Hansel88@Excite.Com Essay

2674 words - 11 pages

The article ¡°America¡¯s Search for a New Public Philosophy¡± by Michael J. Sandel and the books The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction By Linda Gordon, Christ In Concrete by Pietro di Donato, and Dr. America: The Lives of Thomas A. Dooley 1927- 1961 by James T. Fisher, provide a journey through American culture from the turn of the century to the 1960s. The books both support and contradict Sandel¡¯s argument of American public philosophy throughout this time in America. The contradictions consist of At the turn of the last century there were many reforms taking place in what turned into the progressive era. During this era there were many ...view middle of the document...

Gordon is looking back at the progressive era from the 1990s were the republican theory has been replaced by a more liberal ideal of, ¡°politics should not try to form the character or cultivate the virtue of it¡¯s citizens...government should not affirm...any particular conception of the good life¡±(Sandel 58). Because of this new ideal, her book and Sandel¡¯s article differ in points of view. Gordon¡¯s book focuses on the Mexican Americans that are not a part of mainstream America but she also gives an idea of what mainstream America was thinking too. The idea of white supremacy and prejudices show through in her book, but Sandel¡¯s article is about what is happening in white mainstream America at that time. For example, Sandel would think more in terms of the supreme court ruling in Gordon¡¯s book as a way government can show Americans what the good life is and help shape their virtues. The way of life that people were taught to want was the white protestant dream. Gordon on the other hand is pointing out the prejudices and how white American¡¯s were dominant. Sandel¡¯s republican theory can be seen as working in Gordon¡¯s book because the citizens of Clifton exercise the theory by taking the fortune of the public as their own. The Mexicans posed a threat to their ¡°American¡± way of life and having white children raised by the Mexicans from another culture and religion was not going to happen. Another threat in Gordon¡¯s book that shows how republican theory worked in this time is the strike of 1903. During this time, mining towns went from individuals looking for work in copper mining to corporate money machines (class notes 1/16/02). The Mexicans were not paid as well as the whites, they did not get workers compensation, and their working conditions were horrendous (Gordon 219). The strike organized by the Mexicans goes along with Sandel¡¯s argument about people needing to be shown what the good life is and showing them how to be American and democratic. Gordon emphasizes, The copper workers¡¯ desires were at once old (things they would have always wished for if only they had known them) and quintessentially new, that is, American¡¦Their resentment arose not directly from their experience at work but from the intersection between their raised aspirations and their sense of exploitation and powerlessness (219).This quote shows how immigrants were assimilated into the way of American life and the public philosophy at the turn of the last century. They were feeling powerless in the vastness of big business so they took it upon themselves as a community to try to change it. However, this is also contradictory to Sandel¡¯s argument because the people he was talking about were not the immigrants. The strike to the white people in the community was seen as...

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