Arthur Schlesinger

Arthur Schlesinger

Ameerika ajalooprofessori Arthur Meier Schlesingeri kahe poja ja endise Elizabeth Bancrofti vanem Arthur Schlesinger sündis Columbuses, Ohio osariigis, 15. oktoobril 1917. Kui ta oli seitsmeaastane, lahkus tema isa Iowa ülikoolist liitu Harvardi ülikooliga. Nüüd kolis pere Massachusettsi osariiki Cambridge'i.

Schlesinger sai hariduse eksklusiivses Phillips Exeteri akadeemias New Hampshire'is, enne saabumist Harvardi, kus ta omandas esimese kraadi 20-aastaselt. Seejärel kirjutas ta raamatu Orestes A. Brownsonist, 19. sajandi ajakirjanikust, romaanikirjanikust ja teoloogist. . See avaldati kui Orestes A. Brownson: Palveränduri edusammud (1938). Sisse tuli Henry Steele Commager New York Timesi raamatuülevaade, ütles raamat, "tutvustas" uut ja silmapaistvat talenti ajaloolise portreteerimise valdkonnas ".

Schlesinger veetis aasta Cambridge'i ülikooli Peterhouse'i kolledžis ja kui ta 1939. aastal Ameerika Ühendriikidesse tagasi jõudis, kirjutas ta vastuoluliselt artikli Bostoni gloobus kutsudes Ameerikat loobuma oma isolatsionismist ja kehtestama viivitamatu ajateenistuse. Samuti väitis ta, et president Franklin D. Roosevelt peaks liituma Suurbritannia ja Prantsusmaaga sõjas natsi -Saksamaa vastu.

Pärast Bostoni ajaloolase Richard Hildrethi õpingute lõpetamist määrati 23-aastane Schlesinger kolmeaastaseks stipendiumiks Harvardi ülikoolis. Tsitaadi kohaselt valiti ta välja seetõttu, et ta näitas "lubadust märkimisväärsele panusele teadmistesse ja mõtetesse". Samuti alustas ta tööd, mida paljud peavad tema kõige olulisemaks tööks, Jacksoni ajastu.

Pärast Ameerika Ühendriikide teise maailmasõja algust töötas Schlesinger sõjateabe büroos (1942-43) ja strateegiliste teenistuste ametis (1943-45), mis viis ta Londonisse, Pariisi ja okupeeris Saksamaa. Hiljem meenutas ta: "Sõjas osalemisest sain ajaloost parema ülevaate kui kogu oma akadeemilise koolituse käigus."

Schlesingeri oma Jacksoni ajastu ilmus 1945. aastal ja pälvis talle Pulitzeri ajalooauhinna. Harold Jackson on märkinud: „Schlesingeri läbivaatamine esimese rahvahääletusel valitud Ameerika presidendi kohta ning tema analüüs Andrew Jacksoni halastamatust täitevvõimu laiendamisest ja rollist demokraatliku partei loomisel avaldas sügavat mõju kaasajaloolastele ja nende hilisemat käsitlemist sellest perioodist. See tõi ka Schlesingeri ... tema ülendamise Harvardi professuurile 1947. aastal. "

Demokraatliku partei tugev toetaja oli ta ameeriklaste demokraatliku tegevuse (ADA) kaasasutaja. See asutati 1947. aastal organisatsioonina, mis toetab liberaalsete eesmärkide edendamist. Teiste liikmete hulka kuulusid Eleanor Roosevelt, Walter Reuther, Hubert Humphrey, Asa Philip Randolph, John Kenneth Galbraith, Walter F. White, Louise Bowen, Chester Bowles, Louis Carlo Fraina, Stewart Alsop, Reinhold Niebuhr, George Count, David Dubinsky ja Joseph P. Ripsmed. Schlesinger kommenteeris: „Probleemid piinavad meid alati, sest kõik olulised probleemid on lahendamatud: seetõttu on need olulised. Hea tuleb pidevast võitlusest nende lahendamiseks, mitte asjata lootusest nende lahendamisele. ”

Aastal 1949 avaldas Schlesinger Vitali keskus. Ajakirjanik Mark Feeney, Bostoni gloobus, märkis: "Tema 1949. aasta esseekogu, Vitali keskus, tegi rohkem kui ükski teine ​​raamat, et määratleda arutelu selle üle, kas New Deali järgne liberalism oleks kooskõlas Nõukogude kommunismi või selle antagonistidega. Ta teenis Trumani administratsiooni Marshalli plaani jälginud majanduskoostöö administratsiooni ja vastastikuse julgeoleku administratsiooni konsultandina. "

ADA sattus konflikti teise vasakpoolse rühmitusega-Progressive Citizens of America (PCA). Selle liikmete hulka kuulusid Henry A. Wallace, Rexford Tugwell, Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois, Arthur Miller, Dashiell Hammett, Hellen Keller, Thomas Mann, Aaron Copland, Claude Pepper, Eugene O'Neill, Glen H. Taylor, John Abt, Edna Ferber, Thornton Wilder, Carl Van Doren, Fredric March ja Gene Kelly. ADA peamine vaidlus PCAga seisnes selles, et nad lubasid Ameerika Kommunistliku Partei liikmetel liituda: "Me lükkame tagasi igasuguse seotuse kommunismiga või kommunismi pooldajatega USA -s sama täielikult, kui lükkame tagasi igasuguse seotuse fašistide või nende poolehoidjatega."

1952. aasta presidendivalimistel toetas Schlesinger Adlai Stevensoni kampaaniat. Sama tegi ta ka 1956. aasta presidendivalimistel. Sel perioodil kirjutas ta president Franklin D. Roosevelti ja New Deali väga sümpaatse ajaloo. Kolmeköiteline raamat, Roosevelti ajastu, ilmus aastatel 1957–1960.

Schlesinger kohtus John F. Kennedyga ajakirjaniku Joseph Alsopi kodus. Tema esimene mulje oli, et "Kennedy tundus väga siiras ja mitte ebaintelligentsena, vaid pigem konservatiivse poolena." Siiski toetas ta teda 1960. aasta presidendivalimistel. Ta kirjeldas Kennedyt kui "tegumeest, kes võib kergesti üle minna ideede valdkonda ja seista intellektuaalide ees täie kindlusega oma suutlikkuses end hoida".

Harold Jackson märkis: "Kui Kennedy hakkas 1960. aasta presidendivalimisteks valmistuma, hakkas Schlesinger tema kampaaniasse tihedalt kaasatud olema. Ta nägi Kennedyt ennustatud kangelasena, kes suudab rahva 16-aastasest piinamisest välja tõmmata. Püüdes veenda olles endiselt skeptiline Stevensoni partei tiib Kennedy teenete osas, tormas ta välja 50-leheküljelise kiidulaulu. Parteiliselt oli see tohutult edukas, kuigi Kennedy juuksepiirivõit 114 000 68 miljoni rahvahäälega näitas, et valijad olid endiselt skeptilised (ja et Schlesingeri laineteooria oli sügavalt võlgu Chicago omapärasele häältelugemiskultuurile). " Kennedy määras Schlesingeri Ladina -Ameerika asjade eriliseks assistendiks.

Douglas Martin New York Times on väitnud: "Kui president soovis kohtuda intellektuaali Isaiah Berliini või helilooja Gian Carlo Menottiga, korraldas härra Schlesinger selle. Väidetavalt nautis president iganädalaste lõunasöökide ajal härra Schlesingeri lobamisi, kuigi ta käis haruldastel seminaridel Robert Kennedy palus härra Schlesingeril korraldada. Hr Schlesinger paistis silma administratsiooni alguses sellega, et oli üks väheseid Valges Majas, kes seadis kahtluse alla Eisenhoweri administratsiooni kavandatud sissetungi Kuubale. Seejärel sai temast aga ustav sõdur, kes ütles ajakirjanikele eksitavat lugu, et Sigade lahe ääres maandunud Kuuba pagendatud isikud ei olnud suuremad kui 400, kuigi tegelikult oli neid 1400. "

Pärast president John F. Kennedy mõrva sai temast New Yorgi linnaülikooli humanitaarteaduste professor Albert Schweitzer ja ta määrati Franklin Delano Roosevelti nelja vabaduse fondi esimeheks. Tema raamat Kennedy eesistumise kohta, Tuhat päeva: John F. Kennedy Valges Majas ilmus 1965. Gore Vidal väitis, et Schlesingeril oli probleeme ajaloo ja sentimenti lahutamisega ning pidas raamatut "poliitiliseks romaaniks".

