Bryce's American Commonwealth Fiftieth Anniversary

By Robert C. Brooks | Go to book overview

V. THOUGHTS AND AFTER-THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA

By Arthur N. Holcombe*

THE MISCELLANEOUS REFLECTIONS ON TOPICS NOT ELSEWHERE specified, with which Bryce filled the last part of The American Commonwealth, have gained added interest from the passage of time. For Bryce was the happy possessor of a temperament, which we now recognize as no less typically American in its easy-going tolerance of Democracy's deficiencies and errors and in its stubborn optimism in the face of Democracy's unsolved problems than it was typically Victorian in its complacent assurance of effortless superiority on the part of the nineteenth-century Englishman. He was also profoundly convinced that he lived in the midst of a period of great changes and that the future therefore was destined to be radically different from the past. "Changes move faster in our age," he wrote, "than they ever moved before, and America is the land of change."1 This is what Americans are still repeating to themselves, and if they are also viewing

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*
Arthur N. Holcombe is Professor of Government in Harvard University. He was President of the American Political Science Association in 1936, and is the author of State Government in the United States, Foundations of the Modern Commonwealth, The Political Parties of Today, The New Party Politics, and Government in a Planned Democracy.

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