When The American Democrat was first published in 1838, Cooper’s position as America’s first major novelist obscured his serious contribution to the discussion of American principles and politics.
“Yet Cooper,” says H. L. Mencken, “was probably the first American to write about Americans in the really frank spirit . . . a simple, sound and sensible tract, moderate in tone and extraordinarily astute in its conclusions.”
Cooper provides a concise statement of the principles of American democracy and of its social ramifications. He was concerned that these principles and our institutions would be perverted–especially by the confusion of an equality of rights with equality of condition.