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"American Character" Book

"American Character" Book

American Character: The Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good.

The struggle between individual rights and the good of the community as a whole has been the basis of nearly every major disagreement in our history. In American Character, Colin Woodard traces these two key strands in American politics through the four centuries of its existence, from the first colonies to the present day, and explores how different regions of the country have successfully or disastrously accommodated them.

Woodard argues that maintaining a liberal democracy, a society where mass human freedom is possible, requires finding a balance between protecting individual liberty and nurturing a free society. Going to either libertarian or collectivist extremes results in tyranny. But where does the “sweet spot” lie in the United States, a federation of disparate regional cultures that have always strongly disagreed on these issues? Woodard leads readers on a riveting and revealing journey through four centuries of struggle, experimentation, successes and failures to provide an answer. His historically informed and pragmatic suggestions on how to achieve this balance and break the nation’s political deadlock will be of interest to anyone who cares about the current American predicament.

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