Polarization. Division. Hate. Many Americans wonder how our politics became dysfunctional—and what it will take to fix it. Historian Michael Santos takes readers on a journey to the heart of the American nation and the values that have allowed us to overcome previous challenges, sometimes in spite of ourselves. He remembers the heroes and heroines who challenged us to be better versions of ourselves. Santos addresses a series of interrelated questions: What are the legacies of this country, handed down to us by the Founders? What have previous generations done to keep the principles upon which the Republic rests alive and to advance their implications for more and more people? Where were the fault lines that put the American experiment at risk, and how have we overcome them? And when we have failed to overcome them, what possible lessons are there for an understanding of what America is and can become? By offering these historical perspectives, Santos helps readers overcome the current crisis in faith about the present challenges and future prospects for the American experiment.
Michael W. Santos is a Professor of History at the University of Lynchburg in Virginia. A dedicated and enthusiastic teacher, Santos has received the Shirley Rosser Excellence in Teaching Award and the T.A. Abbott Award for Faculty Excellence.
About the Author
With the hyperpartisan noise polluting our political discourse today, it is easy to forget that Americans have done remarkable things. Santos reminds us that the founding of the American republic changed the world. It challenged firmly entrenched notions of monarchy and aristocracy and turned the idea of representative democracy from a theoretical principle into a meaningful possibility. While fully acknowledging the difficult parts of our history—the times when our nation has not lived up to its own ideals—Santos never loses sight of the promises inherent in America’s founding story. Like Tocqueville, he understands that democracy comes, not from our laws or our institutions, but from the character of our people. In Rediscovering a Nation, Michael Wayne Santos reintroduces us to the national character that we all need to rediscover before it is too late. And he reminds us, as Bill Clinton said in his first inaugural address, that "there is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.