U.S. Intellectual History Blog

Donald Trump, Countersubversive Demonologist

In a thoughtful essay at The New Republic, Jeet Heer argues that “Populist” is the wrong label for Donald Trump, the nativist buffoon and mediocre capitalist who wishes to be President of the United States.

Heer follows professional protocols: historians are always insisting upon a more nuanced definition of “Populism.”[1] Unfortunately for Heer’s argument, the more one introduces nuance into the discussion of Populism, the more Donald Trump appears to be a Populist. Adding a layer of ironic complexity, Heer invokes the political theorist Michael Rogin as a witness for the prosecution, whose testimony serves to further indict the defendant, Richard Hofstadter, who stands accused (as always) of having betrayed Progressive narratives of the “people” versus the “trusts,” and of overemphasizing the anti-Semitism at work in American agrarian politics, This is ironic because while Rogin did write an early work, The Intellectuals and McCarthy, that took aim at the pluralist school with which many New Leftists associated Hofstadter, Rogin also came to embrace many of Hofstadter’s key insights. Rogin’s magisterial final work, Ronald Reagan: The Movie, And Other Episodes In Political Demonology is, in fact, something of a sustained tribute to Hofstadter’s counter-Progressivism (it even deploys, without any explanatory fuss, Hofstadter’s controversial idea of “the paranoid style in America politics”)

In so many ways a book ahead of its time,  Ronald Reagan: The Movie, And Other Episodes In Political Demonology provides the contemporary scholar with all of the tools necessary to situate Trump as a Populist. Rogin’s focus is on a certain tendency in American political theology that he calls “countersubversive demonology.” Ronald Reagan––failed movie cowboy, enthusiastic Hollywood Red hunter, relentless fantasist of latter day Central American Plans San Diego––serves as the anchor of Rogin’s text. But Rogin deftly moves from the Iran-Contra hearings to Jacksonian bloodlust, from the Frost/Nixon interviews to the anti-Catholic and anti-Masonic manias of the nineteenth century: discovering extraordinary continuities among varied efforts to weed out threats to the body politic by developing detailed knowledge about demons, monsters, and ghouls.

Ronald Reagan: The Movie, And Other Episodes In Political Demonology is also a comparatively early example of a work of American historiography that takes seriously Ernst Kantorowicz’s research on the “King’s Two Bodies.” Implicit in Rogin’s discussion is the articulation of the idea of the “King’s Two Bodies” with contemporary theories of biopolitics (the various analytical projects that take their cue from Foucault’s insistence that in modern political formations, the human body tends to become the medium of state power). Countersubversive demonology feeds off of the oscillation between the two bodies with which sovereignty is concerned: the body politic and the given fleshly body of the subject. A threat to one is a threat to the other; porousness or vulnerability to pollution of my body becomes a crisis of the state’s abstract body; the unwalled border between the United States and Mexico becomes something like an anti-vaccination.

Not all countersubversive demonologies are Populist. And not all Populisms are countersubversive demonologies. But Populism and countersubversive demonology work very well with one another. The process is described elegantly in the writings of Claude Lefort and Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. If we begin with the idea of the “King’s two bodies,” taking that split between abstract sovereign being, on one hand, and the ordinary reality of people, on the other, as constitutive of the political form called the state, we can identify the “problem” that Populism seeks to fix. Many experience the gap between the “King’s two bodies” as traumatic: tremendous libidinal energies can be mobilized around the project of closing the split, making “America,” for example, exactly identical to America (the complex entity in which some of us live). The work of closing this gap between the two “Americas” requires an object around which intentions may be organized. We might say that the relative virtue of different strains of Populism follows from the character of the chosen object and the choices made by Populist politicians regarding its mobilization.

Countersubversive demonology is what happens when the Populist desire for a positive object-cause fails, when no suitable object can be found. The same intense will for suture, the same drive to erase all remainders, leftovers, or holes from the conflation of “America” and America are at work: but lacking the proper object, attention turns to the alien element that has settled in our midst, working in secret to frustrate the longed-for cohesion. As Rogin notes, this anxious search for the polluting or infecting agent is a will-to-knowledge (and the knowledge it produces tends to have a distinctive, repetitive, compulsive character), The countersubversive demonological imagination, Rogin further observes, is often drawn to mimesis: in order to know the enemy, one must think like the enemy. Thus the extraordinary staying power of reactionary drag in American political life. The strangest thing about this mimesis is that it yields no empathy.

