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The Making of an American Thinking Class: Intellectuals and Intelligentsia in Puritan Massachusetts [Paperback]

By Darren Staloff (Author)
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Item Number 160144  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   300
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.94" Width: 6.28" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.99 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 25, 2001
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  0195149823  
EAN  9780195149821  

Availability  123 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 04:43.
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Item Description...
A radical new interpretation of the political and intellectual history of Puritan Massachusetts, The Making of an American Thinking Class envisions the Bay colony as a seventeenth century one-party state, where congregations served as ideological 'cells' and authority was restricted to an educated elite of ministers and magistrates. From there Staloff offers a broadened conception of the interstices of political, social, and intellectual authority in Puritan Massachusetts and beyond, arguing that ideologies, as well as ideological politics, are produced by self-conscious, and often class-conscious, thinkers.

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More About Darren Staloff

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Darren Staloff is Assistant Professor of History at City College of New York.

Darren Staloff was born in 1961 and has an academic affiliation as follows - City College of New York.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > Colonial Period > General   [1235  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General   [16214  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > State & Local - By State > Massachusetts   [387  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > State & Local   [5711  similar products]
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > Ideologies   [81  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
The cultural domination of Puritan elites (4.25 *s)  Dec 6, 2007
In this very interesting interpretation of the New England Puritans, the author shows that a Puritan thinking class, consisting of political magistrates and ministers, guided the Massachusetts Bay colony through a relatively stable 17th century through practices of cultural domination. Puritan biblicism essentially required that an educated elite capable of carefully dissecting, understanding, and enforcing biblical passages occupy positions of power.

According to the author, cultural domination consists of the legitimation of both the rulers and the social construct and/or religious community, usually by collective consent, public agreement by elites concerning their social policies, deference to elite expressions, forced if necessary, and the suppression of socially undermining dissent. Legitimation was achieved by extending voting privileges to choose political leaders to men of the colony who were church members, now elevated to so-called freemen, and permitting the laity to participate in "gathering" a church and to select ministers. However, once political or religious leaders were selected, it was expected that their judgments and actions would be unquestioned. The magisterial and ministerial elites formed the dominant "inner" party, while representatives of the people, or deputies, formed a secondary "outer" party. However, the author refers to the Bay colony as a one-party state.

Alliances among the two elements of the inner party and the outer party shifted every so often, but the inner party never ceased to exert cultural domination. Virtually all of the major controversies in the colony were of a religious nature such as Arminianism, Antinomianism, and baptism and the Half-Way Covenant. Interesting is the contrast of the soft handling of those in the inner party with contrary views with the far harsher dealings with outsiders, such as Quakers, with differing opinions. The inner party always managed the problems to their continued dominant standing. For example, the minister of the first church of Boston, John Cotton, was persuaded that his religious "enthusiasms" were contrary to orthodox Puritan belief and practice, while layperson Anne Hutchinson was banned from the colony.

The book is not a year-by-year history of the Bay colony. However, it extensively, if not tediously, examines the principal controversial issues of the colony, especially those that challenged the core beliefs and practices of the Puritan thinking class. Looking at the Puritans through a class perspective adds to understanding Puritan elite dominance and persistence.
Creating Ideas  Feb 8, 2000
Who creates the ideas that move people and nations? And why do they do it? Surely ideas and convictions motivate many of us to act in important ways. In his revolutionary book, Darren Staloff explores the relationship of intellectuals to the cultural products they create. Read this book to find out about Puritans; but read it thoroughly to learn about ideas and their use. This book may change a lot of what you think about ideas and intellectuals. It is highly recommended for all thinkers and skeptics.

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