Schlesinger osales jätkuvalt aktiivselt poliitikas ja toetas Robert Kennedyt 1968. aasta presidendivalimistel. President Richard Nixoni tugev vastane 1973. aastal, Watergate'i kriisi ajal, väitis ta ägedalt, et senat peab teda kohtusse laskma. 1980. aasta valimistel toetas ta Edward Kennedy katset saada presidendiks. Hiljem selgitas ta: "Olen kahetsusväärne ja rekonstrueerimata liberaal ja uus diiler. See tähendab, et pooldan valitsuse kasutamist võimaluste parandamiseks ja tavainimeste vabaduste suurendamiseks."

Teised Schlesingeri raamatud hõlmavad Robert Kennedy ja tema ajad (1979), Iseseisvuse eellugu: ajalehesõda Suurbritannia vastu, 1764–1776 (1980), Ameerika ajaloo tsüklid (1986), Kindral MacArthur ja president Truman: võitlus Ameerika välispoliitika kontrollimise eest (1992), Ameerika lagunemine: mõtisklused mitmekultuurilisest ühiskonnast (1993), Ameerika ajaloo almanahh (1995), Elu 20. sajandil (2001), Keiserlik eesistumine (2004) ja Sõda ja Ameerika eesistumine (2005).

Arthur Meier Schlesinger Jr suri Manhattenis pärast südameinfarkti 28. veebruaril 2007.

Teise maailmasõja ajal oli vaid üks suur liberaalne organisatsioon, Demokraatliku Tegevuse Liit (UDA), keelanud kommunistid oma ridadest. Willardis kohtusid UDA liikmed oma organisatsiooni laiendamiseks ja ümbernimetamiseks. Osalejad, kelle hulka kuulusid Reinhold Niebuhr, Arthur Schlesinger juunior, John Kenneth Galbraith, Walter Reuther ja Eleanor Roosevelt, avaldasid pressiteate, milles loetleti uue organisatsiooni põhimõtted. Kuulutades välja ameeriklaste moodustamise demokraatlikuks tegevuseks (ADA), kuulutati avalduses: "Kuna Ameerika Ühendriikide huvid on kõikjal vabade meeste huvid," peaks Ameerika toetama "demokraatlikke ja vabadust armastavaid rahvaid kogu maailmas". See tähendas lakkamatut vastuseisu kommunismile, ideoloogiale, "mis on vaenulik vabaduse ja demokraatia põhimõtetele, mille alusel Vabariik on suureks kasvanud".

Tol ajal olid ADA -d Ameerika liberaalide seas endiselt vähemuse seisukoht. Kaks liberaalse arvamuse mõjukamat ajakirja, Uus Vabariik ja Rahvus, mõlemad lükkasid tagasi sõjaka antikommunismi. Endine asepresident Henry Wallace, paljude liberaalide kangelane, nägi kommuniste liitlastena võitluses kodumaise ja rahvusvahelise progressi eest. Nagu Steven M. Gillon märgib Poliitika ja visioon, kuna ta oli suurepärane ADA ajalugu, oli see praktiliselt ainus liberaalne organisatsioon, mis toetas president Harry S Trumani 1947. aasta märtsi otsust aidata Kreekat ja Türgit võitluses Nõukogude õõnestamise vastu.

Kuid järgmise kahe aasta jooksul, kibedas poliitilises võitluses Ameerika liberalismi institutsioonides, sai antikommunism jõudu. ADA abiga purustas Truman Wallace'i kolmanda osapoole väljakutse teel uuesti valimisele. Varem vasakpoolne tööstusorganisatsioonide kongress (CIO) saatis oma kommunistlikud sidusrühmad välja ja Uus Vabariik läks lahku selle endise toimetaja Wallace'iga. Ameerika kodanikuvabaduste liit (ACLU) mõistis kommunismi hukka, nagu ka NAACP. 1949. aastaks, kolm aastat pärast seda, kui Winston Churchill hoiatas, et üle Euroopa on laskunud "raudne eesriie", võib Schlesinger kirjutada Vitali keskus: "Ma arvan, et kahekümnenda sajandi keskpaiga liberalismi on seega põhjalikult ümber kujundanud ... Nõukogude Liidu paljastamine ja meie teadmiste süvenemine inimesest. Selle ajaloolise ümberõppe tagajärg on olnud tingimusteta tagasilükkamine. totalitarismist. "

Schlesinger märkis, et Kennedyl oli palju kahtlusi sigade lahe sissetungi teostatavuses. Kuid ta oli mures - nagu ka Dulles - „kõrvaldamisprobleemi” pärast, kui operatsioon katkestati enne selle algust ja Kuuba eksiilid läksid veretult tagasi Floridasse, kus nad räägiksid kindlasti kõigile oma pettumuse ja pettumuse ajakirjanik, kelle nad leiaksid. Schlesinger tsiteeris Kennedyt Kuuba eksiilbrigaadi kohta: "Kui me peame neist ... meestest lahti saama, on palju parem neid Kuubal maha visata kui Ameerika Ühendriikides, eriti kui nad tahavad sinna jõuda. " See oli haruldane pilguheit Kennedy enesealalhoiuinstinktile. Ta mõistis, et sissetungi tühistamise poliitiline hind oleks suur, palju suurem kui siis, kui see läheks edasi ja kukuks läbi ebaõnnestudes. Tühistades tunduks ta nõrk ja otsustusvõimetu ning annaks vabariiklastele võimaluse süüdistada teda kommunismi suhtes pehmena. Kuid Schlesingeri jutustus kujutas Kennedy dilemmat palju ülevamalt. Kui president ametist loobuks, kummitaks teda "igavesti tunne, nagu oleksid tema skruplid Castro võimul hoidnud". Edaspidi, lisas ajaloolane, oli Kennedy motiveeritud "Kuuba patriootide pühendumusest" ja "ei näinud kohustust kaitsta Castro režiimi demokraatlike kuubalaste eest".

Sorensen ja Schlesinger ilmselt ei teadnud Kuuba kohta käivaid kriitilisi tõdesid. Nad ei teadnud, et CIA ametnikud ja mõned osalejad olid enne valimisi eraviisiliselt teatanud kandidaat Kennedyle, et varsti tungib saarele salajane pagulusarmee -teave, mida ta kasutas Richard Nixoni vastu. Ja nad ei teadnud üht peamisi põhjusi, miks president Kennedy seadis viimase hetke ambivalentsuse seoses Sigade lahe operatsiooniga: Sam Giancana käsilased Kuubal ei suutnud päevad enne sissetungi Castrot tappa.

Üks tema lähimaid nõunikke, ajaloolane Arthur Schlesinger kirjutas: "Kogu Ladina -Ameerikas on muistsed oligarhiad - maaomanikud, kirik ja armee - kaotamas oma haarde. Peonide, indiaanlaste, kaevurite massiline rahulolematus on põhjustatud istanduste töötajad, tehase käed, klassid hoidsid kogu vastupidavust maha ja nüüd lähenesid mässule. "

Recife lähedal oli Schlesinger näinud vaesuses vaevatud külasid täis nälgivaid lapsi, kes olid kaetud kärnadega. Ta meenutas, et enne Castro võimuletulekut oli Havanna olnud Ameerika ärimeestele suureks nädalavahetuseks vaid hiiglaslik kasiino ja bordell. "Mu kaasmaalased ronisid tänavatel, korjasid neljateistkümneaastaseid Kuuba tüdrukuid ja viskasid münte, et panna mehed vihmaveerennidesse rabelema," kirjutas ta.

