American Founding And The Social Compact

American Founding And The Social Compact

by Ronald J. Pestritto
     
 

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Unlike many other books about the American founding, this new work by two of the most prominent scholars of American political history emphasizes the coherence and intelligibility of the social compact theory. Social compact theory, the idea that government must be based on an agreement between those who govern and those who consent to be governed, was one of the

Overview

Unlike many other books about the American founding, this new work by two of the most prominent scholars of American political history emphasizes the coherence and intelligibility of the social compact theory. Social compact theory, the idea that government must be based on an agreement between those who govern and those who consent to be governed, was one of the Founders' few unifying philosophical positions, and it transcended the partisan politics of that era. Contributors to this volume present a comprehensive overview of the social compact theory, discussing its European philosophical origins, the development of the theory into the basis of the fledgling government, and the attitudes of some of the founders toward the theory and its traditional proponents. The authors argue forcefully and convincingly that the political ideas of the American Founders cannot be properly understood without understanding social compact theory and the exalted place it held in the construction of the American system of government.

Editorial Reviews

Political Studies Review
This study is thoroughly reseached, it engages critically with the existing literature, and it is convincingly argued.
Claremont Review Of Books
This book magnificently succeeds in restoring the politics of natural right as an intelligible and persuasive alternative to the politics of historicism.
Choice
Recommended.
CHOICE
Recommended.
Peter W. Schramm
This volume makes a massive contribution to our understanding of the founding by emphasizing the social compact political theory behind the founding. This allows the various and thoughtful authors to be guided by those special qualities that inhere in the social compact theory—the ideas of nature, equality, liberty, and consent—and to interpret its meaning; this is the often forgotten, yet necessary, condition that helps explain how our constitutional democracy can work so well. I heartily recommend this volume to all students of the founding.
Claremont Review of Books
This book magnificently succeeds in restoring the politics of natural right as an intelligible and persuasive alternative to the politics of historicism.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780739106655
Publisher:
Lexington Books
Publication date:
08/28/2003
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.64(d)

Meet the Author

Ronald J. Pestritto is Charles and Lucia Shipley Chair in the American Constitution at Hillsdale College and author of Founding the Criminal Law: Punishment and Political Thought in the Origins of America (2000). Thomas G. West is professor of politics at the University of Dallas and director and senior fellow of the Claremont Institute. His book Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class and Justice in the Origins of America (1997) won the 2000 Paolucci Book Award.

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