066 Francis J. Grund's Aristocracy in America with Armin Mattes


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In Jacksonian America, as Grund exposes, the wealthy inhabitants of northern cities and the plantation South may have been willing to accept their poorer neighbors as political and legal peers, but rarely as social equals. In this important work, he thus sheds light on the nature of the struggle between “aristocracy” and “democracy” that loomed so large in early republican Americans’ minds. Francis J. Grund, a German immigrant, was one of the most influential journalists in America in the three decades preceding the Civil War. He also wrote several books, including this fictional, satiric travel memoir in response to Alexis de Tocqueville’s famous Democracy in America. Armin Mattes provides a thorough account of Grund’s dynamic engagement in American political and social life and brings to light many of Grund’s reflections previously published only in German. Mattes shows how Grund’s work can expand our understanding of the emerging democratic political culture and society in the antebellum United States. - Armin Mattes earned his Ph.D. in History at the University of Virginia, working with Peter Onuf on the origins of American democracy and nationhood. Dr. Mattes then spent the 2012-2013 academic year as the Gilder Lehrman Research Fellow at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, where he completed his first book, Citizens of a Common Intellectual Homeland: the Transatlantic Context of the Origins of American Democracy and Nationhood, 1775-1840, which was published by University of Virginia Press in 2015. His newly translated and annotated edition of Francis J. Grund’s Aristocracy in America was published in Spring 2018 on the Kinder Institute’s Studies in Constitutional Democracy monograph series with University of Missouri Press, and immigrant is also currently at work on a book project that explores the transformation of the meaning and practice of political patronage in America from 1750 to 1850. Dr. Mattes has taught at the University of Virginia and Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen (Germany), and he served as a Kinder Institute Research Fellow in History from 2014-2017. --- Support for the Age of Jackson Podcast was provided by Isabelle Laskari, Jared Riddick, John Muller, Julianne Johnson, Laura Lochner, Mark Etherton, Marshall Steinbaum, Martha S. Jones, Michael Gorodiloff, Mitchell Oxford, Richard D. Brown, Rod, Rosa, Stephen Campbell, and Victoria Johnson, as well as Andrew Jackson's Hermitage​ in Nashville, TN.

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