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From one of America's leading intellectuals comes a sweeping and original work of economic history, recounting the epic story of America's rise to become the world's dominant economy. In Land of Promise, bestselling author Michael Lind provides a groundbreaking account of how a weak collection of former British colonies became an industrial, financial, and military colossus. From the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, the American economy has been transformed by wave after wave of emerging technology: the steam engine, electricity, the internal combustion engine, computer technology. Yet technology-driven change leads to growing misalignment between an innovative economy and anachronistic legal and political structures until the gap is closed by the modernization of America's institutions-often amid upheavals such as the Civil War and Reconstruction and the Great Depression and World War II. Against the dramatic backdrop of shattering tides of change, Land of Promise portrays the struggles and achievements of inventors like Thomas Edison and Samuel Morse; entrepreneurs like Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs; financiers like J. P. Morgan; visionary political leaders like Henry Clay and Franklin Roosevelt; and dynamic policy makers like Alexander Hamilton and Vannevar Bush. Larger-than-life figures such as these share the stage with the ordinary Americans who built a superpower, from midwestern farmers, southern slaves, and the immigrants who created canals and railroads to the sisters of Rosie the Riveter, whose labor in factories during World War II helped to end Hitler's dream of world domination. When the U.S. economy has flourished, Lind argues, government and business, labor and universities, have worked together as partners in a never-ending project of economic nation building. As the United States struggles to emerge from the Great Recession, Land of Promise demonstrates that Americans, since the earliest days of the republic, have reinvented the American economy-and have the power to do so again.
Discussion of political events of the last few years.
Are we now, or have we ever been, a nation? As this century comes to a close, debates over immigration policy, racial preferences, and multiculturalism challenge the consensus that formerly grounded our national culture. The question of our national identity is as urgent as it has ever been in our history. Is our society disintegrating into a collection of separate ethnic enclaves, or is there a way that we can forge a coherent, unified identity as we enter the 21st century? In this "marvelously written, wide-ranging and thought-provoking"* book, Michael Lind provides a comprehensive revisionist view of the American past and offers a concrete proposal for nation-building reforms to strengthen the American future. He shows that the forces of nationalism and the ideal of a trans-racial melting pot need not be in conflict with each other, and he provides a practical agenda for a liberal nationalist revolution that would combine a new color-blind liberalism in civil rights with practical measures for reducing class-based barriers to racial integration. A stimulating critique of every kind of orthodox opinion as well as a vision of a new "Trans-American" majority, "The Next American Nation" may forever change the way we think and talk about American identity.
Record numbers of Americans describe themselves as "independents" and reject the conventional agendas of Left and Right. In this widely acclaimed book, Ted Halstead and Michael Lind explain why today's ideologies and institutions are so ill-suited to the Information Age, and offer a groundbreaking blueprint for updating all sectors of America society. Taking on partisans and experts on both sides of the political divide, they propose far-reaching reforms for the way we provide health and retirement security, collect taxes, organize elections, enforce civil rights, and educate our children. Twice before the United States has dramatically reconfigured itself, shifting from an agrarian to an industrial society after the Civil War and successfully adapting to the massive technological and demographic changes of the early twentieth century during the New Deal era. Uniting a sweeping historical vision with bold policy proposals, The Radical Center shows us how to reinvent our nation once again so that all Americans can reap the benefits of the Information Age. From the Trade Paperback edition.
