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The American experiment and the idea of democracy in British culture, 1776-1914

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ella Dzelzainis


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In nineteenth-century Britain, the effects of democracy in America were seen to spread from Congress all the way down to the personal habits of its citizens. Bringing together political theorists, historians, and literary scholars, this volume explores the idea of American democracy in nineteenth-century Britain. The essays span the period from Independence to the First World War and trace an intellectual history of Anglo-American relations during that period. Leading scholars trace the hopes and fears inspired by the American model of democracy in the works of commentators, including Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, Alexis de Tocqueville, Charles Dickens, John Stuart Mill, Richard Cobden, Charles Dilke, Matthew Arnold, Henry James and W. T. Stead. By examining the context of debates about American democracy and notions of 'culture', citizenship, and race, the collection sheds fresh light on well-documented moments of British political history, such as the Reform Acts, the Abolition of Slavery Act, and the Anti-Corn Law agitation. The volume also explores the ways in which British Liberalism was shaped by the American example and draws attention to the importance of print culture in furthering radical political dialogue between the two nations. As the comprehensive introduction makes clear, this collection makes an important contribution to transatlantic studies and our growing sense of a nineteenth-century modernity shaped by an Atlantic exchange. It is an essential reference point for all interested in the history of the idea of democracy, its political evolution, and its perceived cultural consequences. © Ella Dzelzainis and Ruth Livesey and the contributors 2013. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dzelzainis E, Livesey R

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: The American Experiment and the Idea of Democracy in British Culture, 1776-1914

Year: 2013

Pages: 254

Print publication date: 23/10/2013

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing Ltd

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781409400806