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Nationalism as a political creed found roots also in the Western Hemisphere. The United States took a large step toward greater national unity in 1789 when George Washington became the first American President (1789-1797) under the new federal constitution. But just as citizens of the new republic debated the relative merits of aristocratic or democratic government, so they argued without essential agreement on the nature of their union -- whether the locus of authority should reside in the central government or be reserved to the individual states. The followers of Alexander Hamilton, the Federalists, interpreted the Constitution as permitting stronger central government. On the other hand, Thomas Jefferson and his cohorts insisted that the greater authority lay with the individual states. [excerpt]


This is a part of Section XIII: Political Liberalism and Nationalism, 1815-1871. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.