A superficial reading of the political history of the United States supports the view that American politics is anti-intellectual and that American government is a product of the efforts of "practical" men.
Certainly the founding fathers were practical men. In writing and then defending the Declaration of Independence, they took practical political action -- knowing that the consequence of failure was almost certain execution as traitors.
American politics is idealistic at the same time, and the reported division between politics and idealism is more fancied than real.
The failure to associate politics with the philosophical and intellectual arena of ideas has sometimes arisen from the very absence of genuine ideological conflict between men of ideas and men of action in American political life. Certainly philosophers, historians, and men of ideas were accepted as associates and advisers of politicians in the earliest days of our history.
G. K. Chesterton, in his book What I Saw in America, published in 1922, said that
America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence; perhaps the only piece of practical politics that is also theoretical politics and also great literature.
The creed to which he referred was expressed in the Declaration in these words:
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are
created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty,
and the Pursuit of Happiness. . . .