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Ideas, Ideologies, and Social Movements
The United States Experience since 1800

Edited by Peter A. Coclanis and Stuart Bruchey

Examines the influence Americans exerted to bring about change in the nation

A volume that investigates an aspect of social and intellectual history—as substantial as it is under-researched—Ideas, Ideologies, and Social Movements uncovers the role of ideas and ideologies in some of the most important social movements in United States history. Fifteen leading historians and sociologists investigate attempts to bring about or to prevent social or institutional change—from political democratization, evangelism, feminism, and abolitionism to the support of animal rights, rights for the elderly, children's rights, and civil rights. The contributors contend that capitalism has animated virtually all significant American social movements.

The contributors provide in-depth accounts of individual movements and shed new light on their similarities and differences. They evaluate the importance of ideas and a variety of cultural expressions—songs, marches, paintings, poetry, history, and uniforms—in uniting, energizing, and inspiring individuals. In addition they analyze the effectiveness of each movement in translating ideology into action.

Underscoring the impact of American cultural commitments to private property and to individual autonomy on the country's social conscience, editors Peter A. Coclanis and Stuart Bruchey explain that capitalism provided the economic and ideological support necessary for various movements, some of which, ironically, arose in opposition to the capitalist system. The contributors support this by showing how new conventions regarding moral responsibility and moral worth in these consequential movements were rooted in capitalism. While the contributors highlight specific ideologies they conclude that without the material, ethical, and epistemological freedom capitalism nurtured, many American social movements would have been unsuccessful and perhaps inconceivable.

Peter A. Coclanis is a George and Alice Welsh Professor and chair of the history department at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Stuart Bruchey is Allen Nevins Professor Emeritus of American Economic History at Columbia University.



book jacket for Ideas, Ideologies, and Social Movements


6 x 9
256 pages
ISBN 978-1-57003-313-1
hardcover, $39.95s

Stuart Bruchey
Eleanor Bruchey
Peter A. Colanis
Lacy K. Ford, Jr.
Gary Gerstle
Hugh Davis Graham
Thomas L. Haskell
Louis Henkin
James M. Jasper
Ruth Nadelhaft
Mark A. Noll
Giulio Pontecorvo
Reed Ueda
Donald Worster
Viviana A. Zelizer


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