This book explores the changing contours of American culture based on the work of John Higham, one of America's foremost historians. Higham undertook case studies that focus on American diversity as well as the ideas and habits that have bound Americans as one people. The chapters in this book tackle a wide range of topics such as national symbols, race relations, and the bureaucratization of society. Spanning three centuries, the book moves from European images of the New World in the colonial era to the debate over multiculturalism in the 1990s. It examines how a dynamic national culture has caused divergent ethnic, class, and ideological groups to “hang together” as Americans. Despite tendencies toward a divisive pluralism, Higham argues that there is a common American culture. The book also discusses aspects of the “culture wars” that persisted until the close of the twentieth century.
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