By Edmund Wilson
The respected American author and journalist contemplates faith, conflict, Europe, Russia, the Jews, schooling, technology, intercourse, and being 60.
My better pdf of Gimley's experiment, now unmarried web page, b/w history, OCR'd, bookmarked, cropped borders.
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Extra resources for A Piece of My Mind: Reflections at Sixty
Americanism It is curious to trace the vicissitudes of the term Americanism. The first quotation given in the Dictionary of Americanisms published by Chicago University is from a letter of Jefferson's of 1797: ''The parties here in debate continually charged each other . . " In Jefferson's time, of course, it meant the interests of the revolted colonists. But by the fifties of the following century, the word Americanism was to take on a new political meaning. It was used by the American or Know Nothing party to designate its own policy-already mentioned above-of combating the Roman Catholicism of German and Irish immigrants and of debarring persons of foreign birth from exercizing political rights till they had lived here twenty-one years.
The war, in disrupting the states, prevented the South thereafter from ever in quite the same way as in the years of THE UNITED STATES the Revolution making common cause with the North. Yet a Northerner imbued with this sense will feel far more in common with a Southerner who has derived the same instinct from his background-whatever may be their other differences-than with a Northerner who has not. A curious affirmation of this spirit in the teeth of the Civil War is described or imagined by Harold Frederic, the novelist of northern New York State, in his story The Copperhead.
Jrehensive federation? If the Soviets and the States are now powerful, and if Europe seems impotent, collapsed, as the result of suicidal wars, it is because we have this advantage. In Europe, they seem still to think only in old-fashioned terms of hegemony. Napoleon attempted this but overshot the mark in Russia and aroused the apprehensions of the English, who finally put him down. The Germans have tried the same thing, but again aroused the fears of the English, who, although they have not them~elves wanted to dominate Europe-having an empire farther off and for the most part easier to handle-have prevented anyone else from doing so.
A Piece of My Mind: Reflections at Sixty by Edmund Wilson