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Thomas Carlyle

Thomas Carlyle, Walt Whitman, and the Foes of Democracy

It is particularly inappropriate to be uncharitable to that most charitable American, Walt Whitman, and yet I am going to be uncharitable here and commit a sin of selective quotation. Recall that before he even truly begins the reflections of his Democratic Vistas (1871), Whitman assures us that he will not gloss over the appalling dangers of universal suffrage in the United States. In fact, it is to admit and face these dangers I am writing. To him or her within whose thought rages the battle, advancing, retreating, between democracy’s convictions, aspirations, and the people’s crudeness, vice, caprices, I mainly Read more