Contention, argument, and power have always been the tradition in American political talk. Any country that began in a revolution was bound to have this history. But the language of argument uses particular words with particular, sometimes shifting, meanings and to know what they are and what they meant over time is a critical contribution to political history. It is true that politicians may act as though they are part of no particular ideological tradition, but history shows that, more often than not, they use an understood meaning to enhance their actions. As Daniel T. Rodgers shows in this book, rhetoric has consequences.
A witty, erudite, and original synthesis, which in spite of its brevity gives density and connectedness to two centuries of American political thought.
Daniel Rodgers offers a vivid retelling of the American political experience as a contest of words and a contest for ideas by a people to whom language had become an indispensable tool of revolution and statecraft.
An absolutely first-rate intellectual treat. I cannot remember when I so enjoyed a book about ideas, history, and politics. A must-read for anyone interested in how and why Americans have used and transformed the language of politics for 200 years.
Contested Truths is the best synthesis and interpretation of American political ideas since the work of [Richard] Hofstadter… Rodgers has made a major contribution to intellectual history.
- 270 pages
- 5-1/4 x 8 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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