Home to Roost: A Bicentennial Address

New York Review of Books, 26 June 1975, pp. 3-6. 

(Reprinted in S.B. Warner, The American Experiment. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1976, pp. 61-77, with Arendt’s comments.)


The crises of the Republic, of this form of government and its institutions of liberty, could be detected for decades, ever since what appears to us today as a minicrisis was triggered by Joe McCarthy. A number of occurrences followed which testified to an increasing disarray in the very foundations of our political life. One consequence of the McCarthy episode was the destruction of a reliable and devoted civil service, something relatively new in this country, probably the most important achievement of the long Roosevelt administration. It was in the aftermath of this period that the “ugly American” appeared on the scene of foreign relations; he was then hardly noticeable in our domestic life, except in a growing inability to correct errors and repair damages.

The New York Review of Books