The American Revolution was a huge victory for equality. Liberals should celebrate it.Roundup
tags: The American Revolution
Back in January, the New Yorker published a cover showing America’s most famous presidents recoiling in horror at the image of Donald Trump on the TV screen:
The cover was widely mocked by liberal commentators — not because of its attack on Trump but for suggesting that the depicted presidents represented a moral standard worthy of our praise and respect.
"What is distasteful about Trump is not that he offends old-fashioned American values," wrote Mother Jones’s Tim Murphy in one typical reaction. "Trump is distasteful because he taps into certain old-fashioned American values — nativism, brash tough talk, slow-burning authoritarianism; family dynasties — that have played a not-inconsequential role throughout our history."
The criticisms extended to several eras of American presidents. But it was also symbolic of the modern left’s drift from the legacy of the Revolution in particular, and toward its fundamental break with the traditional heroes of our national pantheon.
Over the last generation, liberals have become increasingly emboldened in their denunciations of America's founders, says Yale historian Steven Pincus. The American left stands poised to throw the Revolution overboard, to dismiss the spirit and legacy of 1776 as merely the cause of a racist, sexist, hypocritical aristocracy we should firmly reject.
They’d be wrong to do so. The modern left may have fallen out of step with our revolutionary heritage. But it should reclaim it: For all its warts, the Revolution really did unleash an egalitarian vision of America that has frontally assaulted economic and social inequality. It’s a tradition liberals should celebrate and cherish. ...
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