Howard Fineman is one of our best-known and most trusted political journalists. Mixing vivid scenes and figures from the campaign trail with forays into 400 years of American history, Fineman shows that every debate, from our nation's founding to the present day, is rooted in one of 13 arguments that - thankfully - defy resolution.In an enlightening book that cuts through the din and makes sense of the headlines, Fineman captures the essential issues that have always compelled healthy and heated debate - and must continue to do so in order for us to prosper in the 21st century. The Thirteen American Arguments run the gamut, from issues of individual identity to our country's role in the world, including:
Who is a Person? The Declaration of Independence says "everyone", but it took a Civil War and the Civil Rights and other movements to make that a reality. Presently, what about human embryos and "unlawful enemy combatants"?
Who is an American? Only a nation of immigrants could argue so much about who should become one. There is currently added urgency when terrorists are at large in the world and twelve million "undocumented" aliens are in the country.
The Role of Faith. No country is more legally secular yet more avowedly prayerful. From Thomas Jefferson to Terri Schiavo, we can never quite decide where God fits in government.
Presidential Power. In a democracy, leadership is all the more difficult - and, paradoxically, all the more essential. From George Washington to George W. Bush, we have always asked: How much power should a president have?
America in the World. Uniquely, we perpetually ask ourselves whether we have a moral obligation to change the world - or, alternatively, whether we must try to change it to survive in it.
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- C. Valenzuela
- Richard Scarbrock