Critical Americans: Victorian Intellectuals and Transatlantic Liberal Reform

Univ of North Carolina Press, 2009年1月5日 - 400 頁
In this intellectual history of American liberalism during the second half of the nineteenth century, Leslie Butler examines a group of nationally prominent and internationally oriented writers who sustained an American tradition of self-consciously progressive and cosmopolitan reform. She addresses how these men established a critical perspective on American racism, materialism, and jingoism in the decades between the 1850s and the 1890s while she recaptures their insistence on the ability of ordinary citizens to work toward their limitless potential as intelligent and moral human beings.

At the core of Butler's study are the writers George William Curtis, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, James Russell Lowell, and Charles Eliot Norton, a quartet of friends who would together define the humane liberalism of America's late Victorian middle class. In creative engagement with such British intellectuals as John Stuart Mill, Thomas Carlyle, Matthew Arnold, Leslie Stephen, John Ruskin, James Bryce, and Goldwin Smith, these "critical Americans" articulated political ideals and cultural standards to suit the burgeoning mass democracy the Civil War had created. This transatlantic framework informed their notions of educative citizenship, print-based democratic politics, critically informed cultural dissemination, and a temperate, deliberative foreign policy. Butler argues that a careful reexamination of these strands of late nineteenth-century liberalism can help enrich a revitalized liberal tradition at the outset of the twenty-first century.


讀者評論 - 撰寫評論




1 Victorian Duty American Scholars and National Crisis
2 The War for the Union and the Vindication of American Democracy
3 The Liberal High Tide and Educative Democracy
4 Liberal Culture in a Gilded Age
5 The Politics of Liberal Reform
6 Global Power and the Illiberalism of Empire

其他版本 - 查看全部



第 69 頁 - And this issue embraces more than the fate of these United States. It presents to the whole family of man, the question, whether a constitutional republic, or a democracy — a government of the people, by the same people — can, or cannot, maintain its territorial integrity, against its own domestic foes.
第 117 頁 - I venture to say that every man who is not presumably incapacitated by some consideration of personal unfitness or of political danger is morally entitled to come within the pale of the Constitution.
第 31 頁 - New occasions teach new duties ; Time makes ancient good uncouth ; They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth ; Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires ! we ourselves must Pilgrims be, Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea, Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key.
第 154 頁 - The great men of culture are those who have had a passion for diffusing, for making prevail, for carrying from one end of society to the other, the best knowledge, the best ideas of their time...
第 17 頁 - Therefore, as a man must breathe and see before he can study, the scholar must have liberty, first of all ; and as the American scholar is a man and has a voice in his own government, so his interest in political affairs must precede all others. He must build his house before he can live in it. He must be a perpetual inspiration of freedom in politics. He must...
第 221 頁 - ... finds itself in possession of enormous power and is eager to use it in brutal fashion against any one who comes along, without knowing how to do it, and is therefore constantly on the brink of some frightful catastrophe like that which overtook France in 1870.
第 90 頁 - We want a national set of young men like ourselves or better, to start new influences not only in politics, but in literature, in law, in society, and throughout the whole social organism of the country — a national school of our own generation.
第 126 頁 - ... the instantaneous dispersion of news and the universal interest in it have affected the national thought and character. The whole people have acquired a certain metropolitan temper ; they feel everything at once and in common ; a single pulse sends anger, grief, or triumph through the whole country ; one man sitting at the keyboard of the telegraph in Washington sets the chords vibrating to the same tune from sea to sea ; and this simultaneousness, this unanimity, deepens national consciousness...
第 107 頁 - Reform Measure ;" that is to say, The calling in of new supplies of blockheadism, gullibility, bribeability, amenability to beer and balderdash, by way of amending the woes we have had from our previous supplies of that bad article.
第 29 頁 - He's true to God who's true to man ; wherever wrong is done, To the humblest and the weakest, 'neath the all-beholding sun, That wrong is also done to us ; and they are slaves most base, Whose love of right is for themselves, and not for all their race.

關於作者 (2009)

Leslie Butler is assistant professor of history at Dartmouth College.