Debates have swirled around the question of national forgiveness for the past fifty years. Using two examples-the land claims of the Oneida Indians and the claims for reparations to Japanese Americans interned during World War II-Brian Weiner suggests a way of thinking about national misdeeds. Arguing beyond collective "innocence" or "guilt,"Sins of the Parentsoffers a model of collective responsibility to deal with past wrongs in such a way as to reinvigorate our notion of citizenship. Drawing upon the writings of Abraham Lincoln and Hannah Arendt, Weiner offers a definition of political responsibility that at once defines citizenship and sidesteps the familial, racial, and ethnic questions that often ensnare debates about national apologies. An original contribution to political theory and practice,Sins of the Parentswill become a much discussed contribution in the debate about what it is to be an American.
Subjects: Political Science
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