Search results for: the-irony-of-american-history

The Irony of American History

Author : Reinhold Niebuhr
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“[Niebuhr] is one of my favorite philosophers. I take away [from his works] the compelling idea that there’s serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away . . . the sense we have to make these efforts knowing they are hard.”—President Barack Obama Forged during the tumultuous but triumphant postwar years when America came of age as a world power, The Irony of American History is more relevant now than ever before. Cited by politicians as diverse as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Niebuhr’s masterpiece on the incongruity between personal ideals and political reality is both an indictment of American moral complacency and a warning against the arrogance of virtue. Impassioned, eloquent, and deeply perceptive, Niebuhr’s wisdom will cause readers to rethink their assumptions about right and wrong, war and peace. “The supreme American theologian of the twentieth century.”—Arthur Schlesinger Jr., New York Times “Niebuhr is important for the left today precisely because he warned about America’s tendency—including the left’s tendency—to do bad things in the name of idealism. His thought offers a much better understanding of where the Bush administration went wrong in Iraq.”—Kevin Mattson, The Good Society “Irony provides the master key to understanding the myths and delusions that underpin American statecraft. . . . The most important book ever written on US foreign policy.”—Andrew J. Bacevich, from the Introduction

The Theological Vision of Reinhold Niebuhr s The Irony of American History

Author : Scott R. Erwin
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This book argues that an appreciation of Reinhold Niebuhr's theological vision is necessary for understanding the full measure of his 1951 work, The Irony of American History. The work is important because Niebuhr remains at the center of a national conversation about America's role in the world, and commentators with divergent political and religious positions frequently look to Irony for guidance. Niebuhr described his theological vision asbeing "in the battle and above it," and, in more extensive terms, explained it to be a "combination of moral resoluteness about the immediate issues with a religious awareness of another dimension of meaning and judgment." This book claims that this vision led Niebuhr, in Irony, to assert that America must both take "morally hazardous action" in combating the aggression of the Soviet Union and engage in critical self-evaluation to prevent the country from assuming the most odious traits of its Cold War foe. The excavation of Irony's theological foundations is necessary since, rather than explicitly advancing his vision in the work, Niebuhr chose to communicate it implicitly--through thehistorical figure of Abraham Lincoln for instance. Moreover, this book argues that the study of both Niebuhr's theological vision and his application of this vision throughout his life is instructive as the contemporarygeneration engages with global problems.

Exam Prep for The Irony of American History

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The Irony of Barack Obama

Author : R. Ward Holder
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Drawing on the political theology of Reinhold Niebuhr, described by Barack Obama as 'one of my favourite philosophers', this book assesses the challenges facing the President during his first term. It evaluates his success in adhering to Niebuhr's path of 'Christian realism' when faced with the pragmatic demands of domestic and foreign affairs. In 2008 Candidate Obama used the ideas of 'Hope' and 'Change' to inspire voters and secure the presidency. Obama promised change not only regarding America's policies, but even more fundamentally in the nation's political culture. Holder and Josephson describe the foundations of President Obama's Christian faith and the extent to which it has shaped his approach to politics. Their book explores Obama's journey of faith in the context of a broadly Augustinian understanding of faith and politics, examines the tensions between Christian realism and pragmatic progressivism, explains why a Christian realist interpretation is essential to understanding Obama's presidency, and applies this model of understanding to considerations of foreign and domestic policy. By combining this theological and political analysis the book offers a special opportunity to reflect on the relationship between Christian faith and statesmanship, reflections that are missing from current popular discussions of the Obama presidency. Through consideration of Niebuhr's models of the prophet and the statesman, and the more popular alternative of the political evangelist, Holder and Josephson are better able to explain the president's successes and his failures, and to unveil the Augustinian limits of the political life.