Presidendi ja tema nõunike poliitika avaldas kindlasti majanduslikku mõju. 1962. aasta aprillis, aasta pärast Progressi Alliansi asutamist, paistis Ladina -Ameerika konservatiivide silmis kaose poole suunduvat. Argentinas kukutas president Frondizi äsja sõjaväeline riigipööre ning Guatemalas ja Ecuadoris puhkesid mässud. Lõuna pool ei olnud ühtegi riiki, mida saaks pidada poliitiliselt ja majanduslikult stabiilseks. Kapital voolas tagasi Ameerika Ühendriikidesse, hirmutades Castroistliku revolutsiooni tont.

Kuid mõju Ameerika majandusele ähvardas olla veelgi hullem. Ärimehed ei saanud nõustuda Schlesingeri kontseptsioonidega, kes kuulutasid, et peamine asi, nagu Nixon soovitas, ei olnud kosmeetikatööstuse stimuleerimine, vaid haiglate ehitamine ja investeerimine sektoritesse, mis mõjutasid riigi tugevust ja heaolu. inimestest.

CIA taaselustas mõrvaplaane just sel ajal, kui president Kennedy kaalus võimalust normaliseerida suhteid Kuubaga - erakordne tegevus. Kui see polnud täielik ebakompetentsus - mida CIA puhul ei saa välistada -, siis oli see uuritud katse riiklikku poliitikat õõnestada .... Ma arvan, et CIA pidi sellest algatusest teadma. Nad pidid kindlasti aru saama, et Bill Attwood ja Kuuba esindaja ÜRO -s tegid enamat kui daiquiri retseptide vahetamine ... Nad lasid kõik juhtmed Kuuba delegatsiooni juures ÜRO -s ära kasutada ... Kahtlemata, kui president Kennedy jõupingutustest lekib sõna, on olnud just selline asi, mis vallandas fanaatilise vägivalla plahvatuse. Mulle tundub võimalus mitte välistada.

Kennedy nõudis oktoobris 1963, et sel ajal kutsutaks tagasi tuhat USA sõdurit Vietnamis, keda eufemistiliselt nimetatakse nõustajateks. Kenneth O'Donnell on teatanud, et Kennedy plaanis pärast 1964. aasta valimisi kõik ameeriklased Vietnamist välja viia (O'Donnell ja Powers, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye). Arthur Schlesinger, juunior, on samuti teatanud, et Kennedy pidi lõpetama USA seikluse Vietnamis: "Ta oli mõistlik täidesaatev juht, kes ei kaldunud suurtesse investeeringutesse kaotatud põhjustesse. Kogu tema eesistumist iseloomustas just tema võime keelduda eskaleerimisest- nagu Laoses, Sigade lahes, Berliini müüris, raketikriisis. "

Kuigi Schlesingeril on lugupeetud ajaloolase ja O'Donnelli kui usaldusväärse poliitilise tegelase maine, olid mõlemad mehed Kennedy nõunikud. Järelikult tuleks nende tagasiulatuvat analüüsi selle kohta, kuidas president, keda nad imetlesid, käituda, pidades silmas uuemat tavapärast tarkust, mis seab Vietnami seikluse suureks katastroofiks, põhjalikult läbi vaadata ja teatud ettevaatlikkusega aktsepteerida. , toetab nende hindamist. Kolonel Prouty teatas, et Kennedy otsustas kogu personali Vietnamist välja viia. "IFK kavatses muuta rahuküsimuse 1964. aasta valimistel oluliseks kampaaniateemaks," ütles ta mulle. Prouty andmetel käskis Kennedy kindralmajor Victor H. Krulakil minna Vietnami, "olge kursis" ja määrake "kellele me selle lahkudes üle anname". Krulak vastas pärast tema uurimist, et vastuseks oli kindral Duong Van Minh, keda rahvasuus tuntakse Big Minhina.

Ameerika üks silmapaistvamaid ja vastuolulisemaid ajaloolasi Arthur M. Hilisemad paljastused presidendi varjulisest poliitilisest ja isiklikust rekordist ei muutnud Schlesingeri jõuliselt parteilist vaadet.

Hilisemas elus oli ta üha enam pettunud oma riigi sotsiaalsest suunast. 1991. aastal väljendas tema raamat „The Disuniting of America” muret etnilise teadvuse tõusu ja selle tekitatud konflikti pärast. Ta märkis, et "ajaloolased peavad alati püüdlema objektiivsuse saavutamatu ideaali poole", möönis ta, et "kui me reageerime kaasaegsetele kiireloomulistele vajadustele, kasutame mõnikord minevikku mitteajaloolistel eesmärkidel, võttes minevikust või projitseerides sellele, mis sobib meie ühiskonnale või ideoloogia ".

Kuigi see oli mõeldud rünnakuna etnilise ajaloo kirsipüüdmise kalduvuse vastu, pakkus see lõik ka kodeeritud vabandusi. Schlesinger oli alustanud tähelepanuväärse noore teadlasena, kes saavutas Ameerika poliitilise arengu murranguliste uuringute eest märkimisväärset akadeemilist au. Sealt oli ta muutunud palju vähem eraldatuks ja üha enam sukeldunud oma aja mööduvatesse poliitilistesse lahingutesse ...

Kui Kennedy hakkas 1960. aasta presidendivalimisteks valmistuma, hakkas Schlesinger tema kampaaniaga tihedalt tegelema. Parteilises plaanis oli see tohutult edukas, kuigi Kennedy juuksepiirivõit 114 000 68 miljoni rahvahäälega andis mõista, et valijad olid endiselt skeptilised (ja et Schlesingeri lainetusteooria oli sügavalt võlgu Chicago omapärasele häältelugemiskultuurile).

9. jaanuaril 1961, hallil jahedal pärastlõunal, valiti valitud president Kennedy Cambridge'is Irving Streetil härra Schlesingeri majja. Ta palus professoril olla Valges Majas eriassistent. Schlesinger vastas: "Kui arvate, et saan aidata, siis tahaksin tulla."

Sisse Johnny, me vaevalt teadsime sind (1972) Kenneth P. O’Donnell ja David F. Powers viitavad sellele, et uus president nägi sellise häbematu liberaali palkamisel teatavat poliitilist riski. Ta otsustas kohtumise vaikida, kuni riigisekretäri ametisse kinnitatakse teine ​​liberaal Chester Bowles.

Autorid, mõlemad Kennedy abid, ütlesid, et nad küsisid härra Kennedyl, kas ta võtab hr Schlesingeri ametikoha ametliku ajaloo kirjutamiseks. Kennedy ütles, et kirjutab selle ise.

"Aga Arthur kirjutab ilmselt oma," ütles president, "ja meil on parem, kui ta on Valges Majas ja näeb toimuvat, selle asemel, et sellest lugeda The New York Times ja Ajakiri Time.

Aeg kirjeldas hiljem hr Schlesingeri rolli Kennedy administratsioonis sillana intelligentsi ja Demokraatliku Partei Adlai Stevenson-Eleanor Roosevelti tiiva juurde. Kui president sooviks kohtuda intellektuaali Isaiah Berlini või helilooja Gian Carlo Menottiga, korraldaks härra Schlesinger.

Hr. Aga temast sai siis ustav sõdur, kes rääkis ajakirjanikele eksitava loo, et Kuuba eksiilid, kes maabusid Sigade lahes, ei olnud suuremad kui 400, kuigi tegelikult oli neid 1400.

Aastal 1947 aitas dr Schlesinger asutada ameeriklasi demokraatlikuks tegevuseks, mis jääks kauaks väljapaistvamaks liberaalseks poliitiliseks organisatsiooniks. Tema esseekogu 1949. Vitali keskus, tegi rohkem kui ükski teine ​​raamat, et määratleda arutelu selle üle, kas uue kokkuleppe järgne liberalism oleks kooskõlas Nõukogude kommunismi või selle antagonistidega. Ta teenis Trumani administratsiooni Marshalli plaani jälgiva majanduskoostöö administratsiooni ja vastastikuse julgeoleku administratsiooni konsultandina.

Dr Schlesinger kirjutas kõnesid demokraatide presidendikandidaadile Adlai Stevensonile aastatel 1952 ja 1956. Nagu paljud liberaaldemokraadid, oli ta 1960. aasta alguses lojaalsusi jaganud: "nostalgiliselt Stevensoni, ideoloogiliselt [Hubert H.] Humphrey ja realistlikult Kennedy jaoks". Realism võitis ja dr Schlesingerist sai Kennedy peamine toetaja.

