Federalists, The Antifederalists, And The American Political Tradition

Overview

In analyzing the debates between the Federalists and the Antifederalists, McWilliams, Gibbons, and their contributors break sharply with those who interpret the founding of America as either the work of pure pragmatists or as the institutionalization of class interests. This study of the very nature of modern representative democracy explains past and present dilemmas and contradictions in terms of differing Federalist and Antifederalist views. Students and scholars interested in political theory and American ...

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Overview

In analyzing the debates between the Federalists and the Antifederalists, McWilliams, Gibbons, and their contributors break sharply with those who interpret the founding of America as either the work of pure pragmatists or as the institutionalization of class interests. This study of the very nature of modern representative democracy explains past and present dilemmas and contradictions in terms of differing Federalist and Antifederalist views. Students and scholars interested in political theory and American government and history will find this discussion of our political traditions a fascinating one that provokes thought about possible opportunities for political renewal and democratic change.

This examination of the political theory of the American founding deals with often-opposing beliefs about pluralist interests and political compromise, human nature, what constitutes the public good and the public sphere, the relationship between polity and economy, the role of religion in politics, and our political tradition in general. The study presents different points of view held by America's founders and considers other interpretations and ideas of Machiavelli, Spinoza, Hobbes, Montesquieu, James Wilson, and Woodrow Wilson, among others.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

WILSON CAREY McWILLIAMS is Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University.

MICHAEL T. GIBBONS is Associate Professor of Government and International Affairs at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Machiavellian Lessons in America: Republican Foundings, Original Principles, and Political Empowerment 13
3 Reflections on Human Nature: The Federalists and the Republican Tradition 27
4 Montesquieu and the Ideological Strain in Antifederalist Thought 47
5 The Fall of James Wilson's Democratic Presidency 77
6 The Founders, Woodrow Wilson, and the Public Good 91
7 The Public Sphere, Commercial Society, and The Federalist Papers 107
Bibliographical Note 127
Index 133
About the Contributors 137
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