The countersubversive demonology outlined by Rogin encompasses much of the familiar history of the United States: the hatred of Native Americans, the constant worry about slave insurrection, the many waves of anti-immigrant panic, protests against the Second Bank of the United States, anti-Chinese agitation in the nineteenth century labor movement, the many Red Scares, the many conspiracy theories about the Federal Reserve, up to and including Prop 187, the extraordinary proliferation of anti-Muslim sentiment post-9/11, and indeed, Trump’s visions of a thousand mile wall (to say nothing of Chris Christie’s proposal to microchip visitors to the US, so that they may be tracked by Federal Express). This is a broad list, and readers will no doubt think of hundreds of additional examples that could be added to it. In each case we see a countersubversive demonology emerge out of the failure to secure a common focal object; in each case, we have seen bloody and anti-democratic consequences. And many of these events unfolded under the banner of Populism, which, for better or worse, also flies aloft over Donald Trump’s magnificent head.

Notes

[1] But see, also, http://crookedtimber.org/2015/08/31/fuck-nuance/

6 Thoughts on this Post

  1. I don’t have time right now for anything except a rushed comment, but I would venture the suggestion that the medieval (and early-modern) idea of the king’s two bodies, with which Kantorowicz’s monumental book deals, has relatively little to do with the ‘modern’ (or postmodern even, if you like) state. Or to put it differently and less sharply, I think the idea of the king’s two bodies has to be stretched and pulled quite a lot to get it to apply to the contemp. U.S., say.

    The core of the idea (simplified) was that one person had both a natural and a political body; the latter never died, but embodied the collective, i.e. the polity. I understand the paragraph about closing the split between ‘abstract sovereign being’ and the ‘reality of ordinary people,’ but: (a) this is only, istm, vaguely connected to the idea of the king’s two bodies, and (b) one doesn’t need that idea to talk about closing the split betw. an abstract ideal and ’embodied’ reality. The transfer of the locus of (theoretical, at any rate) sovereignty from a single person, the monarch, to “the people,” renders any direct application of the king’s-two-bodies idea problematic, istm. (N.b. Haven’t read the Rogin book, so don’t know exactly what he does w/ Kantorowicz, beyond what is in the post.)

  2. Louis: thanks for these comments.
    My favorite theorist of the “King’s two bodies” in a contemporary theoretical key is Eric Santner. Perhaps some excerpts from his work will be illuminating?

    Santner on “The King’s Two Bodies” from The Royal Remains: The People’s Two Bodies and the Endgames of Sovereignty (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012):

    “And as I have noted, one of my key guides for grasping the stakes of this transition has been Ernst Kantorowicz’s deservedly famous study The King’s Two Bodies: A Study in Medieval Political Theology. My hypothesis is that the complex symbolic structures and dynamics of sovereignty
    described by Kantorowicz in the context of medieval and early modern European monarchies do not simply disappear from the space of politics once the body of the king is no longer available as the primary incarnation of the principle and functions of sovereignty; rather, these structures and dynamics— along with their attendant paradoxes and impasses—“migrate” into a new location that thereby assumes a turbulent and disorienting semiotic density previously concentrated in the “strange material and physical presence” of the king.

    A central problem for secular modernity is how to account for the flesh once it no longer functions as that which, so to speak, “fattens” the one who occupies the place of power and authority, elevating the body that thereby comes to figure as
    its naturally— because supernaturally— appointed caretaker, the one charged with guaranteeing the health of this element for all the others (who thereby become his subjects).

    As I have been arguing, the discourses and practices that we now group under the heading of “biopolitics” come to be charged with these duties, with the caretaking of the sublime (but also potentially abject) flesh of the new bearer of the principle of sovereignty, the People. The dimension of the flesh comes, in a word, to be assimilated to the plane of the health, fitness, and wellness of bodies and populations that must, in turn, be obsessively measured and tested.

    But if my hunch is right, that would mean that before biopolitics emerged as such, it was, in some sense, already on the scene as the political theology of kingship. And as Kantorowicz has amply shown, those premodern practices that, as it were, limited their biopolitical reach to the body of the king as the singular locus of the principle of sovereign power and authority were equally troubled by the paradoxical status of the element I have been calling the flesh.

