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The politics of civil societyBig society and small government$
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Fred Powell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447307150

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447307150.001.0001

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American exceptionalism, multicultural civil society and Plato’s noble lie

American exceptionalism, multicultural civil society and Plato’s noble lie

(p.173) Seven American exceptionalism, multicultural civil society and Plato’s noble lie
The politics of civil society

Fred Powell

Policy Press

This chapter focuses on the United States of America, the quintessential modern multiculturalist civil society. It is the ‘melting pot’, in which the poor and hungry of the world have been drawn to in the hope of building a new and better life. America is the embodiment of modernity, with which it has an enchanted relationship: that is the American dream. Of course, not all Americans came voluntarily. Afro-Americans largely came to America as slaves and struggled over many generations for emancipation. The election victories of an Afro-American President, Barrack Obama, in 2008 and 2012, were defining moments in America’s multicultural journey. Yet the forces of diversity and progress in America are challenged by a vibrant conservative civil society, most recently symbolised by the rise of the Tea Party. America has its culture wars. This chapter covers multiculturalism and civil society in America. And the neo-Tocquevillian spirit that defines liberal American civil society. In America civil society has a historic importance because of the highly consensual nature of party politics.

Keywords:   multicultural civil society, American exceptionalism, Barack Obama, Tea Party, Leo Strauss

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