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254CIVIL WAR HISTORY lucid and rational mind, but he was no genius. His thinking, Brooks reports , was "acute rather than profound." Because Brooks' volume contains one of the most candid and reliable contemporary portraits of Lincoln as President, Herbert Mitgang, a member of the New York Times editorial board, deserves special praise for publishing it again, along with Dicey's travel narrative and Abraham Lincoln, A Press Portrait. One only wishes that the quality of editing in the trilogy were more consistent. The Press Portrait, for its part, was admirably put together, with editorial commentary that is good reading in itself. Except for an occasional slip ( such as identifying John C. Calhoun, in brackets, as "Stephen" Calhoun), Mitgang also did an able job on Dicey's book: he pared away extraneous matter, composed an informative introduction, and eschewed decorating the text with pedantic references. Unhappily, Brooks' valume was not so well edited. While Mitgang wrote an excellent general introduction, he chose to add chapter headnotes—many of them pedestrian and redundant—which impede the flow of the narrative. Washington, DC, in Lincoln's Time would be better edited had Mitgang allowed the correspondent to tell his own story without editorial commentary. Stephen B. Oates University of Massachusetts, Amherst The American Quest, 1790-1860. By Clinton Rossiter. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971. Pp. xvi, 396. $9.50.) Clinton Rossiter died in 1970; this is his last book. Though advertised as the second of a new series planned by him (the first was Donald Robinson's Slavery in the Structure of American Politics), it actually completes his discussion of the American past as a source of guidance and inspiration for the future. This discussion has developed over the years in works on American conservatism, the political ideas of the founding fathers, the nature of colonial society, the great constitutional convention, and, by way of contrast, a study of Marxism as seen and criticized from his traditional, constitutional, libertarian, and above ali, American perspective. Throughout these works Rossiter has made a major and self-conscious contribution to the so-called "consensus school" of American scholarship in history and political science, which evidently reached its peak of influence in the 1950's and early sixties, and has since come under attack, notably from the New Left. The American Quest will probably stimulate less discussion than Seedtime of the Republic and Conservatism in America, because it is an extension of views already well known. But Rossiter has not merely repeated himself here. The first third of the book treats the problem of what must go into the making of a modern nation. Rossiter believes the national state to be clearly established as the mechanism through which men now strive for increases in ma- BOOK REVIEWS255 terial comfort, leisure, productivity, longevity, and even identity. In discussing the ways in which nations pursue "modernity" (the sum of these good things) Rossiter arrives at a prescription for new nations: they should have a constitution which is respected and understood by the people; they should have a free press and free elections; the government should have authority to control the flow of investment and the use of resources, including labor; it should be willing to relax this authority whenever it appears that private initiative or foreign investment will be more advantageous than public enterprise; and while all proper respect should be conceded to ethnic and religious feelings, the government should find some means of submerging these in a larger patriotism—in brief, old folkways should yield peacefully to the demands of nationalism and modernity. Rossiter's exercise in the theory of modern nation-making serves as a grand introduction to his review of the first seventy years of the United States under the Constitution of 1787. Rossiter finds the essentials of nation-making so admirably, if unevenly, given to our ancestors as to make the early United States "both the forerunner and archtype" (p. 314) of modern nation-building. Indeed, "the United States of 1790-1860—an experiment without precedent in scale and intensity as a popular and voluntary commitment to innovation, expansion, growth, mobility, democracy, individualism, and nationalism—takes second place to no country in modern history...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 254-256
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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