×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Haunted Philosophe: James Madison, Republicanism, and Slavery
     

The Haunted Philosophe: James Madison, Republicanism, and Slavery

by Scott J. Kester
 

James Madison was a man of the Enlightenment and a believer in progress. He viewed America's Revolution as not simply a breaking away from the despotic British Empire, but a breaking away from the Old World monarchial system represented by that empire. He saw the American Revolution as a process whereby man was trying to become free. Although he used Christian

Overview

James Madison was a man of the Enlightenment and a believer in progress. He viewed America's Revolution as not simply a breaking away from the despotic British Empire, but a breaking away from the Old World monarchial system represented by that empire. He saw the American Revolution as a process whereby man was trying to become free. Although he used Christian vocabulary in his writing, there is in his correspondence an indication of a shift from a Christian kind of mental framework to a Deism common to Enlightenment philosophes. While Madison's papers lack a sense that salvation would come through Christ, they are marked by a strong sense of salvation from republicanism. Madison's republicanism meant a rejection of monarchy and aristocracy as found in Europe, territorial expansion with the spread of freedom, and a transmuted version of John Winthrop's Puritan vision—instead of a new Israel, America would be an example of freedom to the rest of the world. The British were enemies to the republican vision—ideological enemies whose opposition to France showed them to be enemies of liberty and even of human nature itself. Meanwhile, Madison saw France as carrying the torch of liberty and following the admirable lead of the United States. Madison's sense of the progress of freedom was international in scope. Madison believed republicanism would free mankind from the shackles of the past, implying that universal peace might come through government of the people. The chief problem with this vision was slavery, which he saw as hypocritical in a republic, since republicanism was supposed to bring justice. A tension in his ideology came to the surface in a tangible historical context, Madison being a slave-owner himself. He wanted to believe in progress, but was haunted by Christianity, especially Calvinism, for this worldview allowed that no structural arrangements could solve the problem of sin.

Editorial Reviews

Dale H. Crouthamel
No one interested in the founding fathers of our country will be able to put this work down. The theme is timely and the text well written. I would hope teachers of early American history would adopt this text as a supplement both on the college and seminary level.
The Historian
An excellent introduction to some fascinating aspects of Madison's thought.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780739121740
Publisher:
Lexington Books
Publication date:
04/28/2008
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Scott J. Kester is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews