December 22, 2005
Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln
The legacy of the Confederacy in current politics cannot be underestimated. Although it doesn't explain all the dastardly deeds of the Grand Hypocrisy Party, it does provide insight into some of the basic premises of the Bush Administration. These include the passionate evocation of Christ while doing evil deeds (slavery was seen as part of the divine order); the belief in the omnipotent powers of white males; the economic emphasis on cheap labor and natural resources; the blind respect for military and political hierarchy; and the firm commitment to limited enfranchisement.
These, among others, are all legacies of the Confederacy found in the modern Republican Party and in the Bush White House.
Seal Wilentz, a history professor at Princeton, has written a highly acclaimed, nearly thousand page book, on America's march toward an inclusive democracy. The battle over democracy culminated in the Civil War -- only (and this is not in the book) to be reborn today in an UnCivil GOP War on democracy.
Wilentz sees the nation through a prism of evolutionary political growth. That is why the so-called "strict constructionists" want to roll back the clock to a worldview akin to the pre-Civil War Confederacy.
But enough of BuzzFlash's commentary, Wilentz is a historian -- and the period he covers in this tour de force book is from America's birth to the Civil War.
A reviewer on Amazon.com noted:
After reading Wilentz's account of America's evolution from "elitist young American republic" to become "a rough-and-tumble democracy" (as described by the publisher), you'll no doubt recognize how furiously the Bush Administration is trying to row the United States backwards in time.