The Political Theory of the American Founding: Natural Rights, Public Policy, and the Moral Conditions of Freedom

Author:   Thomas G. West (Hillsdale College, Michigan)
Publisher:   Cambridge University Press
ISBN:  

9781107140486


Pages:   428
Publication Date:   03 April 2017
Format:   Hardback
Availability:   Manufactured on demand   Availability explained
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The Political Theory of the American Founding: Natural Rights, Public Policy, and the Moral Conditions of Freedom


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Overview

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.

Full Product Details

Author:   Thomas G. West (Hillsdale College, Michigan)
Publisher:   Cambridge University Press
Imprint:   Cambridge University Press
Dimensions:   Width: 15.60cm , Height: 2.90cm , Length: 23.50cm
Weight:   0.700kg
ISBN:  

9781107140486


ISBN 10:   110714048
Pages:   428
Publication Date:   03 April 2017
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Tertiary & Higher Education ,  Professional & Vocational
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Availability:   Manufactured on demand   Availability explained
We will order this item for you from a manufactured on demand supplier.

Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. The Political Theory of the Founding: An Overview: 1. Equality, natural rights, and the laws of nature; 2. The case against the natural rights founding; 3. Equality and natural rights misunderstood; 4. The founder's arguments for equality, natural rights, and natural law; 5. The state of nature; 6. The social compact and consent of the governed; 7. Natural rights and public policy; Part II. The Moral Conditions of Freedom: 8. Why government should support morality; 9. How government supports morality; 10. Sex and marriage in political theory and policy; 11. Cultivating public support for liberty and virtue; 12. What virtues should government promote?; 13. The founder's virtues: questions and clarifications; Part III. Property and Economics: 14. The founder's understanding of property rights; 15. Private ownership; 16. Free markets; 17. Sound money; 18. The Hamilton-Jefferson quarrel; Conclusion. Justice, nobility, and the politics of natural rights; Index.

Reviews

'Some claim that the founders were early-modern liberals. Others argue that the founders were primarily exponents of republicanism. Still others claim that the founders bequeathed to us an amalgam of these two strains of thought, together perhaps with still other influences. West's great ambition with this book, one that he achieves, is to show that in their self-understanding the founders grounded the American regime on natural law and natural rights, and sought to promote virtue, and in particular the virtues necessary to a self-governing people seeking to secure their natural rights. The combination of natural rights and virtue promoted by the founders does not come from two separate streams of thought. Rather, natural rights and virtue are, so to speak, two sides of the same coin.' Luigi Bradizza, Voegelinview (www.voegelinview.com)


Author Information

Thomas G. West holds the Paul Ermine Potter and Dawn Tibbets Potter Endowed Professorship at Hillsdale College, Michigan. His research areas include American political thought, natural law and natural right, Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, and Leo Strauss.

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