Anti-intellectualism in American Life

Anti-intellectualism in American Life

Book - 1963
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A book which throws light on many features of the American character. Its concern is not merely to portray the scorners of intellect in American life, but to say something about what the intellectual is, and can be, as a force in a democratic society.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, [1963]
ISBN: 9780394703176
Branch Call Number: 973 HOFSTADT 1963
Characteristics: ix, 434, xiii pages ; 21 cm.


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Feb 16, 2016

Pg. 167--"The present Congress furnishes the worst specimens of legislators I have ever seen here. There is a large infusion who are not only without wisdom or knowledge, but have bad manners, and therefore we can have but little hope of good legislation." Attributed to Representative Robert Toombs of Georgia in 1850.

Feb 16, 2016

"This appears to be the first time in our history in which a direct appeal was made to the lower classes by exciting their curiosity, feeding the desire for amusement, and presenting what is low and vulgar as an inducement for support. Since that day the thing has been carried farther, until it is actually a disadvantage to...have inherited the name of gentleman", says Morgan Dix in 1829, a quote to be found on pg.166 of Hofstadter's "Anti- intellectualism in American Life".

Feb 11, 2016

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson, 1816, in "Anti-intellectualism in America". Richard Hofstadter, 1963.

Hofstadter included a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson that sums up a special attitude in post-modern American life that contributes to a false sense of security in the rightly-ordered society most citizens are sure they occupy. Today's citizens need to feel that their viewpoints are part of an acknowledged consensus, lack many courages, including the intellectual--when challenged.


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Jun 02, 2018

This book is essential for anyone wishing to understand "the American character"--and in my opinion, far, far more useful that the "iconic" Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville. Hofstadter was an acute observer of American culture, and wrote very readable, non-academic prose that is quite accessible to the average reader. One of the finest 20th century essays on Americans' uneasy, mistrustful relationship with learning, expertise, and the life of the mind.


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