Restoration of the Republic

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Overview

Rarely does scholarship anticipate the most dramatic events of the moment. In this timely work Gary Hart does just that, arguing for the restoration of republican virtues and for homeland security as an important first step. The American democratic republic has from its founding been a paradoxical success. Simultaneously attached to state and national power, citizens' rights and citizens' duties, American democracy has uniquely turned its reliance on consent from the governed into a powerful governing of the consenting. In a remarkable political feat, America's founders combined mixed government, the language of popular sovereignty and a self-conscious emphasis on checks and balances to forge a republic that has weathered the test of time. The complex realities of the twenty-first century, however, have fundamentally challenged the underpinnings of this enduring American experiment, repeatedly exposing the tensions at the heart of America's mixed system of government. What then is the nature of an American republic in an age of democracy? How can the democratic values of social justice and equality be balanced with republican values of civic duty and popular sovereignty? Bringing to light a long-neglected aspect of Thomas Jefferson's political philosophy—the "ward republic"—Gary Hart here offers a wholly original blueprint for republican restoration in which every citizen can participate democratically in the governing of his or her own life. Of crucial relevance for contemporary society, including its startlingly prescient plan for homeland security, Restoration of the Republic provides original insights into issues of national urgency as well as the timeless questions that bedevil the American democratic experiment.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An elegant...re-reading of Jefferson for the new century....[Hart's] historical conversation with Jefferson's evolving ideas and shining ideals...reminds readers that we can never look forward without understanding where we've been. That alone, especially in a present forever altered last September, is a worthy message."—The San Francisco Chronicle

"An insightful discussion of the problems in our civic life today....Hart's fine effort focus[es] our attention on the perils in our present [governmental] situation."—The Washington Post Book World

"Politics corrupted by money and special interests. Citizens alienated from government. Much talk of rights, little mention of civic duty. This is the picture of a republic gone astray, according to Thomas Jefferson, who made citizen engagement and authentic democracy the focus of his mature political philosophy. In these pages, Gary Hart takes up questions Jefferson raised 200 years ago, and applies them to America today. He has written a timely, bracing book." —John McCain, U.S. Senator, Arizona

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195174281
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/19/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 308
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Hart, a former U.S. Senator for Colorado and Presidential candidate in 1984, received his D.Phil from Oxford University in 2001. Dr. Hart recently co-chaired, with Warren Rudman, the U.S. Commission on National Security /21st Century. He will be a lecturer at Yale University in 2002. He is the author of 11 previous books, including The Patriot and The Minuteman.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : "the republic for which it stands" 3
1 New realities in twenty-first-century America : economics, politics, and society 25
2 Is America still a republic? : sovereignty, corruption, civic virtue, and liberty 63
3 Jeffersonian republicanism and the restoration of the republic 81
4 The Jeffersonian republic in the current age 163
Conclusion 227
Notes 239
Selected bibliography 269
Index 275
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