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If Men Were Angels: James Madison and the Heartless Empire of Reason
     

If Men Were Angels: James Madison and the Heartless Empire of Reason

by Richard K. Matthews
 
"Highly opinionated, iconoclastic, controversial, and immensely imaginative. A provocative and deeply stimulating reading of Madison that deserves to be part of the never-ending conversation Americans have about the meaning of America."—Isaac Kramnick, author of Republicanism and Bourgeois Radicalism: Political Ideology in Late Eighteenth-Century England

Overview

"Highly opinionated, iconoclastic, controversial, and immensely imaginative. A provocative and deeply stimulating reading of Madison that deserves to be part of the never-ending conversation Americans have about the meaning of America."—Isaac Kramnick, author of Republicanism and Bourgeois Radicalism: Political Ideology in Late Eighteenth-Century England and America

"Outstanding. Certainly the most systematic, comprehensive, and penetrating analysis of Madison's political thought, the volume is engagingly written, tightly argued, and persuasive in its interpretations."—Jack P. Greene, author of The Intellectual Construction of America and editor of the Encyclopedia of American Political History

"A controversial and compelling case for Madison's consistent liberalism. Deserves a prominent place on the bookshelf of anyone who takes seriously the study of American political thought."—Michael Lienesch, author of New Order of the Ages

"This book will make a major splash among both historians and political scientists and should have substantial appeal to the general reading public. Its most significant achievement is the discovery and explication of the themes that make Madison consistent despite his many changes of position over a long and varied public career."—Forrest McDonald, author of Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution

Author Bio: Richard K. Matthews is professor and chair of the department of government at Lehigh University. If Men Were Angels is the second volume in his revisionist trilogy on the Founding that began with The Radical Politics of Thomas Jefferson and that will conclude with Alexander Hamilton and the Creation of the Heroic State.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Matthews (government, Lehigh Univ.) here presents the second of a projected three volumes offering a revisionist interpretation of our Founding Fathers. He writes with gusto and authority, and his conclusions will bring both respect and controversy. With finesse and fairness he delineates how his views contrast with those of other recent authors such as Lance Banning and Forrest McDonald. Matthews argues that Madison was a consistent liberal throughout his career; he placed high value on personal liberties as well as on a strong, rational state. While the author admires the power and integrity of Madison's thought, his evaluation of Matthews is finally negative. He claims that the victory of Madison's views has produced a country that is vulgar, materialistic, and anti-intellectual. Matthews regrets that the early republic did not take the route of Jeffersonian idealism. For general and academic collections.-T.J. Schaeper, St. Bonaventure Univ., N.Y.
Drew R. McCoy
Matthews offers more than a systematic portrait of Madison's political thought; his devastating, if respectful, critique of the politics and society it fashioned marks an earnest effort to link the nation's past, present, and future. This learned, engaging, and stimulating book has much to offer a wide range of readers. If Matthews is right—that Madison and Jefferson 'were, from an ideological perspective, worlds apart'—then we must reassess just about everything we think we know about ideology and politics in the early republic.
Journal of American History
From the Publisher

"Highly opinionated, iconoclastic, controversial, and immensely imaginative. A provocative and deeply stimulating reading of Madison that deserves to be part of the never-ending conversation Americans have about the meaning of America."—Isaac Kramnick, author of Republicanism and Bourgeois Radicalism: Political Ideology in Late Eighteenth-Century England and America "Outstanding. Certainly the most systematic, comprehensive, and penetrating analysis of Madison’s political thought, the volume is engagingly written, tightly argued, and persuasive in its interpretations."—Jack P. Greene, author of The Intellectual Construction of America and editor of the Encyclopedia of American Political History "A controversial and compelling case for Madison’s consistent liberalism. Deserves a prominent place on the bookshelf of anyone who takes seriously the study of American political thought."—Michael Lienesch, author of New Order of the Ages "This book will make a major splash among both historians and political scientists and should have substantial appeal to the general reading public. Its most significant achievement is the discovery and explication of the themes that make Madison consistent despite his many changes of position over a long and varied public career."—Forrest McDonald, author of Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780700606436
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Publication date:
01/28/1995
Series:
American Political Thought Series
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.16(d)

What People are Saying About This

Isaac Kramnick
Isaac Kramnick, author of Republicanism Bourgeois Radicalism
Highly opinionated, iconoclastic, controversial, and immensely imaginative.
Michael Lienesch
Michael Lienesch, author of New Order of the Ages
A controversial and compelling case for Madison's consistent liberalism. Deserves a prominent place on the bookshelf of anyone who takes seriously the study of American political thought.
Forrest McDonald
Forrest McDonald, author of Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution
This book will make a major splash. Its most significant achievement is the discovery and explication of the themes that make Madison consistent despite his many changes of position over a long and varied public career.
Jack P. Greene
Jack P. Greene, editor of the Encyclopedia of American Political History
Outstanding. Certainly the most systematic, comprehensive, and penetrating analysis of Madison's political thought, the volume is engagingly written, tightly argued, and persuasive in its interpretations.

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