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In The Name of the Father

In response to:

The Right-Wing Christians from the April 3, 2008 issue

To the Editors:

Reviewing Garry Wills’s Head and Heart: American Christianities in the April 3 issue, Andrew Delbanco refers to Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.’s “well-known view of American politics, put forward in The Cycles of American History (1986),” as swinging over time from left to right and back again. The model, however, was not Schlesinger Jr.’s invention. It had been outlined in print in 1922 by Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. in an essay, “Radicalism and Conservatism in American History,” published in New Viewpoints in American History. Harvard students of my generation may recall Schlesinger Sr.’s applications of it. Its longer-term influence is evident in Schlesinger Jr.’s extensions, elaborations, and revisions.

Michael McGiffert

Williamsburg, Virginia

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