    At this point it would perhaps be helpful to take stock of some of the crucial aspects of the institutions of kingship whose (biopolitical) endgame informs, as I will argue, a great deal of modern culture broadly conceived. What is above all at issue here, as in every political formation, is the nature of the linkage between questions of legitimate rule, the symbolic dynamics of
    “incorporation”— the constitution and delimitation of a recognizable “body politic”— and the endurance and flourishing of the thereby constituted political collective across time, along with the question as to what flourishing as well as collective self-identity across time actually means.
    What has to be linked here are thus at the very least four distinct matters: (1) the relation of parts to whole within a social formation; (2) the way in which the functionality, vitality, or flourishing of the formation is conceived; (3) the successful survival of the formation as self-identical across time, its organization of temporal succession; and (4) the sources of legitimacy of the formation: what justifies its existence, makes it more than utterly contingent? Or perhaps better, how does its elaboration of the question of legitimacy serve to “metabolize” its contingency?

    In the period he studies— primarily from the High Middle Ages to the late Renaissance— Kantorowicz shows that this complex set of linkages was largely, if often unstably, secured by the peculiar doctrine that the royal personage had two bodies, one natural and subject to the fate of all mortal flesh and one supernatural, whose representational or official corporeality gave quasi-divine legitimacy, presence, and enduring substance to governmental authority— to Herrschaft— across the succession of generations.

    Put somewhat differently, what Kantorowicz apparently discovered was that if the king was to function as the general
    equivalent of subjects in his realm—and thereby help to sustain the realm in its symbolic efficiency as a locus of subject-formation—his being had to undergo, as if by some necessity in the logic of symbolic authority, a kind of doubling or “gemination” resulting in the production of the abstract physiological fiction of a sublime, quasi-angelic body, a body of immortal flesh that was thereby seen to enjoy both juridical and medical immunity, to stand above the laws of men and the laws of perishable nature. This view achieves its fullest formulation in the writings of English jurists of the sixteenth century…

    The bulk of Kantorowicz’s magisterial study is taken up with tracing the complex genealogy of this peculiar and potent fiction across several centuries of tense and shifting relations between secular and ecclesiastical powers. The story begins with— and in a certain sense never fully leaves behind— a conception of “Christ-centered kingship” in which the sovereign’s double nature is modeled on the logic of the incarnation.

    The two natures of Christ are transferred to the king, who is thus seen to have not only his own mortal body but to enjoy by grace— made manifest and effective in the liturgical practices of consecration— a sublime body in and through which he appears as the “type and image of the Anointed in heaven and therewith of God” (48).

    As Kantorowicz puts it, here “the vision of the king as a persona geminata is ontological and, as an effluence of a sacramental and liturgical action performed at the altar, it is liturgical as well” (59). The next chapter of the story is dominated by a gradual shift pursued in dizzying detail through the later Middle Ages, in which “the king’s new relationship to Law and Justice” comes to overshadow his “former status with regard to Sacrament and Altar” (94). If “the anointed king appeared as a ‘twinned person’ because per gratiam this king reflected the two natures of the God-man,” in this new “Law-centered era . . . and in the language of the jurists, the Prince no longer was ‘god by grace’ or the living image of Grace; he was the living image of Justice, and ex officio he was the personification of an Idea which likewise was both divine and human” (141– 42).

    Although what he characterizes as the “whiff of incense” (210) continues to permeate all the transformations traced throughout the study, Kantorowicz argues that at a certain point the idioms and practices of juridical speech come to displace those of liturgical speech as the locus of the performative magic whereby kingship comes to be endowed with its sublime aura. Summarizing this semantic shift pertaining to the king’s dual nature, Kantorowicz writes, The Prince as the animate Law or living Justice shared with lustitia the duality which inheres in all Universals or “Ideas.”

    It was this double aspect of Justice, human and divine, which was mirrored by her imperial vicar on earth who, in his turn, was mainly through lustitia also the vicar of God. Justice herself, at least in the language of learned jurisprudence, no longer was quite identical with the God of the altar, though still inseparable from God the Father; nor was she as yet subordinated to an absolute or deified State: she was, for that short period of transition, a living Virtus in her own right, the goddess of the age in which jurisprudence took the lead and became intellectually the great vivifier of almost every branch of knowledge.

