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The Idea of America - Reflections on the Birth of the United States-logo

The Idea of America - Reflections on the Birth of the United States

Gordon S. Wood

The preeminent historian of the American Revolution explains why it remains the most significant event in our history. More than almost any other nation in the world, the United States began as an idea. For this reason, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood believes that the American Revolution is the most important event in our history, bar none. Since American identity is so fluid and not based on any universally shared heritage, we have had to continually return to our nation's founding to understand who we are. In The Idea of America, Wood reflects on the birth of American nationhood and explains why the revolution remains so essential. In a series of elegant and illuminating essays, Wood explores the ideological origins of the revolution-from ancient Rome to the European Enlightenment-and the founders' attempts to forge an American democracy. As Wood reveals, while the founders hoped to create a virtuous republic of yeoman farmers and uninterested leaders, they instead gave birth to a sprawling, licentious, and materialistic popular democracy. Wood also traces the origins of American exceptionalism to this period, revealing how the revolutionary generation, despite living in a distant, sparsely populated country, believed itself to be the most enlightened people on earth. The revolution gave Americans their messianic sense of purpose-and perhaps our continued propensity to promote democracy around the world-because the founders believed their colonial rebellion had universal significance for oppressed peoples everywhere. Yet what may seem like audacity in retrospect reflected the fact that in the eighteenth century republicanism was a truly radical ideology-as radical as Marxism would be in the nineteenth-and one that indeed inspired revolutionaries the world over. Today there exists what Wood calls a terrifying gap between us and the founders, such that it requires almost an act of imagination to fully recapture their era. Because we now take our democracy for granted, it is nearly impossible

The preeminent historian of the American Revolution explains why it remains the most significant event in our history. More than almost any other nation in the world, the United States began as an idea. For this reason, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood believes that the American Revolution is the most important event in our history, bar none. Since American identity is so fluid and not based on any universally shared heritage, we have had to continually return to our nation's founding to understand who we are. In The Idea of America, Wood reflects on the birth of American nationhood and explains why the revolution remains so essential. In a series of elegant and illuminating essays, Wood explores the ideological origins of the revolution-from ancient Rome to the European Enlightenment-and the founders' attempts to forge an American democracy. As Wood reveals, while the founders hoped to create a virtuous republic of yeoman farmers and uninterested leaders, they instead gave birth to a sprawling, licentious, and materialistic popular democracy. Wood also traces the origins of American exceptionalism to this period, revealing how the revolutionary generation, despite living in a distant, sparsely populated country, believed itself to be the most enlightened people on earth. The revolution gave Americans their messianic sense of purpose-and perhaps our continued propensity to promote democracy around the world-because the founders believed their colonial rebellion had universal significance for oppressed peoples everywhere. Yet what may seem like audacity in retrospect reflected the fact that in the eighteenth century republicanism was a truly radical ideology-as radical as Marxism would be in the nineteenth-and one that indeed inspired revolutionaries the world over. Today there exists what Wood calls a terrifying gap between us and the founders, such that it requires almost an act of imagination to fully recapture their era. Because we now take our democracy for granted, it is nearly impossible
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Description:

The preeminent historian of the American Revolution explains why it remains the most significant event in our history. More than almost any other nation in the world, the United States began as an idea. For this reason, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood believes that the American Revolution is the most important event in our history, bar none. Since American identity is so fluid and not based on any universally shared heritage, we have had to continually return to our nation's founding to understand who we are. In The Idea of America, Wood reflects on the birth of American nationhood and explains why the revolution remains so essential. In a series of elegant and illuminating essays, Wood explores the ideological origins of the revolution-from ancient Rome to the European Enlightenment-and the founders' attempts to forge an American democracy. As Wood reveals, while the founders hoped to create a virtuous republic of yeoman farmers and uninterested leaders, they instead gave birth to a sprawling, licentious, and materialistic popular democracy. Wood also traces the origins of American exceptionalism to this period, revealing how the revolutionary generation, despite living in a distant, sparsely populated country, believed itself to be the most enlightened people on earth. The revolution gave Americans their messianic sense of purpose-and perhaps our continued propensity to promote democracy around the world-because the founders believed their colonial rebellion had universal significance for oppressed peoples everywhere. Yet what may seem like audacity in retrospect reflected the fact that in the eighteenth century republicanism was a truly radical ideology-as radical as Marxism would be in the nineteenth-and one that indeed inspired revolutionaries the world over. Today there exists what Wood calls a terrifying gap between us and the founders, such that it requires almost an act of imagination to fully recapture their era. Because we now take our democracy for granted, it is nearly impossible

Language:

English

Narrators:

Robert Fass

Length:

