Skip to main content
Shopping cart: items Cart

The Lost Promise of Patriotism

Debating American Identity, 1890-1920

During the years leading up to World War I, America experienced a crisis of civic identity. How could a country founded on liberal principles and composed of increasingly diverse cultures unite to safeguard individuals and promote social justice? In this book, Jonathan Hansen tells the story of a group of American intellectuals who believed the solution to this crisis lay in rethinking the meaning of liberalism.

Intellectuals such as William James, John Dewey, Jane Addams, Eugene V. Debs, and W. E. B. Du Bois repudiated liberalism’s association with acquisitive individualism and laissez-faire economics, advocating a model of liberal citizenship whose virtues and commitments amount to what Hansen calls cosmopolitan patriotism. Rooted not in war but in dedication to social equity, cosmopolitan patriotism favored the fight against sexism, racism, and political corruption in the United States over battles against foreign foes. Its adherents held the domestic and foreign policy of the United States to its own democratic ideals and maintained that promoting democracy universally constituted the ultimate form of self-defense. Perhaps most important, the cosmopolitan patriots regarded critical engagement with one’s country as the essence of patriotism, thereby justifying scrutiny of American militarism in wartime.

Read an excerpt from the book and an interview with the author.


280 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2003

History: History of Ideas

Law and Legal Studies: Law and Society

Philosophy: American Philosophy

Political Science: Political and Social Theory

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Patriotism Properly Understood
2. Room of One’s Own
3. Democracy as Associated Learning
4. Ex Uno Plura
5. To Make Democracy Safe for the World
6. Fighting Words
Conclusion: The Twilight of Ideals
Notes
Works Cited
Index

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press