Tema jõupingutusi premeeriti ametikohaga Valge Maja personalis presidendi eriassistendina. "See oli kutse, millele ükski ajaloolane ei suutnud vastu panna," selgitas dr Schlesinger 1997. aastal, "et näha, kuidas otsuseid langetati."

Tema ülesanded olid ebamääraselt määratletud ja erinevad. Ta oli Valge Maja suursaadik intellektuaalide ja liberaalsete rühmituste juures ning sidepidaja Kennedy suursaadiku ÜRO juures Stevensoniga. Ta andis ka asjatundlikkust kultuuriküsimustes ja oli Ladina -Ameerika nõunikuna üks väheseid, kes oli vastu Sigade lahe sissetungile. Samuti oli ta Valge Maja erinõuniku Theodore Sorenseni tänuväärses kirjelduses "välgunöör, et meelitada vabariiklaste rünnakud meist teistest eemale".

"Tema heaks töötamine oli kõige põnevam kogemus," ütles dr Schlesinger 1997. aastal Kennedy teenimise kohta. Sellel vaimustusel oli mitmeid vorme. Nagu kolumnist Mary McGrory 1964. aastal kirjutas: "Ta osales New Frontier'i elus suure naudinguga." Dr Schlesinger oli oma räige naeratuse ja kaubamärgiga kikilipsuga midagi professionaalset: ta vaatas filme ajakirjale Show (ja hiljem ka Vogue, Saturday Review ja American Heritage), läks kuulsalt täielikult riietatuna advokaadi basseini. Kindral Robert F. Kennedy Hickory Hilli kinnisvara, osaledes koos temaga isegi ise kirjeldatud "pilkvõistlusel" Marilyn Monroe tähelepanu eest presidendi sünnipäeva tähistamisel.


Arthur Schlesinger, Jr .: FDR Jaltas

[T is on redigeeritud versioon Arthur Schlesinger, Jr & rsquos eessõnast My Dear Mr Stalin: Franklin D. Roosevelti ja Joseph V. Stalini täielik kirjavahetus, toimetanud Susan Butler, avaldatakse Yale University Pressis detsembris.]

Roosevelt ja Stalin kohtusid novembris 1943 Teheranis ja Jaltas veebruaris 1945 vaid kahel korral ja kohtusid iga kord kolmiku suure kolmiku Winston Churchilliga. Jaltas kohtumise ajaks olid kõik kolm juba vanad ja väsinud. Churchill, kes oli 1930ndaid veetnud pidevas pettumuses, oli seitsekümmend üks. Kuuekümne kuueaastane Stalin oli oma riiki valitsenud seitseteist kurnavat aastat. Roosevelt, kes oli nädal enne Jalta kohtumist saanud kuuekümne kolme aastaseks, oli juhtinud oma riigi läbi ajaloo suurima majandussurutise ja rängema välismaa sõja. Nüüd olid nad koos, et panna alus tulevale rahule. Roosevelt ja Stalin pidasid kirjavahetust alates Hitleri ja rsquose üllatusrünnakust Nõukogude Liidule 1941. aastal, kui vahetati rohkem kui 300 kirja. Stipendiumi kurioosum on see, et kogu kirjavahetust ei avaldatud kunagi külma sõja ajal.

Kas FDR oli Jaltas liiga haige, et USA -le tugevat süüdistust esitada? Tema tervis oli kehv ja energiatase madal, kuid ma ei arva vestlustest temaga Jaltas viibinud isikutega, et tema kaitse oleks maas. Charles E. Bohlen, välisministeeriumi nõukogude ekspert, kes töötas Stalini juures Roosevelti ja rsquose tõlgina, võttis kokku üldise tunnistuse: & ldquoKui tema füüsiline seisund ei olnud kindlasti normaalne, ei mõjutanud see kindlasti tema vaimset ja psühholoogilist seisundit. Ta oli loid, kuid oluliste hetkede tekkides oli ta vaimselt terav. Meie juht oli Jaltas haige. . . aga ta oli tõhus ja rdquo. Intervjueerisin Sir Frank Robertsi, hilisemat Briti suursaadikut Moskvas. & ldquo Surma käsi oli tema peal, ütles Roberts, ja see ei takistanud tema rolli Jaltas. Ta juhtis ja saavutas kõik, mida oli tulnud tegema. Rootsvelti ja rsquose haigusest Jaltas probleeme ei tule. tema nõrgast välimusest oli tema vaimne potentsiaal suur. Enne väsimist oli ta tähelepanelik, kiirete reaktsioonide ja jõuliste argumentidega.

Stalin kohtles Roosevelti suure lugupidamisega, lisas Berežkov, ja minu teada ei kommenteerinud FDR -i ja rsquose seisundit. Kindlasti oleks ta võinud oma lähimate kolleegidega privaatselt suhelda, kuid keegi neist pole seda kunagi maininud. & Rdquo Roberts arvas, et & ldquoRoosevelt ja Churchill on Stalinile vastuvõtlikud, kuna ta ei sobinud tolleaegse diktaatori stereotüübiga. Ta ei olnud demagoog, kellega ta ei uhkeldanud uhketes vormides. Ta oli pehmekeelne, hästi organiseeritud, ilma huumorita, teadis oma lühidalt ja meeldivat fa & ccedilade, mis varjas tundmatuid õudusi ja rdquo.

Rooseveltil polnud Stalini ja rsquose Venemaa suhtes illusioone. & ldquo Nõukogude Liit, nagu teavad kõik, kellel on julgust sellele tõsiasjale näkku vaadata, ja ütles ta Ameerika Noortekongressile veebruaris 1940, ja ldquois, mida juhib sama absoluutne diktatuur nagu iga teinegi maailma diktatuur. & rdquo Aga FDR ja Churchill ka, teadis, kui palju on demokraatlikud riigid võlgu Punaarmeele Adolf Hitleri võimaliku lüüasaamise eest. D-päev poleks kunagi õnnestunud, kui Stalin poleks kinni pidanud enamikku Saksamaa ja rsquose idarinde natsiarmeest. Selleks ajaks, kui suur kolmik Jaltasse kogunes, oli Punaarmee Berliinist nelikümmend neli miili.

Palju on räägitud Roosevelt & rsquose väidetavast naiivsusest Nõukogude Liidu suhtes ja tema väidetavast veendumusest, et ta võib võluda Stalini sõjajärgsesse harmooniasse. Kindlasti polnud FDR -il asjatundlikku arusaama leninlikust ideoloogiast ega stalinliku ühiskonna kohutavast sisemisest olemusest. Ta vastas sellele, mida ta nägi nõukogude käitumisest maailmas, ega näinud kunagi väga kaugele Nõukogude Liitu. Olles alati optimist, lootis ta, et sõjaaegne liit ületab ideoloogilise kuristiku ja loob rahu jaoks uue reaalsuse. Isegi tagantjärele tarkusena tundub see ikkagi testimist väärt lootus. Seda tuli igal juhul testida, enne kui demokraatlike rahvaste suhtes suudeti veenda, et nende elulised liitlased on tegelikult surelikud vaenlased.

Kas Roosevelt tõesti uskus, et suudab Stalini puust välja võluda? Nagu Walter Lippmann soovitas, oli ta selleks liiga küüniline: & ldquoTa usaldas kõiki. See, mida ta arvas, et suudab, oli Stalini üle kavaldamine, mis on hoopis teine ​​asi & rdquo. Võib -olla polnud Ameerika president siiski nii lootusetult naiivne. Sest Stalin ei olnud leninliku ideoloogia abitu vang. Nõukogude diktaator nägi end vähem Marxi ja Lenini jüngrina kui nende kaasprohvetit. Rooseveltil oli kindlasti õigus, kui ta pidas Stalinit ainsaks demokraatiaks kättesaadavaks hoovaks leninismi jäikuse vastu. Ainult Stalinil oli õigus kommunistlikku doktriini ümber kirjutada, kuna ta oli juba Venemaa ajaloo ja vene teaduse ümber kirjutanud. Roosevelt ja rsquos otsustavad Stalini kohtusse anda,
Stalini kallal ja läbi töötada, usun, et see põhines meisterpoliitiku nutikatel refleksidel. Stalini ja rsquose mõtete muutmine oli ainus võimalus, et läänel oli rahu säilitada. .


Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

Tundub, et ajalugu pole ainult faktides, vaid ka geenides. Või nõnda tunnistas hiljuti naerdes Arthur Schlesinger juunior. „Kasvasin üles ajaloos küllastunud majapidamises. Mitte ainult mu isa, vaid ka mu ema oli ajaloolane. Tema neiupõlvenimi oli Bancroft ja ta oli sugulane üheksateistkümnenda sajandi suure Ameerika ajaloolase George Bancroftiga. ” Schlesinger jätkas perekonna traditsioone, saades avaldatud ajaloolaseks juba kahekümne kaheaastaselt. Siis sai tema esimene raamat Harvardi vanematööst, Orestes Brownson: Palveränduri edusammud. Sellest ajast peale on ta peretraditsioone edasi kandnud.

Schlesinger on kuue aastakümne jooksul avaldatud raamatu autor Orestes Brownson ilmus 1939. Sellele raamatule järgnes Jacksoni ajastu aastal, tähistatud ajalugu, mis seadis kahtluse alla Jacksoni ajastu ajaloolaste varasema tõlgendamise. Schlesinger väitis, et Jacksoni demokraatia oli dramaatiline muutus paremuse poole, sest see tõi kaasa idee, et üksikisikuid peaks tugev keskvalitsus kaitsma ärihuvide eest. Jacksoni ajastu oli bestseller ja pälvis Pulitzeri auhinna, millega Schlesinger nimetati Harvardi dotsendiks hoolimata asjaolust, et ta polnud kunagi doktorikraadi omandanud.

Neljakümnendatel ja viiekümnendatel Harvardis õpetades jätkas Schlesinger oluliste ajalooteoste tootmist, sealhulgas kolm köidet Franklin Roosevelti eesistumist käsitlevas sarjas. Ta osales neil aastatel aktiivselt ka rahvusliku Demokraatliku Partei poliitikas, võttes Harvardilt lehti, et nõustada demokraatide presidendikandidaate aastatel 1952, 1956 ja 1960. See poliitiline osalemine tõi talle ametisse presidendi John F. Kennedy erinõuniku ametikoha. võimalus, mille eest Schlesinger loobus oma Harvardi professuurist. Tema jutustus Valges Majas veedetud aastatest andis võib-olla tema tuntuima raamatu, Tuhat päeva: John F. Kennedy Valges Majas, mis tõi Schlesingerile taas Pulitzeri preemia.

Schlesinger on kogu oma ajaloolase karjääri jooksul pühendunud ideele, et ameeriklased peavad oma ajaloost aru saama, et tagada Ameerika katse jätkuv edu. "Ajalugu on rahvale sama palju kui mälu üksikisikule," ütleb Schlesinger. "Inimene, kes kaotab mälu, ei tea, kust ta tuli või kuhu ta läheb, ning ta on nihestatud ja desorienteeritud. Samamoodi on rahvas, kes unustab oma ajaloo, puudega oleviku ja tuleviku käsitlemisel. ” Oma viimases raamatus, Ameerika lagunemine, Väidab Schlesinger, et ameeriklased peavad keskenduma sellele, mis neid kokku viib. Ta hoiatab „rahvusekultuse” eest, mis võib rahvuse lõhkuda, nagu see on ka teistes maailma probleemsetes piirkondades. "See, mis meid koos hoiab, on ühine pühendumine põhiseaduses sätestatud protsessidele," ütleb ta. "Osa põhiseaduse tarkusest on lubadus anda kõigile võrdsed õigused, nii et isegi neile inimestele, kellelt on ära võetud kõik põhiseaduslikud õigused, antakse vahendid, mille abil nad saavad neid õigusi taotleda."

After his years in the Kennedy White House, Schlesinger became the Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities at the City University of New York. He taught in New York for the next three decades, retiring two years ago. He hopes to return to his series of books on FDR, picking up where he left off when the third volume appeared in 1960. “I only got up through 1936, the end of FDR’s first term,” Schlesinger points out. “I’ve got a good ways to go.”

Writing about Roosevelt’s additional three terms should manage to keep Schlesinger busy. Hopefully, it will also make him feel content with his contribution to our understanding of twentieth-century American political history. “I feel that I should have accomplished much more in these eighty years than I’ve done, there are more books I should have written,” Schlesinger notes ruefully. “The working title of my memoirs is Unfinished Business,” Schlesinger continues, with a laugh. At the age of eighty-one, Schlesinger has finally been persuaded to write his memoirs, a process he considers “a lot of fun.” “I only hope it’s as fascinating to other people as it is to me,” he says.

Though Schlesinger is characteristically self-deprecating about his career, historian Alan Brinkley wrote that Arthur Schlesinger is one of the most important voices in the historical profession, “not simply because he possesses a literary grace that few American scholars can match,” but also because “he is willing to argue that the search for an understanding of the past is not simply an aesthetic exercise but a path to the understanding of our own time.”

About the National Humanities Medal

The National Humanities Medal, inaugurated in 1997, honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities and broadened our citizens' engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy, and other humanities subjects. Up to 12 medals can be awarded each year.

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Photo, Print, Drawing Arthur Schlesinger, historian-biographer [in his office, NYC]

Täielike tsitaatide koostamise juhiste saamiseks lugege esmaseid allikaid.

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Arthur Schlesinger - History

The Great Depression experience of the American people from 1929 through 1941 is, in my opinion, one of the most important periods in the long saga of this country. The economic disaster and the efforts of the nation to deal with the despair and suffering it produced shaped and molded the attitudes of an entire generation of American citizens. Just as importantly, it produced governmental changes which continue to effect each and every one of us three-quarters of a century later. The Depression, however, cannot be adequately understood without reference to the broader sweep of American history with all its currents and eddies. Therefore, a brief overview is necessary.

Henry Adams' Pendulum Model

Historians have long talked about a seemingly cyclical nature to our countrys history - that trends, attitudes, and events tend to repeat themselves with marked regularity and that Americans tend to move back and forth between two different and competing impulses or motivations. One of the first to note this phenomenon was the nineteenth century historian Henry Adams. Writing shortly after the nation's inception, Adams postulated that the country seemed to swing back and forth like a pendulum between periods of centralization and diffusion of national energy every twelve years or so. According to Adams, Americans are motivated primarily by their fear of centralized power in periods of diffusion. At times such as these, they attempt to limit the national government in a variety of ways and tend to focus their attention on their individual area or state's needs. At other times, citizens recognize the need to have centralized direction of the nation that there are needs which transcend state boundaries that only the national government can address. Americans tend to go in one direction for a period of years before becoming convinced they have gone too far and begin to swing back in the other direction.

Adams contends that there was a diffusion of national energy and power between the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the creation of a stronger federal government under the Constitution in 1788. We rebelled against Great Britain in large part because we felt that government under King George III and the British Parliament was too powerful, too arbitrary, and too far away. Once the decision to wage a war of national liberation was taken, Americans created an extremely weak government under the Articles of Confederation. The national government existed in name only power was overwhelmingly reserved to the individual states which behaved almost as if they were independent nations. This produced near disaster. Americans began to understand that without a stronger national government looking out for the needs of all Americans, the new country might lose the independence it had just won on the battlefield. They, therefore, began moving in the opposite direction.

Between 1788 and the end of the century, power and swung to the national government under Presidents George Washington and John Adams. Their administrations launched a national currency and a national banking system. Steps were taken to guarantee the supremacy of federal law. The central government removed trade barriers between the various states and directed the nation's trading relationship with the rest of the world. However, Americans began to fear that they had gone too far in this direction as the century drew to a close.

Diffusion once again became the predominant mood between 1800 and 1812. Thomas Jefferson was elected president because the majority of Americans agreed with the Virginian that federal power had gotten out of hand and must be curtailed. The rights of individual states had to be protected and power returned to the local level. Adams argued that this trend continued through 1812.

