*This is given in full, as Professor Parrington left it, with those parts not completed by him in brackets. Some revision has been made for the parts he completed, but notes have been added to the text to show his original intention. For some of the bracketed headings after Part II of Book II some material is given in the Addenda from other work of Parrington's. Publisher.




INTRODUCTION: The Great Revolution

I. [A New America in the Making: Rise of capitalistic industrialism submerging the older agrarianism, the Enlightenment, the Jacksonian frontier]

II. [Aristocracy Dead: The principle of democracy accepted, yet driving toward a plutocracy. A middle-class, urban civilization ]

III. [Cleavages: Western agrarianism; Eastern capitalism. The South confused, bitter, hesitant. Expansion of the frontier and the cities. The swift extension of the psychology of the city]

IV. [Changing Patterns of Thought: (1) From the frontier came the doctrine of preemption, exploitation, progress; (2) From the impact of science came the dissipation of the Enlightenment and a spirit of realism; (3) From European proletarian philosophies came a new social theory]

V. [Certain Drifts: to unity, to realism, to criticism]

Changes in traditional economies after the Civil War. The rise of American industrialism and the conquest of nature by science. The age of the middle class. The last flare-up of the spirit of the frontier


The Gilded Age


I. Free America: Half a continent awaiting preemption; newraw materials--oil, steel, copper, coal. A new technique of exploitation--capital, transportation, machinery. Philosophy embraced in three ideals: preemption, exploitation, progress

II. Figures of Earth: The flowering of Jacksonian frontier spirit, simplified to the acquisitive instinct; a crude, dynamic energy

III. Politics and the Fairy Godmother: The struggle within the Republican Party; the gospel of Whiggery and the triumph of the American System, Henry Clay

IV. The Great Barbecue: How capitalism and agrarianism fared--the Homestead Act and railway grants. The shift from governmental to private control

V. Folk Heroes

  • 1. General Grant

  • 2. Jay Cooke

  • 3. Charles A. Dana

II. THE CULTURE OF THE SEVENTIES: With the decay of aristocratic controls, a loss of unity. Three strands: aristocratic, romantic, frontier

I. New England in Decay: The Genteel Tradition and the drift away

  • 1. Thomas Bailey Aldrich and the Genteel

  • 2. The New England Scene: Elizabeth Stuart Phelps; Harriet Beecher Stowe; Sarah Orne Jewett; Mary Wilkins Freeman

II. The Afterglow of the Enlightenment--Walt Whitman

III. The Backwash of the Frontier--Mark Twain

III. CHANGING THEORY: An agricultural people changing to an urbanized people. The railways hasten economic development

I. Winds of Economic Theory: The conscription of economics: The business man comes to the front

  • 1. Henry C. Carey

  • 2. Francis A. Walker

II. The Conscription of Political Theory: The democratic and plutocratic trends. Development of the democratic principle vs. the cult of the Constitution. New conception of the political state

  • 1. Theodore Woolsey

  • 2. [John W. Burgess]

III. [The New Ally: The courts: the police power and the four­teenth amendment; the injunction]

IV. [Buttressing the Democratic Theory]

  • 1. A Democratic Economics--Henry George

  • 2. [Supplementing the Democratic Political Theory­-Henry D. Lloyd]

IV. THE BEGINNINGS OF CRITICISM: The pessimists skeptical of democracy, the optimists calling for reform of the spoils system. No competent critics of industrialism

I. The New England Conscience and Capitalism--Wendell Phillips

II. Morality and Politics--George William Curtis

III. English Liberalism and Politics--Edwin Lawrence Godkin and the Nation

IV. Fiction Considers the State of the Country

  • 1. The Political Novel: The Gilded Age; Democracy; An American Politician

  • 2. [The Economic Novel: The Bread-winners]

  • 3. The Beginnings of the Sociological Novel: H. H. Boyesen

I. DISINTEGRATION AND REINTEGRATION: Two forces creating a new ideology, science and the machine. The decay of the older theological, political mind, and the emergence of an urban mind

I. The Victorian Mood--A genial optimism

  • 1. Sociology and the Enlightenment: Condorcet, Comte, and the gospel of progress

  • 2. Biology and the Enlightenment: Spencer and the philosophy of anarchism

  • 3. The End of the Hopes of the Enlightenment

II. The School of Spencer--John Fiske

II. THE SKEPTICISM OF THE HOUSE OF ADAMS: The flower of the sturdy New England character. They fail to adjust to the Gilded Age

I. Charles Francis Adams--The Business Failure

II. Henry Adams--Intellectual

III. Brooks Adams--Rebel

III. VICTORIAN REALISM: In the eighties realism begins to excite interest and the movement gets under way, though the American taste is still romantic. The psychology of the dispersion marking America

