Richard Hofstadter’s famous Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, his tenth book, earned him the Pulitzer Prize in Non-Fiction (). This “personal book,”. For the ages For Hofstadter, pictured here in , anti-intellectualism was an By the time Anti-Intellectualism in American Life was published (), he was a . Anti-intellectualism in American Life was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Non- Fiction. It is a book which throws light on many features of the American.

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Embraced by readers across the nation and securely ensconced at one of the world’s most prestigious universities, Hofstadter certainly was a privileged member of an elite group, as he himself would have acknowledged.

From the nineteenth century, when any secondary education was purposed for preparing students to enter college, to the increasing tendency to ‘dumb down’ secondary education which occurred in the first half of the 20th century, to the Sputnik shock, he shows that American secondary education was never really designed to prepare thoughtful citizens who could think critically.

Parents saw the world demanding more complex skills. Moreover it leads to the creation of temples of intellectual devotion e. That tendency in itself represents a curious semantic shift, one with tragic consequences for the academically talented or “exceptional,” as we used to say. If that’s what you’re into. From here, he starts to explore what has intllectualism the intellectual at odds with the population at large in America since its inception.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter

And the history presented intellectualiwm that America will continue to deal with bias against some of the most intelligent member of society for many years to come.

Both ijtellectualism a story of rise and fall, over the past four centuries, in the centrality of the book and both, in the late twentieth century, ruefully concede a shifting definition of literacy.

Left free, there is nothing it will not reconsider, analyze, throw into question.

In the process, he distinguishes it from intellectualiem and professionalism. From Washington through the John Quincy Adams administration, men of learning and accomplishment were sought for government work.

This cult borrowed images and denominational practices particularly from American Protestantism and applied them to the world of business and the language of self-help. Political Science amerjcan a Specialization in International Relations.


This book was plodding, albeit much better than reading Talcott Parsons after a root canal. The author could not have imagined the propaganda machines that political Written inthis book outlines the history of anti-intellectualism in our nation.

The myth can be a lens through which to interpret various administrations. Intellectuals are nonconformists often seen as aberrant as is the case of many great writers, scientists and artists. Anti-Intellectualism in American Life is not opposed to the broad American base of egalitarianism, and certainly Hofstadter has no quarrel with equal opportunity.

They renounce party going. In the minds of Jacksonians one excluded the other. In light of the level of what constitutes political, social, and cultural discourse in the United States today and out of total frustration with my college students who have emerged from schools that want them to “feel good about themselves” and have both lowered expectations and inflated grades, it was time to pull it off the bookshelf, dust it off, and give it a reread.

Back then, the Tea Partiers were called Birchers. Feb 12, Pages Buy. In considering the historic tension between access to education and excellence in education, Hofstadter argued that both anti-intellectualism and utilitarianism were consequences, in part, of the democratization of knowledge. And while I want economic success just as much as the next person, our fundamental purpose in life must strive to be something greater than simple economic fulfilment.

Thanks for telling us about the problem. Does American society place great importance on recruiting, hiring and retaining the very best educators for our children?

Books by Richard Hofstadter. Business has long been one of the most popular undergraduate majors, often accounting for fifteen or twenty percent of a student population. I would say the problem is not the politician, the problem are the people who want to be led and manipulated in order to remain ignorant and to justify their hate of the other.

This “personal book,” called “a critical inquiry” in his first chapter 20remains one of this esteemed American historian’s most famous titles. Different moments that are chronicled in this exhibition point up the tensions and ambiguities that characterize the role of the intellectual in a democratic society. In our commitment to equal opportunity, the special dollars and programs flow to the newly “exceptional” target populations.


These schools will monopolize all avenues of approach to the Government. In the years since “the new demand for academic excellence,” a periodic hue and cry, has not made much difference in praxis, which fact fits Hofstadter’s long view of educational reform: I loved some of the ideas that this book brought out on intellectualism and anti-intellectualism at the same time.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

Since ignorance is unlikely to solve any of the large challenges facing the country today, anti-intellectualism represents another significant hurdle to progress. What a prescient book. We are experiencing technical difficulties. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. But all in all, a worthy study to check out. For untellectualism, he asserts that by the s, high schools had become “quasi-custodial institutions,” and the pupil was regarded “not anhi a mind to be developed but as a citizen to be trained.

The common man was wanted with moral fiber being deemed more important than knowledge. If the intellectual habit centrally consists in a “play lkfe the mind,” some combination of “playfulness and piety” 27then from whence derive the fierce resentments on the part of the majority population?

As a result there is an emphasis on the commercial applications of science and a resulting decline in basic research and knowledge for its own sake with no apparent value in the marketplace.

Recent political development in this country make it seem that gossip, hearsay, “alternative facts,” wishful thinking, invective, and shaming the intellectual class have become coin of the realm at the highest levels hofstadtsr government.

Here the evidence suggests that anti-intellectualism has risen steadily since Hofstadter’s time. In so doing, he explored questions regarding the purpose of education and whether the democratization of education altered that purpose and reshaped its form.