In reply to Tim Beals' question, CY seems to be by its end a
refutation of American democracy--late 19th c. version of it--which
began as a refutation of feudalism.  The middle ages was a effective
point for contrast.  You'd want to read HNSmith's  book on C Y,
MTwain's Fable of Progress.  Consider looking at H.Adams' Education
(virgin and dynamo) and definitely at Whitman's Democratic Vistas.
too.  It's a very rich area.  I think the point at least with T.
during these years is not that after deeper analysis that the middles
ages had it right and the 19th c had it wrong--that's too
simplistic--but that, alas, the 19th c for all its opportunity to get
it right still hadn't.  There had been no progress.
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