Local Government in Early America: The Colonial Experience and Lessons from the Founders

Local Government in Early America: The Colonial Experience and Lessons from the Founders

by Brian P. Janiskee
ISBN-10:
1442201347
ISBN-13:
9781442201347
Pub. Date:
03/16/2010
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Select a Purchase Option (New Edition)
  • purchase options
    $61.08 $75.00 Save 19% Current price is $61.08, Original price is $75. You Save 19%.
  • purchase options

Overview

Local Government in Early America: The Colonial Experience and Lessons from the Founders

Local Government in Early America is a concise and thought-provoking exploration of the American desire for political participation, most notably in the "town hall meeting." A product of early New England democracy, this form of direct local participation remains one of the most celebrated, yet feared, institutions in our political life. Depending upon one's political perspective on the issue at hand, a lively town hall meeting can be the glorious epitome of grassroots activism or the wretched embodiment of reactionary zeal. For all of the media attention devoted to the conservative revolt against health care reform at town hall meetings across the country, the political right is late to game on local activism. From resolutions opposed to the Patriot Act or the declaration of nuclear free zones in cities, the political left has used the rhetorical power of the local political pulpit to great effect for many years. All of this is possible because of the manner in which local governments were constructed during the colonial period. Author Brian Janiskee details the origins of our local system by examining key characteristics of local colonial political life, including what key founders like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had to say about the role of our villages, towns, and cities in our complex system of government. Through this timely analysis of our political heritage, Janiskee may cause observers to reevaluate the phrase "all politics is local." Indeed it may be the case that "all local politics is national."

Editorial Reviews

Choice

An examination of local government in colonial America is the occasion for Janiskee (California State Univ., San Bernardino) to voice an 'originalist' understanding of the purposes of local governments in a larger polity whose legitimacy rests on natural rights. He describes and contrasts these governments in early America, and then turns to the views on local government found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Janiskee concludes that Jefferson and Adams agreed that these immediate and direct modes of government should be seen as 'part of a seamless fabric that would keep the [larger] republic. . .close to its animating principles.' Neither local autonomy nor the civic virtues generated by public deliberation and administration stand foremost; rather, the Revolution proved that the townships are the first line in the defense against foreign tyranny and serve, after the Revolution, as the last line against domestic tyranny. So should they be seen today. A useful contrast is J. S. Maloy, The Colonial American Origins of Modern Democratic Thought (CH, Jul'09, 46-6466), a much richer historical and theoretical analysis, where institutional forms of accountability and trust serve as the foundation of American democratic values. Recommended.

CHOICE

An examination of local government in colonial America is the occasion for Janiskee (California State Univ., San Bernardino) to voice an 'originalist' understanding of the purposes of local governments in a larger polity whose legitimacy rests on natural rights. He describes and contrasts these governments in early America, and then turns to the views on local government found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Janiskee concludes that Jefferson and Adams agreed that these immediate and direct modes of government should be seen as 'part of a seamless fabric that would keep the [larger] republic. . .close to its animating principles.' Neither local autonomy nor the civic virtues generated by public deliberation and administration stand foremost; rather, the Revolution proved that the townships are the first line in the defense against foreign tyranny and serve, after the Revolution, as the last line against domestic tyranny. So should they be seen today. A useful contrast is J. S. Maloy, The Colonial American Origins of Modern Democratic Thought (CH, Jul'09, 46-6466), a much richer historical and theoretical analysis, where institutional forms of accountability and trust serve as the foundation of American democratic values. Recommended.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442201347
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 03/16/2010
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews