The Flowering of Democracy in New York City
Edward L. Widmer
Reviews and Awards
"Young America brings to life an unwritten chapter in post-Jacksonian America. Edward L. Widmer explores the fascinating area where politics, literature, and ideology conspire and collide, and he restores to their proper place a striking cast of writers, polemicists, and rogues. This is a book for all aficionados of American history."--Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
"Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City is an indispensable, masterful new contribution to nineteenth-century US historiography. By detailing the controversial role the manic rhetorician John O'Sullivan played in both launching the incomparable Democratic Review and promulgating the gospel of Manifest Destiny, Edward L. Widmer has recaptured the halcyon days of the Jackson era with vivid precision."--Douglas Brinkley, Director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies and Professor of History, University of New Orleans
"Young America is an important, wide-ranging, and fascinating book. With wit, good sense, and lively prose, Edward L. Widmer recovers the social energy and cultural excitement of New York in the 1840s, when a generation of politico-literary intellectuals, as Emerson disdainfully called them, associated themselves with real politics and serious art. Held together by John O'Sullivan, the bigger-than-life editor of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, Young America sustained a robust discussion of political and cultural democracy, at once nationalist and metropolitan, that gave intellectual significance to the Democratic Party even as it provided a sustaining and lively literary community for both canonical and forgotten writers. What Widmer describes is the first instance of a modern social type, the literary intellectual committed to democratic politics."--Thomas Bender, Dean for the Humanities and Professor of History, New York University
"Widmer's book offers the finest account to date of the culture and politics of New York in the explosive 1830s and 1840s. With literary grace and analytical gusto, he guides us through the writings and relationships of the most important intellectuals of the day. Along the way we are compelled to rethink the meanings of democracy, both in that time and our own."--Lou Masur, Professor of History, City College of New York
"Edward L. Widmer has written a winning and utterly invigorating book that rescues Young America from its own self-destruction, brilliantly restoring its standing amid the pre-eminent political and cultural developments of the ante-bellum period....it is a rare author whose skill as a stylist so complements the able orators and writers he brings to light."--Times Literary Supplement