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Eric Mendelsohn's Park Synagoue

Architecture and Community

Walter C. Leedy Jr. Sara Jane Pearman

128 pages
The Kent State University Press
Written over a thirty-year period, the essays included in this volume develop one central theme: the completion of American isolationism in the formative years of the nation. Isolationism, in Kaplan’s view, is not to be taken as economic or cultural independence but as abstention from political or military obligations to Europe, from alliances or from purposeful entanglement in the European balance of power. This study focuses on the assertion that Thomas Jefferson was central to the making of American foreign policy from the Revolution to 1803. But Kaplan’s view is not always supportive of Jefferson. In fact, Kaplan believes the collection has a “Hamiltonian flavor,” although he does not necessarily consider himself a Hamiltonian either. Kaplan is critical of Jefferson and points clearly to the error of his belief that France could be a counterweight to British power. In the short run Hamilton appears more realistic, but in the long run Jefferson’s vision for the country proved wiser and sounder.
Author Bio
Walter C. Leedy Jr. was an architectural historian and a professor at Cleveland State University. He passed away in 2006, shortly before Eric Mendelsohn’s Park Synagogue was finished. The book was completed by his longtime personal friend, Sara Jane Pearman, who is now retired from the Cleveland Museum of Art.