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Progressive Revolution In Politics & Political Science

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2005

    A Counterrevolutionary Work

    This volume comprises eleven essays by academic political scientists assessing the effect of the Progressive movement on their discipline and field of study. The essays are all, or virtually all, expanded versions of papers presented during the centenary convention of the American Political Science Association in late 2003. There are two sections of five essays each: the first dealing with the Progressive attack on the founding principles of the American regime and the second dealing with the effect of Progressive ¿reforms¿ in practice. The central, and by far the longest, essay, by Edward Erler, concerns the Progressive transformation of American constitutional law, and that essay acts as a kind of hinge connecting the two main sections of the book. Probably the most important essays are the keynote essays of each section, written by Thomas West and John Marini, respectively. West, whose published writings include both esoteric commentaries on ancient political philosophy and also sharp contemporary political analysis, finds the roots of the Progressive revolution in the philosophy of Rousseau and Hegel, which is antithetical to the natural rights tradition at the heart of American constitutional government. Marini, perhaps the most astute observer of the transformation of the American political system wrought by the Progressives, concentrates on the Progressives¿ substitution of the administrative state for the politics of self-government. Each of the eleven essays is worthy of note in its own right, and all are redolent of serious research and profound reflection. Because the unifying theme of the volume is a critique of the Progressive ¿revolution¿ in political science, particular mention should probably be made of Larry Peterman¿s concluding essay, which leads the reader back beyond even the political science that informed the American founding, to the founding of political science itself, by Aristotle. This volume, described by its publisher as a ¿counterrevolutionary work,¿ must be regarded as indispensable reading for anyone who would understand the transformation of the American regime and as the starting point for recovery of an older (and better) political science. One last note: the careful reader is cautioned not to overlook the endnotes.

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