The Political Philosophy of George Washington

The Political Philosophy of George Washington

by Jeffry H. Morrison
     
 

George Washington is revered as the father of his country, a clever and skilled general, and a man of restrained principle—but not as a political thinker. This short introduction to Washington's political philosophy reveals him as a thoughtful public intellectual who was well equipped to lead the young United States.

Though Washington left little explicit

Overview

George Washington is revered as the father of his country, a clever and skilled general, and a man of restrained principle—but not as a political thinker. This short introduction to Washington's political philosophy reveals him as a thoughtful public intellectual who was well equipped to lead the young United States.

Though Washington left little explicit writing on political philosophy, Jeffry Morrison examines his key writings, actions, education, and political and professional lives. He finds that Washington held closely to a trinity of foundational principles—classical republicanism, British liberalism, and Protestant Christianity—with greater fidelity than many of the other founding fathers. In unearthing Washington's ideological growth, Morrison reveals the intellectual heritage of his political thought and shows how these beliefs motivated him to action.

This insightful, concise story makes clearer the complexities of the revolutionary era and shows how the first president's political ideas shaped governmental institutions and instantiated the nation's foundational principles.

Editorial Reviews

Review of Politics
Those who accept the ‘dumb general’ caricature should be chastened by Morrison’s elegant and concise sampling of Washington’s writings, which shows how much serious thought percolated through his voluminous corpus... This work deserves to be studied and debated by political scientists, historians, and public intellectuals concerned with America’s fundamental political principles and those of liberal democracy.

Choice

A useful introduction to Washington's political thought. Despite contemporary remarks to the contrary and the paucity of extended political treatises among Washington's papers, Morrison persuasively argues for a Washingtonian political philosophy.

Cercles
Morrison’s concise and well-written synthesis of the political philosophy of George Washington reflects the recent popular enthusiasm for the lives and characters of the Founding Fathers. However, Morrison goes beyond the so-called 'founders’ chic' trend and examines Washington’s political thought and theory, a rarely discussed dimension of this emblematic man of the Founding generation... Convincingly explores the legacy of George Washington as a political thinker and rehabilitates him as a public intellectual.

H-Law, H-Net Reviews - R.B. Bernstein
Not only will it reshape our understanding of its chosen subject, it is also a model for all future scholars seeking to examine the political philosophy of a member of the Revolutionary generation of Americans... Admirably concise, thorough, and responsible.

Journal of American History - John Ferling
Morrison's book is a delight. It is filled with provocative ideas, rewarding insight into Washington and his times, a succinctly useful essay on republican ideology, and an illuminating section on the religious outlook of this American founder. Whether one agrees or disagrees with Morrison, his book deserves to be read.

American Review of Politics - Teena Gabrielson
The volume does engage the reader with some promising lines of inquiry. Morrison's treatment of Washington's continental perspective and its relation to this political experience, extensive travels, and land holdings is one of the most interest insights of the monograph.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801891090
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
03/05/2009
Series:
The Political Philosophy of the American Founders
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Jeffry H. Morrison is an associate professor of government at Regent University and a faculty member at the federal government's James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation in Washington, D.C. He is the coeditor of The Founders on God and Government and the author of John Witherspoon and the Founding of the American Republic.

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