    By analogy, the Prince no longer was the christomimetes, the manifestation of Christ the eternal King; nor was he, as yet, the exponent of an immortal nation; he had his share in immortality because he was the hypostasis of an immortal Idea. A new pattern of persona mixta emerged from the Law itself, with lustitia as the model deity and the Prince as both her incarnation and her Pontifax maximus. (143)

    In the next chapter of the story, the center of auratic gravity shifts more and more from “the ruling personages to the ruled collectives, the new national monarchies, and other political aggregates of human society” (193). It is in this phase of the ongoing exchanges of properties between Church and State, which had all the while produced hybridizations on both sides of the border such that, as Kantorowicz puts it, “the sacerdotium had an imperial appearance and the regnum a clerical touch” (193), that the Pauline background of the story becomes absolutely central.

    In this new phase of “polity-centered kingship,” the Pauline conception of the Church as the corpus Christi is transformed and adapted to “the all-encompassing spiritual prototype of corporational concepts, the corpus mysticum of the Church” (194). The crucial Pauline text in this genealogy is the twelfth chapter of 1 Corinthians, which itself takes up and revises the fable that provides one if not the central Urtext of organological conceptions of political formations in the West, of the political collective as a body politic: Menenius Agrippa’s fable of the revolt of the body’s members related in Livy’s Early History of Rome.

    It was, however, Paul’s version of the allegory that became the crucial proof text for political theological thinking in Europe…

    The complex symbolic dynamic of the constitution of kingship itself comes “to a head” precisely when the body of the king is posited as the head of the body politic.

    Kantorowicz shows that medieval theological doctrine was able to transform Paul’s notion of the corpus Christi into a more flexible and plastic concept of the corpus mysticum, which then became the master trope that allowed for the aggregation and sacramentalization of all manner of secular entities, including, above all, the state and its various offices and institutions. The transmutation takes place precisely by way of the medium of the sacraments. In the course of the twelfth century, corpus mysticum, a term with no biblical tradition, shifted from its liturgical and sacramental meaning—“ mystical body,” in the sense of the consecrated host— to a sociological one identifying “the Church as the organized body of Christian society united in the Sacrament of the Altar”— the very meaning Paul had reserved for the term corpus Christi.

    That Pauline term came, in its turn, to signify the consecrated bread— also called the corpus verum or corpus naturale— as
    well as the feast instituted in the Western Church in 1264 (196).

    Kantorowicz emphasizes that these shifts were consolidated in the wake of the Investiture Dispute, that is, a kind of self-reflexive struggle as to which entity— Church or Empire— was primarily invested with the capacity to invest German bishops. This was a time when the Church was beginning to hallow in a more juridical and political mode its own administrative and institutional apparatus— its “corporational” aspects— and secular political entities were beginning to assert their Church-independent political theological status…

    The efforts, however, to provide the state institutions with some religious aureole, as well as the adaptability and general usefulness of ecclesiastical thought and language, led the theorists of the secular state very soon to a more than superficial appropriation of the vocabulary not only of Roman Law, but also of Canon Law and Theology at large.

    The new territorial and quasi-national state, self-sufficient according to its claims and independent of the Church and the Papacy, quarried the wealth of ecclesiastical notions, which were so convenient to handle, and finally proceeded to assert itself by placing its own temporariness on a level with the sempiternity of the militant Church. In that process the idea of the corpus mysticum, as well as other corporational doctrines developed by the Church were to be of major
    importance.

    Certainly one of the most far-reaching results of this development was that it became possible to posit the death of a soldier in battlefield as martyrdom for the state; “pro patria mori, death for the sake of that mystico-political body, made sense; it became meaningful, as it was considered equal in value and consequence to the death for the Christian faith, for the Church, or for the Holy Land” (268).

    At this point in his genealogy, Kantorowicz returns to the strange symbolico-anatomical feature already formulated by Paul apropos of Christ and brought to a terse formulation by Gregory of Bergamo: “One body of Christ which is he himself, and another body of which he is the head” (cited in Kantorowicz, 268). Kantorowicz argues that as tempting as the thought might be, the historical sources do not support the view of a straightforward analogy between the duplex corpus Christi and an ostensibly duplex corpus regis: “Nowhere do we find, merely on the basis of the organic concept of the state, the idea expressed that the king as the head of the body politic has two bodies” (269). What makes things less straightforward is the dimension of time, the temporal dimension of the state qua corpus mysticum and of the body that serves as its “head.” For the Church, this was not a dilemma at all; “the head of the mystical body of the Church was eternal, since Christ was both God and man” (271).

