Despite the extensive scholarship on Max Weber (1864–1920) and W. E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963), very little of it examines the contact between the two founding figures of Western sociology. Drawing on their correspondence from 1904 to 1906, and comparing the sociological work that they produced during this period and afterward, The Spirit vs. the Souls: Max Weber, W. E. B. Du Bois, and the Politics of Scholarship examines for the first time the ideas that Weber and Du Bois shared on topics such as sociological investigation, race, empire, unfree labor, capitalism, and socialism. What emerges from this examination is that their ideas on these matters clashed far more than they converged, contrary to the tone of their letters and to the interpretations of the few scholars who have commented on the correspondence between Weber and Du Bois.
Christopher McAuley provides close readings of key texts by the two scholars, including Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk, to demonstrate their different views on a number of issues, including the economic benefits of unfree labor in capitalism. The book addresses the distinctly different treatment of the two figures's political sympathies in past scholarship, especially that which discredits some of Du Bois's openly antiracist academic work while failing to consider the markedly imperialist-serving content of some of Weber's. McAuley argues for the acknowledgment and demarginalization of Du Bois's contributions to the scholarly world that academics have generally accorded to Weber. This book will interest students and scholars of black studies, history, and sociology for whom Du Bois and Weber are central figures.
Consequences of Change
Perils of Power
Paralysis of Polarization
Conundrums of Communications
Reveries of Reform
Presidency in Progress
A Chronology of the Modern American Presidency
For Further Reading
Christopher A. McAuley is associate professor in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of The Mind of Oliver C. Cox (University of Notre Dame Press, 2004).
"I think The Spirit vs. the Souls is an outstanding book. The chapters on Max Weber, religion, and capitalism are simply brilliant. I like the rich, textured, and excellent grounding on both the privileges of Weber and W. E. B. Du Bois. I believe that this book will be a hit, a well-rounded, much-needed appraisal of two giants of the discipline of sociology, race, and critical scholarship." —Rodney Coates, Miami University
"The Spirit vs. the Souls advances a well-imagined conversation between two of the most eminent sociologists of the last century, especially concerning capitalism, imperialism, and the significance of the Atlantic Slave Trade in the shaping of the modern world. Conceptually intriguing and rigorously documented, Christopher McAuley’s astute observations on the rival notions of Weber and Du Bois—and the broader politics of thinking about race—should be measured as an outstanding contribution to African American intellectual history." —Patrick B. Miller, Northeastern Illinois University
"McAuley explores the little-known personal and intellectual relationship between Max Weber and W. E. B. Du Bois in this volume. The two scholars corresponded briefly until, as McAuley claims, the divergence in their ideas made an ongoing relationship impossible. Today, he argues, academia remembers Weber incorrectly as the 'pure scholar,' while downgrading and misconstruing Du Bois’s intellectual credentials as those of a mere 'political academic.'" —Choice
During the first third of the twentieth century, six candidates of the Republican Party won the White House. Woodrow Wilson, who served as president between 1913-1921, was the only Democrat to interrupt the GOP sequence of William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. Underscoring the party’s dominance back then, each victorious Republican received over 50 percent of the popular vote in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1920, 1924, and 1928. By contrast, Wilson failed to receive a majority in either the 1912 or 1916 elections. For the next 36 years, from 1933 until 1969, four Democrats—Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson—occupied the Oval Office, and there was just one Republican: Dwight Eisenhower. Like Wilson, Eisenhower broke one party control of the executive branch for an eight-year period (1953-1961). Unlike Wilson, Eisenhower garnered impressive popular vote majorities twice—54.9 percent in 1952 and 57.4 in 1956. Eisenhower’s first election flipped the White House from the Democrats to the Republicans, but Kennedy returned it to the Democratic side eight years later. From then on, the presidential pendulum has continued to swing regularly back and forth between the two parties: to the Republicans with the 1968 election of Richard Nixon, to the Democrats in 1976 when Jimmy Carter prevailed, to Ronald Reagan and the GOP in 1980, to the Democrats and Bill Clinton in 1992, to the Republicans and George W. Bush in 2000, to Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in 2008, and back to the Republican side in 2016 with Donald Trump as the party’s standard bearer. Since the election of 1952, there have been nine party changes in the presidency, considerably greater frequency than the electoral shifts that took place for nearly seven decades during the previous century, which featured 52 years of Republican