The Comparative Approach to American History

By C. Vann Woodward | Go to book overview

5
The "Newness" of
the New Nation

SEYMOUR MARTIN LIPSET

One of the most fruitful comparative approaches to American history has been one that emphasizes the ways in which the conditions facing new societies, new nations, and new or open frontiers have affected subsequent developments. I want to point to some of the ways in which such perspectives have enriched our understanding of American society.

In recent years, a number of studies have sought to specify the conditions facing the contemporary new nations of Asia and Africa which seek to establish legitimacy, to find a basis for national linguistic and value consensus so as to have a stable national society which does not rest on force, or which will not come apart during the strains of major crises. Some studies concerned with these issues have included the early United States in the category of new states and have sought to re-examine early post-Revolutionary history in the context of such concerns. The United States may properly claim the title of the "first new nation" because it was the first major overseas colony successfully to break away from European imperial rule.

Concern with the social requisites of new nationhood has inspired the work of some historians, such as Robert Lamb and

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The Comparative Approach to American History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • The Contributors vii
  • Introduction to the New Edition xi
  • 1 - The Comparability of American History 3
  • 2 - The Colonial Phase 18
  • 3 - The Enlightenment 34
  • 4 - The Revolution 47
  • 5 - The "Newness" of the New Nation 62
  • 6 - Frontiers 75
  • 7 - Immigration 91
  • 8 - Mobility 106
  • 9 - Slavery 121
  • 10 - Civil War 135
  • 11 - Reconstruction: Ultraconservative Revolution 146
  • 12 - The Negro since Freedom 160
  • 13 - Industrialization 175
  • 14 - Urbanization 187
  • 15 - Political Parties 206
  • 16 - The Coming of Big Business 220
  • 17 - Socialism and Labor 238
  • 18 - Imperialism 253
  • 19 - Social Democracy, 1900-1918 271
  • 20 - World War I 285
  • 21 - The Great Depression 296
  • 22 - World War II 315
  • 23 - The Cold War 328
  • 24 - The Test of Comparison 346
  • Index 359
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