    Christ could, in a word, function as the body of the head of his own mystical body because of his own double or split nature qua God-man.

    The political theology of kingship needed not only a synchronic, organological dimension— the “organic” relations of parts to whole— but also a diachronic dimension of temporal persistence, if not of eternity then of a kind of undying life across the critical breaks of inevitable interregnum. The body of the head of the political corpus mysticum would, in a word, have to take on the properties if not exactly of eternal life then those of the undead, of a being whose body is charged with representing eternity in the space of secular, political life, one whose corporeality is elevated to the sublime dignity of an eternal Thing: That is to say, before the king could represent (as in the language of the Tudor jurists) that strange being which, like the angels, was immortal, invisible, ubiquitous, never under age, never sick, and never senile, he had either to stop being a simple mortal or to acquire somehow a value of immortality; the eternity which Christ, in the language of theology, owned “by nature,” had to accrue to the king from another source.

    Without some character aeternitatis he could not have his character angelicus, and without some inherent value of eternity he could not have “two bodies” or have a super-body distinct from his natural mortal body. (271– 72)

    The problem of the continuity of corporations— of the body politic— had to be in some way folded into and elaborated as a problem internal to the complex physiology of kingship, a physiology that was seen to include within its inner constitution enduring values…

    Much of the rest of Kantorowicz’s study focuses on the ways these various virtual realities— dynasty, crown, dignity— were seen to enter into the constitution of the “royal physiology,” which could then serve as the linchpin and focal point guaranteeing the consistency and undying nature of the body politic. 8 It is no surprise that this physiology would come to the fore in especially emphatic ways on the occasion of royal funerals, events meant to preserve the vitality of the King’s physis beyond that of the mortal king… one might detect in Kantorowicz’s emphasis on the artificial, fictive, manmade character of the king’s second body his own struggle to distance himself from the nationalist “fictions” that had, during the Weimar period, so gripped his own imagination. But even if that is true, what is missed in such claims and, I would suggest, in all efforts to deflate the force of political metaphors by “deconstructing” their metaphoricity, their status as fictions or rhetorical figures, is the difference between symbolic fiction and fantasy.

    What is missed is precisely the fact that such fictions get a grip on the imagination of individuals and collectives because they are ultimately sustained by the “real stuff” of fantasy, by the dimension I have been calling the flesh…

    In a sense, then, Kantorowicz’s story already anticipates in certain ways what would appear to be a much later historical development, the passage of royal sovereignty into the body and life of the people, the “horizontal” or democratic dissemination of the dynamics of the King’s Two Bodies into the domain of “popular sovereignty” and so into everyman. For Kantorowicz, this passage in some sense already occurs at the point where being human itself comes to appear as a kind of sacred office with which each member of the species is invested.

    But if Dante’s “man-centered kingship” is given the last word, forming both a culmination and, as it turns out, an implicit point of departure and point of reference, the study as a whole— including its last, “humanist” chapter— is haunted by Kantorowicz’s first use of a literary text in the book, one in which the “lower” element in the tension informing the dual nature of man is imagined not so much as homo mastered by a sovereign humanitas; to use Giorgio Agamben’s favored term, it appears, rather, as a homo sacer left over by the dissolution of the pompous body of a king. This is not the natural human body left over once all of one’s social vestments have been stripped away, but something more like the rotting flesh of the sublime body, what remains when its sublimity has wasted away. This drama of (royal) destitution, the stages of which Kantorowicz traces in Shakespeare’s Richard II, is all the more important given what Kantorowicz says about the playwright’s responsibility for establishing the trope of the twinned nature of the king in the political imagination of the West…

    This is one of the areas where I differ with some of the recent critical literature on The King’s Two Bodies. Victoria Kahn, in her compelling discussion of his work, suggests that Kantorowicz’s treatment of both Shakespeare and the English Revolution— including the beheading of Charles— illustrates the ways in which the fundamental argument of the book links it to a tradition of liberal constitutionalism. As she puts it, “The King’s Two Bodies shows how the idea of the two bodies could morph into the distinction between person and office, which in turn played a crucial role in the dethroning of Charles I in 1649. If charisma is one effect of the king’s two bodies, the other is— at least in the long run— constitutionalism.”… This leads Kahn to the vision of a progressive, liberal humanism, one ultimately grounded in aesthetic education, or Bildung (albeit one that has digested some of the lessons of deconstruction with regard to the reading of figural language): “In modern terms, we might say that, in Kantorowicz’s reading of Shakespeare and Dante, literature reveals both its capacity for ideological critique and for enabling fictions of human community.

