Man's Better Angels
Romantic Reformers and the Coming of the Civil WarBook - 2017
Man's Better Angels explores the ideas that influenced antebellum reform efforts in the United States, especially after the social, political, and economic shocks the country suffered after the Panic of 1837. The Panic also galvanized reformers, encouraging some to act and others to act even more aggressively. Overwhelmingly, these reformers were animated by an ethic of individualism and self-reliance through which they believed social harmony was possible. The beliefs and assumptions that informed these reformers' solutions to America's most intractable problems presumed a causal chain that began with the reformation of individuals, and through them communities, and through them the nation and world. They repeatedly ran into hard political and economic realities that were at the core of the country's malaise but unfortunately chose to turn their effort in other directions. Gura uses seven individuals--George Ripley, Horace Greeley, William B. Greene, Orson Squire Fowler, Mary Gove Nichols, Henry David Thoreau, and John Brown--to explore the finally futile efforts of antebellum reformers to apply their solutions to America's problems, which ranged from growing inequality to the most intractable problem of all, slavery.-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2017.
Copyright Date: ©2017
Branch Call Number: 303.484 GURA
Characteristics: 315 pages ; 22 cm