The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates That Inspire and Define Our Nation by Howard Fineman Paperback Book


Rent The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates That Inspire and Define Our Nation

Author: Howard Fineman

Format: Unabridged-CD

Publisher: Random House Audio Assets

Published: Apr 2008

Genre: Political Science - History & Theory

Retail Price: $31.95


Newsweek’s Howard Fineman is one of our best-known and most trusted political journalists. Mixing vivid scenes and figures from the campaign trail with forays into four hundred years of American history, Fineman shows that every debate, from our nation’s founding to the present day, is rooted in one of thirteen arguments that–thankfully–defy resolution. It is the very process of never-ending argument, Fineman explains, that defines us, inspires us, and keeps us free. At a time when most public disagreement seems shrill and meaningless, Fineman makes a cogent case for nurturing the real American dialogue.

Shouting is not arguing, Fineman notes, but often hot-button topics, media “cross-fires,” and blogs reflect the deepest currents in American life. In an enlightening book that cuts through the din and makes sense of the headlines, Fineman captures the essential issues that have always compelled healthy and heated debate–and must continue to do so in order for us to prosper in the twenty-first century. The Thirteen American Arguments run the gamut, from defining our very identities to addressing how we should work, pray, and love, including:

• Who Is a Person? The Constitution says “everyone,” but the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement expanded the definition. What does the future hold for embryonic stem cells and “unlawful enemy combatants”?
• Who Is an American? From the “red scares” of World War I and the Cold War to George Allen’s “macaca” slur, our ideas on who can cross our borders continue to spark controversy.
• The Role of Faith There has always been impassioned back-and-forth about religious beliefs in public life, from Jefferson’s “wall of separation” to the Terri Schiavo case.
• What Can We Know and Say? Wars have forever challenged the First Amendment: John Adams signed the Sedition Act and Woodrow Wilson the Espionage Act before George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act.
• Local vs. Federal The frontiers of Kentucky and Tennessee fought with the powers “back east” to decide their destinies, mirroring today’s Red vs. Blue cultural battles.

Whether it’s the environment, international trade, interpreting law, Congress vs. the president, or reformers vs. elites, these are the issues that galvanized the Founding Fathers and should still inspire our leaders, thinkers, and citizens. If we cease to argue about these things, we cease to be. “Argument is strength, not weakness,” says Fineman. “As long as we argue, there is hope, and as long as there is hope, we will argue.”

From the Hardcover edition.

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