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The Refinement of America

The Refinement of America

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Add This - The Refinement of America

Written by Richard Lyman BushmanAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Richard Lyman Bushman

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 528 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • On Sale: August 31, 1993
  • Price: $20.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-679-74414-6 (0-679-74414-2)
Also available as an eBook.
about this book

The Refinement of America is an exciting and original analysis of how the concern for stylishness, taste, beauty, and politeness that began to be felt in America after 1700 changed the nation's future development as a society and culture.  Bushman shows that the visions of a more elegant life both complemented and competed with other American values associated with evangelical religion, republicanism, capitalism, and the work ethic.  He argues that gentility gained strength from collaboration with liberal capitalism, but in a way that blunted class conflict. The combination of capitalism, republicanism, and gentility prevented the hardening of class consciousness: instead there emerged a belief in the right of every citizen to membership in the middle class.