Discussion 3

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1. Who was Richard Hofstadter? When and why did he write the essays in The American Political Tradition? Was he well qualified to do so? Explain. a. Richard started writing The American Political Tradition in 1943, finished in 1947, and published in 1948. In the essay, he “made a number of interpretive and critical comments on certain political figures on whom he had done some special work or who particularly captured his interest.” However, the original title of his essay was Men and Ideas in American Politics, but changed it later for its consistent salability. b. Hofstadter subjected America’s heroes, and a few villains, to a critical scrutiny they had previously escaped, yet he did so without the bloodthirsty zeal we have come to associate with “revisionist” history. The American Political Tradition exudes an air of maturity belying its authors later claim that it was “visibly a young man’s book.” c. Hofstadter defines history that it changes as people write, think, teach, and feel about past. d. Hofstadter associated with “consensus school” of history that shared and believed specific issues by people who have consensus. i. Consensus: An opinion or position reached by a group as a whole 2. “However much at odds on specific issues, the major political traditions have shared a belief in the right of property, the philosophy of economic individualism, the value of competition; they have accepted the economies virtues of capitalist culture as necessity qualities of man.” e. “The sanctity of private property, the right of the individual to dispose of and invest it, the value of opportunity, and the natural evolution of self-interest and self-assertion, within broad legal limits, into a beneficent social order have been staple tenets of the central faith in American political ideologies.” 3. He argues that the constitution was based on the Founders’ particular conception of the person. Founding Fathers believes that...
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