By David Noble
Examines the paintings of 4 significant historians, Turner, Beard, Hofstadter, and Williams, and exhibits how smooth occasions have pressured a metamorphosis within the writing of yankee heritage.
Read or Download The End of American History: Democracy, Capitalism, and the Metaphor of Two Worlds in Anglo-American Historical Writing, 1880-1980 PDF
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Additional resources for The End of American History: Democracy, Capitalism, and the Metaphor of Two Worlds in Anglo-American Historical Writing, 1880-1980
Confronting capitalism with democracy as he had done in The Industrial Revolution and the Development of Modern Europe, Beard urged that democracy represented the higher stage of evolution and that capitalist property had no claim to legitimacy. We must remember, he declared, that the focus of political life is sovereignty. In the history of Western civilization, there had occurred the progressive shift of sovereignty from the monarchy to the people. We in the United States, he continued, have assumed that we achieved democracy before the rest of the world.
It is important to remember that Turner, before his conversion to a belief in evolutionary progress, held that seventeenth-century perspective that associated time with history and corruption and the timeless with nature and virtue. It appears that he never gave up that perspective when he thought about politics, but he embraced time as orderly and meaningful within the framework of social evolution. Turner and many of his contemporaries shared the belief that the impersonal forces of physical evolution influenced society most directly through the economic environment.
18 Beard had overcome Turner's pessimism about the future of democracy through this dramatic challenge to the tradition of the separation of a vigorous New American World from an Old and decadent Europe. Anticipating the modernization theory that has influenced so many American historians in the 1960s and 1970s, Beard, in 1900, was primarily concerned with the transition from medieval to modern Europe. Beard described that change as an exodus that was emancipating the common people of Europe from the Egyptian bondage they had suffered when their lives were controlled by the medieval aristocracy.