Civil Society and American Nationalism, 1776–1865

Neem Johann N.

in Politics and Partnerships

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780226109961
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226109985 | DOI:
Civil Society and American Nationalism, 1776–1865

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This chapter examines the role of civil society in fostering American nationalism. Nationalism, according to Charles Taylor, is vital to modern liberal democracies. In a democracy, persuasion must be used instead of force or violence to achieve one's political goals. For a citizen to be willing to sacrifice her immediate goals, she must consider herself part of an “ongoing collective agency.” Without some emotional or affectionate bond—without nationalism—citizens will have little reason to put aside their immediate interests and desires for the good of the whole, including the rule of law. Similarly, Craig Calhoun argues that democratic politics “requires thinking of ‘the people’ as active and coherent, and oneself as both a member and an agent.”

Keywords: civil society; American nationalism; Charles Taylor; liberal democracies; rule of law; democratic politics

Chapter.  9618 words. 

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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