In an election season, all of our political speeches and interviews seem to come back to questions of our national relationship to our founding ideals: how far are we fallen from that revolutionary moment, or how far do we have yet to travel in order to realize them at last?
Today’s guests help us to remember, as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton present absolutely opposing interpretations of that revolutionary period, that the meaning of the American Revolution has always been hotly contested, from the years immediately following military success in the 18th century up to and including the Civil War, and into the present day.
Our guests further remind us that our arguments over these issues have taken the form of international trade relations, third-party politics, and even cultural and aesthetic work. They help to remind us that, in a manner of speaking, completing that revolution, fully realizing its ideals, remains a distinct national purpose.
Our first guest is Princeton’s Alec Dun (4:29-23:06)
His book, Dangerous Neighbors: Making the Haitian Revolution in Early America, has just been released by the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Our second guest is Corey Brooks of York College of Pennsylvania (23:44-34:48).
His book, Liberty Power: Third Parties and the Transformation of American Politics is now available from the University of Chicago Press.
Finally, we’re joined by Rutgers’s Michelle Stephens (36:54-50:04)
Her book, Skin Acts: Race, Psychoanalysis, and the Black Male Performer is now available from Duke University Press.