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To be an American : David Ramsay and the making of the American consciousness /
Arthur H. Shaffer.
Columbia, S.C. : University of South Carolina Press, c1991.
x, 334 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
0872497186 (alk. paper)
More Details
Columbia, S.C. : University of South Carolina Press, c1991.
0872497186 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [300]-320) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1991-02:
Shaffer offers the first full-length biography of David Ramsay (1749-1815), an important Revolutionary leader from South Carolina. He details Ramsay's childhood in a Protestant-Irish immigrant family, his medical education at Princeton and the College of Philadelphia, and, as a result of three well-planned marriages, his rise to prominence among the Charleston elite. Using his subject to uncover the roots of American character, the author convincingly argues that Ramsay, most notably in his History of the American Revolution (1789), played a pivotal role in the definition of a republican ideology which promised an equality of opportunity and served as the rationale for the union of disparate regional elites. Recommended for general readers and scholars, this well-reasoned book provides insight into an American national character which persists today.-- David Szatmary, Univ. of Wash ington, Seattle
Appeared in Choice on 1991-09:
If Americans remember David Ramsay (1749-1815) it is probably as the Philadelphia physician who migrated to Charleston, South Carolina, but whose avocation was as a historian of the American Revolution and of the Revolution in his adopted state. Shaffer (University of Missouri, St. Louis) provides a full picture of the successful medical man who lost several wives to death, was father to many children, and still had the time to serve in the state legislature and in the Congress. Ramsay was also an unsuccessful candidate for Congress under the new Constitution of 1787, all the while turning out an extensive list of historical works. Shaffer's decision to present Ramsay's life topically creates certain problems (e.g., jumping back and forth in the discussion of Ramsay's wives). Shaffer maintains a dispassionate tone throughout, eschewing the temptation to make moral judgements of Ramsay's actions--such as his abandonment of his opposition to slavery to an acceptance of its inevitability in the climate of Carolina--providing a lucid account of Ramsay's intellectual development and his relationship to other leading figures. Extensive notes and bibliogrpahy. -E. Cassara, emeritus, George Mason University
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, February 1991
Choice, September 1991
University Press Book News, September 1991
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