The Thinking Revolutionary: Principle and Practice in the New Republicby Ralph Lerner
In seven cogent and superbly written essays, Lerner weighs the revolutionaries' claim to having established a new model of liberty and self-governance. Focusing on the
A wide-ranging student of political thought, Ralph Lerner here reopens an enduring question: How can we best understand the extraordinary efforts that attended the creation of the American Republic?
In seven cogent and superbly written essays, Lerner weighs the revolutionaries' claim to having established a new model of liberty and self-governance. Focusing on the efforts of prominent founders such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, he documents how their thought helped to shape public discourse, perceptions, and institutions in the new republic. Lerner views the revolutionaries' aspirations and arguments as conscious products of gifted and purposive minds, not as mere reflections of generally accepted opinions, of impersonal social or economic forces, or of barely articulated anxieties. He also considers some of the limitations of this self-conscious revolutionary program as seen in early frustrated efforts to deal justly with aboriginal peoples, to rid the new nation of slavery, and to cultivate enlightened understanding in succeeding generations.
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