Publication of the History of the American Government

Personally, what I think is that Hartz identifies liberal tradition as an arrangement among citizens on certain political beliefs. This includes multiple political beliefs, privacy, property, freedom, and individualism. Liberal tradition was also described as the citizens influence on political beliefs where they have a bigger idea in how these values of government are valued among themselves, rather than leaving by the government interpretation . Why is this liberal tradition significant for our understanding American politics (and the American people)? To begin with, American politics and Americans introduce a unique system of national ideals.

Liberal tradition is significant for our understanding American politics because it shows us a deeper understanding on how the American political culture was built. The author also defines the political culture as involving the citizens in the act of America. People get to say in the many values of liberal tradition.

As a result of the unique historical track, American politics took, separating from British empire and not experiencing feudalism, what liberalism is seen as a more natural belief.

This natural belief of liberalism is not at all simply the same, it is mostly different to the other parts of the world.  Hartz developed his thesis in the 1950s (The Liberal Tradition was published in 1955), and it is still seen as an astute explanation of why political ideology looks different in the U.S. than it does in Europe. Does his thesis, for you, shed any light on current policy debates/discussions? For sure, one of the best examples is gun control, whether this should be more restricted or not.

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As stated before, liberal tradition was a belief where they minimized government control on people’s lives, but in the opposite of it, it allows people to own guns. Recently in the past years we had a lot of mass shootings and still until today, no action by the government was taken over it.

I personally think it would have been safer if more restrictions were placed over it. Rogers Smith: Beyond Tocqueville, Myrdal and Hartz (excerpt). Smith disagrees with Hartz and the idea that Americans and their politics have been shaped by an exclusive commitment to liberal egalitarianism. Why is this explanation problematic to Smith? Smith states that “ascriptive hierarchy” contains an equally significant of thoughts however, it has been very important across United States history. Smith reasoning for such thoughts is that society is more centered around a government where it is ruled by the ones at the top, who gain all the rights and benefits that liberal tradition gives. Not everyone had the power and the values to say in politics. Smith also mentions the minorities, such as blacks and women throughout history, were instead shafted, left devoid of rights due to the social hierarchy where they lived in. Sadly this was the society we once lived in.

According to Smith, what is a more accurate description of American political culture? As I stated before, only the minority, a large majority of only European white men had any say in the political culture. Other religions, races including womens had no political influence. One of the reasons Smith disagrees with Hartz’s explanation is due to the fact that throughout history, not everyone has gained equal rights in political aspects and other aspects as well. One example would be, through the whole American history womens and African Americans were never treated equally, as liberal tradition states to give every individual their own independence. Again, women and African Americans weren’t given what was actually promised. This was described as the American government to be an “ascriptive hierarchy”,where people that are above the common class gain all the rights in any kind of aspects, while those underneath gain only some, or maybe sometimes at all.

Smith believes this point of view is a more accurate representation of the fundamentals of American beliefs throughout the course of history. Finally: Who do you think makes the stronger argument, and why? Personally, I believe Smith had a stronger and more reliable argument that liberal Egalitarianism only emplify to white European men in America and by virtue of fact American liberalism is not true. Liberalism should include all people, with rights for all but it is limited, it is not for everyone as the term Liberalism was described. As we know, the government played a huge role in these peoples’ lives. This society has always been part of the ascriptive hierarchy, meaning most of our freedom will not be achieved. It will only belong to the ones who are higher class, unless like slaves, African American women would constantly work non stop and be nowhere. Yes it is very unfair.

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Publication of the History of the American Government. (2022, Feb 08). Retrieved from

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