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Demanding Democracy:
American Radicals in Search of a New Politics
Marc Stears

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"In quest of America's radical democratic tradition? Here it is: in the dreams of the early Progressives and in the 1960s lunch counter protests in Greensboro, North Carolina, in the early CIO commitment to justice by any means necessary and in the later Vietnam-era antiwar movement. Writing with a realist's appreciation of the complexities of politics, but with an idealist's care for the lives and fortunes of his subjects, Marc Stears tells the story of those who risked everything to take their place at the democratic table. Battles for a new citizenship, workplace democracy, participatory practices, and racial equality come alive, as do the voices of the intellectuals who helped shape them: Croly, Lippmann, Niebuhr, Dewey, Ellison, King, Carmichael, Walzer, and Arendt. But this is not just a work of history. This book finds in the ups and downs of American radicalism the resources with which to contest contemporary political theory's often settled opinion that utopianism leads to violence and that violence has no place in a properly liberal or deliberative politics. Demanding Democracy demands to be read by anyone committed to the reinvigoration of political theory and practice."--Bonnie Honig, Northwestern University

"This is an important book at the intersection of political history and political theory, written at a time when new perspectives in American self-understanding are very much needed, especially on the political left."--Eldon J. Eisenach, professor emeritus, University of Tulsa

"Marc Stears is an excellent scholar, and his richly textured and expansive book is a good marriage of political theory and history. What is most valuable is his success in writing the history of American radicalism without getting bogged down in the tired old question of why there is no socialism in America."--Mark Hulliung, Brandeis University

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File created: 4/21/2017

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