ABOUT THIS BOOK
For more than three decades, Rogers M. Smith has been one of the leading scholars of the role of ideas in American politics, policies, and history. Over time, he has developed the concept of “political peoples,” a category that is much broader and more fluid than legal citizenship, enabling Smith to offer rich new analyses of political communities, governing institutions, public policies, and moral debates.
This book gathers Smith’s most important writings on peoplehood to build a coherent theoretical and historical account of what peoplehood has meant in American political life, informed by frequent comparisons to other political societies. From the revolutionary-era adoption of individual rights rhetoric to today’s battles over the place of immigrants in a rapidly diversifying American society, Smith shows how modern America’s growing embrace of overlapping identities is in tension with the providentialism and exceptionalism that continue to make up so much of what many believe it means to be an American.
A major work that brings a lifetime of thought to bear on questions that are as urgent now as they have ever been, Political Peoplehood will be essential reading for social scientists, political philosophers, policy analysts, and historians alike.