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Democracies in America

Keywords for the 19th Century and Today

«Engaging, conversational, tangible and accessible for readers.»

UVA Center for Politics, Politics is Everything Podcast
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Oxford University Press
24 x 16 cm


«Engaging, conversational, tangible and accessible for readers.»

UVA Center for Politics, Politics is Everything Podcast

«Assembling a diverse array of humanists and social scientists, Emerson and Laski have produced an impressive volume that refines key terms related to democracy in the nineteenth century. Defining concepts from tyranny, disfranchisement, and moderation to equality, citizenship, and public opinion, Democracies in America helps us better understand the struggles the United States continues to face in the 2020s.»

Keri Leigh Merritt, Author of Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slaveryin the Antebellum South

«The moral and political topography of the United States is rich, varied, and intricate. This volume of key terms is an extraordinary guide through the thicket of American democratic culture. In moving through the vocabulary one discovers more than words—one discovers a way of living, defined as much by common aspirations as by deep differences. Democracies in America is a civic lesson born from what I can only describe as civic affection. An essential text!»

Melvin Rogers, Department of Political Science, Brown University

«This elegant and timely volume explores the historical roots of our current political moment, anchoring the present in the past to open up meaningful conversations about what democratic government means to us today. The essays are engaging, accessible, and challenging. It is a remarkable combination and a remarkable read.»

Laura F. Edwards, Department of History, Princeton University

«Democracies in America offers a powerful challenge as well as resources to meet it. In the years leading up to the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, observers the world over discussed how little Americans agree about goals, values, and even about facts. As dissension intensifies, ordinary people (including those who normally declare a lack of interest in politics) see the need to do something, after witnessing not only the violence at the Capitol but also claims that it was a simple 'dust up.' Bringing together rigorous investigations of 25 keywords, editors Bert Emerson and Greg Laski have done a tremendous service. After all, 'language is a crucial, if often neglected, component of civics education.'»

Koritha Mitchell, Department of English, Ohio State University

«Very helpful for anyone who wants to understand democracy better...especially useful for general readers, students, and teachers who think that by studying the past we can better understand the present. That's because Democracies in America tries to bridge the gap between two historical moments when democracy was and is in grave danger: the long 19th century and the early 21st century.»

LA Review of Books

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