Declaration of Independence to the Ratification of the Constitution

Launching the New Federal Government to Jefferson's Election

Jeffersonian Republicanism to the War of 1812

Arthur Schlesinger, Sr.'s Spiral Model

Arthur Schlesinger, Sr., a prominent twentieth century American historian, presented a rather different model of cyclicality in the late 1940s work entitled Paths to the Present. According to Schlesinger, Sr., the United States cycles back and forth between periods of liberalism and periods of conservatism with an average cycle length of sixteen and one-half years.

In this model a "liberal" period is one in which the national objective is to "increase democracy" while in a "conservative" period the objective is to "contain democracy." Schlesinger, Sr.'s use of the term "democracy" should be understood as being social and economic as well as political. A review of the periods he identifies as "liberal" shows them to be eras in which the nation moved to improve the status quo politically, socially, and economically. The effort is undertaken to include ever greater numbers of citizens in the mainstream of American life. "Conservative" periods, according to this model, are characterized by a defense and maintenance of the status quo in all three areas.

Schlesinger, Sr. also rejected the visual image of a pendulum "because it implied oscillation between two fixed points." The cycle, he pointed out, did not return the nation to the status quo ante. While retrenchments occurred in conservative periods, most of the reforms of the preceding liberal period survived. Therefore, the pendulum didn't swing back to the same fixed point. A more appropriate image, he maintained, was "the spiral, in which the alternation preceded at successfully higher levels and allowed the cumulation of change."

Notice in the graphic which follows the variable number of years in each cycle sixteen and one-half years is only the average. The most glaring deviation from the sixteen and one-half year average is between 1861 and 1901. The liberal period which began with the onset of the Civil War lasted for only eight years until 1869. The conservative reaction which began in 1869, according to Schlesinger, Sr., lasted for thirty-two years until 1900, twice the sixteen year average. Why such a pronounced deviation from the normal cycle length?

The author's explanation was that the depth of change in the Civil War and early years of Reconstruction was so great that it couldn't last for the normal sixteen and one-half years. Further, the degree of democratization was so great in this brief period that the next conservative cycle would last much longer than normal. ". the prolongation of the counter movement in the next period was a form of compensation to restore the rhythm."


No, argues historian Schlesinger. It is like the human appendix, a vestigial organ on the body politic. John Nance Garner called the office a lot of things, some of them not as polite as "a spare tire on the automobile of government."

As a steady stream of disturbing revelations surfaced in the Watergate investigation, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.—a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and a former adviser to President Kennedy—argued that under Richard Nixon's insidious influence, the power of the presidency had spiraled out of control.


Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (1917-2007)

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., one of the most renowned and influential historians and intellectuals of the 20th century, died February 28, 2007, after a heart attack suffered in a Manhattan restaurant where he was dining with members of his family.

He was born October 15, 1917, in Columbus, Ohio. His father, Arthur M. Schlesinger, was himself a distinguished historian who inspired his admiring young son, originally named Arthur Bancroft Schlesinger, to change his name to Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. The senior Schlesinger, having taught at Ohio State University and the University of Iowa, accepted a position at Harvard University in 1924, and Arthur Jr. spent much of the next 37 years in Cambridge, Massachusetts, eventually attending Harvard College. His undergraduate thesis became his first published book, Orestes A. Brownson: A Pilgrim's Progress. In the fall of 1939, after a year studying at the University of Cambridge, he joined Harvard's Society of Fellows, where he wrote one of his most influential books, The Age of Jackson, published in 1944 and the winner of the first of Schlesinger's two Pulitzer Prizes. The Age of Jackson, which challenged the tradition of interpreting the era through the prism of Frederick Jackson Turner's "frontier thesis" and identified the origins of popular democracy as a product of northeastern cities and workers, established him as one of the leading historians of his time.

Schlesinger spent most of World War II in London working for the Office of Strategic Services and then spent several years in Washington, where he began what would become a lifelong role as a prolific writer of essays and articles for newspapers and magazines and as a constant friend and colleague of influential people in many walks of life and many areas of the world. In the fall of 1947, he moved back to Cambridge to accept a position on the Harvard faculty, where he remained for 14 years&mdashnow married to Marian Cannon Schlesinger, with whom he had four children. He soon moved out of the shadow of his well-known father and became an important and highly visible person himself&mdashknown for his trademark bow ties, his warm and generous personality, his brilliant conversation, and his extraordinary energy. He was a successful and popular teacher at Harvard and an influential figure within the faculty. John Kenneth Galbraith, whom he had met in Washington, also joined the Harvard faculty shortly after the war, became Schlesinger's neighbor in Cambridge, and remained his lifelong friend&mdashand his companion in combining an academic career with an active and unceasing engagement with politics (something Schlesinger shared with his own father as well).

Deeply committed to the future of liberalism, he (along with his father) became one of the founders of Americans for Democratic Action. He was a political ally of Adlai Stevenson and worked on both of his presidential campaigns. He struggled throughout the postwar years to define a path for American liberalism between what he considered the "doughface" progressivism of the socialist left and the reactionary alternatives of the right. His 1949 book, The Vital Center, written in the early stages of what later became known as "McCarthyism," offered a prescription for a dynamic liberalism&mdasha liberalism worth fighting for, he argued&mdashthat would move between what he considered these two bankrupt ideologies and would retain ties to liberalism's pragmatic, non-ideological heritage.

During these same years, Schlesinger&mdasha disciplined and indefatigable researcher and writer&mdashworked on what became his enormously influential three-volume study, The Age of Roosevelt. He did not attempt to hide his great admiration for Roosevelt and his belief in his relevance to the politics of the postwar era. At the same time, he offered one of the earliest serious interpretations of the New Deal, identifying it simultaneously as a product of the progressive tradition and as a significant break with the past. He was among the first scholars to argue that there was both a "first" and a "second" New Deal, and he offered a panoramic vision of the turbulent political world of the 1930s and its impact on Roosevelt's political decisions. The first volume of the series, The Crisis of the Old Order, was awarded the Bancroft Prize.

The presidential election of 1960 was a major turning point in Schlesinger's life. He became an early supporter of John F. Kennedy (his Harvard contemporary), worked actively on his campaign, and after the election accepted Kennedy's invitation to serve as a special assistant in the White House, where&mdashalong with Theodore Sorensen, John Kenneth Galbraith, Richard Goodwin, and others&mdashhe became part of an influential group of liberals within the administration who attempted to steer Kennedy away from the more conservative views of the many committed Cold Warriors in the government of the early 1960s. After the president's death in 1963, Schlesinger served briefly under Lyndon Johnson and then left the government to write an extraordinarily successful account of the Kennedy Years, A Thousand Days, for which he won his second Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Tuhat päeva was a frankly personal work&mdashpartly a memoir, partly a history, partly an effort to establish Kennedy's legacy as an agent of progressive change both at home and in the world. In these same years, he divorced his first wife, married Alexandra Emmet (with whom he had another son and gained a stepson), moved to New York, and joined the faculty of the City University of New York Graduate School.

Schlesinger continued to play an active role in liberal politics and became a close ally of Robert F. Kennedy, in whose presidential campaign he worked in 1968. After Kennedy's assassination that June, Schlesinger was for a time uncharacteristically discouraged and even bitter. But eventually, he found himself drawn again to writing about a fallen leader whom he had known and admired. Robert F. Kennedy and His Times, published in 1978 and the winner of the National Book Award, was a more conventional biography than Tuhat päeva, based on extensive research, and it examined the entirety of Robert Kennedy's life. Although not wholly uncritical, it reflected Schlesinger's view of Kennedy as someone who had developed the potential to become a great leader and who, like his brother, had died before he could fulfill his destiny. While Schlesinger never again served in government or allied himself with an administration or campaign, he remained in almost constant communication with other people of power and influence in many parts of the world, and he appeared frequently in both print and broadcast media as a commentator on public issues. He led an active academic and social life as well.

