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The consensus view of History emerged in the United States in 1950 until it's eventual dismiss in 1965. Consensus historians emerged in a time period when there were not many consensuses in the United States (Novick pg.333). The historians of the era knew of the turmoil and felt that they needed to focus their attention on what united America and not what brought the country down. At this time there were three influential writers on consensus history. These three writers were Richard Hofstadter, Daniel Boorstin, and Louis Hartz. Each historical writer had a major influence on the respected subject of consensus history and the involvement they had made consensus history a subject still looked upon today (Sternsher pg.1).
From the year 1944 to 1970 Richard Hofstadter enriched the historical world with his writings. In 1948 Hofstadter joined the faculty at Columbia University. Here Hofstadter published The American Political Traditions and the Men who made it. Many regard this book as the start of the consensus school of historical writing. Much of this book was a look into brief political biographies on presidents, but the way that it was presented was very different. Hofstadter made some points in the introduction that points in the direction of consensus history. Hofstadter states that it is "of the need for a reinterpretation of our political traditions which emphasizes the common climate of American opinion," the existences of which had been "much obscured by the tendency to place political conflict in the foreground" (Kraus & Joyce Pg.314)
After The American Political Tradition and the Men who made it, Hofstadter went on to publish a book on Turner, Beard, and Parrington. Hofstadter recognizes the personal contributions that Turner, Beard, and Parrington had to offer to the field of History, but Hofstadter felt that there was much controversy in their writings. As a consensus writer Hofstadter found that Turner, Beard, and Parrington spent more time writing on "economic and political conflict. But he shows they had no criteria for measuring the magnitude and intensity of conflict" (Potter pg. 186). Hofstadter then looks at this statement through a balanced position of consensus and conflict. He feels that we need both consensus and conflict because "conflict to activate ideals in an otherwise static simulation; consensus to set limits upon the hostilities generated by conflict" (Potter pg. 186-87). On the subject Hofstadter believes that we should be realistic about conflict and consensus because both are a major part of American History. Hofstadter feels that consensus and conflict can be reached when "those enlisted in society's contending interests have a basic minimal regard for each other: one party or interest seeks the defeat of opposing interest on matter of policy, but at the same time seeks to avoid crushing the opposition or denying legitimacy of its existence or values" (Potter pg.188). Hofstadter believes when this is achieved, both consensus and conflict can work hand in hand to achieve the goal of Hofstadter "comity" (Potter pg. 188) This book for Hofstadter had a major impact on some of the ideas he had for
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Daniel J. Boorstin, These three writers, Louis Hartz, Kraus, Hofstadter, Joyce,
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United States, America,
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