With The New York Times seemingly leading a crusade to besmirch America’s past (and therefore present?), discussion of that heritage is clearly a matter of the present-day culture wars. As Jonathan Scott’s book, How the Old World Ended, demonstrates, those of an earlier era are also with us again. Much of his book would have sat comfortably with modish writings of the 1960s, for example by the Marxist Christopher Hill. Here we have a simplistic account of modernity and modernization, and, more generally, of causation. In a lumper’s dream, early modern Western republicanism is regarded as a crucial shifter bearing the weight of new concepts and methods that helped produce the Industrial Revolution. With the fundamental link being the influences of Dutch republicanism on mid-seventeenth-century England, republican ideology...

 

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