Freedom and Fate in American Thought: From Edwards to Deweyreviewed by J. David Hoeveler, Jr. — 1979
Many students and teachers of American intellectual history have
become familiar with the works of Paul F. Boller, Jr. His several
texts, including especially American Thought in Transition: The
Impact of Evolutionary Naturalism, 1865-1900 (1969) and
American Transcendentalism, 1830-1860: An Intellectual
Inquiry (1974) are useful and insightful summaries of two
critical periods in the history of American ideas. In his latest
work, Boller has charted a large thematic course that centers on
one of the most elusive but most intriguing and suggestive themes
in our literature, the issue of freedom and fate. Boller gives
these terms elastic meanings: "freedom," "liberty," "free will,"
"natural rights," "determinism," "predestination," "discipline,"
and "authority" express their several variations. And the spectrum
of opinion runs the full length of extremes. On the Right,
expressing the skeptical position on freedom, are Mark Twain and
Jonathan Edwards. In the middle stand Ralph Waldo Emerson, John C.
Calhoun, and John Dewey. The "radical" voices of freedom are Thomas
Paine, Frederick Douglass, Edward Bellamy, and William James.... (preview truncated at 150 words.) Title:
Freedom and Fate in American Thought: From Edwards to DeweyAuthor(s):
Paul F. Jr. BollerPublisher:
John Wiley, New YorkISBN:
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- J. Hoeveler, Jr.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
J. David Hoeveler, Jr., is Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is the author of The New Humanism: A Critique of Modern America, 1900-1940 and has recently completed a biography of James Mc Cosh.