American Defense Policy

Author : Paul J. Bolt
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American Defense Policy has been a mainstay for instructors of courses in political science, international relations, military affairs, and American national security for over 25 years. The updated and thoroughly revised eighth edition considers questions of continuity and change in America's defense policy in the face of a global climate beset by geopolitical tensions, rapid technological change, and terrorist violence. On September 11, 2001, the seemingly impervious United States was handed a very sharp reality check. In this new atmosphere of fear and vulnerability, policy makers were forced to make national security their highest priority, implementing laws and military spending initiatives to combat the threat of international terrorism. In this volume, experts examine the many factors that shape today's security landscape -- America's values, the preparation of future defense leaders, the efforts to apply what we have learned from Afghanistan and Iraq to the transformation of America's military, reflection on America's nuclear weapons programs and missile defense, the threat of terrorism, and the challenges of homeland security -- which are applied to widely varied approaches to national defense strategy. This invaluable and prudent text remains a classic introduction to the vital security issues facing the United States throughout its history and breaks new ground as a thoughtful and comprehensive starting point in understanding American defense policy and its role in the world today.

Reinhold Niebuhr

Author : Richard Crouter
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A primer on the current "Niebuhr revival" of the political left and right, this book traces the significance of Reinhold Niebuhr's thought for secular as well as deeply Christian minds. Placed in the context of religious and cultural history, Niebuhr's theological views deepen and challenge contemporary expertise on issues of war, peace, economic, and personal security. While rejecting cynical pessimism and naive optimism, Niebuhr's Christian realism reinvigorates age-old teachings of the Bible, St. Paul, Augustine, and Kierkegaard. His thought enriches present-day debates between science and religion and between atheists, agnostics, and believers. To live with Niebuhr's legacy is to combine critical acumen with humble self-awareness. It is to pursue a larger common good - for him, God-given - that is shared among individuals, nations, and the world community.

Reinhold Niebuhr Revisited

Author : Daniel Rice
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Reinhold Niebuhr Revisited offers fresh and creative ways of looking at Niebuhr?s views on religion, politics, and American culture through the eyes of authors with diverse academic backgrounds and perspectives. / ?Despite all the efforts to dismiss and replace [Niebuhr], he remains and is to be reckoned with ? profitably, we must say ? given the quality of the essays and the qualifications of the essayists in this book. . . . If Niebuhr is worth reading today, what should the reader be looking for, and how might discoveries from a now-historic figure be influential today, and for what should he be noteworthy and a figure of promise? The contributions to this volume are most helpful in answering these questions. . . . Read on, please, and engage Niebuhr anew.?-Martin E. Marty (from the foreword) / Contributors: Charles C. Brown, Henry B. Clark II, William Dean, Gary Dorrien, Douglas John Hall, Martin Halliwell, Mark Hulsether, Robin W. Lovin, Colm McKeogh, Martin E. Marty, Eyal J. Naveh, David W. Noble, Larry Rasmussen, Daniel F. Rice, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Roger L. Shinn, John E. Smith, Ronald H. Stone, Kenneth W. Thompson.

Perspectives and Irony in American Slavery

Author : Harry P. Owens
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Religion and the Public Good

Author : William Lee Miller
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The War time Lincoln and the Ironic Tradition in America

Author : Martin E. Marty
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American Christianities

Author : Catherine A. Brekus
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From the founding of the first colonies until the present, the influence of Christianity, as the dominant faith in American society, has extended far beyond church pews into the wider culture. Yet, at the same time, Christians in the United States have disagreed sharply about the meaning of their shared tradition, and, divided by denominational affiliation, race, and ethnicity, they have taken stances on every side of contested public issues from slavery to women's rights. This volume of twenty-two original essays, contributed by a group of prominent thinkers in American religious studies, provides a sophisticated understanding of both the diversity and the alliances among Christianities in the United States and the influences that have shaped churches and the nation in reciprocal ways. American Christianities explores this paradoxical dynamic of dominance and diversity that are the true marks of a faith too often perceived as homogeneous and monolithic. Contributors: Catherine L. Albanese, University of California, Santa Barbara James B. Bennett, Santa Clara University Edith Blumhofer, Wheaton College Ann Braude, Harvard Divinity School Catherine A. Brekus, University of Chicago Divinity School Kristina Bross, Purdue University Rebecca L. Davis, University of Delaware Curtis J. Evans, University of Chicago Divinity School Tracy Fessenden, Arizona State University Kathleen Flake, Vanderbilt University Divinity School W. Clark Gilpin, University of Chicago Divinity School Stewart M. Hoover, University of Colorado at Boulder Jeanne Halgren Kilde, University of Minnesota David W. Kling, University of Miami Timothy S. Lee, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University Dan McKanan, Harvard Divinity School Michael D. McNally, Carleton College Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame Jon Pahl, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia Sally M. Promey, Yale University Jon H. Roberts, Boston University Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis University

