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People of Plenty

Economic Abundance and the American Character

America has long been famous as a land of plenty, but we seldom realize how much the American people are a people of plenty—a people whose distinctive character has been shaped by economic abundance. In this important book, David M. Potter breaks new ground both in the study of this phenomenon and in his approach to the question of national character. He brings a fresh historical perspective to bear on the vital work done in this field by anthropologists, social psychologists, and psychoanalysts.

"The rejection of hindsight, with the insistence on trying to see events from the point of view of the participants, was a governing theme with Potter. . . . This sounds like a truism. Watching him apply it however, is a revelation."—Walter Clemons, Newsweek

"The best short book on national character I have seen . . . broadly based, closely reasoned, and lucidly written."—Karl W. Deutsch, Yale Review

248 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1954

Walgreen Foundation Lectures

History: American History

Table of Contents

Part I. The Study of National Character
I. The Historians and National Character
II. The Behavioral Scientists and National Character
Part II. Abundance and the Shaping of American Character
Introduction to Part II
III. The Nature of American Abundance
IV. Abundance, Mobility, and Status
V. Democracy and Abundance
VI. Abundance and the Mission of America
VII. Abundance and the Frontier Hypothesis
VIII. The Institution of Abundance: Advertising
IX. Abundance and the Formation of Character

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