Room of One's Own

in The Lost Promise of Patriotism

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780226315836
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226315850 | DOI:
Room of One's Own

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Concern for the fate of individual agency and creativity in the emergent corporate political economy as presented by William James is shared by cosmopolitan patriots. During the late nineteenth century, disenfranchised women, African Americans, immigrants, and laborers suffered the brunt of the social and economic shocks wreaked by the nation's industrial transformation. The experience of three cosmopolitan patriots: Eugene V. Debs, Jane Addams, and W. E. B. Du Bois, all of them who grew up on the margins of Victorian-era America and who, having successfully secured their own economic and political agency, identified their callings in defending their compatriots' freedom to aspire, is examined in this chapter. According to their viewpoints, aspiration did not imply a repudiation of family claims and social stricture; in fact, their public-mindedness rose from their sense of gratitude and indebtedness to their progenitors.

Keywords: individual agency; William James; Eugene V. Debs; Jane Addams; W. E. B. Du Bois; aspiration

Chapter.  12587 words. 

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