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Justin Champion is Chair of the History Department at Royal Holloway College, University of London.David Womersley is Thomas Warton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford.
In Democracy in America (1835) the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville interpreted American society through the lens of democratic political theory. A half-century later the Scotsman James Bryce examined "the institutions and the people of America as they are." Bryce presented his findings in The American Commonwealth, first published in London in three volumes in 1888. This new Liberty Fund two-volume edition is based on the updated third edition of 1941, which encompassed all the changes, corrections, and additions that Bryce entered into the previous editions. Its expanded appendix includes Bryce's 1887 essay, "The Predictions of Hamilton and De Tocqueville," and contemporaneous (1889) reviews of The American Commonwealth by Woodrow Wilson and Lord Acton.
The great merit of Bryce's work is that it is based on close observation of the actual operation of American political institutions, including political parties and municipal and state governments. Consequently, Bryce provides what Professor Gary McDowell describes as "a grand atlas of American politics and society." Indeed, Bryce was able to discern enduring characteristics of American society and politics. Therefore, as Robert Nisbet has written, "we still go to Bryce for piquant and cogent answers to the questions of why great men are not chosen presidents and why the best men do not go into politics in America."
James Bryce (1838–1922) was a British jurist, historian, and statesman. From 1907 to 1913 he was England's ambassador to the United States.
Gary L. McDowell is the Tyler Haynes Interdisciplinary Professor of Leadership Studies, Political Science, and Law at the University of Richmond in Virginia. From 1992 to 2003 he was the Director of the Institute of United States Studies in the University of London.
Two Volume Paperback Set
These volumes provide a selection of seventy-six essays, pamphlets, speeches, and letters to newspapers written between 1760 and 1805 by American political and religious leaders. Many are obscure pieces that were previously available only in larger research libraries. But all illuminate the founding of the American republic and are essential reading for students and teachers of American political thought. The second volume includes an annotated bibliography of five hundred additional items for future reference.
The subjects covered in this rich assortment of primary material range from constitutionalism, representation, and republicanism to freedom of the press, religious liberty, and slavery. Among the more noteworthy items reprinted, all in their entirety, are Stephen Hopkins, "The Rights of the Colonies Examined" (1764); Richard Bland, "An Inquiry into the Rights of the British Colonies" (1766); John Adams, "Thoughts on Government" (1776); Theophilus Parsons, "The Essex Result" (1778); James Madison, "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments" (1785); James Kent, "An Introductory Lecture to a Course of Law Lectures" (1794); Noah Webster, "An Oration on the Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence" (1802); and James Wilson, "On Municipal Law" (1804).
Charles S. Hyneman was Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Indiana University before his death in 1984. He was a past president of the American Political Science Association.
Donald S. Lutz is Professor of Political Science at the University of Houston.
Many reference works offer compilations of critical documents covering individual liberty, local autonomy, constitutional order, and other issues that helped to shape the American political tradition. Yet few of those works are available in a form suitable for classroom use, and traditional textbooks give short shrift to these important issues.
The American Republic overcomes that knowledge gap by providing, in a single volume, critical, original documents revealing the character of American discourse on the nature and importance of local government, the purposes of federal union, and the role of religion and tradition in forming America’s drive for liberty.
The American Republic is divided into nine sections, each illustrating major philosophical, cultural, and policy positions at issue during crucial eras of American development. Readers will find documentary evidence of the purposes behind European settlement, American response to English acts, the pervasive role of religion in early American public life, and perspectives in the debate over independence.
Subsequent chapters examine the roots of American constitutionalism, Federalist and Anti-Federalist arguments concerning the need to protect common law rights, and the debates over whether the states or the federal government held final authority in determining the course of public policy in America. Also included are the discussions regarding disagreements over internal improvements and other federal measures aimed at binding the nation, particularly in the area of commerce.
The final section focuses on the political, cultural, and legal issues leading to the Civil War. Arguments and attempted compromises regarding slavery, along with laws that helped shape slavery, are highlighted. The volume ends with the prelude to the Civil War, a natural stopping-off point for studies of early American history.
By bringing together key original documents and other writings that explain cultural, religious, and historical concerns, this volume gives students, teachers, and general readers an effective way to begin examining the diversity of issues and influences that characterize American history. The result unquestionably leads to a deeper and more thorough understanding of America's political, institutional, and cultural continuity and change.
Bruce P. Frohnen is Associate Professor of Law at Ohio Northern University College of Law. He holds a J.D. from the Emory University School of Law and a Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University. Click here to print or download The American Republic index.
It deserves to rank among the two or three really historic contributions to political science in the United States.
