The Political Theory of the American Founding

Author: Thomas G. West
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781108179515
Release Date: 2017-04-03
Genre: Political Science

This book provides a complete overview of the American Founders' political theory, covering natural rights, natural law, state of nature, social compact, consent, and the policy implications of these ideas. The book is intended as a response to the current scholarly consensus, which holds that the Founders' political thought is best understood as an amalgam of liberalism, republicanism, and perhaps other traditions. West argues that, on the contrary, the foundational documents overwhelmingly point to natural rights as the lens through which all politics is understood. The book explores in depth how the Founders' supposedly republican policies on citizen character formation do not contradict but instead complement their liberal policies on property and economics. Additionally, the book shows how the Founders' embraced other traditions in their politics, such as common law and Protestantism.

The Political Theory of the American Founding

Author: Thomas G. West
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107140486
Release Date: 2017-04-03
Genre: History

This book provides a complete overview of the Founders' natural rights theory and its policy implications.

The Political Theory of the American Founding

Author: Thomas G. West
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1316506037
Release Date: 2017-04-03
Genre: Political Science

This book provides a complete overview of the American Founders' political theory, covering natural rights, natural law, state of nature, social compact, consent, and the policy implications of these ideas. The book is intended as a response to the current scholarly consensus, which holds that the Founders' political thought is best understood as an amalgam of liberalism, republicanism, and perhaps other traditions. West argues that, on the contrary, the foundational documents overwhelmingly point to natural rights as the lens through which all politics is understood. The book explores in depth how the Founders' supposedly republican policies on citizen character formation do not contradict but instead complement their liberal policies on property and economics. Additionally, the book shows how the Founders' embraced other traditions in their politics, such as common law and Protestantism.

Natural Rights and the New Republicanism

Author: Michael P. Zuckert
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400821525
Release Date: 2011-06-27
Genre: Philosophy

In Natural Rights and the New Republicanism, Michael Zuckert proposes a new view of the political philosophy that lay behind the founding of the United States. In a book that will interest political scientists, historians, and philosophers, Zuckert looks at the Whig or opposition tradition as it developed in England. He argues that there were, in fact, three opposition traditions: Protestant, Grotian, and Lockean. Before the English Civil War the opposition was inspired by the effort to find the "one true Protestant politics--an effort that was seen to be a failure by the end of the Interregnum period. The Restoration saw the emergence of the Whigs, who sought a way to ground politics free from the sectarian theological-scriptural conflicts of the previous period. The Whigs were particularly influenced by the Dutch natural law philosopher Hugo Grotius. However, as Zuckert shows, by the mid-eighteenth century John Locke had replaced Grotius as the philosopher of the Whigs. Zuckert's analysis concludes with a penetrating examination of John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, the English "Cato," who, he argues, brought together Lockean political philosophy and pre-existing Whig political science into a new and powerful synthesis. Although it has been misleadingly presented as a separate "classical republican" tradition in recent scholarly discussions, it is this "new republicanism" that served as the philosophical point of departure for the founders of the American republic.

God and the Founders

Author: Vincent Phillip Muñoz
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139479721
Release Date: 2009-07-13
Genre: Political Science

Did the Founding Fathers intend to build a 'wall of separation' between church and state? Are public Ten Commandments displays or the phrase 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance consistent with the Founders' understandings of religious freedom? In God and the Founders, Dr Vincent Phillip Muñoz answers these questions by providing comprehensive interpretations of James Madison, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. By analyzing Madison's, Washington's, and Jefferson's public documents, private writings, and political actions, Muñoz explains the Founders' competing church-state political philosophies. Muñoz explores how Madison, Washington, and Jefferson agreed and disagreed by showing how their different principles of religious freedom would decide the Supreme Court's most important First Amendment religion cases. God and the Founders answers the question, 'What would the Founders do?' for the most pressing church-state issues of our time, including prayer in public schools, government support of religion, and legal burdens on individuals' religious consciences.

Common Sense Nation

Author: Robert Curry
Publisher: Encounter Books
ISBN: 9781594038266
Release Date: 2015-11-24
Genre: History

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This sentence is perfectly familiar. We know it as a core principle of our founding. But few, if any of us consider why Jefferson wrote it in exactly this way. Why “unalienable rights” and not simply rights? Why “self-evident” truths and not simply truths? Why does the Declaration make these distinctions? Do they really matter? If these questions are challenging or Jefferson’s words seem esoteric, it is because we no longer conduct our politics in the language of the Founders and we are no longer able to think as they once thought. In Congress and the media, political arguments are advanced by a torrent of policy studies and “expert” opinions—not on the basis of self-evident truths, unalienable rights, and definitely not in the language of the Founders. Common Sense Nation is a potent re-introduction to the political ideas of the Founders—in their own words and on their terms. It is dedicated to the proposition that the only way to fully unlock the profound and distinctive power of American self-government is to understand it as its inventors did. Common Sense Nation reclaims the language of liberty from entities that prefer to interpret our freedoms for us. For in knowing the Founders as they knew themselves, readers will learn the surprising depths of their own political powers as American citizens.

