By Johann N. Neem
The usa is a kingdom of joiners. Ever due to the fact that Alexis de Tocqueville released his observations in Democracy in America, american citizens have well-known the uniqueness in their voluntary culture. In a piece of political, criminal, social, and highbrow heritage, concentrating on the grassroots activities of standard humans, Neem lines the origins of this venerable culture to the vexed beginnings of yank democracy in Massachusetts.
Neem explores the a number of conflicts that produced a colourful pluralistic civil society following the yankee Revolution. the end result used to be an awesome unlock of civic power as traditional humans, lengthy denied a voice in public debates, equipped to recommend temperance, to guard the Sabbath, and to abolish slavery; elite american citizens shaped inner most associations to advertise schooling and their stewardship of tradition and data. yet skeptics remained. fans of Jefferson and Jackson nervous that the hot civil society could permit the prepared few to trump the need of the unorganized majority. whilst Tocqueville again to France, the connection among American democracy and its new civil society was once faraway from settled.
The tale Neem tells is extra pertinent than ever―for americans concerned with their very own civil society, and for these looking to construct civil societies in rising democracies round the world.
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Extra resources for Creating a Nation of Joiners: Democracy and Civil Society in Early National Massachusetts (Harvard Historical Studies)
37 The new Commonwealth had a constitutional mandate to establish and to support new institutions in civil society. Chapter 5 of the Frame of Government ﬁrst outlined the privileges of Harvard and then expressed the Commonwealth’s ambitious civic agenda: Wisdom, and knowledge . . being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties . . it shall be the duty of legislators and magistrates . . 38 In the two decades following independence, Federalist leaders would try to make good on the constitution’s promise by increasing public patronage of the church, schools, colleges, learned academies, and fraternal organizations.
91 In the new republican United States, however, Freemasons proudly extolled their contributions to the common good. As Steven C. 93 The ideal of friendship resolved the tension between the lodges’ exclusivity and secrecy and the Commonwealth’s commitment to a single community. ”95 The Rev. ”96 Masons also argued that the friendships made in their lodges helped members put aside their political and religious differences, differences that might otherwise threaten the polity. Some Masons suggested that they did a better job promoting shared values than did churches.
Conservative Congregationalists in western Massachusetts had sought their own college as early as 1762, when they petitioned royal governor Francis Bernard for a charter. 84 In 1793, however, Massachusetts leaders sought to build stronger ties with westerners. The Revolutionary Commonwealth 29 They thus incorporated a college that challenged Harvard’s position. Williams was dominated by Yale-educated Congregationalists, whose orthodox theology differed dramatically from what Harvard was teaching young ministers.
Creating a Nation of Joiners: Democracy and Civil Society in Early National Massachusetts (Harvard Historical Studies) by Johann N. Neem