I. [William James and Pragmatism]

II. Henry James and the Nostalgia of Culture

III. William Dean Howells and the Realism of the Commonplace




The Middle Border Rises


I. Democratic Reactions to Plutocracy: The Middle Border suffers. Two moods: Buoyancy, depression--the farmer deflated. The economic problem

II. The Farmer Considers Politics: His intellectual equipment--homespun theories derided by the schools. The movement of organization: The Grange, The Alliance, Populism. The flare-up of the nineties--the doctrine of more corn and less hell

III. The Greenback Movement: The laissez-faire theory abandoned by English economists. American spokesmen: John Sherman, David A. Wells, Eleazar Lord. Diverse theories of money--the intrinsic-value theory and the quantitative theory. The money question a heritage of the Civil War­-a debtor class and an appreciating standard of value

IV. Greenbackism and Peter Cooper

V. [Bi-metallism: A heritage of Jacksonian democracy: Ignatius Donnelly, "Coin" Harvey]


I. Capitalistic Encroachments: Due to inadequate democratic machinery. The movement to democratize government. Plutocracy content with the machine which it controlled; hence radical proposals must issue from the discontented. After 1870, with few exceptions, popular democratic thinking done west of the Allegheny Mountains

II. Third-party Movements. A summary of democratic proposals of previous movements

III. [The Populistic Program: Income tax; the initiative and referendum; the recall; direct primary; Australian ballot; popular election of Senators; sub-treasuries; proportional representation ]

IV. [William Jennings Bryan and the Last Battle]


I. [Edward Eggleston and Frontier Realism]

II. [Whitcomb Riley and Folk Romance]

III. Hamlin Garland and the Middle Border. Joseph Kirkland, Harold Frederic


Proletarian Hopes

I. [PLUTOCRACY AND THE WORKINGMAN: Disruption of industry--strikes and lockouts in the Gilded Age. Bitterness of conflict. The discovery of the injunction]

I. [Industrialism and the American theory of freedom: Rise of labor unions. Passing of the frontier. Incoming of German Socialists and the recovery of the doctrine of class war lost since the eighteenth century]

II. [The first solution--Syndicalism: T. V. Powderly and the Knights of Labor ]

III. [The second solution--craft unionism: Gompers and the A. F. of L. A middle-class solution]


I. [The Menace of Socialism: The Haymarket riot; Governor Altgeld ]

II. [Leaders of the Left: Daniel De Leon; Eugene Debs; Victor Berger]


I. Edward Bellamy and Looking Backward

II. [After Bellamy: "Nationalism"; Tourgee's Murvale Eastman]

IV. [THE DARKENING SKIES OF LETTERS: The clouds gathering on the "gay" horizon of American optimism. Changes in the temper of scientific thought point to determinism. A gloomier realism on the way, coming first from the West]

I. [Edwin Markham and "The Man with a Hoe" ]

II. [The Rise of Naturalism: Stephen Crane; Frank Norris1]

III. [Fiction Discovers the City ]


The Hesitant South

I. [TWO WORLDS: The aristocratic clinging to the romance of the past; the plebeian agrarian joining with the Middle Border in its protest against plutocracy. Tom A. Watson. The beginnings of industrialism that proposed to exploit the cotton and iron of the South]

II. [THE ROMANCE OF THE PAST: Thomas Nelson Page and the plantation tradition; Joel Chandler Harris and the romance of the negro; Mary Murfree and the romance of the mountaineer; George Washington Cable and the romance of the creole]

III. [SIDNEY LANIER--the poet of the South2]


V. [THE SOUTHERN INTELLECTUAL: James Branch Cabell;3 Ellen Glasgow; W W. Woodward]



The Rise of Liberalism4

I. [MOVEMENTS OF LIBERALISM: Three periods: 1790-1912; 1820-1860; 1903-1917. Since 1870 three attitudes towards democracy: (1) It has been achieved but the machine needs closer attention--civil service reform; (2) It has not been achieved because of the Constitution, but it must be achieved through remodeling political machinery; (3) No intelligent person desires it to be achieved. The movement of liberalism (1903-1917) a great stock-taking venture]

I. [Discoveries]

  • 1. [That the democratic program has not been fulfilled]

  • 2. [That the Constitution is not a democratic instrument, and was not intended to be--the clash between the Declaration and the Constitution]

  • 3. [That while professing to create a democracy we have been erecting a plutocracy]

II. [Conclusions]

  • 1. [The rediscovery of the relations between economics and politics]

  • 2. [The necessity of subjecting property to the collective will]

  • 3. [To that end the need of democratizing the machinery of government--political Progressivism. The application of the Hamiltonian state to the Jeffersonian program]


I. [The Origins in the Nineties--Henry D. Lloyd's Wealth vs. Commonwealth]

II. [The Gathering Clan: Lawson's Frenzied Finance; Ida Tarbell; Ray Stannard Baker; McClure's, The American, Hampton's]

III. [The Left Wing]

  • 1. [Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities]

