Read e-book online A Restless Past: History and the American Public PDF

By Joyce Appleby

ISBN-10: 0742542521

ISBN-13: 9780742542525

At a time whilst public commemorations and remembrances frequently become battlefields of contested meanings, historians play a fair better function in shaping the way in which the yankee public sees and is familiar with its prior.

Distinguished historian Joyce Appleby has been on the vanguard of a number of the contemporary debates approximately historians and the public's background. during this attractive paintings, she brings jointly her most vital reflections at the historian's craft and its significance. A stressed Past rigorously examines the ways that the dynamic occasions of the second one half the 20 th century have considerably altered the best way historians strategy the prior and highlights the marvelous strength they carry in shaping a countrywide id. in the course of the huge ideological shifts of the final part century, historians have answered through asking new questions on those that preceded us and created robust identities if you happen to have been lengthy ignored.

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Example text

T h e prevailing concept of ideology can illu~ninate111y point. In ideology scholars have found a concept that enables them to talk about thinking as a social activity. Ideologies are not formal intellectual systenis that discipline the niirid but loose asociation5 of ideas that engage the etilotions. Ideologies generate enthusiasnis, coninlitr~lents,and pre-judices. They provide us with the nleans for expressing o u r religion, our science, our laws, and our fantasies. More than Illere coninlunication systems, ideologies prolnote agi-ee~iientand inspire action.

1955), I 6 1. 16. Peden. ~ \ ; , t corr ~ tlri~S i ~ t cof~T i'r;yirri~~. 138. IJlril~rrtlrrt~y nrrtl tlre 17. Bernard W. Sheehan. tion:J~ffcri'ot~in~~ Arlrcricar~Itidinn (Chapel Hill. C.. 1973). 168-8 1 , 241-50. 18. Jeiferson to George Iiogers Clark. iii, 259. 19. 1 am indehted to Willia~nFreehling for this line. See "Slavery and the Founding Fathers," ,-Irrrcriri~nHistoricill Krrirrrl 77 (1977). 20. , P~rp~rs (I( Jc;fil:ccirr, ii, 308: Jefferson to J . B. Say February 1. c oj7lrorrrns Jc[Prsoi~,ed.

Like Jeffersonian liberalism, Anlerican Protestantism rejected the past, indifferent alike to the historic church and its traditions. T h e proliferation of denoniinations advertised the freedom of religion even as l separation between church and state that Jefit necessitated the w ~ l of ferson erected verbcllly. Meanwhile nature had corrie to dominate the social inlagination of the Jeffersonians-the nature that Bacon, Newton, and Locke had made orderly, conlprehensive, and knowable. Beneath the ~llyriadof surface variety and detail, the natural philosophers had discovered regularities and ul~ifornlitiesof lawlike cert'iinty.

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A Restless Past: History and the American Public by Joyce Appleby


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