The Ideas That Made America: A Brief History

Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2019-02-04
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
  • Free Shipping Icon

    Free Shipping on all Orders Over $35!*

    *excludes Marketplace items.

  • Buyback Icon We Buy This Book Back!
    In-Store Credit: $1.31
    Check/Direct Deposit: $1.25
List Price: $18.95

Buy New

Usually Ships in 2-3 Business Days

Buy Used

In Stock

Rent Book

Select for Price
There was a problem. Please try again later.

Rent Digital

Online: 180 Days access
Downloadable: 180 Days
Online: 365 Days access
Downloadable: 365 Days
Online: 1460 Days access
Downloadable: Lifetime Access

This item is being sold by an Individual Seller and will not ship from the Online Bookstore's warehouse. The Seller must confirm the order within two business days. If the Seller refuses to sell or fails to confirm within this time frame, then the order is cancelled.

Please be sure to read the Description offered by the Seller.


Long before the United States was a nation, it was a set of ideas, projected onto the New World by European explorers with centuries of belief and thought in tow. From this foundation of expectation and experience, America and American thought grew in turn, enriched by the bounties of the Enlightenment, the philosophies of liberty and individuality, the tenets of religion, and the doctrines of republicanism and democracy. Crucial to this development were the thinkers who nurtured it, from Thomas Jefferson to Ralph Waldo Emerson, W.E.B. DuBois to Jane Addams, and Betty Friedan to Richard Rorty. The Ideas That Made America: A Brief History traces how Americans have addressed the issues and events of their time and place, whether the Civil War, the Great Depression, or the culture wars of today.

Spanning a variety of disciplines, from religion, philosophy, and political thought, to cultural criticism, social theory, and the arts, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen shows how ideas have been major forces in American history, driving movements such as transcendentalism, Social Darwinism, conservatism, and postmodernism. In engaging and accessible prose, this introduction to American thought considers how notions about freedom and belonging, the market and morality -- and even truth -- have commanded generations of Americans and been the cause of fierce debate.

Author Biography

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is Merle Curti Associate Professor of History and Vilas-Borghesi Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she teaches U.S. intellectual and cultural history. She is the author of the prize-wining American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas (2012). Her co-edited volumes include Protest on the Page: Essays on Print and the Cultures of Dissent (2015) with James Danky and the late James Baughman, and The Worlds of American Intellectual History (2016) with Joel Isaac, James Kloppenberg, and the late Michael O'Brien. Her next book project is a history of wisdom in 20th-century American thought and culture.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: World of Empires (Precontact-1740)
Chapter 2: America and the Transatlantic Enlightenment (1740-1800)
Chapter 3: From Republican to Romantic (1800-1850)
Chapter 4: Contests of Intellectual Authority (1850-1890)
Chapter 5: Fin-de-si├Ęcle Revolts against Absolutes (1890-1920)
Chapter 6: Roots and Rootlessness from the First World War
to the Second (1920-45)
Chapter 7: The Opening of the American Mind (1945-1970)
Chapter 8: The End of Universalism (1962-1990s)
Epilogue: Rethinking Cosmopolitanism in an Age of Globalization

An electronic version of this book is available through VitalSource.

This book is viewable on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and most smartphones.

By purchasing, you will be able to view this book online, as well as download it, for the chosen number of days.

A downloadable version of this book is available through the eCampus Reader or compatible Adobe readers.

Applications are available on iOS, Android, PC, Mac, and Windows Mobile platforms.

Please view the compatibility matrix prior to purchase.