At the same time, he continued writing and publishing prolifically. "Having perhaps the soul of a hack," he once wrote, "I have never been bothered with writer's block, nor am I unduly distracted by noise. . . . I did not mind the clamor of children and never closed my study door to the life of the household." A bitter opponent of the Vietnam War and of Richard Nixon, he wrote strenuously about both&mdashincluding a harsh appraisal of the Vietnam War (The Bitter Heritage, 1967) and a strong repudiation of what he considered the dangerous overreaching of the Nixon White House (The Imperial Presidency, 1973). A 1991 essay, published as The Disuniting of America, was a controversial lament about the dangers of "multiculturalism." His last book, War and the American Presidency, published in 2005, was a harsh attack on the Iraq War that continued his long argument against unnecessary and excessive use of American military force.

Schlesinger was a lifelong diarist, and his journals helped him compose a memoir, A Life in the Twentieth Century (2000), the first of a planned but uncompleted two volumes. (An edited version of his diaries is scheduled for publication in fall 2007.) Although the memoir covered only the years to 1950, it conveyed clearly and eloquently the multiple commitments that shaped almost the entirety of his life&mdasha belief in the value of history, a belief in its power to shape ideas and events, and a belief in his obligation to use his knowledge of the past to affect the present. In his last years, he confirmed his continued allegiance to the ideas he had embraced more than a half century earlier and to the value of fighting for them. "So long as society stays free," he wrote in his memoir, "so long will it continue in a state of tension, breeding contradiction, breeding strife. But conflict is also the guarantee of freedom it is the instrument of change. . . . I am somewhat embarrassed to confess that I have not radically altered my general outlook in the more than half century since the The Vital Center's publication. . . . I have not been born again, and there it is."


Arthur Schlesinger’s Missing Vital Center

Ms. Spark, an independent scholar, is the author of Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival.

Tema oma Commentary essay, reprinted in HNN, Norman Podhoretz regrets that Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. had, in his unrelenting negative depiction of the Republican party, abandoned the liberalism he espoused in his famous book The Vital Center. The obituary in the hooldaja also references the “vital centre,” defining this conception as “a vital centre of accepted societal values” that, combined with “a periodic need for heroic leadership” was linked to Schlesinger Senior’s theory that U.S. history followed “a wave pattern of 11 alternating periods of liberal and conservative dominance.” The question should follow: what did Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. mean by “the vital center?” I have evidence that the late historian vacillated between two incompatible definitions of that term, but that his thought, taken as a whole, is pessimistic, aristocratic, subjectivist, and hence finally antidemocratic, notwithstanding his apparent concern for urban workers and their contribution to American democratic institutions. In this article, I tackle “the vital centre” along with another theme that permeates many of the Schlesinger obituaries: that historians cannot ever attain objectivity, a claim frequently advanced by postmodernists and other radical historicists/radical subjectivists.

While researching the papers of prominent academic intellectuals during the period of the twentieth-century Melville revival, and its promotion of Moby-Dick, I came across a letter from Schlesinger to Columbia English professor and New Critic Richard Chase, January 24, 1949, written while The Vital Center was in composition, and excerpted in my book Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival. Schlesinger wrote: “I was reading with my usual interest your article on THE CONFIDENCE MAN in the current issue of KENYON REVIEW when I came upon your pleasant reference to me. I was particularly interested by the article because I have just been putting together my thoughts on modern liberalism in a volume which Houghton Mifflin will bring out in the next few months and in the course of argument I am urging a return to those earlier and profounder representatives of our democratic tradition, such as Hawthorne and Melville…[who] certainly stand up superbly when read in the interesting light of the 20th century.”

Given the favorable reference to Hawthorne and Melville as exemplary democrats, I gathered that “the vital center” was taken from Ishmael’s Epilogue, with that poetic image meant to symbolize Ishmael’s survival of the wreck of the Pequod, primarily because moderate Ishmael had distanced himself from the fanatical Captain Ahab (fanatical as perceived by the character Ishmael in the chapter “The Try-Works”). I received a surprising response from Schlesinger in his letter to me of March 4, 2000, giving me permission to quote him: “I had totally forgotten that Melville wrote about ‘that vital centre’ in the Epilogue! Maybe it lodged in my unconscious, but I think I had Yeats more in mind (‘the centre cannot hold’).” Consider now the remarkable implications of this statement. Yeats’s oft-quoted mystical poem of 1921, “The Second Coming,” warning of the new anarchy brought about by the disintegrating “center,” contains these lines: “the best lack all conviction, while the worst/ are full of passionate intensity.”

It is hard to imagine a “pragmatic” new model liberal as possessed of any fixed moral conviction, for indeed it was these same “progressives” who had embraced the cultural and moral relativism necessary to their ideology of cultural or ethnopluralism, a policy that can be traced back to the thought of the German theologian Herder in the late eighteenth century, and then revived by such progressives as Randolph Bourne and Horace Kallen in the early twentieth century as an offensive against the rival conception of proletarian internationalism and its allied beliefs in ethical universalism and species-unity--conceptions promoted by Herman Melville throughout his more radical oeuvre. Of course, the assumption of the ethnopluralists was that social cohesion, not militant cultural nationalism, would be advanced by their upper-class directed policy of mutual appreciation and toleration, and when “multiculturalism” got out of hand (as it did in the rise of the Black Power movement and Afrocentrism), Schlesinger rang the tocsin in his The Disuniting of America, but without examining his own first principles, which were arguably counter-Enlightenment in their utter rejection of objectivity as an achievable goal.

Other ironies should be noted here. It is a stretch to imagine Nathaniel Hawthorne as an inspiring democrat, to be emulated by the new liberals indeed he mocked Melville’s democratic tendencies in The Blithedale Romance. Moreover, Melville vacillated between aristocratic and democratic impulses, often within the same paragraph.

Heed it well, ye social democrats. Is it not more historically accurate to trace the genealogy of the New Deal to Herder, Burke, Bismarck, and to other conservative reformers, looking to heroic leaders to rescue the masses from themselves?

Melville, who taunted “the moderate men” whenever his radical mood took over, was probably not referring to politics when he described the “vital centre” in connection with Ishmael’s survival. “Vital” is a recurring word in Melville’s writing, and it most likely refers to the Promethean element of his psyche that (following Goethe and Schiller) could bring to life believable representations of humans and the full range of their earthly activities and emotions: such Prometheanism could scare him into organic conservatism of the kind later espoused by the reactionary and protofascist William Butler Yeats. Similarly, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. was a vocal representative of the pseudo-liberal generation that had co-opted science and enlightenment, demonizing Prometheus and Faustian “individualism,” hence subtly circumscribing the range of human possibility and amelioration, never more overtly than in the mechanical notion of cycles between liberalism and conservatism, presumably stabilized by common values that are not defined. Such vagueness cannot be found in the democratic tradition as it evolved since the sixteenth century, flowering most notably in the eighteenth-century scientific thought of those liberals who founded the American republic, but the very abstractness of terms such as “progressivism,” “liberalism,” “moderation,” “centrism” and other cant words useful to demagogues renders these emotion-laden categories susceptible to whatever desirable meaning otherwise incompatible social actors wish to project. Indeed, the center cannot hold when constituencies remain divided and at odds, and where intellectuals have failed to specify the irrefragable sources of individual and social conflict.


Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

Schlesinger was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1917. His birth name was Arthur Bancroft Schlesinger, but he later took his father's full name. Arthur Meier Schlesinger, Sr., was a prominent historian of the United States. His son also became an American historian. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. graduated from Harvard University in 1938.

Schlesinger published his first book, his Harvard University honors thesis, in 1939. During World War II he serving in the Office of War Information from 1942 to 1943 and in the Office of Strategic Services from 1943 to 1945. He continued to research and write while serving his country. In 1945, he published The Age of Jackson. The book won the Pulitzer Prize. In 1946, Schlesinger became a professor at Harvard University. He held the position until 1961.

Schlesinger's liberal political and social views heavily influenced his books and articles. He emerged as one of the most respected and influential historians of the twentieth century. He also played an active role in politics. During the administration of President John F. Kennedy he served as a campaign advisor and later became Kennedy's Special Assistant for Latin American Affairs.

