One America?

Political Leadership, National Identity, and the Dilemmas of Diversity

Stanley A. Renshon, Editor

"Highly recommended for upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and those interested in the public policy process."
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With enormous numbers of new immigrants, America is becoming dramatically more diverse racially, culturally, and ethnically. As a result, the United States faces questions that have profound consequences for its future. What does it mean to be an American? Is a new American identity developing? At the same time, the coherence of national culture has been challenged by the expansion of—and attacks on—individual and group rights, and by political leaders who prefer to finesse rather than engage cultural controversies. Many of the ideals on which the country was founded are under intense, often angry, debate, and the historic tension between individuality and community has never been felt so keenly.

In One America?, distinguished contributors discuss the role of national leadership, especially the presidency, at a time when a fragmented and dysfunctional national identity has become a real possibility. Holding political views that encompass the thoughtful left and right of center, they address fundamental issues such as affirmative action, presidential engagement in questions of race, dual citizenship, interracial relationships, and English as the basic language.

This book is the first examination of the role of national political leaders in maintaining or dissipating America’s national identity. It will be vital reading for political scientists, historians, policymakers, students, and anyone concerned with the future of American politics and society.

Table of Contents


One America: Contemporary and Historical Settings

1. America at a Crossroads: Political Leadership, National Identity, and the Decline of a Common Culture
Stanley A. Renshon

2. Which America? Nationalism among the Nationalists
Noah M.J. Pickus

I. Political Leadership and the Dilemmas of Diversity

3. The Presidency, Leadership, and Race
Russell L. Riley

4. President Clinton's Race Initiative: Promise and Disappointment
Richard D. Kahlenberg

5. Affirmative Action and the Failure of Presidential Leadership
John David Skrentny

II. American Culture and the Dilemmas of Diversity

6. Moving beyond Racial Categories
Richard J. Payne

7. Racial Preferences in Higher Education: An Assessment of the Evidence
Stephan Thernstrom and Abigail Thernston

8. Dual Citizenship + Multiple Loyalties = One America?
Stanley Renshon

III. Reflections on American National Identity in an Age of Diversity

9. The End of American Identity
Jack Citrin

10. American National Identity in a Postnational Age
Jim Sleeper

11. How to Achieve One America: Class, Race, and the Future of Politics
Richard D. Kahlenberg

IV. Political Leadership and the Dilemmas of Diversity Recondsidered

12. Leadership Capital and the Politics of Courage: The President's Initiative on Race
Stanley A. Renshon



"Offers reflective critical thinking on social, racial, and culture issues that confront policymakers at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The authors challenges the conventional wisdom on issues of race, affirmative action, immigration, and presidential leadership."—Perspectives on Political Science

"Highly recommended for upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and those interested in the public policy process."—Choice


Jack Citrin Richard D. Kahlenberg Richard J. Payne Noah M. J. Pickus Stanley A. Renshon Russell L. Riley John David Skrentny Jim Sleeper Abigail Thernstrom Stephan Thernstrom

Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Stanley A. Renshon, a certified psychoanalyst, is professor of political science at the City University of New York and coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Program in the Psychology of Social and Political Behavior in the university's Graduate Center. His seven books include High Hopes: The Clinton Presidency and the Politics of Ambition (New York University Press, 1996), which won the American Political Science Association’s Richard E. Neustadt Award for best book on the presidency.

320 pp., 6 x 9

Jul 2001

320 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-0-87840-870-2
Jul 2001

320 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-383-4
Jul 2001

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