Title

Building anew

Date of Award

2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Lee, Martha (Political Science)

Keywords

History, United States.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Hannah Arendt defines freedom as the ability of humans to "build anew:" to be self-governing and capable of changing their political surroundings. The American Founders practiced this kind of freedom in their building of a political system where authority was vested in the people. This thesis explores Arendt's conceptualization of freedom and locates it in the early Constitutional debates. This is then juxtaposed with the prevalence of apathy and cynicism within modern American politics, a situation that Frank Furedi identifies as a "politics of fear." Citizens are increasingly unable to be self-governing. Americans can challenge this fear and "build anew" through the utilization of the Constitution and its principles of self-government. They must strive for more opportunities, institutions, and leaders that embrace and practice political freedom. This will help citizens to both remember the purpose of America's beginnings while also moving to address new twenty-first century concerns and challenges.

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