From the Small Town to the Great Community: The Social Thought of Progressive Intellectuals

From the Small Town to the Great Community: The Social Thought of Progressive Intellectuals

From the Small Town to the Great Community: The Social Thought of Progressive Intellectuals

From the Small Town to the Great Community: The Social Thought of Progressive Intellectuals

Excerpt

Although the idea of community is recognized as an important part of the intellectual history of nineteenth-century Europe, it has not received much attention from students of American history. The neglect stems in part from the assumption that, except for anomalies like Brook Farm or specialized academic pursuits like urban sociology, a native individualism has precluded the emergence of communitarian thought in this country. I do not share this assumption, and in this book I attempt to analyze the theory of community worked out by a particular group of Progressive intellectuals whom I call communitarians-- not because they were members of a community which put socialistic theories into practice, as in the standard definition, but because they were committed to a certain vision of a cooperative social order. All the members of the group were products of the small town, and their response to social problems reflected in important ways the values of the small community. In choosing this approach, I have disregarded other important ideas of community which appeared during the period, such as those of the utopian novelists and those of the socialists. In addition, little attention has been paid to men like Herbert Croly whose central vision excluded the small community as an anachronism. Although I think it important to show where the ideas of the communitarians were part of a general pattern of thought, my main concern has been to examine a particular set of ideas and its relation to other aspects of the period.

The major argument of the book is that the Progressive intellectuals considered here relied mainly on communication, moral suasion, and intimate local communities to bring about a sense of national community and its embodiment in institutions. In my view, this position did not come to grips with the issue of basic . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.