Finding Virtue's Place: Examining America's Civic Life

By S. Lance Denning | Go to book overview

their self-defined importance and function, and lose their desire to continue on together. One of America's myths, as Tocqueville wrote, has been its relative equality of economic conditions. It is to this equality and its mythic power to which I now turn to give more insight to today's civic conditions.


NOTES
1.
Gertrude Himmelfarb, The De-Moralization of Society: From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values ( New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995), 255.
4.
Ibid., 254. Himmelfarb states Marx's idea that the industrial-bourgeois revolution would reduce all relations to "cash transactions" was wrong because of the strong influence Victorian virtues had in everyday English Victorian life. However, Tocqueville provides an equally compelling alternative to Himmelfarb's criticism. He states, "Men living in democratic times have many passions, but most of these cultivate in love of wealth or derive from it. That is not because their souls are narrower but because money really is more important at such times. . . . Distinction based on wealth is increased by the disappearance of diminution of all other distinctions." Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 614-615.
5.
Michael J. Sandel, Democracy's Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy ( Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996), 13-14.
7.
Alisdair MacIntyre, After Virtue (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984), 8.
8.
Jean Bethke Elshtain, Democracy on Trial ( New York: Basic Books, 1995), 27.
9.
Daniel Kemmis, Community and the Politics of Place ( Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990), 53.
10.
Aristotle, The Politics, translated by T. A. Sinclair ( Baltimore, Md.: Penguin Books, 1962), 114, 144.
11.
Rogers M. Smith, Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U. S. History ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997), 5-12.
12.
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 527-528.
13.
Barry Alan Shain, The Myth of American Individualism: The Protestant Origins o fAmerican Political Thought ( Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1994), xviii.
15.
Rogers M. Smith, Civic Ideals, 33.
16.
Theda Skocpol, "The Tocqueville Problem", Social Science History (winter 1997): 462.
20.
Barry Alan Shain, The Myth of American Individualism, 92-93.

-50-

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Finding Virtue's Place: Examining America's Civic Life
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • 1 - Our Civic Ideal and Today's Debate 1
  • Notes 24
  • 2 - The Sham of Civic Virtue 27
  • Notes 50
  • 3 - Equality and Civic Health 53
  • Notes 77
  • 4 - Confronting Complexity 81
  • Notes 105
  • 5 - At the Confluence of Theory and Practice 107
  • Notes 129
  • 6 - Changing Our Balance 131
  • Notes 155
  • Selected Bibliography 157
  • Index 163
  • About the Author *
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