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Creating a nation of joiners : democracy and civil society in early national Massachusetts /
Johann N. Neem.
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2008.
description
259 p. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0674030796 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780674030794 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2008.
isbn
0674030796 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780674030794 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
The revolutionary commonwealth -- Fragmentation and contestation -- The political transformation of civil society -- Forging a grassroots public sphere -- The elite public sphere -- Democrats strike back.
catalogue key
6679193
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [183]-242) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-05-01:
The unfolding of history is a process that is often pushed forward by young scholars. Neem, an associate professor at Western Washington State University, is one such scholar. His study sheds light on how the US became a pluralistic society in its first half century under the Constitution. It is Neem's thesis that the key was the rise of volunteer associations. In the early years, it was expected that citizens would form with government a civil society that shared a common view. In time, some came to feel that their point of view was being blocked out and that their freedom to associate was being interfered with. In response, the voluntary association movement sprang forth, giving voice to numerous interest groups. Using Massachusetts as a case study, the author focuses on the various stages of the movement. This work will broaden understanding of the Jefferson/Jackson period and the rise of democracy. Neem has done a superb job in crafting a short, readable, informative work. The endnotes will be of service to scholars. An important study that belongs in the collections of all college, university, and major public libraries. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above. J. J. Fox Jr. emeritus, Salem State College
Reviews
Review Quotes
This work will broaden understanding of the Jefferson/Jackson period and the rise of democracy. Neem has done a superb job in crafting a short, readable, informative work.
A powerful analysis that will reshape our understanding of the transformation of civil society in the early American republic. Neem's study is part of an emerging literature forcing a reconsideration of the classic Tocquevillean account of voluntary association and the state. I am impressed with the depth of the research, the sharpness and acuity of the interpretation, and the clarity of the writing. This is an important book.
Beautifully conceived and clearly written, Creating a Nation of Joiners is a major contribution to our understanding of the early Republic. Not only does it nicely show how bitterly contested was the struggle over the creation of a civil society, but it contains the best account of the changing nature of the corporation since Oscar and Mary Handlin's Commonwealth . A superb study.
Beautifully conceived and clearly written, Creating a Nation of Joiners is a major contribution to our understanding of the early Republic. Not only does it nicely show how bitterly contested was the struggle over the creation of a civil society, but it contains the best account of the changing nature of the corporation since Oscar and Mary Handlin's Commonwealth. A superb study.
In his illuminating examination of the origins of American civil society, Johann Neem traces them to popular religion and Whig philanthropy, revealing the longstanding conflicts between civil society and the ideals of Jeffersonian democracy. This book will interest both historians and political scientists.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 2009
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
A work of political, legal, social, and intellectual history, this text traces the origins of the American voluntary tradition to the vexed beginnings of democracy in Massachusetts.
Main Description
The United States is a nation of joiners. Ever since Alexis de Tocqueville published his observations in Democracy in America, Americans have recognized the distinctiveness of their voluntary tradition. In a work of political, legal, social, and intellectual history, focusing on the grassroots actions of ordinary people, Neem traces the origins of this venerable tradition to the vexed beginnings of American democracy in Massachusetts.Neem explores the multiple conflicts that produced a vibrant pluralistic civil society following the American Revolution. The result was an astounding release of civic energy as ordinary people, long denied a voice in public debates, organized to advocate temperance, to protect the Sabbath, and to abolish slavery; elite Americans formed private institutions to promote education and their stewardship of culture and knowledge. But skeptics remained. Followers of Jefferson and Jackson worried that the new civil society would allow the organized few to trump the will of the unorganized majority. When Tocqueville returned to France, the relationship between American democracy and its new civil society was far from settled.The story Neem tells is more pertinent than ever-for Americans concerned about their own civil society, and for those seeking to build civil societies in emerging democracies around the world.
Main Description
The United States is a nation of joiners. Ever since Alexis de Tocqueville published his observations in Democracy in America , Americans have recognized the distinctiveness of their voluntary tradition. In a work of political, legal, social, and intellectual history, focusing on the grassroots actions of ordinary people, Neem traces the origins of this venerable tradition to the vexed beginnings of American democracy in Massachusetts. Neem explores the multiple conflicts that produced a vibrant pluralistic civil society following the American Revolution. The result was an astounding release of civic energy as ordinary people, long denied a voice in public debates, organized to advocate temperance, to protect the Sabbath, and to abolish slavery; elite Americans formed private institutions to promote education and their stewardship of culture and knowledge. But skeptics remained. Followers of Jefferson and Jackson worried that the new civil society would allow the organized few to trump the will of the unorganized majority. When Tocqueville returned to France, the relationship between American democracy and its new civil society was far from settled. The story Neem tells is more pertinent than ever-for Americans concerned about their own civil society, and for those seeking to build civil societies in emerging democracies around the world.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
The Revolutionary Commonwealthp. 10
Fragmentation and Contestationp. 33
The Political Transformation of Civil Societyp. 56
Forging a Grassroots Public Spherep. 81
The Elite Public Spherep. 114
Democrats Strike Backp. 140
Conclusionp. 172
Notesp. 183
Acknowledgmentsp. 243
Indexp. 247
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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