Elizabeth L. Bradley


    In the decades following the Revolutionary War, Americans had an opportunity––at once exhilarating and terrifying—to shape not just the politics of their new nation but also its culture. British political models abounded, of course: Thoughtful citizens could argue for William Godwin’s radical aesthetics, adopt a Shaftesburian “moral sense,” or compare Edmund Burke’s critique of the French Revolution with that of Thomas Paine. The cultural apparatus of America was likewise an import. But for all its access to the most exalted offerings of Europe, the young United States should not be idealized