Macon Black and White

Author : Andrew Michael Manis
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A longitudinal study of race relations in a major southern city, Macon Black and White examines the ways white and black Maconites interacted over the course of the entire twentieth century. Beginning in the 1890s, in what has been called the nadir of race relations in America, Andrew M. Manis traces the arduous journey toward racial equality in the heart of Central Georgia. The book describes how, despite incremental progress toward that goal, segregationist pressures sought to silence voices for change on both sides of the color line. Providing a snapshot of black-white relations for every decade of the twentieth century, this compellingly written story highlights the ways indigenous development in Macon combined with other statewide, regional, and national factors to shape the struggle for and against racial equality. Manis shows how both African-Americans and a cadre of white moderates, separately and at times together, gradually increased pressure for change in a conservative Georgia city. Showcasing how disfranchisement, lynching, interracial efforts toward the humanization of segregation, the world wars, and the Civil Rights Movement affected the pace of change, Manis describes the eventual rise of a black political class and the election of Macon's first African-American mayor. The book uses demographic realities as well as the perspectives of black and white Maconites to paint a portrait of contemporary black-white relations in the city. Manis concludes with suggestions on how the city might continue the struggle for racial justice and overcome the unutterable separation that still plagues Macon in the early years of a new century. Macon Black and White is a powerful storythat no one interested in racial change over time can afford to miss.

Why Niebuhr Now

Author : John P. Diggins
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In this book the author tackles the complicated question of why, at a time of great uncertainty about America's proper role in the world, leading politicians and thinkers are turning to Niebuhr for answers. He begins by clearly and carefully working through Niebuhr's theology, which focuses less on God's presence than his absence--and the ways that absence abets the all-too-human sin of pride. He then shows how that theology informed Niebuhr's worldview, leading him to be at the same time a strong opponent of fascism and communism and a leading advocate for humility and caution in foreign policy.

American Constitutionalism Heard Round the World 1776 1989

Author : George Athan Billias
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Winner of the 2010 Book Award from the New England Historical Association American constitutionalism represents this country’s greatest gift to human freedom, yet its story remains largely untold. For over two hundred years, its ideals, ideas, and institutions influenced different peoples in different lands at different times. American constitutionalism and the revolutionary republican documents on which it is based affected countless countries by helping them develop their own constitutional democracies. Western constitutionalism—of which America was a part along with Britain and France—reached a major turning point in global history in 1989, when the forces of democracy exceeded the forces of autocracy for the first time. Historian George Athan Billias traces the spread of American constitutionalism—from Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean region, to Asia and Africa—beginning chronologically with the American Revolution and the fateful "shot heard round the world" and ending with the conclusion of the Cold War in 1989. The American model contributed significantly by spearheading the drive to greater democracy throughout the Western world, and Billias’s landmark study tells a story that will change the way readers view the important role American constitutionalism played during this era.