  • 2. [Charles Edward Russell, The Stories of Great Rail­roads]

  • 3. [Gustavus Myers, Great American Fortunes]

  • 4. [A. M. Simons, Social Forces in American History]

III. [LIBERALISM AND POLITICS: The Movement of Progressivism]

I. [Robert La Follette--The State Aid Industry]

II. [Theodore Roosevelt--Middle-Class Liberal]

III. [Woodrow Wilson]


Liberalism and Letters

I. [LIBERALISM AND THE INTELLECTUALS: The movement becomes critical]

I. [Walter E. Weyl--Radical]

II. [Thorstein Veblen--Social Economist]

III. [Charles A. Beard--Political Scientist5]

IV. [Herbert Croly--Political Critic]

V. [The Younger Intellectuals: Randolph Bourne, Van Wyck Brooks, Waldo Frank]

II. [LIBERALISM AND FICTION: A shift from liberalism to radicalism--from politics to economics]

I. [Winston Churchill: From romance to syndicalism6]

II. [Robert Herrick: Academic radical6]

III. [Jack London: Revolutionist7]

IV. [Upton Sinclair: Social detective7]


I. [The Poets and Realism: Masters, Sandburg, Frost, Robinson]

II. [The Essay--Huneker]

III. [Theodore Dreiser--A Modern8]



I. [THE WAR AND LIBERALISM. The reaction developed a many­sided attack on the liberalisms of the preceding period. The older intellectuals had abandoned French equalitarian democracy, but set as their goal economic democracy; the younger intellectuals attacked the principle of democracy, the ideal of industrialism, the culture of the middle class]

II. [THE ATTACK ON DEMOCRACY: A return to the eighteenth century spirit of aristocracy. Purveyors of current disgusts]

I. [Philosophical: H. L. Mencken--a Nietzschean critic. A cynic who grows witty over American failure]

II. [Biological: The falsity of the perfectionist philosophy derived from Locke. Not environment but heredity--the isolated germ existence before birth]

III. [Psychological: The discovery of morons. Primitive drives--sex, hunger--keep men children. Nevertheless behaviorism a denial of the aristocracy of the biological argument, holding with Locke that environment is determining]

III. [THE ATTACK ON INDUSTRIALISM: A comprehensive movement that enlists first-class minds--intellectuals, poets, novelists, dramatists]

IV. [THE ATTACK ON THE MIDDLE CLASS: Sinclair Lewis;9 Zona Gale;10 Evelyn Scotr]


I. [Economics: Denial of the finality of economic law: A pragmatic view--Mitchell]

II. [Political Theory: A decline of the program of industrial democracy]

III. [Science: A rejection of the law of causality and a weakening of the authority of science]


I. [In fiction, impressionism and expressionism-Sherwood Anderson10]

II. [In biography: The impressionism of psychography]

III. [In war fiction:10 A brutal realism and frank pacifism]


Naturalism in American Fiction

Sidney Lanier

The Incomparable Mr. Cabell

The Problem Novel and the Diversion from Naturalism

Jack London: The Novelist of the Proletariat

Upton Sinclair

Theodore Dreiser: Chief of American Naturalists

Sinclair Lewis: Our Own Diogenes

Sherwood Anderson: A Psychological Naturalist

A New Romance


I. The Small Town in Fiction

  • William Allen White: A Son of the Middle Border

  • Booth Tarkington: The Dean of American Middle-Class Letters

  • Dorothy Canfield (Fisher)

II. The Realistic Small Town and the New Naturalism

  • Zona Gale--The Transition from Romance to Realism

  • Donn Byrne

  • Robert Nathan

  • Joseph Hergesheimer: A Sophisticated Romantic

III. Certain Other Writers

  • Edith Wharton--The Genteel Tradition and the New Plutocracy

  • Willa Cather: Epics of Women

IV. Some War Books

  • John Dos Passos

  • E. E. Cummings

  • Thomas Boyd

  • Laurence Stallings

V. Youth in Revolt--Certain Purveyors of the Hectic

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • Stephen Vincent Benet and Floyd Dell

  • Ben Hecht

Ole Rolvaag's Giants in the Earth

The Short Story

A Chapter in American Liberalism



1. See "Naturalism in American Fiction," in the Addenda--lecture notes including Crane and Norris.

2. See Addenda for lecture notes on Lanier.

3. See Addenda for magazine article on Cabell.

4. See "A Chapter in American Liberalism," the last of the Addenda.

5. See Ibid.

6. See Addenda, "The Problem Novel and the Diversion from Naturalism."

7. See Addenda for brief notes.

8. See Addenda for notes of lecture on Dreiser.

9. See Addenda for reprint of pamphlet on Lewis.

10. See Addenda for brief notes.