1st Edition

America's British Culture

By Russell Kirk Copyright 1993
    136 Pages
    by Routledge

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    It is an incontestable fact of history that the United States, although a multiethnic nation, derives its language, mores, political purposes, and institutions from Great Britain. The two nations share a common history, religious heritage, pattern of law and politics, and a body of great literature. Yet, America cannot be wholly confident that this heritage will endure forever. Declining standards in education and the strident claims of multiculturalists threaten to sever the vital Anglo-American link that ensures cultural order and continuity. In "America's British Culture", now in paperback, Russell Kirk offers a brilliant summary account and spirited defense of the culture that the people of the United States have inherited from Great Britain. Kirk discerns four essential areas of influence. The language and literature of England carried with it a tradition of liberty and order as well as certain assumptions about the human condition and ethical conduct. American common and positive law, being derived from English law, gives fuller protection to the individual than does the legal system of any other country. The American form of representative government is patterned on the English parliamentary system. Finally, there is the body of mores - moral habits, beliefs, conventions, customs - that compose an ethical heritage. Elegantly written and deeply learned, "America's British Culture" is an insightful inquiry into history and a plea for cultural renewal and continuity. Adam De Vore in "The Michigan Review" said of the book: "A compact but stimulating tract...a contribution to an over-due cultural renewal and reinvigoration...Kirk evinces an increasingly uncommon reverence for historical accuracy, academic integrity and the understanding of one's cultural heritage," and Merrie Cave in "The Salisbury Review" said of the author: "Russell Kirk has been one of the most important influences in the revival of American conservatism since the fifties. [Kirk] belongs to an almost extinct species on both sides of the Atlantic - an independent man of letters."

    1: The Necessity for a General Culture; 2: The Language and the Literature; 3: The Supremacy of Law; 4: The Heritage of Representative Government; 5: Mores and Minds; 6: Renewing a Shaken Culture


    Russell Kirk