With President Kennedy's assassination in November 1963, Schlesinger returned to academic life.. He wrote a study of Kennedy's administration called Tuhat päeva. It won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1965. Schlesinger became a professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center in 1966. He concluded his teaching career in 1994. After retiring, Schlesinger continued to write books..


The Disuniting of America

The Disuniting of America, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., W. W. Norton & Co, 160 pp.

Arthur Schlesinger is a distinguished historian best known for A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House. He is an unabashed liberal, and has seen much of what he hoped for come to pass: civil rights laws, affirmative action, non-white immigration, and “inclusion” of all kinds. But Professor Schlesinger is a thoughtful liberal, and he is genuinely worried. He sees that non-whites are repudiating the majority culture as never before, and he fears that if the current ethnic upsurge continues it could tear the nation apart.

The Disuniting of America may be a more important book than Prof. Schlesinger realizes, for it can be read as the first line of an epitaph — an epitaph to the disastrous policies that destroyed the United States of 40 years ago and that threaten the nation’s European character. Prof. Schlesinger still claims to believe in the magical capacity of the United States to transform Guatemalan refugees and Haitian boat people into admirers of Thomas Jefferson, but the scales are beginning to fall from his eyes. “[T]he mixing of peoples [will be] a major problem for the century that lies darkly ahead,” he warns. Even liberals are beginning to notice that something has gone seriously wrong with the great American experiment in multi-racialism.

Because Prof. Schlesinger is a historian, it is natural that his book should be about the ways in which non-whites, especially blacks, are using invented histories as a way to carve out separatist identities. He fully recognizes the extent to which history is the basis of a nation’s understanding of itself, and quotes the Marxist historian Eric Foner: “A new future requires a new past.” Every non-white group in the country is peddling its own version of American history and hopes to use it as a weapon against the white man.

Blacks have taken the lead in this game, and Prof. Schlesinger neatly lays bare the lunacies and contradictions in what they say. The ostensible reason for Afrocentric history is that “Eurocentric” history is a pack of lies that insults and demeans blacks. Sermons about a glorious African past will transform ghetto punks into noble black men. Prof. Schlesinger despises this attempt to turn history into therapy.

In any case, there is no evidence that America’s admiration for ancient Greece ever gave Greek immigrants any intellectual or moral advantages. Jews and Asians have done very well in America without public schools to tell them how wonderful their ancestors were. Nor is there any evidence that “Eurocentric” education did any damage to W.E.B. DuBois, Ralph Ellison, or Martin King. Prof. Schlesinger suspects that Afrocentrists are driven as much by hatred of Western Civilization as by any real hope that new history books will keep young blacks from drugging themselves and shooting each other.

And yet, much as they claim to despise European culture, one of the Afrocentrists’ main aims is to prove that their ancestors created it. Black Egyptians are supposed to have invented everything from geometry to airplanes, only to have this wonderful knowledge stolen form them by Greeks. As Prof. Schlesinger points out, knowledge cannot be completely removed from its owner the way an object can yet the Afrocentrist view requires us to believe that whatever the Greeks learned, the Egyptians thereupon ceased to know.

Ultimately, however, as even many blacks realize, it is folly to think that a knowledge of hieroglyphics or Egyptian cleansing rituals will do an American child the slightest good if he can’t read English. This doesn’t worry the Afrocentrists they are educating Africans-in-exile, not Americans.

Another trend that Prof. Schlesinger laments is bilingual education. As he correctly points out, its effect — and perhaps its purpose — is not to teach immigrant children English but to keep them immersed in their mother tongues for as long as possible. The new waves of Hispanics are no more enchanted with the idea of adopting Anglo culture than are blacks. Prof. Schlesinger quotes one Hispanic who puts it this way: “The era that began with the dream of integration ended up with scorn for assimilation.”

What Will Hold the Center?

Prof. Schlesinger seems genuinely wounded that non-whites are turning up their noses at his culture just when he has been at such pains to make it “inclusive.” He also sees it as a betrayal of one of America’s most central doctrines: “the unifying vision of individuals from all nations melted into a new race.” He concludes with the uncertain hope that by reasserting Western values, an increasingly disparate America can be forged, once more, into a new unity.

Prof. Schlesinger’s disappointment and confusion stem from his own version of an invented American past, in which multi-racialism was, somehow, always the ultimate goal. Although it is perfectly clear that the Constitution was written for whites and not for blacks or Indians or anyone else, Prof. Schlesinger shares the near-universal view that multi-racialism was a predestined consequence of American democracy. To point out that this was nothing of the sort is to point out the obvious racial equality, integration, and non-white immigration were radical departures from everything that Washington, Lincoln and even Wilson believed in. The “tolerance” and “inclusion” that are supposed always to have characterized America are entirely new doctrines.

Prof. Schlesinger sees the present as no different from the past just as European ethnics blended together to become a new people, so will the new non-white immigrants. He concedes that race is a greater barrier to blending than was European nationality, but says he believes that “the historic forces driving toward ‘one people’ have not lost their power.” Of course, there have never been any historic forces driving blacks, whites, Indians, and Hispanics toward “one people.” They may have lived within the same national boundaries, but they have always remained distinct.

An obvious first step to counter the ethnic divisiveness that Prof. Schlesinger fears, would be to stop immigration, or to limit it to the European stocks that did become “one people.” This idea must be rejected, we are told, because it “offends something in the American soul.” Even if this were true — repeated polls show that Americans think the country has enough immigrants — Prof. Schlesinger surely understands that the forces of divisiveness could extinguish America’s soul.

Prof. Schlesinger is still a prisoner of the view that America is uniquely exempted from the lessons of history. Although he writes fearfully of renewed ethnic conflicts abroad, he believes that America can dispense with the ancient ingredients of nationhood: common religion, common tongue, common heritage, common ancestry. What, then, makes Americans American?

Democracy to the Rescue

Prof. Schlesinger, like so many others, falls back upon a national identity so threadbare, so improbable, that only the most credulous could believe in it. The “American democratic faith,” he says, is “what binds all Americans together.” Ours is a democracy in which most citizens cannot name their congressmen, in which not one in 500 can name his state legislator, in which Presidents are elected with the votes of less than a quarter of the electorate. Ours is a democracy in which voters despise politicians one in which men of wisdom and integrity do not even enter, much less win, elections. Democracy will bind us together?

There are European countries in which democracy actually presents voters with real choices, where a far higher number of citizens vote, where men of some stature are voted into office. But no, democracy is America’s unique gift and treasure.

And are we to assume that Mexican peasant-women have their babies in American hospitals so that their children will benefit from the Bill of Rights and the separation of powers? Will democracy bind Cambodian tribesmen to the bosom of America any more successfully than it has Hopis and Navajos? Non-whites come to this country because they want jobs, money, and welfare, not because they want to join the PTA and become registered Democrats.

Not even the people who invented American democracy feel about it as Prof. Schlesinger thinks complete strangers will. It was not an appeal to representational government that sent Pickett’s men up the rise at Gettysburg, but the cry, “For Virginia for your wives and sweethearts!” The marines didn’t land on the beaches of Guadalcanal, full of devotion to the Constitution, but of hatred for the people who bombed Pearl Harbor.

The unifying power of democracy is nothing compared to that of blood and soil. Non-whites will not give up their racial birthright in exchange for the ballot. For blacks and Hispanics, democracy is a racial head-count, a chance to push out the white man and replace him with one of their own. Increasingly, in America, the very democracy that Prof. Schlesinger thinks will bind us is numerical proof of how divided we are.

On the last page of his book, Prof. Schlesinger writes: “Our task is to combine due appreciation of the splendid diversity of the nation with due emphasis on the great unifying Western ideas of individual freedom, political democracy, and human rights.” What does this fine-sounding sentence even mean? It is precisely in the name of freedom and human rights that non-whites insist on going their own ways.

Nor will history save Prof. Schlesinger’s “splendidly diverse” America. As he writes on the next-to-last page, “People with a different history will have differing values. But we believe that our own are better for us. They work for us and for that reason, we live and die by them.” This is the very thing an Afrocentrist might say! These are the very words on which Prof. Schlesinger’s unity in diversity will founder.


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