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American myth, American ideology and the Vietnam War.

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dc.contributor.author Merriman, William R.
dc.date.accessioned 2012-12-13T19:32:01Z
dc.date.available 2012-12-13T19:32:01Z
dc.date.created 1978 en_US
dc.date.issued 2012-12-13
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/2332
dc.description vii, 121 leaves en_US
dc.description.abstract The purpose of this study is twofold. The larger part of the study is given to development and explanation of a particular view of American politics. This view, first posited by H. Mark Roelofs, states that American politics is characterized by the irreconcilable contradiction which exists between American ideology and American myth. As used in this study, ideology denotes the set of ideas which guide and enable Americans as they "do" politics. Myth refers to the ways Americans understand and proclaim what their political activity means. While American politics is largely pervaded by Lockian liberal ideas, this dominant ethic is split into ideological and mythic segments. That Americans undertake their politics in a bourgeois ideological fashion while explaining their political activities in terms of Protestant morality leads Roelofs to describe American politics as guided, and sundered, by the Protestant-Bourgeois syndrome. It is shown that this syndrome is America's political inheritance from the Protestant Reformation and the development of capitalism. Although the implications of such a contradictory amalgam are manifold, the most important is that occasionally the actual operation of bourgeois American politics can not plausibly be explained by America's Protestant myth. When this disparity between myth and ideology becomes glaringly obvious it may frequently issue into attacks on the legitimacy of American government and politics. But the consequences of such an attack are likely to be quite drastic. As a consequence, many Americans have adopted an uncritical view which allows them to ignore the irreconcilability of American ideology and American myth. The second purpose of the study is to show that in the case of America's involvement in the vietnam War the disparity between American myth and American ideology became evident. Attacks on the American political system ensued. But more important is that the vast majority of Americans did not attack the political system. It is shown that many Americans carne to view America's involvement in Vietnam as an aberration, and temporarily got off the horns of the contemporary Vietnam dilemma. But in doing so they left unexplored and unacknowledged the cause of America's Vietnam discomfiture -the disparity between our ideology and myth and hence left themselves in the position of being continually on the horns of the systemic dilemma of American politics. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject Vietnam War, 1961-1975-United States. en_US
dc.subject United States-Politics and government. en_US
dc.title American myth, American ideology and the Vietnam War. en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.college las en_US
dc.advisor William H. Seiler en_US
dc.department social sciences en_US

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