chapter  2
39 Pages

The Ritual of Consensus

This chapter explore the nature of that American 'consensus'. The concept of representative selfhood took on a broad Anglo-American meaning. The Great Awakening opened the gates of New Canaan to any evangelical, North or South; and the French and Indian War opened them wider still, to include any loyal colonist, evangelical and non-evangelical. The major landmarks are the Revolution and the Civil War; but part of the terrain is the long foreground to revolution. The Great Awakening opened the gates of New Canaan to any evangelical, North or South; and the French and Indian War opened them wider still, to include any loyal colonist, evangelical and non-evangelical. Antiauthoritarianism was abroad in the land, and the men of wealth and property who ran the republic had a great deal at stake in the status quo. The European Romantics, on the contrary, tended toward a divisive, comparatist 'play of the imagination'. In the United States, it was to be a model of consensus.