This essay examines how post-World War II Americans linked their understanding of domestic society and international affairs by using a common lens of psychological and characterological analysis for both. That lens was fashioned by social scientists and developed to study conformity and its opposite, creative and autonomous selfhood. Creativity offered a means to achieve the liberal national society they desired. Social scientists managed their technical definitions of conformity and autonomy as a way of defining reasonable political sentiment. This essay details how, ultimately, the forms of self and sociality they advocated for America were grounded in the kinds of community and interpersonal interaction they valued in their own professional lives.
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