Politician, evangelist, and reformer William Jennings Bryan was the most popular public speaker of his time. In this acclaimed biography—the first major reconsideration of Bryan’s life in forty years–award-winning historian Michael Kazin illuminates his astonishing career and the richly diverse and volatile landscape of religion and politics in which he rose to fame.
Kazin vividly re-creates Bryan’s tremendous appeal, showing how he won a passionate following among both rural and urban Americans, who saw in him not only the practical vision of a reform politician but also the righteousness of a pastor. Bryan did more than anyone to transform the Democratic Party from a bulwark of laissez-faire to the citadel of liberalism we identify with Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1896, 1900, and 1908, Bryan was nominated for president, and though he fell short each time, his legacy–a subject of great debate after his death–remains monumental. This nuanced and brilliantly crafted portrait restores Bryan to an esteemed place in American history.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
For the revised Cornell edition, Michael Kazin has rewritten the final chapter, bringing his coverage of American populism up to the 1996 presidential election, and he has added a new conclusion.
In this “fascinating” (Los Angeles Times) narrative, Michael Kazin brings us into the ranks of one of the largest, most diverse, and most sophisticated peace coalitions in US history. The activists came from a variety of backgrounds: wealthy, middle, and working class; urban and rural; white and black; Christian and Jewish and atheist. They mounted street demonstrations and popular exhibitions, attracted prominent leaders from the labor and suffrage movements, ran peace candidates for local and federal office, met with President Woodrow Wilson to make their case, and founded new organizations that endured beyond the cause. For almost three years, they helped prevent Congress from authorizing a massive increase in the size of the US army—a step advocated by ex-president Theodore Roosevelt. When the Great War’s bitter legacy led to the next world war, the warnings of these peace activists turned into a tragic prophecy—and the beginning of a surveillance state that still endures today.
Peopled with unforgettable characters and written with riveting moral urgency, War Against War is a “fine, sorrowful history” (The New York Times) and “a timely reminder of how easily the will of the majority can be thwarted in even the mightiest of democracies” (The New York Times Book Review).
The definitive history of the reformers, radicals, and idealists who fought for a different America, from the abolitionists to Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky.
While the history of the left is a long story of idealism and determination, it has also been a story of movements that failed to gain support from mainstream America. In American Dreamers, Michael Kazin—one of the most respected historians of the American left working today—tells a new history of the movements that, while not fully succeeding on their own terms, nonetheless made lasting contributions to American society. Among these culture shaping events are the fight for equal opportunity for women, racial minorities, and homosexuals; the celebration of sexual pleasure; the inclusion of multiculturalism in the media and school curricula; and the creation of books and films with altruistic and anti-authoritarian messages. Deeply informed, judicious and impassioned, and superbly written, this is an essential book for our times and for anyone seeking to understand our political history and the people who made it.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In Search of Progressive America presents ten essays by journalists, academics, and government insiders that address the current state of promise and debate within the Left in U.S. politics. The political atmosphere that confronts progressives still poses challenges, and the authors propose thoughtful ways to create a new political order by building an inclusive, durable coalition.
The collection covers several of the most significant aspects of American political life. Matthew Yglesias, Andrew Bacevich, and Gary Gerstle offer three sober evaluations of the United States in world affairs and the impact of the world on American minds. Next, Todd Gitlin and Andrew Rich examine the struggle to control the messages of politics, through the mainstream media and think tanks, respectively. Ezra Klein, Dean Baker, Karen Kornbluh, and Nelson Lichtenstein each call for major changes in domestic policy grounded in both history and common sense. Finally, Michael Kazin recalls the era when Christian activists were found more often on the left than on the right and argues that a second coming of religious progressivism might be possible today.
Contributors include Dean Baker, Lewis Gould, Alex Keyssar, James Kloppenberg, Patricia Nelson Limerick, Lisa McGirr, Jack Rakove, Nick Salvatore, Stephen Skowronek, Jeremi Suri, Julian Zelizer, and many more.
Key political periods, from the founding to today
Political institutions, major parties, and founding documents
The broader forces that shape U.S. politics, from economics, religion, and social movements to race, class, and gender
Ideas, philosophies, and movements
The political history and influence of geographic regions
Kazin argues persuasively that the power of populism lies in its adaptable nature. Across the political spectrum, commentators paste the label on forces and individuals who really have just one big thing in common: they are effective at blasting "elites" or "the establishment" for harming the interests and betraying the ideals of "the people" in nations that are committed, at least officially, to democratic principles. Kazin’s classic book has influenced debates over populism since its publication. The new preface to this edition brings the story up to date by charting the present resurgence of populist discourse, which was front and center in the 2016 elections and in the Brexit debate.
Crafted by a cast of both rising and renowned intellectuals from three continents, the twelve essays in this volume are divided into two sections. The first group of essays addresses the understanding of Americanism within the United States over the past two centuries, from the early republic to the war in Iraq. The second section provides perspectives from around the world in an effort to make sense of how the national creed and its critics have shaped diplomacy, war, and global culture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Approaching a controversial ideology as both scholars and citizens, many of the essayists call for a revival of the ideals of Americanism in a new progressive politics that can bring together an increasingly polarized and fragmented citizenry.
Mia Bay, Rutgers University
Jun Furuya, Hokkaido University, Japan
Gary Gerstle, University of Maryland
Jonathan M. Hansen, Harvard University
Michael Kazin, Georgetown University
Rob Kroes, University of Amsterdam
Melani McAlister, The George Washington University
Joseph A. McCartin, Georgetown University
Alan McPherson, Howard University
Louis Menand, Harvard University
Mae M. Ngai, University of Chicago
Robert Shalhope, University of Oklahoma
Stephen J. Whitfield, Brandeis University
Alan Wolfe, Boston College
Each article, specially commissioned for this book, goes beyond basic facts to provide readers with crucial context, expert analysis, and informed perspectives on the evolution of American politics. Written by more than 170 leading historians and social scientists, The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History gives students, scholars, and researchers authoritative introductions to the subject's most important topics and a first step to further research.
Features nearly 190 entries, organized alphabetically and written by a distinguished team of scholars, including Dean Baker, Lewis L. Gould, Alexander Keyssar, James T. Kloppenberg, Patricia Nelson Limerick, Lisa McGirr, Mark A. Noll, Jack N. Rakove, Nick Salvatore, Stephen Skowronek, Jeremi Suri, and Julian E. Zelizer
Describes key political periods and eras, from the founding to the present day
Traces the history of political institutions, parties, and founding documents
Explains ideas, philosophies, and movements that shaped American politics
Presents the political history and influence of geographic regions
Describes the roles of ethnic, racial, and religious groups in the political process
Explores the influence of mass culture, from political cartoons to the Internet
Examines recurring issues that shape political campaigns and policy, from class, gender, and race to crime, education, taxation, voting, welfare, and much more
Includes bibliographies, cross-references, appendixes, a comprehensive index, and more than 50 illustrations and maps