The Political Theory of the American Founding

Author: Thomas G. West
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781108179515
Release Date: 2017-03-31
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: 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.

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.

Natural Rights and the Right to Choose

Author: Hadley Arkes
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521812186
Release Date: 2002-09-02
Genre: Law

This 2002 book argues that the 'right to abortion' has shifted American politics away from the doctrine of natural rights held by the Founders.

Natural Rights and the New Republicanism

Author: Michael P. Zuckert
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691059705
Release Date: 1998-03-09
Genre: History

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.

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.

John Witherspoon and the Founding of the American Republic

Author: Jeffry H. Morrison
Publisher: University of Notre Dame Pess
ISBN: 9780268087227
Release Date: 2003-01-27
Genre: Philosophy

Jeffry H. Morrison offers readers the first comprehensive look at the political thought and career of John Witherspoon—a Scottish Presbyterian minister and one of America’s most influential and overlooked founding fathers. Witherspoon was an active member of the Continental Congress and was the only clergyman both to sign the Declaration of Independence and to ratify the federal Constitution. During his tenure as president of the College of New Jersey at Princeton, Witherspoon became a mentor to James Madison and influenced many leaders and thinkers of the founding period. He was uniquely positioned at the crossroads of politics, religion, and education during the crucial first decades of the new republic. Morrison locates Witherspoon in the context of early American political thought and charts the various influences on his thinking. This impressive work of scholarship offers a broad treatment of Witherspoon’s constitutionalism, including his contributions to the mediating institutions of religion and education, and to political institutions from the colonial through the early federal periods. This book will be appreciated by anyone with an interest in American political history and thought and in the relation of religion to American politics.

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.

Patriotism Is Not Enough

Author: Steven F. Hayward
Publisher: Encounter Books
ISBN: 9781594038846
Release Date: 2017-02-21
Genre: Political Science

This book is a lively intellectual history of a small circle of thinkers, especially, but not solely, Harry Jaffa and Walter Berns, who challenged the "mainstream" liberal consensus of political science and history about how the American Founding should be understood. Along the way they changed the course of the conservative movement and had a significant impact on shaping contemporary political debates from constitutional interpretation, civil rights, to the corruption of government today. Most importantly, these thinkers explain the deep reasons for patriotism—why we should love America not just because it is our country, but because it is a free and just country.

Machiavelli s Politics

Author: Catherine H. Zuckert
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226434803
Release Date: 2017-04-25
Genre: Philosophy

Machiavelli is popularly known as a teacher of tyrants, a key proponent of the unscrupulous “Machiavellian” politics laid down in his landmark political treatise The Prince. Others cite the Discourses on Livy to argue that Machiavelli is actually a passionate advocate of republican politics who saw the need for occasional harsh measures to maintain political order. Which best characterizes the teachings of the prolific Italian philosopher? With Machiavelli’s Politics, Catherine H. Zuckert turns this question on its head with a major reinterpretation of Machiavelli’s prose works that reveals a surprisingly cohesive view of politics. Starting with Machiavelli’s two major political works, Zuckert persuasively shows that the moral revolution Machiavelli sets out in The Prince lays the foundation for the new form of democratic republic he proposes in the Discourses. Distrusting ambitious politicians to serve the public interest of their own accord, Machiavelli sought to persuade them in The Prince that the best way to achieve their own ambitions was to secure the desires and ambitions of their subjects and fellow citizens. In the Discourses, he then describes the types of laws and institutions that would balance the conflict between the two in a way that would secure the liberty of most, if not all. In the second half of her book, Zuckert places selected later works—La Mandragola, The Art of War, The Life of Castruccio Castracani, Clizia, and Florentine Histories—under scrutiny, showing how Machiavelli further developed certain aspects of his thought in these works. In The Art of War, for example, he explains more concretely how and to what extent the principles of organization he advanced in The Prince and the Discourses ought to be applied in modern circumstances. Because human beings act primarily on passions, Machiavelli attempts to show readers what those passions are and how they can be guided to have productive rather than destructive results. A stunning and ambitious analysis, Machiavelli’s Politics brilliantly shows how many conflicting perspectives do inform Machiavelli’s teachings, but that one needs to consider all of his works in order to understand how they cohere into a unified political view. This is a magisterial work that cannot be ignored if a comprehensive understanding of the philosopher is to be obtained.

The Great Debate

Author: Yuval Levin
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780465040940
Release Date: 2013-12-03
Genre: History

"In The Great Debate Yuval Levin explores the origins of the familiar left/right divide in American politics by examining the views of the men who best represent each side of that debate: Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine. In a groundbreaking exploration of the origins of our political order, Levin shows that our political divide did not originate (as many historians argue) in the French Revolution, but rather in the Anglo-American debate about that revolution. Burke and Paine were both utterly fascinating figures--active in politics, versed in philosophy, and two of the best, most effective and powerful political writers and polemicists in the history of the English speaking world. Levin sets the work of these two men against the dramatic history of their era and shows how they mixed theory and practice to advance their very different notions of liberty, equality, nature, history, reason, revolution, and reform. Paine believed in radical change and saw the American and French Revolutions as catalysts for creating a new society; Burke believed in a significantly more gradual approach with each generation acting merely as part of a long chain of history. These differing approaches to revolution and reform created a division that continues to shape our current political discourse--including issues ranging from gun control and abortion to welfare and economic reform"--

C S Lewis on Politics and the Natural Law

Author: Justin Buckley Dyer
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107108240
Release Date: 2016-08-11
Genre: Philosophy

This book shows how Lewis was interested in the truths and falsehoods about human nature and how these conceptions manifest themselves in the public square.

Human Rights as Social Construction

Author: Benjamin Gregg
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139505413
Release Date: 2011-12-12
Genre: Political Science

Most conceptions of human rights rely on metaphysical or theological assumptions that construe them as possible only as something imposed from outside existing communities. Most people, in other words, presume that human rights come from nature, God, or the United Nations. This book argues that reliance on such putative sources actually undermines human rights. Benjamin Gregg envisions an alternative; he sees human rights as locally developed, freely embraced, and indigenously valid. Human rights, he posits, can be created by the average, ordinary people to whom they are addressed, and that they are valid only if embraced by those to whom they would apply. To view human rights in this manner is to increase the chances and opportunities that more people across the globe will come to embrace them.