Thursday, June 30, 2022

Quote of the Day (Richard Hofstadter, on Americans’ Long-Time Acceptance of Violence)

“Americans certainly have reason to inquire whether, when compared with other advanced industrial nations, they are not a people of exceptional violence. Any American who has lived for a time in England, for example, can hardly fail to notice there a gentleness and a repugnance to violence that underlines our own contrasting qualities. Americans, however they may deplore and fear violence, are not so deeply shocked by it as the English are. Our entertainment and our serious writing are suffused with violence to a notorious degree; it is endemic in our history. Americans, apparently taking it as a part of the stream of life’s events, do not as a rule very promptly rise up in large numbers and in lawful ways to protest, oppose, or control it. They are legendary for their refusal to accept the reality of death, but violence they endure as part of the nature of things, and as one of those evils to be expected from life.” —Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian Richard Hofstadter (1916-1970), introduction to American Violence: A Documentary History, edited by Richard Hofstadter and Michael Wallace (1970)

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