James Madison and the Spirit of Republican Self-Government

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"In the first study that combines an in-depth examination of James Madison's National Gazette essays of 1791-92 with a study of The Federalist, Colleen A. Sheehan traces the evolution of Madison's conception of the politics of communication and public opinion throughout the Founding period, demonstrating how "the sovereign public" would form and rule in America." Contrary to those scholars who claim that Madison dispensed with the need to form an active and virtuous citizenry, Sheehan argues that Madison's vision for the new nation was informed by the idea of republican self-government, whose manifestation he sought to bring about in the spirit and way of life of the American people.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...James Madison and the Spirit of Republican Self-Government is an informed and intriguing addition to the literature on the American founders. The book will appeal to fans of Madison and to scholars of American political thought and the American founding."
Canadian Journal of Political Science Graham G. Dodds, Concordia University

"This is a wonderfully provocative and morally engaged argument...the overall analysis is brilliant and merits careful reading by anyone seriously interested in the ideas of our greatest political thinker."
Political Science Quarterly, Jack Rakove, Stanford University

"This well-written and engaging book situates James Madison as a spirited defender of popular government...Sheehan has elegantly and artfully recaptured neglected and forgotten elements of Madison's thinking that all serious scholars of Madison will need to confront."
The Review of Politics, George Thomas

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521727334
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2009
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Colleen A. Sheehan is Associate Professor of Political Science at Villanova University and has served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She is the co-editor of Friends of the Constitution: Writings of the Other Federalists 1787–1788 and author of numerous articles on the American Founding and eighteenth-century political and moral thought; these have appeared in journals such the William and Mary Quarterly, American Political Science Review, Review of Politics, and Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Madison's Legacy 1

1 Republican Opposition 15

2 The Federalist Agenda 31

3 Madison and the French Enlightenment 57

4 The Commerce of Ideas 84

5 The Politics of Public Opinion 107

6 Madison and Jefferson: An Appeal to the People 124

7 The Spirit of Republican Government 156

Epilogue: The Philosopher's Stone and the Poet's Reprise 176

Bibliography 185

Index 197

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