A prize-winning political scientist untangles the deep roots of tribalism in America
American politics seems to be in an unprecedented uproar. But in this revelatory work of political history, James A. Morone shows that today’s rancor isn’t what’s new — the clarity of the battle lines is. Past eras were full of discord, but the most contentious question in American society — Who are we? — never split along party lines. Instead, each party reached out to different groups on the margins of power: immigrants, African Americans, and women. But, as the United States underwent profound societal transformations from the Civil War to the populist explosion to the Great Migration to civil rights to the latest era of immigration, the party alignment shifted. African Americans conquered the old segregationist party and Democrats slowly evolved into the party of civil rights, immigration, and gender rights. Republicans turned whiter and more nativist. The unprecedented party lineup now injects tribal intensity into every policy difference. Republic of Wrath tells the story of America as we’ve never heard it before, explaining the origins of our fractious times and suggesting how we might build a more robust republic.