John Adams and the Spirit of Liberty

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$10.80
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $5.84
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 67%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $5.84   
  • New (5) from $8.88   
  • Used (3) from $5.84   

Overview


America's finest eighteenth-century student of political science, John Adams is also the least studied of the Revolution's key figures. By the time he became our second president, no American had written more about our government and not even Jefferson or Madison had read as widely about questions of human nature, natural right, political organization, and constitutional construction. Yet this staunch constitutionalist is perceived by many as having become reactionary in his later years and his ideas have been largely disregarded.

In the first major work on Adams's political thought in over thirty years, C. Bradley Thompson takes issue with the notion that Adams's thought is irrelevant to the development of American ideas. Focusing on Adams's major writings, Thompson elucidates and reevaluates his political and constitutional thought by interpreting it within the tradition of political philosophy stretching from Plato to Montesquieu.

This major revisionist study shows that the distinction Adams drew between "principles of liberty" and "principles of political architecture" is central to his entire political philosophy. Thompson first chronicles Adams's conceptualization of moral and political liberty during his confrontation with American Loyalists and British imperial officers over the true nature of justice and the British Constitution, illuminating Adams's two most important pre-Revolutionary essays, "A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law" and "The Letters of Novanglus." He then presents Adams's debate with French philosophers over the best form of government and provides an extended analysis of his Defence of the Constitutions of Government and Discourses on Davila to demonstrate his theory of political architecture.

From these pages emerges a new John Adams. In reexamining his political thought, Thompson reconstructs the contours and influences of Adams's mental universe, the ideas he challenged, the problems he considered central to constitution-making, and the methods of his reasoning. Skillfully blending history and political science, Thompson's work shows how the spirit of liberty animated Adams's life and reestablishes this forgotten Revolutionary as an independent and important thinker.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
This is intellectual history as it should be written: powerful and penetrating, compelling and convincing.
American Historical Review
An important book. Convincingly demonstrates that Adams earned a place among America's greatest political thinkers.
Booknews
Although John Adams was the second president of the United States and a prolific writer on political science and philosophy, his life and work have been comparatively neglected by contemporary scholars. Thompson history and political science, Ashland University reexamines Adams' writings, focusing on the distinction he drew between the "principles of liberty" and the "principles of political architecture," and concludes that he was the 18th century's finest student of the political sciences, embodying the mind of the American Revolution. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Michael Novak
No single man is more responsible for the Fourth of July than John Adams....[I]n one of the greatest acts of abnegation in American history, he stood aside and let Thomas Jefferson...claim the glory of declaring our independence....[D]espitre paying insufficient heed to Adams's regligious thought, Thomson has prepared an intellectually exhilarating volume.
The Weekly Standard
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700611812
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Series: American Political Thought Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 1,393,933
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents


Preface

Introduction

Part One: Principles of Liberty

1. Calvin, Locke, and the American Enlightenment

2. Lawyer, Statesman, and Lawgiver

3. The Spirit of Liberty

4. The Principles of Liberty

Part Two: Principles of Political Architecture

5. A Guidebook for Lawgivers

6. The Science of Politics

7. The Science of History

8. The Science of Human Nature

9. Republican Government

10. The Principles of Government

11. The Art of Political Architecture

12. Posterity Must Judge

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)