While most histories of the Civil War naturally focus on the drama in America, Don H. Doyle’s “The Cause of All Nations” explains how the conflict fits into broader world history and how events abroad affected the war.
In this episode, the editors discuss Alan Dowd’s article about the US defending democracy abroad, an interview with Samuel Goldman about his book “After Nationalism,” and a reflection on Donald Rumsfeld from Marc LiVecche.
Even though some on the right have argued that the United States needs to return to a strong common national identity to survive, Goldman argues in “After Nationalism” that America has normally not had this type of cohesion for most of its history.
Goldman responds to commentators who believe that Americans must return to some overarching identity and purpose. He argues that this task is difficult when the conditions that allowed previous unity no longer exist. Moreover, nationalists do not reasonably explain programs that could reignite a meaningful shared identity.