12h 58m


Chapters

Chapter 1
Chapter 1

06:05


Chapter 2
Chapter 2

06:36


Chapter 3
Chapter 3

08:53


Chapter 4
Chapter 4

07:38


Chapter 5
Chapter 5

08:02


Chapter 6
Chapter 6

08:01


Chapter 7
Chapter 7

09:01


Chapter 8
Chapter 8

09:17


Chapter 9
Chapter 9

09:41


Chapter 10
Chapter 10

07:25


Chapter 11
Chapter 11

07:10


Chapter 12
Chapter 12

07:16


Chapter 13
Chapter 13

07:19


Chapter 14
Chapter 14

07:15


Chapter 15
Chapter 15

08:12


Chapter 16
Chapter 16

07:47


Chapter 17
Chapter 17

04:38


Chapter 18
Chapter 18

07:25


Chapter 19
Chapter 19

06:11


Chapter 20
Chapter 20

06:49


Chapter 21
Chapter 21

06:56


Chapter 22
Chapter 22

06:18


Chapter 23
Chapter 23

06:08


Chapter 24
Chapter 24

09:18


Chapter 25
Chapter 25

06:13


Chapter 26
Chapter 26

08:47


Chapter 27
Chapter 27

06:49


Chapter 28
Chapter 28

06:50


Chapter 29
Chapter 29

06:26


Chapter 30
Chapter 30

06:32


Chapter 31
Chapter 31

05:17


Chapter 32
Chapter 32

05:28


Chapter 33
Chapter 33

07:44


Chapter 34
Chapter 34

09:49


Chapter 35
Chapter 35

08:55


Chapter 36
Chapter 36

07:40


Chapter 37
Chapter 37

08:23


Chapter 38
Chapter 38

05:08


Chapter 39
Chapter 39

05:16


Chapter 40
Chapter 40

07:52


Chapter 41
Chapter 41

08:05


Chapter 42
Chapter 42

06:51


Chapter 43
Chapter 43

06:37


Chapter 44
Chapter 44

06:02


Chapter 45
Chapter 45

05:58


Chapter 46
Chapter 46

08:47


Chapter 47
Chapter 47

08:38


Chapter 48
Chapter 48

05:39


Chapter 49
Chapter 49

05:03


Chapter 50
Chapter 50

06:39


Chapter 51
Chapter 51

07:06


Chapter 52
Chapter 52

07:18


Chapter 53
Chapter 53

07:31


Chapter 54
Chapter 54

08:20


Chapter 55
Chapter 55

08:17


Chapter 56
Chapter 56

07:49


Chapter 57
Chapter 57

08:45


Chapter 58
Chapter 58

08:35


Chapter 59
Chapter 59

07:15


Chapter 60
Chapter 60

08:33


Chapter 61
Chapter 61

07:42


Chapter 62
Chapter 62

07:38


Chapter 63
Chapter 63

07:07


Chapter 64
Chapter 64

07:35


Chapter 65
Chapter 65

08:36


Chapter 66
Chapter 66

08:14


Chapter 67
Chapter 67

07:49


Chapter 68
Chapter 68

04:24


Chapter 69
Chapter 69

07:41


Chapter 70
Chapter 70

07:15


Chapter 71
Chapter 71

07:29


Chapter 72
Chapter 72

07:03


Chapter 73
Chapter 73

07:47


Chapter 74
Chapter 74

07:34


Chapter 75
Chapter 75

07:09


Chapter 76
Chapter 76

06:36


Chapter 77
Chapter 77

06:15


Chapter 78
Chapter 78

06:13


Chapter 79
Chapter 79

06:01


Chapter 80
Chapter 80

05:43


Chapter 81
Chapter 81

08:39


Chapter 82
Chapter 82

10:16


Chapter 83
Chapter 83

07:03


Chapter 84
Chapter 84

07:08


Chapter 85
Chapter 85

07:15


Chapter 86
Chapter 86

05:13


Chapter 87
Chapter 87

05:24


Chapter 88
Chapter 88

08:32


Chapter 89
Chapter 89

09:36


Chapter 90
Chapter 90

07:09


Chapter 91
Chapter 91

05:22


Chapter 92
Chapter 92

05:26


Chapter 93
Chapter 93

05:00


Chapter 94
Chapter 94

08:54


Chapter 95
Chapter 95

07:22


Chapter 96
Chapter 96

06:56


Chapter 97
Chapter 97

05:35


Chapter 98
Chapter 98

06:09


Chapter 99
Chapter 99

07:57


Chapter 100
Chapter 100

06:29


Chapter 101
Chapter 101

06:35


Chapter 102
Chapter 102

08:15


Chapter 103
Chapter 103

08:19


Chapter 104
Chapter 104

07:13


Chapter 105
Chapter 105

07:17


Chapter 106
Chapter 106

07:11


Chapter 107
Chapter 107

09:47