Fairness and Freedom: A History of Two Open Societies: New Zealand and the United States

Fairness and Freedom: A History of Two Open Societies: New Zealand and the United States

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By (author) David Hackett Fischer

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 656 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 236mm x 48mm | 975g
  • Publication date: 8 March 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0199832706
  • ISBN 13: 9780199832705
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations, maps
  • Sales rank: 56,002

Product description

Fairness and Freedom compares the history of two open societies - New Zealand and the United States - with much in common. Both have democratic polities, mixed-enterprise economies, individuated societies, pluralist cultures, and a deep concern for human rights and the rule of law. But all of these elements take different forms, because constellations of value are far apart. The dream of living free is America's Polaris; fairness and natural justice are New Zealand's Southern Cross. Fischer asks why these similar countries went different ways. Both were founded by English-speaking colonists, but at different times and with disparate purposes. They lived in the first and second British Empires, which operated in very different ways. Indians and Maori were important agents of change, but to different ends. On the American frontier and in New Zealand's Bush, material possibilities and moral choices were not the same. Fischer takes the same comparative approach to parallel processes of nation-building and immigration, women's rights and racial wrongs, reform causes and conservative responses, war-fighting and peace-making, and global engagement in our own time-with similar results. On another level, this book expands Fischer's past work on liberty and freedom. It is the first book to be published on the history of fairness. And it also poses new questions in the old tradition of history and moral philosophy. Is it possible to be both fair and free? In a vast array of evidence, Fischer finds that the strengths of these great values are needed to correct their weaknesses. As many societies seek to become more open - never twice in the same way, an understanding of our differences is the only path to peace.

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Author information

David Hackett Fischer is University Professor at Brandeis University. His books include The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, Liberty and Freedom: A Visual History of America's Founding Ideas, and Washington's Crossing, which was a New York Times Bestseller and winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Review quote

Part travelogue, part geography primer, part journalistic reflection, Fischer's book is a masterly attempt to sketch and compare the historical development of the United States and New Zealand ... Fairness and Freedom abounds with captivating characters Mark G. Spencer, Times Literary Supplement [David Hackett Fischer] is a gifted story-teller, and he is also a skilled research technician and poser of fruitful questions. Andrew Sharp, English Historical Review David Hackett Fischer has produced a highly readable comparative history of the United States and New Zealand as open societies ... His excellent introduction to the relative weighting of these key values in New Zealand and the United States should encourage scholars to embark on broader studies of why shared commitments to fairness and freedom have resulted in different balances in the histories of open societies. Roberto Rabel, Journal of American History

Table of contents

PREFACE ; A Voyage of Discovery ; INTRODUCTION Fairness and Freedom ; COLONIAL ORIGINS ; Settler Societies ; Two British Empires ; Indians and Maori ; Frontier and Bush ; NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ; Federalists and Centralists ; Immigration: Voluntary and Assisted ; Women's Rights: Two Feminist Traditions ; Racial Wrongs: Struggles for Freedom and Justice ; Lib-Labs and Progressives ; WORLD AFFAIRS ; External Relations, Foreign Affairs ; Long Slump and Great Crash ; Two Military Traditions ; World Crisis and Restructuring ; CONCLUSION ; Learning to be Fair and Free ; APPENDICES ; Fairness as a Philosophical Problem: The "Original Position" of John Rawls ; Fairness as a Behavioral Problem: An Animal Instinct? ; Fairness as a Mathematical Problem: The Problem of Fair Division ; HISTORIOGRAPHY ; New World Societies: Comparative Approaches ; BIBLIOGRAPHY ; Primary and Secondary Sources ; NOTES ; ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS