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The Basic Symbols of the American Political Tradition

Willmoore Kendall, George W. Carey

Publication Year: 2012

This thought-provoking book contributes important arguments to the fundamental debate over the place of equality in our political self-understanding. It will continue to be of immense interest to all serious students of American political thought.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii-v


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p. vii-vii

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Preface to This Edition

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pp. ix-xxiii

The Basic Symbols of the American Political Tradition (or just Basic Symbols as it has come to be known) first appeared more than twenty-five years ago. At that time it attracted some notoriety because neither its approach nor its interpretations readily fit into any of the major schools of thought dealing with the ...

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Preface to the Original Edition

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pp. xxv-xxvi

Willmoore Kendall was invited to give a series of lectures at Vanderbilt University in the summer of 1964 on the American political tradition. These lectures, five in all, have been dubbed by Willmoore's colleagues and students 'The Vanderbilt Lectures.ยป Soon after Willmoore's death, his wife asked me to assume the task of editing and expanding the ...

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pp. xxvii-xviii

Thanks are due many and for different reasons. To the Board of Directors of the Relm Foundation of Ann Arbor and to Mr. Richard A. Ware for providing me the opportunity to complete this manuscript. Their understanding and generosity I will never forget. To Yvona Kendall Mason and Mary Dyer, who spared no effort to put this book together. Thanks are not enough to ...

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I. What Is Traditional Amongst Us?

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pp. 3-29

The central theme of this book is one that few, if any, historians or political theorists would have chosen to explore as recently as fifteen years ago. Indeed, nobody could have chosen it prior to two developments in the course of those fifteen years that have assuredly taken most students of American ...

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II. In the Beginning: The Mayflower Compact

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pp. 30-42

The answer to the question "Where, in America, is the beginning?" is not easy to come by, but there is one approach that holds out great promise. Following Voegelin's prescriptions we should (a) keep to this side of the Atlantic, (b) remain within the same genre or literary category as the Declaration ...

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III. Political Order: The Connecticut and Massachusetts Experiences

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pp. 43-60

We can for good reason deal more briefly with the preDeclaration of Independence documents on our list because we already have the main elements of the problem in hand. That is, more precisely, we know the main things we must look for in order to decide whether there is continuity from ...

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IV. Rights and the Virginia Declaration

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pp. 61-74

We come, at last, to a moment close to the beginning of the American political tradition as, that is, the official literature understands it. The date is June 12, 1776, only a few weeks before the Declaration of Independence. From the Massachusetts Body of Liberties, that is to say, we take a jump of nearly a ...

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V. The Declaration of Independence: A Derailment?

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pp. 75-95

We now take up the most difficult and undoubtedly the most controversial of our tasks: the symbolism and so the meaning of the Declaration of Independence in the context of the American tradition.1 Before we discuss its place in the tradition, a few preliminary comments are in order. One obvious ...

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VI. Constitutional Morality and The Federalist

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pp. 96-118

To treat the Constitution and The Federalist1 separately is difficult. The two documents are closely associated in most people's minds, as well they should be, because they come before us in history one upon the other within a very short period of time. Also, as we know very well, The Federalist represents ...

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VII. The Tradition and the Bill of Rights

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pp. 119-136

We can now analyze the so-called Bill of Rights, usually defined as the first ten amendments to our Constitution. The officialliterature, as we might well expect, has already taken great care to supply us with answers to most of those questions that arise concerning the Bill of Rights and its place in our ...

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VIII. Derailment and the Modern Crisis

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pp. 137-154

We have in the foregoing pages talked about a "derailment" in our tradition. The derailment, as we have further remarked, has understandably caused a certain schizophrenia among us, We the People,so that we do not really know who we are and where we are going. To detail when all this came ...

Appendix I

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pp. 155-156

Appendix II

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pp. 157-163


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pp. 165-168

E-ISBN-13: 9780813220628
E-ISBN-10: 0813220629
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813208268
Print-ISBN-10: 0813208262

Page Count: 196
Publication Year: 2012