTION

William Godwin's antipathy towards secrets could be said to have inaugurated a long tradition of equating democracy with publicity, a tradition that has received further elaboration in recent accounts of the American Revolution. The renewed attention to a Habermasian “public sphere” and to a late-eighteenth-century civic culture of print has focused attention on the relationship between the emergence of modern political forms and a marked proliferation of unfettered political expression. The growth of a discursive space distinct from that of the State yet capable of commenting critically upon the State is said to have facilitated an opening-up of opportunities for political participation and to have contributed to an erosion of the structural secrecies of a pre-modern political world.

But Michael Warner, in his very influential study of the relationship between print culture and the American Revolution, asks an important question about the subject of the public sphere in the preface to The Letters of the Republic. “If the discourse of publicity allows individuals to make public use of their reason, ” Warner asks, “what will individuals be like, and what will count as reason?” (The Letters of the Republic, xiii). Publicity, this question suggests, should not simply be seen as offering

-112-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Democracy, Revolution, and Monarchism in Early American Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 239

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.