On Tuesday 26 January at 4pm, Gary Gerstle (Mellon Professor of American History at Cambridge) will launch his latest book, Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present (Princeton UP) at the American History Research Seminar.
In it, he explores a paradox at the heart of American governance: how widespread mistrust of ‘big government’ coexists with willingness to use government to impose one’s views on others. The roots of the present crisis are traced through two centuries, back to the original Framers of the Constitution. While limitations were placed upon federal control and far-reaching powers allotted to the states, the central state eventually prevailed and outran its constitutional authority. The ensuing conservative rebellion turned the conflict over government’s rightful domain into the defining issue of today’s United States.
Prior to taking up his current post, Gary Gerstle was professor of political science and American history at Vanderbilt University, coming to Oxford as Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History in 2012-13. His talk will be followed by comments and discussion with Jonathan Bell (UCL) and Gareth Davies (St Anne’s).