In this thought-provoking collection, leading scholars explore democracy in the United States from a sweeping variety of perspectives. A dozen contributors consider the nature and prospects of democracy as it relates to the American experience--free markets, religion, family life, the Cold War, higher education, and more. These probing essays bring American democracy into fresh focus, complete with its idealism, its moral greatness, its disappointments, and its contradictions. Based on DeVane lectures delivered at Yale University, these writings examine large themes and ask important questions: Why do democratic societies, and the United States in particular, tolerate profound economic inequality? Has the United States ever been truly democratic? How has democratic aspiration influenced the development of practices as diverse as education, religious worship, and family life? With deep insights and lively discussion, the authors expand our understanding of what democracy has meant in the past, how it functions now, and what its course may be in the future.
The question of what living is for-of what one should care about and why-is the most important question a person can ask. Yet under the influence of the modern research ideal, our colleges and universities have expelled this question from their classrooms, judging it unfit for organized study. In this eloquent and carefully considered book, Tony Kronman explores why this has happened and calls for the restoration of life's most important question to an honored place in higher education. The author contrasts an earlier era in American education, when the question of the meaning of life was at the center of instruction, with our own times, when this question has been largely abandoned by college and university teachers. In particular, teachers of the humanities, who once felt a special responsibility to guide their students in exploring the question of what living is for, have lost confidence in their authority to do so. And they have lost sight of the question itself in the blinding fog of political correctness that has dominated their disciplines for the past forty years. Yet Kronman sees a readiness for change--a longing among teachers as well as students to engage questions of ultimate meaning. He urges a revival of the humanities' lost tradition of studying the meaning of life through the careful but critical reading of great works of literary and philosophical imagination. And he offers here the charter document of that revival.
A fascinating examination of the history of the Yale Law School and its impact on the development of legal education in the U. S. The entity that became the Yale Law School started life early in the nineteenth century as a proprietary school, operated as a sideline by a couple of New Haven lawyers. The New Haven school affiliated with Yale in the 1820s, but it remained so frail that in 1845 and again in 1869 the University seriously considered closing it down. From these humble origins, the Yale Law School went on to become the most influential of American law schools. In the later nineteenth century the School instigated the multidisciplinary approach to law that has subsequently won nearly universal acceptance. In the 1930s the Yale Law School became the center of the jurisprudential movement known as legal realism, which has ever since shaped American law. In the second half of the twentieth century Yale brought the study of constitutional and international law to prominence, overcoming the emphasis on private law that had dominated American law schools. By the end of the twentieth century, Yale was widely acknowledged as the nation's leading law school. The essays in this collection trace these notable developments. They originated as a lecture series convened to commemorate the tercentenary of Yale University. A distinguished group of scholars assembled to explore the history of the School from the earliest days down to modern times. This volume preserves the highly readable format of the original lectures, supported with full scholarly citations.
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