The Intellectual Origins of Mass Parties and Mass Schools in the Jacksonian Period: Creating a Conformed Citizenry

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Taylor & Francis, 1998 - 288 pages
While many have highlighted partisan differences over ideology and educational policies in the Jacksonian period, this study alternatively reveals an underlying philosophical consensus about citizenship training, or education, among opposing leaders of the political parties. Ironically, this consensus existed in tension with the stated ideals of each of the political parties, namely the Democrats, Whigs, and Workingmen. The Democrats and Workingmen were known for their rhetorical commitment to the values of equality and individualism, while the Whigs embraced conservative values, such as social harmony, as well as modern ones, such as individualism. The educational consensus, in its tendency to cultivate a passive citizenry, challenged many of these values, but accommodated socioeconomic conditions and the imperatives of a politics of mass parties. Passive citizens would be content to vote loyally for their party and to demand little to no input in the formation of its platform, habits that were crucial tothe burgeoning party system at this time. In exposing such a substantive consensus in an area with profound effects for politics, this study questions the significance of rhetorical differences among the parties at this time and indeed challenges methodologies that rely solely on rhetorical analysis to understand partisan visions.


What to Reform? The Many Faces of the
Substance Over Process The Democratic Vision
New Means to Old Ends The Whig Political
Trapped in the Mainstream The Workingmens

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