Roberto Romani

American identity in crisis, 1965-1995

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This article surveys the dispute on national identity in the United States beginning with the political turmoil of the 1960s, when the Protestant ethic was shaken and the culture wars started. Four sets of texts are examined. The first is the neoconservative» journal The Public Interest until the early 1980s, including a coda on political scientist Samuel Huntington. The second set, spanning the Reagan years, concerns the free-market economists of various prestige and ability who combined their attack on statism with a re-affirmation of Americans’ independence, ingenuity, and entrepreneurship. The third set of texts addresses liberals’ search for a third way between extreme multiculturalism and outmoded, nostalgic portrayals. Finally, a sample of historiography is considered.


  • American identity
  • Irving Kristol
  • Samuel Huntington
  • Culture wars
  • Multiculturalism


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