The Democratic Style of Public Life in America

  • Werner Sombart


It is not only in his position vis-à-vis the material world (that is, in his material standard of living) that the American worker is so much more favoured than his European counterpart. In his relations to people and to social institutions, and in his position in and to society — in short, in what I call his social position — the American is also better-off than he would be in the contrasting European situation. For him ‘Liberty’ and ‘Equality’ (not only in the formal political sense but also in the economic and social sense) are not empty ideas and vague dreams, as they are for the European working class; for the most part they are realities. The American’s better social position is largely the result of his political position and his economic situation — of a radical-democratic system of government and of a comfortable standard of living. Both these are to be found within a colonising population with no history, which basically consisted, and still does consist, wholly of immigrants; a population in which there are no feudal institutions, except in some Southern slave states.


Social Position Political Position Public Life Economic Sociology American Worker 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1976

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  • Werner Sombart

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