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by Ralph Barton Perry

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Text extracted from opening pages of book: Characteristically AMERICAN Five lectures delivered on the William W. Cook Foundation at the University of Michigan, November-December 1948 By RALPH BARTON JPERRY Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus Harvard University New York ALFRED A, KMPF 1949 ; THIS IS A BORZOI BOOK, & amp; gt; ; j ; PUBLISHED BY ALFRED A. KNOPF, INC. J \ Copyright 1949 by The Regent* of ike Unioertity of Michigan. AU ri^ ht* mtrwd, No part cf thi* book in exc& t of foe hundred word* mag b* rtprodu& d in any / arm tdtfuxfl permMon in writing from the publisher, except by a reviwxr who mey quote brief pottages in a review to be printed In mflpraiat or rvtotpaper. MamtfwXvred in the United States of Amrrfc* PubUM * nu& m* oid v to Canada by McCle& md 6 Stewart United. FIRST SDITION To my sons, RALPH BARTON PERRY, JR., and BERNARD BERENSON PERRY 300 r :.;;) * Wl\ 1950 Preface ANY ATTEMPT to characterize America in a few pages must suffer from many limitations, of which I hope that I am not unaware. The picture is foreshortened, distorted, and lack ing in details. It is only one of many portraits which could be painted of the same subject. Whatever is taken to be its character, there will always remain some parts of America that are out of character. It no doubt reflects the bias of the author. Perhaps I should call it & quot; my America/ Neverthe less, I have not knowingly set down anything that I have not found; and there is, I believe, some merit in tracing unities and similarities, however incomplete they may be and however selective. I am grateful to the William W. Cook Foundation for the opportunity to give and to publish these lectures, to my audiences at Ann Arbor for their attention and cordial response, and to my friends at the University of Michigan for the kindness and warmth of their hospitality. Having been for many years associated with Harvard University, I have accumulated an indebtedness to its re sources and to my colleagues an indebtedness which I cannot measure or repay, but which I can at least acknowl edge. In the preparation of the manuscript my secretaries, Catherine F. Malone and Rosamond Hart Chapman, have given me invaluable help and encouragement which I shall not forget. RALPH BARTON PERRY Cambridge, Massachusetts May sj, 1949 Contents I. The American Cast of Mind 3 i. What is meant by national character 2. Sources of Americanism 3. The American cast of mind 4. Law 5. Politics 6. Sport 7. The American college 8. Scholarship and culture 9. Religion and philosophy 10. Manners 11. Disillusionment and satire 12. Change II. The Development of American Thought 34 i. The meaning of national thought 2. The selective bias of individualism 3. Puritanism 4. The American Charter 5. Constitutionalism 6. Humanitarianism 7. Transcendentalism 8. The Scottish Philosophy of common sense 9. Kantian idealism 10. Pragmatism n. Re cent tendencies 12. Omissions and exceptions 13. Natural science 14. Later political, legal, and economic thought 15. Literature and criticism 16. Conscience, thought, and action in America III. William James and American Individualism 70 i. James as an American 2. The meaning of individualism 3, The particular as the real 4. The particular as the test of meaning and truth 5. The human individual as will 6. The indi vidual will as free 7. The individual as power 8. The irreducible worth of the individual 9. The uniqueness of the individual 10. The in dividual as the seat of religion 1 1. James and the American creed 12. James as a critic of Ameri canism ix Contents IV. The American Religious Heritage 93 i. The Hebraic-Christian background 2. Prot estantism and sectarianism 3. Puritanism and Calvinism 4. Evangelicalism 5. Deism and lib eral religion 6. Catholicism in the United States 7. The Catholic social philosophy 8. Catholic authoritarianism 9. Catholicism versus & quot; Ameri canism& quot; 10. Catholicism and liberalism 1 1. The issue of church and state 12. Reconciliation of Cath



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