By Wilfred M McClay
No country in smooth historical past has had a extra robust feel of its personal strong point than the us. but few american citizens comprehend the immensely different resources of that feel and the attention-grabbing debates that experience regularly swirled round our makes an attempt to outline the USA with better precision. during this creation to the learn of yank background, Wilfred M. McClay invitations us to event the perennial freshness and energy of this nice topic as he explores a few of the enduring commitments and protracted tensions that experience made the US what it's. writer: Wifred M. McClayPages: ninety six, PaperbackPublisher: Christendom PressISBN: 1-882926-45-5
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Additional info for A Student's Guide to U.S. History (ISI Guides to the Major Disciplines)
In fact, it is not at all far-fetched to understand historical study as bearing a certain resemblance to psychoanalysis in this respect, since both are enterprises intent upon excavating and bringing to conscious awareness the knowledge of consequential antecedents. Indeed, the analogy to individual psychology goes even deeper than that. There comes a point in our personal development when an awareness dawns on us, not only of how profoundly we have been shaped by our own parents and milieu, but just as importantly, of how our parents have been shaped by their own parents and milieux, which have in turn been shaped by even earlier sets of parents and milieus, and so on.
McClay extraordinarily mature exercise of the historical imagination. Just how did our slaveholding forebears understand and justify what they were doing? How could so many otherwise morally admirable people fail to see slavery as a crime against humanity—and an egregious violation of fundamental American principles? And how, in answering these questions, can we give the players of the past their full due—the slaveholders as well as the slaves—without surrendering our own moral convictions? In any event, the theme of equality is of central importance, both to the subject matter of American history and in the minds of the historians who write that history.
After all, even when one is merely “maximizing utility,” as the economists like to put it, the meaning of “utility” is far from self-evident. The man who works like a dog to make the money to acquire the Lexus to impress his neighbors is doing something much more complicated than “maximizing utility,” something that many of us—including, perhaps, the man himself in a fleetingly lucid moment—would not regard as useful at all. For additional reading: The dean of historians of American business is Alfred D.