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Politics and PartnershipsThe Role of Voluntary Associations in America's Political Past and Present$
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Elisabeth S. Clemens and Doug Guthrie

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226109961

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226109985.001.0001

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Civil Society and American Nationalism, 1776–1865

Civil Society and American Nationalism, 1776–1865

Chapter:
(p.29) Chapter Two Civil Society and American Nationalism, 1776–1865
Source:
Politics and Partnerships
Author(s):

Neem Johann N.

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226109985.003.0002

This chapter examines the role of civil society in fostering American nationalism. Nationalism, according to Charles Taylor, is vital to modern liberal democracies. In a democracy, persuasion must be used instead of force or violence to achieve one's political goals. For a citizen to be willing to sacrifice her immediate goals, she must consider herself part of an “ongoing collective agency.” Without some emotional or affectionate bond—without nationalism—citizens will have little reason to put aside their immediate interests and desires for the good of the whole, including the rule of law. Similarly, Craig Calhoun argues that democratic politics “requires thinking of ‘the people’ as active and coherent, and oneself as both a member and an agent.”

Keywords:   civil society, American nationalism, Charles Taylor, liberal democracies, rule of law, democratic politics

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