The Irony of Victory

Author : Marc S. Miller
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The Columbia Documentary History of Religion in America Since 1945

Author : Paul Harvey
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Of late, religion seems to be everywhere, suffusing U.S. politics and popular culture and acting as both a unifying and a divisive force. This collection of manifestos, Supreme Court decisions, congressional testimonies, speeches, articles, book excerpts, pastoral letters, interviews, song lyrics, memoirs, and poems reflects the vitality, diversity, and changing nature of religious belief and practice in American public and private life over the last half century. Encompassing a range of perspectives, this book illustrates the ways in which individuals from all along the religious and political spectrum have engaged religion and viewed it as a crucial aspect of society. The anthology begins with documents that reflect the close relationship of religion, especially mainline Protestantism, to essential ideas undergirding Cold War America. Covering both the center and the margins of American religious life, this volume devotes extended attention to how issues of politics, race, gender, and sexuality have influenced the religious mainstream. A series of documents reflects the role of religion and theology in the civil rights, feminist, and gay rights movements as well as in conservative responses. Issues regarding religion and contemporary American culture are explored in documents about the rise of the evangelical movement and the religious right; the impact of "new" (post-1965) immigrant communities on the religious landscape; the popularity of alternative, New Age, and non-Western beliefs; and the relationship between religion and popular culture. The editors conclude with selections exploring major themes of American religious life at the millennium, including both conservative and New Age millennialism, as well as excerpts that speculate on the future of religion in the United States. The documents are grouped by theme into nine chapters and arranged chronologically therein. Each chapter features an extensive introduction providing context for and analysis of the critical issues raised by the primary sources.

A World of Hope a World of Fear

Author : Mark L. Kleinman
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Historian Kleinman juxtaposes the intellectual and professional lives of two the key figures in US history after World War II to explore a fatal division in American liberal thinking about domestic politics and international relations during and after the war. Wallace, who started in agriculture and served as vice president, did not rule out a cooperative relationship with the Soviet Union; Niebuhr, an internationally respected protestant theologian and political commentator, categorically rejected dealing with any communists at home or abroad. He argues that Wallace's defeat in the 1942 campaign for president perpetuated the climate of fear that only melted during the Vietnam War. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Rebels Without a Cause

Author : Gerd Hurm
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The figure of the rebel of the 1950s shaped the imagination of the American post-war generation. Yet the notoriety of the rebel resides uneasily beside that of the conformist, ironically one of the other central figures of the decade. This collection of essays, which originated at an international conference in Trier, Germany, in 2005, sets out to explain the multiple representations of rebellion and affirmation in 1950s American culture. It explores the ways in which rebellion was 'contained' and also disruptive during this pivotal decade of American ascendance on the global scene. In a series of essays written by prominent American Studies scholars in the United States and Germany, the collection explores the meaning of rebellion in the 1950s and its role in shaping theological, literary and cultural discourses.

Strict Wildness

Author : Peter Viereck
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A reviewer once called Peter Viereck's thought "not common sense but inspired, electric common sense." This volume of Viereck's selected essays on poetry and on history, written between 1938 through 2004, exemplifies this quality. Its main theme is suggested in Viereck's coined phrase "strict wildness," which suggests a balance between restraint (which by itself is staid and rigid) and passion (which by itself is incoherent). Frost called free verse tennis without the net. Viereck calls dead mechanical form "net without the tennis." Strict wildness, then, is spontaneity of feeling within strict organic form. The book explores questions of modernism and poetic craft with respect to American poetry. It discusses the controversy over Ezra Pound's politics and its relation to his poetics, and the nearly forgotten poet Vachel Lindsay. Viereck offers more general views on poetics, including the fruitful tensions between form and content, and the impact of modern technology on poetic expression. This book also discusses history and politics, and contains essays on McCarthyism, the Cold War, political conformity of the Left and Right, and issues of historiography and culture that define Viereck's highly individual, often critical brand of conservatism. In treating representative trends and figures in conservative thought, Viereck insists on clear awareness of what exists to conserve, what ought to be conserved, and why it should be conserved. In their range and originality, the writings brought together in Strict Wildness constitute an ideal introduction to Peter Viereck's literary and political thought. It will be of interest to literary scholars, intellectual historians, and political scientists.

The American Scene

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