For the ages For Hofstadter, pictured here in , anti-intellectualism was an unavoidable part of a democratic society. (Erich Hartmann / Magnum Photos). Anti-intellectualism in American Life was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Non- Fiction. It is a book which throws light on many features of the American. Tonight I began a six-week session leading a Newberry Library seminar on Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.

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Continuing my winding journey looking at conspiracy theories and the culture that spawns and supports them, I came across this gem from Hofstadter regarding the anti-intellectualism of the united states from the first colonizers to the ‘s. The term, attached to Adlai Stevenson and the two presidential campaigns, was seized upon and diffused by a range of anti-intellectual forces.

He may also be aware that in former days–in the times, say, of Andrew Carnegie–the great business leader, despite some hostility, was a cultural-hero. These may seem strange attributes for intellectuals who might well be atheist scientists or equally might be engaged in work of the utmost solemnity. In considering the historic tension between access to education and excellence in education, Hofstadter argued that both anti-intellectualism and utilitarianism were consequences, in part, of the democratization of knowledge.

They know they can’t entertain compared to halfbacks or point guards. I picked up this book by Richard Hofstadter because I was sick of reading about him in other books without ever having read him myself. Filled with obscure and ill-directed grievances and frustrations, with elaborate hallucinations about secrets and conspiracies, groups of malcontents have found scapegoats at various times in Masons or abolitionists, Catholics, Mormons, or Jews, Negroes, or immigrants, the liquor interests or the international bankers.

The origins of American hostility to intellectualism has perverse origins as the Founding Fathers and those of their social class were all intellectuals…. The uneducated wealthy were their own destroyers. Refresh and try again. If the s represented an apex of the anti-intellectual cycle, as Hofstadter speculates, I harbor doubts that it has lessened much or any since then.

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The book covered politicians who manipulate the truth from Andrew Jackson down through Eisenhower with an anti-intellectual spin, and he puts a pro-intellectual spin on Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Adlai Stevenson, and Thomas Jefferson. Jan 04, Pages. If that’s what you’re into.

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Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter | : Books

Many critics have traced, over the past generation or more, the near or virtual disappearance of public intellectuals: May 12, Nicole rated it it was amazing Shelves: He would applaud as much as any Article X of our State Constitution, which guarantees to all Montana citizens the right of access to education.

The prominence of figures such as Dale Carnegie explains the application of this cult. But I certainly appreciate its necessity.

It examines in depth the influence of John Dewey on the educational system, and the conflicting drives of traditional education to learn the classical subjects as opposed to the modernising desire of the “New Education” whose goal was to prepare students to become good citizens in a democracy.

As in so many areas, Hofstadter is accurate and little has changed. Anti-intellectualism and utilitarianism were functions of American cultural heritage, not necessarily of democracy.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations. How would the historian avoid overstating the case in ? Escaping from aristocracy and a highly educated strictly structured clergy, evangelicals became firmly established in America. As the official blog of the Society of US Intellectual History, we hope to foster a diverse community of scholars and readers who engage with one another in discussions of US intellectual history, broadly understood.

In the past couple of decades, chronic, strident criticism of the higher education enterprise–a home of intellectuals–has reached a new decibel level. We welcome suggestions for corrections to any of our posts.

Anti-intellectualism in American Life – Wikipedia

Looking for More Great Reads? Education and knowledge are not not very high up on the totem pole as compared to sports and entertainment and worship of power and money.

The latter part, as mentioned, focuses on reformation. Anti-intrllectualism closes his introduction with a naive footnote that glosses the supposedly “back-handed tribute democracy pays to the importance of intellect”:.

Being uneducated, they couldn’t see what the intellectuals were doing, and financed the war against them [by donating large sums of money to universities and education]. January Learn how and when to remove this template message. Roy I actually think more recent books may be less relevant, because they are tied up in the issues of our time. This belief, that religion should be a personal experience to which everyone should have unmediated access, was of course an outgrowth of Protestantism in many ways, and became strongly linked in the late 19th Century with the rise in populist democratic sentiment.


Perhaps they don’t anti-intellecgualism such news because it interferes with bedrock religious convictions. This section also examines some preachers’ lives in quite some detail to explain their approach, their appeal, and their personalities, in an interesting history that I knew almost nothing about.

Russell Jacoby’s The Last Intellectuals: Maybe it will be a grinding read for some but I found it completely spell-binding as it really got me thinking and I think helped me learn quite ahti-intellectualism bit of US history as well. I once wrote a personal-reflections essay on intellectual history Reviews in American History, December that Paul Murphy brought to the attention of this blog where it received substantial criticism, but the good news was that the incident introduced me to S-USIH!

Thanks for being this important matter up! So began a war that lasted a hundred years to control the vulgar rich, to Summary: The desire to create, to discover, to engage with, requires not only a sort of hubris but an element of playfulness as well. If being an author didn’t hurt Kennedy’s election, it might well have hurt Al Gore’s status. I really appreciated his evaluation of religion, business, and education coupled with this issue of practicality vs. I first read this book in my Intellectual History of the United States class when I was in college a hundred years ago and I’ve felt the need to revisit it about every decade.

Read it Forward Read it first.

We live further away from Jefferson’s concept of meritocracy wherein the brightest run the affairs of state than ever. In teacher education curricula, “exceptionality” has been, for some while, a anti-intellevtualism and subject of one or more courses. Theirs anti-intellectaulism a social structure with its corner stone resting on a book …. But all in all, a worthy study to ch Continuing my winding journey looking at conspiracy theories and the culture that spawns and supports them, I came across this gem from Hofstadter regarding the anti-intellectualism of the united states from the first colonizers to the ‘s.

Richard Hofstadter’s masterwork reminds us that these are enduring though, happily, not always dominant themes in our political discourse. Most recent books seem to treat this as a recent phenomenon, and often as only anti-inttellectualism function of something like stupidity. And these attitudes have consequences.