Merit

Author: Joseph F. Kett
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801467667
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The idea that citizens' advancement should depend exclusively on merit, on qualities that deserve reward rather than on bloodlines or wire-pulling, was among the Founding ideals of the American republic, Joseph F. Kett argues in this provocative and engaging book. Merit's history, he contends, is best understood within the context of its often conflicting interaction with the other ideals of the Founding, equal rights and government by consent. Merit implies difference; equality suggests sameness. By sanctioning selection of those lower down by those higher up, merit potentially conflicts with the republican ideal that citizens consent to the decisions that affect their lives. In Merit, which traces the history of its subject over three centuries, Kett asserts that Americans have reconciled merit with other principles of the Founding in ways that have shaped their distinctive approach to the grading of public schools, report cards, the forging of workplace hierarchies, employee rating forms, merit systems in government, the selection of officers for the armed forces, and standardized testing for intelligence, character, and vocational interests. Today, the concept of merit is most commonly associated with measures by which it is quantified. Viewing their merit as an element of their selfhood-essential merit-members of the Founding generation showed no interest in quantitative measurements. Rather, they equated merit with an inner quality that accounted for their achievements and that was best measured by their reputations among their peers. In a republic based on equal rights and consent of the people, however, it became important to establish that merit-based rewards were within the grasp of ordinary Americans. In response, Americans embraced institutional merit in the form of procedures focused on drawing small distinctions among average people. They also developed a penchant for increasing the number of winners in competitions-what Kett calls "selection in" rather than "selection out"-in order to satisfy popular aspirations. Kett argues that values rooted in the Founding of the republic continue to influence Americans' approach to controversies, including those surrounding affirmative action, which involve the ideal of merit.

Law and Religion in American History

Author: Mark Douglas McGarvie
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1316684148
Format: PDF, Docs
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This book furthers dialogue on the separation of church and state with an approach that emphasizes intellectual history and the constitutional theory that underlies American society. Mark Douglas McGarvie explains that the founding fathers of America considered the right of conscience to be an individual right, to be protected against governmental interference. While the religion clauses enunciated this right, its true protection occurred in the creation of separate public and private spheres. Religion and the churches were placed in the private sector. Yet, politically active Christians have intermittently mounted challenges to this bifurcation in calling for a greater public role for Christian faith and morality in American society. Both students and scholars will learn much from this intellectual history of law and religion that contextualizes a four-hundred-year-old ideological struggle.

The Schooled Society

Author: David Baker
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 0804790485
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Only 150 years ago, the majority of the world's population was largely illiterate. Today, not only do most people over fifteen have basic reading and writing skills, but 20 percent of the population attends some form of higher education. What are the effects of such radical, large-scale change? David Baker argues that the education revolution has transformed our world into a schooled society—that is, a society that is actively created and defined by education. Drawing on neo-institutionalism, The Schooled Society shows how mass education interjects itself and its ideologies into culture at large: from the dynamics of social mobility, to how we measure intelligence, to the values we promote. The proposition that education is a primary rather than a "reactive" institution is then tested by examining the degree to which education has influenced other large-scale social forces, such as the economy, politics, and religion. Rich, groundbreaking, and globally-oriented, The Schooled Society sheds light on how mass education has dramatically altered the face of society and human life.

For the Common Good

Author: Charles Dorn
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 1501712608
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Are colleges and universities in a period of unprecedented disruption? Is a bachelor's degree still worth the investment? Are the humanities coming to an end? What, exactly, is higher education good for? In For the Common Good, Charles Dorn challenges the rhetoric of America’s so-called crisis in higher education by investigating two centuries of college and university history. From the community college to the elite research university—in states from California to Maine—Dorn engages a fundamental question confronted by higher education institutions ever since the nation’s founding: Do colleges and universities contribute to the common good? Tracking changes in the prevailing social ethos between the late eighteenth and early twenty-first centuries, Dorn illustrates the ways in which civic-mindedness, practicality, commercialism, and affluence influenced higher education’s dedication to the public good. Each ethos, long a part of American history and tradition, came to predominate over the others during one of the four chronological periods examined in the book, informing the character of institutional debates and telling the definitive story of its time. For the Common Good demonstrates how two hundred years of political, economic, and social change prompted transformation among colleges and universities—including the establishment of entirely new kinds of institutions—and refashioned higher education in the United States over time in essential and often vibrant ways.

Capital in the Twenty First Century

Author: Thomas Piketty
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674979850
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The main driver of inequality—returns on capital that exceed the rate of economic growth—is again threatening to generate extreme discontent and undermine democratic values. Thomas Piketty’s findings in this ambitious, original, rigorous work will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.

Vindicating the Founders

Author: Thomas G. West
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9780847685172
Format: PDF, Docs
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Describes the myths surrounding the Founding Father's political thought and contrasts their ideas of liberty and equality with today's views.

Racecraft

Author: Karen E. Fields
Publisher: Verso Trade
ISBN: 1781683131
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Challenges popular conceptions about racism to explain its pervasiveness in economic doctrine, politics and everyday thinking, arguing that America must develop a legitimate language for thinking about and discussing inequality in broad terms in order to achieve a post-racial society. Co-written by the author of Free at Last.

The Radicalism of the American Revolution

Author: Gordon S. Wood
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307758966
Format: PDF, Kindle
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In a grand and immemsely readable synthesis of historical, political, cultural, and economic analysis, a prize-winning historian describes the events that made the American Revolution. Gordon S. Wood depicts a revolution that was about much more than a break from England, rather it transformed an almost feudal society into a democratic one, whose emerging realities sometimes baffled and disappointed its founding fathers.

A People s History of the United States

Author: Howard Zinn
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317325303
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This is a new edition of the radical social history of America from Columbus to the present. This powerful and controversial study turns orthodox American history upside down to portray the social turmoil behind the "march of progress". Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History is the only volume to tell America's story from the point of view of - and in the words of - America's women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers. As historian Howard Zinn shows, many of America's greatest battles - the fights for fair wage, an eight-hour workday, child-labor laws, health and safety standards, universal suffrage, women's rights, racial equality - were carried out at the grassroots level, against bloody resistance. Covering Christopher Columbus's arrival through the Clinton years A People's History of the United States, which was nominated for the American Book Award in 1981, is an insightful analysis of the most important events in US history.