The Liberal Tradition in America: An Interpretation of American Political Thought Since the Revolution, by Louis Hartz
Mr. Hartz attempts to explain the American liberal tradition by relating it to European history. This relation, he tells us, lies primarily in the absence of feudalism in America, and secondarily in the crucial influence of certain European ideas (or rather books), notably those of John Locke. Parts of this volume have already appeared as brief essays in learned journals, and in that form seemed brilliant. But this is not the work we had hoped for from Mr. Hartz. His occasional passages of profound exegesis do not add up to a fresh and coherent interpretation of American liberalism. He does, however, unwittingly reveal a good deal about the present state of the liberal tradition in America.
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