Vindicating the Founders

Author: Thomas G. West
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 0847685179
Release Date: 2000-11-28
Genre: History

Describes the myths surrounding the Founding Father's political thought and contrasts their ideas of liberty and equality with today's views.

Locke in America

Author: Jerome Huyler
Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas
ISBN: UOM:39015034028038
Release Date: 1995
Genre: History

"An important work of historical scholarship and interpretation. It makes a genuine contribution to the ongoing debate about Locke, liberalism, and the nature of the American founding". -- American Political Science Review. "A nuanced, generally convincing study that sets Locke back at center stage and provides a valuable perspective on the intellectual discourse of the revolutionary era". -- Journal of American History.

A New Birth of Freedom

Author: Harry V. Jaffa
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 0847699536
Release Date: 2004-01-01
Genre: History

This book represents the culmination of over a half a century of study and reflection by Jaffa, and continues his piercing examination of the political thought of Abraham Lincoln.

Natural Law and Moral Philosophy

Author: Knud Haakonssen
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521498023
Release Date: 1996-02-23
Genre: Law

Providing the most comprehensive guide to modern natural law theory available, this major contribution to the history of philosophy sets out the full background to liberal ideas of rights and contractarianism, and offers an extensive study of the Scottish Enlightenment.

Constitutional Morality and the Rise of Quasi Law

Author: Bruce P. Frohnen
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674968929
Release Date: 2016-06-13
Genre: Law

Americans are ruled by an unwritten constitution consisting of executive orders, signing statements, and other quasi-laws designed to reform society, Bruce Frohnen and George Carey argue. Consequently, the Constitution no longer means what it says to the people it is supposed to govern and the government no longer acts according to the rule of law.

The Administrative Threat

Author: Philip Hamburger
Publisher: Encounter Books
ISBN: 9781594039508
Release Date: 2017-05-02
Genre: Political Science

Government agencies regulate Americans in the full range of their lives, including their political participation, their economic endeavors, and their personal conduct. Administrative power has thus become pervasively intrusive. But is this power constitutional? A similar sort of power was once used by English kings, and this book shows that the similarity is not a coincidence. In fact, administrative power revives absolutism. On this foundation, the book explains how administrative power denies Americans their basic constitutional freedoms, such as jury rights and due process. No other feature of American government violates as many constitutional provisions or is more profoundly threatening. As a result, administrative power is the key civil liberties issue of our era.

God Locke and Liberty

Author: Joseph Loconte
Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 9780739186909
Release Date: 2014-02-27
Genre: Religion

God, Locke, and Liberty argues that John Locke based his most famous defense of religious freedom on a radical reinterpretation of the life and teachings of Jesus. In a fresh and provocative analysis of Locke’s A Letter Concerning Toleration, this new intellectual history examines the importance of the spiritual reform movement known as Christian humanism to Locke’s bracing vision of a tolerant and pluralistic society.

The Cloaking of Power

Author: Paul O. Carrese
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226094839
Release Date: 2010-02-15
Genre: Law

How did the US judiciary become so powerful—powerful enough that state and federal judges once vied to decide a presidential election? What does this prominence mean for the law, constitutionalism, and liberal democracy? In The Cloaking of Power, Paul O. Carrese provides a provocative analysis of the intellectual sources of today’s powerful judiciary, arguing that Montesquieu, in his Spirit of the Laws, first articulated a new conception of the separation of powers and strong but subtle courts. Montesquieu instructed statesmen to “cloak power” by placing judges at the center of politics, while concealing them behind juries and subtle reforms. Tracing this conception through Blackstone, Hamilton, and Tocqueville, Carrese shows how it led to the prominence of judges, courts, and lawyers in America today. But he places the blame for contemporary judicial activism squarely at the feet of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and his jurisprudential revolution, which he believes to be the source of the now-prevalent view that judging is merely political. To address this crisis, Carrese argues for a rediscovery of an independent judiciary—one that blends prudence and natural law with common law and that observes the moderate jurisprudence of Montesquieu and Blackstone, balancing abstract principles with realistic views of human nature and institutions. He also advocates for a return to the complex constitutionalism of the American founders and Tocqueville and for judges who understand their responsibility to elevate citizens above individualism, instructing them in law and right.