American Political Ideas: Tradition and Usages by Michael Foley
This is a critique of the lack in American thinking of theoretical self- definition and ideological consciousness which has become one of its central characteristics, a phenomenon particularly evident in the 1950s. The book ranges through the concepts of liberty, individualism, capitalism, democracy, pluralism, liberalism, conservatism, equality, nationalism and constitutionalism. At no point was the American belief in its freedom from dogmatic ideology stronger or more revealingly expressed than in the 1950s. It was during this era that American scholars declared "the end of ideology" and the post-war social consensus in the country seemed final proof that America was the model of a successful society because it had surmounted the need for ideologies, with the only remaining disputes being those which could be negotiated by means of a series of technical adjustments. To some extent, the Cold War reinforced the solidarity of this anti-ideological consensus. The book concludes with an exposition of constitutionalism as the vehicle of America's political values.