    It can serve as an antidote to political theology of the Schmittian sort, even as it authorizes a new vision— a new ‘secular political theology,’ to borrow Kantorowicz’s phrase— of the human community.”

    As I have been arguing, political theology of every kind involves not only what Kahn refers to as enabling fictions but also, and perhaps more importantly, their more ambivalent and recalcitrant underside of fantasy. In a word, the point is not that Shakespeare helps us to see through the theatrical and rhetorical machinery at work in all political theology— that he leads us down the yellow-brick road toward the unmasking of the Master of Oz, toward the discovery that the emperor is naked.

    The point is rather to acknowledge that there is more political theology in everyday life than we might have ever thought, though it is surely much more difficult to identify in the absence of the body of a royal personage where it could be focused and dramaturgically elaborated.

    And indeed, this truth seems to become most poignantly tangible in what Kantorowicz calls the “rite of degradation” (36) performed on Richard, a process “cascading,” he says, “from kingship to kingship’s ‘Name,’ and from the name to the naked misery of man” (27).

    What Shakespeare sets before us is a vision of what Walter Benjamin has argued was central to the conception of seventeenth-century theater more generally, namely the uncanny proximity of the sovereign and the creature… What remains at the end of Richard’s degradation is the appearance of the semio-somatic surplus that comes to amplify the human body when it is invested with a symbolic office, as minimally conceived as that office might be. What remains at the zero-level of investiture is, so to speak, just the fleshly substance of this surplus. This is, of course, hardly the humanism Dante had in mind, though Kantorowicz’s pairing of the two writers in the organization of his book would seem to suggest that it is something that cannot fail to haunt every form of humanism.”

    • Kurt,
      Thanks for these interesting excerpts; will think about them. A while ago I ran across a book by a literary scholar that in one chapter discusses The King’s Two Bodies in conjunction with a play by a contemporary of Shakespeare’s (I forget whether it was Marlowe or who). Anyway, there does seem to be continuing interest in Kantorowicz’s book.

      Among other things, the excerpts from Santner that you quote seem to be a pretty good summary of the main lines of K’s argument. That in itself is useful since The King’s Two Bodies is a long, imposing tome and I don’t know how many people plow through the whole thing. (I didn’t, but rather mined certain more-or-less tangential aspects of the book for my dissertation, which didn’t have much of anything to do with biopolitics. But there is such a wealth of detail and interesting/obscure references in The King’s Two Bodies, not least in the footnotes, that anyone writing about sovereignty from almost any angle is bound to find useful things there. At any rate, I did.)

  3. Great post, Kurt. Great to see Rogin’s work recognized for its importance. Rogin was critical of Hofstadter for seeing the paranoid style as a minority strain in American politics arguing that instead it was central. I think Rogin was more indebted to Louis Hartz, who he had studied with at Harvard, and who had his own interesting take on the bizarre nature of American celebrations of free-market liberalism.

    • Thanks so much, Dan.

      That’s a fascinating and generative note re: Rogin and the proper level of generality of the “paranoid style.”

      Conservative scholars have succeeded quite well in “working the refs” and indicting Hofstadter as a “medicalizer” of right wing politics as pathological–which badly misreads what RH was actually up to in talking about the “paranoid style,” lets many reactionaries off the hook, and creates an unkillable straw man, instigator of 10000 false premises. I was puzzled to see Jeet Heer take up this line uncritically.

      I am also fascinated by your thoughts on parallels between the late work of Rogin and Alexander Saxton. Nelson Lichtenstein guesses that Rogin would have found Saxton too much of a CP faithful to find much use for his work, but The Rise and Fall of the White Republic really is methodologically very close in spirit to Rogin on Jacksonian ideology. A rather brave stance during the period when most left historians were seeking to redeem the social movements of the 1830s-40s and 1870s-90s.

      I do think it is high time for a Michael Rogin Reader–perhaps with essays by students of Rogin like you and Nelson and other scholars who have continued to build on his project.
      The younger socialist Left would, I think, be really happy to discover his work.

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