Democracies in America
audiobook (Unabridged) ∣ Keywords for the 19th Century and Today
By James Babson
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Ask someone their thoughts about "democracy" and you'll get many different responses. Some may presume it a thing once established yet now under threat. Others may believe that democracy has always been compromised by the empowered few. In the contemporary United States, marked by constituencies across the political spectrum believing that their voices have gone unheard, "democracy" gets wielded in so many divergent directions as to be rendered nearly incoherent. Democracies in America reminds us that this reality is nothing new. Focusing on the various meanings of "democracy" that circulated in the nineteenth century, the book collects twenty-five essays, each taking up a keyword in the language we use to talk about democracy. The essays consider the relationship between "America" and "democracy" from multiple disciplinary angles and from different moments in a major historical period-amidst the vitality of the revolutionary epoch, in the contentious lead-up to the Civil War, and through the triumphs and failures of Reconstruction and the early reforms of the Progressive Era-while making both forward and backward glances in time. This volume cultivates, for students and teachers in classrooms, as well as citizens in libraries and cafes, a language to deliberate about the possibilities and problems of democracy in America.