The New York Times best-selling author of The Case for Trump explains the decline and fall of the once cherished idea of American citizenship.
Human history is full of the stories of peasants, subjects, and tribes. Yet the concept of the “citizen” is historically rare — and was among America’s most valued ideals for over two centuries. But without shock treatment, warns historian Victor Davis Hanson, American citizenship as we have known it may soon vanish.
In The Dying Citizen, Hanson outlines the historical forces that led to this crisis. The evisceration of the middle class over the last 50 years has made many Americans dependent on the federal government. Open borders have undermined the idea of allegiance to a particular place. Identity politics have eradicated our collective civic sense of self. And a top-heavy administrative state has endangered personal liberty, along with formal efforts to weaken the Constitution.
As in the revolutionary years of 1848, 1917, and 1968, 2020 ripped away our complacency about the future. But in the aftermath, we as Americans can rebuild and recover what we have lost. The choice is ours.
“The Dying Citizen is essential reading for any American who cares about the fate of our nation.” (Mark R. Levin)
“In The Dying Citizen, Victor Davis Hanson shows once again why he is America's premier scholar, writer, and political observer. Drawing on his training as a classicist, and clearly informed by his deep personal experience living and farming in California's San Joaquin Valley, Hanson has written a tour de force on the history, rights, and responsibilities of modern citizenship, and the galaxy of forces that are undermining the concept of American citizenship today. Immensely enlightening but also deeply unsettling, The Dying Citizen is a wake-up call for our countrymen who want to preserve the American ideal for future generations.” (Rep. Devin Nunes)
“Citizenship brings all the enduring principles of democracy into the sphere of the individual. It honors the human need for a collective identity even as it makes room for the individual to pursue happiness. In this remarkably illuminating book, Victor Davis Hanson shows how so many contemporary problems — identity politics, the border crisis, bloated government, etc. — have only worsened for the lack of a vigorous and clarifying idea of citizenship. In this deeply democratic idea, Hanson points to a way beyond what ails us.” (Shelby Steele, author of Shame)