This chapter summarizes the preceding discussions and presents some final thoughts. Throughout history, two visions of the United States have attracted and challenged us. The first imagines America as a country in which diversity, equality, and inalienable political rights are celebrated. The second refers to the United States' dark history as a white man's republic, jealously guarding its borders, suspicious of anyone who would darken its racial heritage. While these two visions exist in bitter opposition, both have strong popular appeal that relies on the denial of their incompatibility. The present volume traced the origins of these dueling visions, the collective denial of their incompatibility, and the ways that denial destabilizes both visions and thus our national identity.
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