The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power

From the Revolution throughout the Civil Rights circulate, americans mobilized opposed to political, social, and fiscal privilege. yet over the past half-century that political will has vanished. In The Age of Acquiescence, Steve Fraser explains why. His account of nationwide transformation brilliantly examines the increase of yank capitalism, the visionary makes an attempt to guard the democratic commonwealth, and the good quit to today’s delusional fables of freedom and the politics of worry. bubbling and razorsharp, The Age of Acquiescence is integral for knowing why we not struggle for a extra simply society, and the way we will revive the good American culture of resistance in our personal time.

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Within the mild of yank heritage, its vanishing, or a minimum of its frailty and passivity, was once surpassingly extraordinary. From many years ahead of the Gilded Age of the overdue 19th century throughout the nice melancholy, time and again landed gentry, slave vendors, business robber barons, monopolists, Wall road, the institution, and diverse different oligarchs had chanced on themselves within the crosshairs of an outraged citizenry. finally, from the outset american citizens had displayed an simply aggravated edginess towards any signal of political, social, or financial pretension. Aristocrats had by no means been welcome right here. No plutocrats or oligarchs desire practice both. Hierarchies of bloodlines, entitled wealth, or political preferment have been alien and obnoxious—in concept a minimum of, now not a part of the DNA of the hot global. Elitism, anywhere and each time it confirmed itself, had regularly been greeted with a truculent contempt, what guardians of the ancien régime within the outdated international may have condemned as unbearable insolence. is that this a misreading of the yankee previous, a type of consoling fairy story of ways we by no means have been? If today’s bankers, company chiefs, and their political enablers controlled to perpetrate wrack and smash but emerged pretty well unscathed, no less than till OWS erupted—and even then all of the sound and fury spent itself quickly—what else is new? Arguably, the US is and regularly has been a company civilization via and during, able to tolerate excessive levels of inequality, exploitation, and lopsided distributions of social and political impact. The famously taciturn president Calvin Coolidge (“Silent Cal” used to be so mute that after social critic Dorothy Parker obtained notice he had kicked the bucket, she waspishly requested, “How may they inform? ”) as soon as pointedly and bluntly said that “the company of the USA is company. ” Isn’t that the challenging fact? as long as humans have believed the rustic nonetheless provided them a reputable shot at “the major chance”—an equivalent correct to turn into unequal—the relaxation could look after itself. One model of the yank tale has it that the abrasions of sophistication inequities get usually soothed away within the bathwater of abundance. Rancorous conflicts, which anyone could recognize there were lots of, are, during this telling, extra usually approximately cultural and social animosities than approximately “class fight. ” classification conflict, however—something that grew to become nearly unspeakable over the last generation—was a typical of way of life in the course of what could be referred to as the lengthy 19th century. It was once a part of our lingua franca from the times while Jefferson and his democratic fans denounced counterrevolutionary “moneycrats” throughout the grim decade of the Nineteen Thirties, whilst Franklin Roosevelt excoriated “economic royalists,” “Tories of industry,” and pillagers of “other people’s funds. ” Presidents as soon as felt completely cozy utilizing this vocabulary. Andrew Jackson waged conflict opposed to “the Monster financial institution” (the moment financial institution of the U.S., which he and his Democratic occasion supporters drove to extinction, claiming in a healthy of demagoguery that it was once an aristocratic monopoly of the country’s credits assets run through the politically privileged).

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