Liberalism in America: Hartz and his critics

Abstract
Over the past 50 years, Louis Hartz?s reinterpretation of American political thought has had considerable influence ? both in shaping later studies and provoking rebuttals. Drawing on Tocqueville?s observation that Americans were fortunate in having been ?born equal? instead of having to become so by revolution, Hartz compared American political thought with that of Britain and France in order to show that America has been enthralled by an ?irrational Lockianism?. Although criticisms need to be taken into account, and the thesis modified to take account of subsequent developments, it remains an indispensable and illuminating frame of analysis
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