A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good
The struggle between individual rights and the good of the community has been the basis of nearly every major disagreement in our history, from the debates at the Constitutional Convention to the fights surrounding the agendas of the Federalists, the Progressives, and the Tea Party. In American Character, Colin Woodard traces these key strands in American politics through the four centuries of the nation's existence, and how different regions of the country have successfully or disastrously accommodated them.
Woodard argues that maintaining a liberal democracy requires finding a balance between protecting individual liberty and nurturing a free society. Going to either libertarian or collectivist extremes results in tyranny. But where does the “sweet spot” lie in the United States, a federation of disparate regional cultures that have always strongly disagreed on these issues? Woodard leads readers on a riveting and revealing journey through four centuries of struggle, experimentation, successes and failures to provide an answer.