presidents and 48 years for the Democrats. A newfound volatility has replaced relative stability in the nation’s highest office. Except for the 12-year stretch of Reagan and the senior George Bush from 1981 to 1993, the White House has bounced from one major party to the other after eight years following seven post-World War II elections: in 1960, 1968, 1976, 1992, 2000, 2008, 2016. In 1980, the change occurred more quickly, after just a single term. What’s behind this form of partisan change after such pronounced continuity, including 20 consecutive years of Democratic administrations (from 1933 to 1953)? Have Americans become politically jumpy, prone to electoral anxiety that results in favoring one party and then the other with noteworthy regularity? Are some voters, conditioned by the media to change channels or websites on impulse, more inclined of late to switch allegiances out of civic boredom or frustration? Are there other causes? Viewed in context, Constitutional, procedural, and cultural reasons play significant roles in shaping the environment for electing a president that’s developed since the middle of the twentieth century. They intersect with each other and produce a very different political and electoral landscape from the previous five decades. That new landscape, in turn, yields different kinds of people who win the White House and become the world’s most powerful person. Let’s be specific. The Twenty-Second Amendment, establishing a two-term limit for a White House occupant, was proposed by Congress on March 21, 1947 and formally ratified by the requisite number of states on February 27, 1951. Interpreted by many observers as revenge by Republican majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate rather than reform, the amendment, in part, was intended to prevent a popular political figure, such as Franklin Roosevelt, from winning more than two presidential elections. (Between 1931 and 1995, over six decades, the GOP controlled both chambers of Congress only four years: 1947-1949 and 1953-1955.) The amendment serves as a formal, mandated check on the chief official of the executive branch. It also dictates that after two winning White House campaigns the victor must, by law, retreat to the political sidelines. A definite, legally fixed end date means, among other things, that a president becomes, in effect, a lame duck in chief during a second term. Until the limit came into effect, the country’s foremost political leader could exert influence with more robust force and meaning. The door remained ajar, at least potentially, to future dealings between the White House and Capitol Hill. As it is now, members of the House and Senate are looking ahead to their own elections—and self-preservation—and a president often has to rely more on personal persuasion than institutional clout to accomplish what might be on the administration’s to-do list. To a certain extent, the balance of power shifts in the second term, with Congress the principal beneficiary. James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn cogently summarized the situation in a 2006 New York Times commentary when they wrote: “A second-term president will, in effect, automatically be fired within four years. Inevitably his influence over Congress, and even his authority over the sprawling executive branch, weaken. His party leadership frays as presidential hopefuls carve out their own constituencies for the next election. Whether the president is trying to tamp down scandal or push legislation, he loses his ability to set the agenda.” They go on to observe that a second-termer also loses “accountability to the people,” which is “at the heart of a democratic system.” In everyday life, if we know someone will be leaving a position at a particular time, our internal calculus for dealing with the person changes from what we would do if we had no knowledge of an exact departure date. That’s human nature. And that person’s proposal for a new initiative might get buried or a decision related to an action could be delayed until the clock runs out, with the possibility of a different dynamic to consider. The public’s attitude to a political figure who’s mandated to leave office is that change is definitely on the horizon. Granted, the two-term tradition began with George Washington, but tradition is vastly different from a Constitutional amendment. Before Franklin Roosevelt won four successive campaigns—1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944—Ulysses S. Grant in the nineteenth century and Wilson early in the twentieth tried to convince their parties (Grant as a Republican and Wilson as a Democrat) that they deserved a third term. As it happened, neither succeeded, and debate about another four years in office roiled the 1940 race. Popular campaign buttons that year read “I’m against the 3rd term: Washington Wouldn’t, Grant Couldn’t, Roosevelt Shouldn’t,” “Out! Stealing Third!” and “No Third Term-ites!” Still, the barrier even to contemplate more time than eight years is a factor in the minds of voters as they evaluate presidential candidates. There have been efforts (by both Democrats and Republicans) to repeal the amendment, but they haven’t received broad support. Should they? Would more time of executive leadership result in sustained continuity of governance or concentrate power in the hands of one person in ways that jeopardize the democratic equilibrium? (excerpted from chapter 1)