—James A. Beard
This discussion of the social order of an agricultural republic is Taylor's most popular and influential work. It includes materials on the relation of agriculture to the American economy, on agriculture and politics, and on the enemies of the agrarian republic. Both statesman and farmer, Taylor is often considered the deepest thinker of all the early Virginians.
M. E. Bradford was Professor of English at the University of Dallas until his death in 1993.
Benjamin A. Rogge—late Distinguished Professor of Political Economy at Wabash College—was a representative of that most unusual species: economists who speak and write in clear English. He forsakes professional jargon for clarity and logic—and can even be downright funny. The nineteen essays in this volume explore the philosophy of freedom, the nature of economics, the business system, labor markets, money and inflation, the problems of cities, education, and what must be done to ensure the survival of free institutions and capitalism.
"A day, an hour, of virtuous liberty is worth a whole eternity in bondage."
-Joseph Addison, Cato 1713
Joseph Addison was born in 1672 in Milston, Wiltshire, England. He was educated in the classics at Oxford and became widely known as an essayist, playwright, poet, and statesman. First produced in 1713, Cato, A Tragedy inspired generations toward a pursuit of liberty. Liberty Fund’s new edition of Cato: A Tragedy, and Selected Essays brings together Addison’s dramatic masterpiece along with a selection of his essays that develop key themes in the play.
Cato, A Tragedy is the account of the final hours of Marcus Porcius Cato (95–46 B.C.), a Stoic whose deeds, rhetoric, and resistance to the tyranny of Caesar made him an icon of republicanism, virtue, and liberty. By all accounts, Cato was an uncompromisingly principled man, deeply committed to liberty. He opposed Caesar’s tyrannical assertion of power and took arms against him. As Caesar’s forces closed in on Cato, he chose to take his life, preferring death by his own hand to a life of submission to Caesar.
Addison’s theatrical depiction of Cato enlivened the glorious image of a citizen ready to sacrifice everything in the cause of freedom, and it influenced friends of liberty on both sides of the Atlantic. Captain Nathan Hale’s last words before being hanged were, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country,” a close paraphrase of Addison’s “What pity is it that we can die but once to serve our country!” George Washington found Cato such a powerful statement of liberty, honor, virtue, and patriotism that he had it performed for his men at Valley Forge. And Forrest McDonald says in his Foreword that “Patrick Henry adapted his famous ‘Give me liberty or give me death’ speech directly from lines in Cato.”
Despite Cato’s enormous success, Addison was perhaps best-known as an essayist. In periodicals like the Spectator, Guardian, Tatler, and Freeholder, he sought to educate England’s developing middle class in the habits, morals, and manners he believed necessary for the preservation of a free society. Addison’s work in these periodicals helped to define the modern English essay form. Samuel Johnson said of his writing, “Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the study of Addison.”
Christine Dunn Henderson is a Senior Fellow at Liberty Fund. Prior to joining Liberty Fund in 2000, she was assistant professor of political science at Marshall University.
Mark E. Yellin, also a Fellow at Liberty Fund, received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University, has taught at North Carolina State University, and edited Douglass Adair’s Intellectual Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy.
Click here for a pdf of the Cato: A Tragedy brochure
Three-Volume Slipcased Set, with Illustrations
This new Liberty Fund edition of Characteristicks presents the complete 1732 text of this classic work of philosophy and political theory. Also included are faithful reproductions of the stirring engravings that Shaftesbury created to facilitate the reader's consideration of his meditations on the interrelationships among truth, goodness, beauty, virtue, liberty, responsibility, society, and the state. Click here to view a sample art card.
The grandson of a founder and leader of the English Whigs, and tutored by John Locke, Anthony Ashley Cooper, the Third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671–1713), wrote one of the most intellectually influential works in English of the eighteenth century. This was the three-volume Characteristicks, originally published in 1711, but revised in 1714 to accommodate the engravings of illustrations that Shaftesbury himself executed to aid the reader's consideration of his reflections on virtue as a kind of rationally achieved harmony among the affections.
Widely regarded as the first exponent of the view that ethics derives, not from reason alone, but from "sentiment," Shaftesbury criticizes not only Locke but, especially, Hobbes for the dim view that "the state of nature" is "a war of all against all." To the contrary, Shaftesbury argued that human nature responds most fully to representations of the good, the true, and the beautiful, and that human beings naturally desire society. In all of these reflections, he provides a large scope for the exercise of individual liberty and responsibility.
Douglas Den Uyl has for many years been a Professor of Philosophy at Bellarmine College, Louisville, and is Vice President of Educational Programs for Liberty Fund, Inc.