The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays

The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays

Richard Hofstadter

Language: English

Pages: 218

ISBN: B00Y354BB2

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Original year of publication: 1965; 2008 - reissue

This timely reissue of Richard Hofstadter's classic work on the fringe groups that influence American electoral politics offers an invaluable perspective on contemporary domestic affairs. In The Paranoid Style in American Politics, acclaimed historian Richard Hofstadter examines the competing forces in American political discourse and how fringe groups can influence — and derail — the larger agendas of a political party. He investigates the politics of the irrational, shedding light on how the behavior of individuals can seem out of proportion with actual political issues, and how such behavior impacts larger groups. With such other classic essays as “Free Silver and the Mind of 'Coin' Harvey” and “What Happened to the Antitrust Movement?, ” The Paranoid Style in American Politics remains both a seminal text of political history and a vital analysis of the ways in which political groups function in the United States.

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Inc.: “What Happened to the Antitrust Movement?” by Richard Hofstadter from The Business Establishment, edited by Earl F. Cheit, copyright © 1964 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Reprinted by permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress. eISBN: 978-0-307-80968-1 www.vintagebooks.com v3.1_r1 TO THE MEMORY OF HARRY J. CARMAN Contents Cover About the Author Other Books by This Author Title Page Copyright Dedication

that the power and vitality of the nation were not waning. The capacity for sympathy and the need for power existed side by side. That highly typical American, William Allen White, recalls in his Autobiography how during the nineties he was “bound to my idols—Whitman, the great democrat, and Kipling, the imperialist.”8 In varying degrees the democrat and the imperialist existed in the hearts of White’s countrymen—the democrat disposed to free Cuba; the imperialist, to vent his spleen on Spain. I

prosecutions without an antitrust movement. In its day the antitrust movement had such consequences for our political and intellectual life that no historian who writes about the period 1890–1940 can safely ignore it. But the antitrust enterprise, as an institutional reality, now runs its quiet course without much public attention, and we lose sight of it. In failing to take more cognizance of its work, the historians are missing one of the most delicious minor ironies of our reform history and

World War. Without attempting to subvert the elements of truth in this version of antitrust history, it seems important to take account of certain additions to the story. First, it seems fair to say that while there was some impatient cynicism present in 1890 when the Sherman Act was passed, there was puzzlement as well, an honest if ineffectual concern with the problems of size and monopoly, and genuine doubts about the proper means of solving them. The general language of the Sherman Act may

of the Michigan group were not widely at variance with those of Elmo Roper, who a few years earlier had collated the responses of the public over a span of fifteen years to questions about business. Roper found that “the public has mixed feelings about big business. There is pride over the achievements of big business but some apprehension over the possible abuses of power inherent in big business.” The public was disposed to want a watchdog set upon the amoral and greedy elements in business,

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