IN THE REVIEW

Paranoia and American History

The Slave Power Conspiracy and the Paranoid Style

by David Brion Davis

Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War

by Eric Foner
How does one account for America’s sometimes violent past political divisions? Few historians now accept Charles Beard’s view, popular earlier in the century, that a continual struggle between rich and poor explains American strife. Much of the best historical work since the Second World War has undermined Beard’s claims. But …