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The American Political Tradition written by Richard Hofstadter is an extremely influential book highlighting Americas political past Hofstadter wrote the book at the age of 27 and did not hesitate to include his rather strong ideals and beliefs He rejected the progressive historians like Charles A Beard and Carl Becker He managed to point out flaws in virtually every revered political figure he came across in his eyes it was difficult to be truly great As the political scientist Ira Katznelson has said Hofstadter wrote The American Political Tradition during dark times for Enlightenment liberalism Frightened by topics such as the possible revival of fascism and Soviet communism Hofstadter joined the battle for liberalisms soul In this book he warns of the dangers of turning the past into an ideological tool He was reacting not just to the left and right-wing ideas of his own day but also to Charles Beard and other forerunners who had sought a usable past -- history that could be put in the service of social justice Hofstadter preferred not to use the past but as Christopher Lasch pointed out to assimilate it -- to understand how history shaped his own political and intellectual climate without boiling it down to practical lessons In opposing the Progressive views Hofstadter assumed a radical position in which he viewed each person as having their own conscience and opinions In attacking Lincoln Hofstadter proclaims he is a self made myth He doesnt buy any of the hype about Lincoln being the honest innocent man He argues In a world that works through ambition and self-help while inculcating an ethic that looks upon their results with disdain how can an earnest man a public figure living in a time of crisis gratify his aspirations and yet remain morally whole Hofstadter believed Lincoln was thoroughly and completely the politician He describes his political tendencies and habits even from childhood He goes on
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