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Civilizing the Machine: Technology and Republican Values in America, 1776-1900
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Civilizing the Machine: Technology and Republican Values in America, 1776-1900

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  29 ratings  ·  3 reviews
A major theme of American history has always been the desire to achieve a genuinely republican way of life that values liberty, order, and virtue. In Civilizing the Machine, John F. Kasson asks how new technologies have affected this drive for a republican civilization-and the question is as vital now as ever. Civilizing the Machine was an innovative and compelling work wh ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 17th 1999 by Hill and Wang (first published January 1st 1976)
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In this classic work, which Kasson intends as a “history of America’s own response to technology” (vii), he asserts that during the period in question technology was fundamental to Americans’ understanding of their own republican possibilities. Beginning in the late colonial period, Kasson examines American response as the twin revolutions—political and industrial—impacted the colonies almost simultaneously. Technology was embraced as a means of self-sufficiency in support of the boycott of Brit ...more
I read this book after Amazon suggested it to me, and because it could be had for cheap. Amazon suggested I might like this book because I had recently purchased Leo Marx's "The Machine in the Garden" and Henry Nash Smith's "Virgin Land". I had to read no further then the author's preface to see reference to those two authors, and the book often cited to their work in those two books.
Undoubtably, Chapter Two, called "The Factory as Republican Community" is a must-read. Using Goffman's concept of
May 14, 2008 Melissa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history nerds
Shelves: history-stuff
Something that's been sitting on my shelf for a while. . .
I had a class with Kasson in NC, but this is one of his earlier books. Really found it fascinating--wonderful exploration of how we as a nation think about technology and progress. And how those thoughts connect to our republican (small r) ideals--and how that might have seriously messed us up today. This is less about the extraordinary technologial advances of the 19th century (factories! steamships! railroads!) than how we thought about
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John F. Kasson is a professor of history and American studies at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill and the author of Amusing the Million, among many other seminal works of cultural history. He lives in Chapel Hill.
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