The Transatlantic Persuasion: The Liberal-Democratic Mind in the Age of Gladstone

Forside
Transaction Publishers, 1. jan. 1990 - 433 sider

This pioneering work is the basic and largely unmatched study of the single transatlantic community of thought shared by nineteenth century British and Canadian Liberals and American Democrats. The result of more than tens years of comparative research, The Transatlantic Persuasion explores the roots of those ideas hat comprise a coherent Liberal-Democratic worldview: ideas about society, human relations, the economy, equality, liberty, the ethnocultural dimension of life, the proper role and nature of government, and the world community. In Britain, Canada, and the United States, Liberal-Democrats saw themselves as battlers against social evils caused by corrupt, self-seeking aristocracies. This was true whether their power was based on business wealth, land, or vested religious privilege; and in all three countries they developed practically identical public policy agendas.

Widely praised for its graceful narrative style, its intriguing political and cultural analysis, and its sensitive feeling for the nuances of personality and the human condition, The Transatlantic Persuasion finds that cultural forces such as ethnicity, religion, and style of life have played an astonishingly central role in politics. Kelley sees a similar confrontation within each of the three countries between the core culture, including the Establishment and its institutions, and the outgroups, the culturally, socially, and often economically peripheral peoples. In Britain, for example, the Tories (Conservatives) were the aggressively dominant English, who look down on such minorities as the Scots and the Irish. These outgroups gathered within Gladstone's Liberal party, and from this base fought for equal status and treatment against prejudices. Similar patterns in Canada and the United States led to Kelley to conclude that these cultural facts of life were as important and powerful in public life as those that were purely economic in nature.

Greeted with praise on its original publication in the general media as well as in major scholarly journals, The Transatlantic Persuasion performs history's highest office: It explains the present by placing it in the deep perspective of time, thus demonstrating how the past prefigures and shapes current events.

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Side 117 - Is uniformity attainable ? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.
Side 95 - I cannot stand forward, and give praise or blame to anything which relates to human actions and human concerns on a simple view of the object, as it stands stripped of every relation, in all the nakedness and solitude of metaphysical abstraction.
Side 218 - Let the Turks now carry away their abuses in the only possible manner, namely, by carrying off themselves. Their Zaptiehs and their Mudirs, their Bimbashis and their Yuzbachis, their Kaimakams and their Pashas one and all, bag and baggage, shall, I hope, clear out from the province they have desolated and profaned.
Side 128 - Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever He had a chosen people, whose breasts He has made His peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue.
Side 116 - In fact, it is comfortable to see the standard of reason at length erected, after so many ages, during which the human mind has been held in vassalage by kings, priests, and nobles : and it is honorable for us, to have produced the first legislature who had the courage to declare, that the reason of man may be trusted with the formation of his own opinions.
Side 68 - ... ought always to be listened to with great precaution and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.
Side 68 - The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition, when suffered to exert itself with freedom and security, is so powerful a principle, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations...
Side 132 - What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Side 77 - People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.

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