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Richard Hofstadters The American Political Tradition like all his other writings was greatly influenced by the ideology of the time period in which he wrote The book was written at a time when progressive ideas were the most prevalent school of thought Hofstadter was part of a growing number of writers who challenged these self-glorifying ideas In the mid-thirties America had lost practically all critical content in favor of a resurgence of American cultural chauvinism a tiresome celebration of the American past This mentality was partially fueled by the New Deal where the government helped pull the country out of The Depression The emergence of Communism also played a big role There was a strong reaction to those who believed that communism should become the new Americanism Suddenly anti-American thought and critical writing gave way to a literature of hero worship and national self- congratulation This reaction to communism caused many Americans to rally behind democracy becoming more patriotic and less critical of American history its heroes and their flaws Going against the fashion Hofstadter wrote true to his own philosophy that American political heroes are not saints in plaster but live and vulnerable figures of controversy Much of Hofstadters early writing was influenced by Marxism as an intellectual alternative to capitalism Although not a supporter of Stalin he did agree with the Marxist economic interpretation of history He did not however buy into the whole cultural transformation It is these early roots in Marxist ideology that also contribute to Hofstadters critical eye on American history
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