Lipset’s American Creed
These five concepts embody the “American creed” as described by author Seymour
this country do much to undermine the validity of Lipset’s argument, especially
the concepts of egalitarianism and populism.
consciousness. Without a doubt, there is a powerful abnormality in the founding
“merely the extension of the master’s will” (Huggins xiv). Indeed, this
towards the issue of slavery.
While Huggins understands why the Founding Fathers may have elected to
ignore the issue, he hardly thinks that it was a good idea. “It encouraged the
thing and racial slavery and oppression were a different story” (Huggins xii).
He reinforces this idea by looking at the historical perspective that was
prevalent in America until only recently. “American historians, guarding the
ideological integrity of the center, have wanted to treat race and slavery as
Race and slavery. Two concepts that most people would agree are forever
Americans (which is to say any American of African decent) had “no rights a
white man need respect”. This statement included those blacks who were not
slaves. Furthermore, it was only in the latter half of this century that the
country of equality? Is egalitarianism a value embraced by all Americans? It
is obvious what Nathan Huggins thinks of the matter.
The concept of populism also falls under fire when considered from a
racial standpoint. The idea is rooted in the our lack of an aristocracy and our
for the white majority, that is. Minority groups have been fighting for these
get a glimpse at through the media. From the violent life of the Boyz in the
people have only a dim understanding of what life in the ghettos and housing
projects of major cities is really like.
Social equality does NOT exist in these places, and Wilson provides a
although they made up nearly half the total number of people arrested for murder
and nonnegligent manslaughter in 1984. In the Robert Taylor Homes project in
Chicago, where only .5 percent of the city’s population lived in 1980, “11
percent of the city’s murders, 9 percent of its rapes, and 10 percent of its
aggravated assaults were committed in the project” (Wilson 25). In 1983 all of
People are dying in places like this, and most often it is young men. Women are
increasingly becoming the head of the household. IN 1965 25 percent of black
percentage had increased to 43. Only 13 percent of white families were headed
by women in 1984, an imbalance that can hardly be attributed to chance.
Violence and family breakdown are not the only issues which show gross
inequality between whites and blacks. Consider family incomes. According to
the US Bureau of Census, in 1978:
15.9 percent of all black families had an income of under $4,000
85.1 percent of black metropolitan families with female heads earned the
4.3 percent of all white families had an income of under $4,000
51 percent of white metropolitan families with female heads earned the
13.4 percent of all black families had incomes of over $25,000
29.5 percent of all white families were in that income bracket.
Such figures cannot be ignored, nor can they be attributed to anything
explanation of social dislocations in the urban ghetto” (Wilson 30). Blacks
simply do not have social equality with whites, and without it, populism does
not exist in any real manner.
The writings of Nathan Huggins and William Julius Wilson do much to
the “American creed”, from its beginnings in the birth of our nation, overlooks
completely refutes the idea of populism. Lipset’s argument is flawed, to be
firmer ground. I think both Huggins and Wilson would agree on that point.