Restoration of the Republic: The Jeffersonian Ideal in 21st-Century Americaby Gary Hart
Pub. Date: 08/28/2002
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
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,
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 philosophythe "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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Gary Hart's 'Restoration of the Republic' is a clarion call to arms for the Jeffersonian Republic. Hart calls for a return to the liberal and civic republicanism of the early republic. Hart begins by outlining the challenges facing modern America in the global economy. He shows how a return to Jefferson's 'ward republic' and local self government can usher in more freedom, civic pride, and a commitment to the duties of a citizen. Education, poor relief, militia duty, police forces, are to incorporated into the ward. The ward would be the lowest level of the political system yet be the most effective in serving the public. A 'synthetical' process, as Jefferson called it, would deliniate powers up to the County, State and Federal governments. Hart calls for a return to Jeffersonianism as a way to invigorate the American nation and perpetuate self government among Americans. He uses the ward system as a plan to bring Americans together to cooperate on the their common interests, for the common good. He also shows that Jefferson, the great liberal, did not see citizens as an atom or island in society, but as a free person not only with rights , but duties to his neighbors and fellow citizens. You cannot go wrong with this book. Overall a great buy.