A well-conceived challenge to the claim to historic legitimacy of today’s Tea Party demonstrators.



While conservative demonstrators hearken back to the Boston Tea Party, Smith (Men and Women: A History of Costume, Gender, and Power, 1990, etc.), the curator of political history at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, suggests that our revolutionary forebears had quite a different view of freedom.

The author explores how Americans, from the late 1760s to the 1780s, understood the freedoms they believed to have rightfully possessed as colonial British subjects. “When they renounced subjecthood to George III,” she writes, “many Americans understood themselves to remain subject to and members within a larger society.” The broad coalition that called itself Patriots was organized around a notion of the common good rather than the right to individual freedoms. They recognized themselves as “neighbors and brethren” and formed “a coalition that joined colonists across lines of region, belief, interest, and social class.” Despite the colonial restriction of the franchise, the accepted power of the common people to execute the laws established a realm of freedom. This encompassed the role of juries and spectators in determining the outcome of judicial decisions, refusal to collect unfair taxes and the right to demonstrate and protest. Smith establishes a crucial distinction between the modern conservative view—that government is best when it governs least—and the pre-Revolutionary belief that government should be held accountable for “its obligations to execute laws that protected lesser people from the excessive ambitions of the great or would-be-great.” During the Revolutionary War, scarcity and the establishment of a paper currency caused a severe inflation and price gouging, which was countered by “a mobilization on an unprecedented scale.” Committees frequently met at county courthouses to establish fair prices and provide supplies to the needy. While our notions of individual freedom have broadened and deepened since then, writes Smith, “Americans have lost…awareness of the breadth of the Revolutionaries’ eighteenth-century project, which asserted public power to counteract the coercions of the market."

A well-conceived challenge to the claim to historic legitimacy of today’s Tea Party demonstrators.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59448-180-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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