American Myths: A Symposium on After Nationalism

The ties seem to be frayed: we have lost the unifying sense of what it means to be American that needs to be restored if we are ever to have healthy political and social order again. At least that’s how history often goes. However, Samuel Goldman’s new book questions the idea that the kind of American unity we are looking for ever existed.

Do the stories we tell about American identity stand up to historical scrutiny? Would it be better to give up hope of national unity and instead look for ways to best address an inevitable pluralism? Are constitutionalism and equality before the law better understood as “institutions of disagreement” than as an ideological American creed?

We invited five reviewers to delve into After Nationalism and the prospect of a unified American identity.

All marching in one direction
Richard Gamble

After knowing nothing?
Steven B. Smith

Caught between creed and covenant
Brian A. Smith

The need for cultural nationalism
Bradford Littlejohn

According to national conservatism
George Hawley

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