For nearly a decade, Michael Lind worked closely as a writer and editor with the intellectual leaders of American conservatism. Slowly, he came to believe that the many prominent intellectuals he worked with were not the leaders of the conservative movement but the followers and apologists for an increasingly divisive and reactionary political strategy orchestrated by the Republican party. Lind's disillusionment led to a very public break with his former colleagues on the right, as he attacked the Reverend Pat Robertson for using anti-Semitic sources in his writings. In Up From Conservatism, this former rising star of the right reveals what he believes to be the disturbing truth about the hidden economic agenda of the conservative elite. The Republican capture of the U. S. Congress in 1994 did not represent the conversion of the American public to conservative ideology. Rather, it marked the success of the thirty-year-old "southern strategy" begun by Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon. From the Civil War to the civil rights revolution, the southern elite combined a low-wage, low-tax strategy for economic development with a politics of demagogy based on race-baiting and Bible-thumping. Now, Lind maintains, the economic elite that controls the Republican party is following a similar strategy on a national scale, using their power to shift the tax burden from the rich to the middle class while redistributing wealth upward. To divert attention from their favoritism toward the rich, conservatives play up the "culture war," channeling popular anger about falling real wages and living standards away from Wall Street and focusing it instead on the black poor and nonwhite immigrants. The United States, Lind concludes, could use a genuine "one-nation" conservatism that seeks to promote the interests of the middle class and the poor as well as the rich. But today's elitist conservatism poses a clear and present danger to the American middle class and the American republic.
A quarter century after its end, the Vietnam War still divides Americans. Some, mostly on the left, claim that Indochina was of no strategic value to the United States and was not worth an American war. Others, mostly on the right, argue that timid civilian leaders and defeatists within the media fatally undermined the war effort. These "lessons of Vietnam" have become ingrained in the American consciousness, at the expense of an accurate understanding of the war itself. In this groundbreaking reinterpretation of America's most disastrous and controversial war, Michael Lind demolishes the stale orthodoxies of the left and the right and puts the Vietnam War in its proper context -- as part of the global conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States. The Cold War, he argues, was actually the third world war of the twentieth century, and the proxy wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan were its major campaigns. Unwilling to engage each other in the heart of Europe, the superpowers played out their contest on the Asian front, while the rest of the world watched to see which side would retreat.
Few biographers and historians have taken Lincoln's ideas seriously or placed him in the context of major intellectual traditions. InWhat Lincoln Believed, the most comprehensive study ever written of the thought of America's most revered president, Michael Lind provides a resource to the public philosophy that guided Lincoln as a statesman and shaped the United States. Although he is often presented as an idealist dedicated to political abstractions, Lincoln was a pragmatic politician with a lifelong interest in science, technology, and economics. Throughout his career he was a disciple of the Kentucky senator Henry Clay, whose "American System" of government support for industrial capitalism Lincoln promoted when he served in the Illinois statehouse, the U. S. Congress, and the White House. Today Lincoln is remembered for his opposition to slavery and his leadership in guiding the Union to victory in the Civil War. But Lincoln's thinking about these subjects is widely misunderstood. His deep opposition to slavery was rooted in his allegiance to the ideals of the American Revolution. Only late in his life, however, did Lincoln abandon his support for the policy of "colonizing" black Americans abroad, which he derived from Henry Clay and Thomas Jefferson. Lincoln and most of his fellow Republicans opposed the extension of slavery outside of the South because they wanted an all-white West, not a racially integrated society. Although the Great Emancipator was not the Great Integrationist, he was the Great Democrat. In an age in which many argued that only whites were capable of republican government, Lincoln insisted on the universality of human rights and the potential for democracy everywhere. In a century in which liberal and democratic revolutions against monarchy and dictatorship in Europe and Latin America repeatedly had failed, Lincoln believed that liberal democracy as a form of government was on trial in the American Civil War. "Our popular government has often been called an experiment," Lincoln told the U. S. Congress, insisting that the American people had to prove to the world that "when ballots have fairly, and constitutionally, decided, there can be no successful appeal, back to bullets. " If the United States fell apart after the losers in an election took up arms, then people everywhere might conclude that democracy inevitably led to anarchy and "government of the people, by the people, for the people" might well "perish from the earth. " "He loved his country partly because it was his own country, but mostly because it was a free country. " What Lincoln said of Henry Clay could be said of him as well. InWhat Lincoln Believed, Michael Lind shows the enduring relevance of Lincoln's vision of the United States as a model of liberty and democracy for the world.