The American Political Tradition by Richard Hofstadter
The American Political Tradition is a 1948 book by Richard Hofstadter, an account on the ideology of previous U.S. presidents and other political figures. The full title is The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It. While many accounts have made political conflict central,the author proposes that a common ideology of "self-help, free enterprise, competition, and beneficent cupidity" has guided the Republic since its inception. Through analyses of the ruling class in the U.S., Hofstadter argues that this consensus is the hallmark of political life in the U.S. Part of Hofstadter's project is to undermine the democratic credentials of politicians mythologized by historians, calling for reflection rather than nostalgia. Thomas Jefferson is presented in all his ambiguities, the agrarian radical whose "laissez-faire became the political economy of the most conservative thinkers in the country".