The Reagan Range: The Nostalgic Myth in American Politics

The Reagan Range: The Nostalgic Myth in American Politics

The Reagan Range: The Nostalgic Myth in American Politics

The Reagan Range: The Nostalgic Myth in American Politics

Synopsis

This book is an attempt to make sense out of Ronald Reagan by linking him to various grassroots dimensions of American popular mythology and mind. It attempts to utilize a variety of sources from American and popular culture studies, works on Reagan, and popular materials such as movies to offer an interpretation of reagan as an exemplar of the political relevance and power of popular culture.

Excerpt

"I have always believed," Alexis de Tocqueville wrote to John Stuart Mill, "that the public has the right to ask authors to go to the limit of their powers, and that's a requirement to which, for my part, I try to submit myself." the present author's powers are not in the same league as Tocqueville's, but that esteemed writer is quite right in his admonition. This book, like any other serious attempt at political interpretation of American democratic culture, is ultimately indebted to Tocqueville not only for the profundity of his analysis but also for the inspiration of his example. He approached the new and strange United States with an intensity and interest that was to help shape the seminal and trenchant quality of his work. He proceeded in his study in the spirit of what he called "good sense applied to style." I shall try to proceed in the same spirit, studying the same political culture at a much later date in its history, but with the same intensity, interest and hopefully good sense applied to style.

Tocqueville visited America and began writing his great Democracy in America while Andrew Jackson was President. It was, then, during the "Jacksonian Revolution" that his impressions and conceptions of the meaning and fate of American democracy were formed. This book was conceived during and after the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Just as Jackson was to become the "symbol for an age," it may well be that Reagan will be an equally symbolic figure (although perhaps not of Jackson's political stature or historical reputation) and also representative of different trends and themes in the American experience. in any case, the present work centers on the idea of Reagan as a representative figure who is amenable to interpretation as something important in the contemporary tides of American political history. Tocqueville's example enjoins us to look at representative political figures in the context of cultural values. If this book can shed any more light on the democratic culture and politics of the United States and . . .

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