Quaker Constitutionalism and the Political Thought of John Dickinson

Quaker Constitutionalism and the Political Thought of John Dickinson

by Jane E. Calvert

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Quaker Constitutionalism and the Political Thought of John Dickinson by Jane E. Calvert

In the late-seventeenth century, Quakers originated a unique strain of constitutionalism, based on their theology and ecclesiology, which emphasized constitutional perpetuity and radical change through popular peaceful protest. While Whigs could imagine no other means of drastic constitutional reform except revolution, Quakers denied this as a legitimate option to governmental abuse of authority and advocated instead civil disobedience. This theory of a perpetual yet amendable constitution and its concomitant idea of popular sovereignty are things that most scholars believe did not exist until the American Founding. The most notable advocate of this theory was Founding Father John Dickinson, champion of American rights, but not revolution. His thought and action have been misunderstood until now, when they are placed within the Quaker tradition. This theory of Quaker constitutionalism can be traced in a clear and direct line from early Quakers through Dickinson to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780511737138
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 12/08/2008
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Jane E. Calvert received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2003 and is currently assistant professor of history at the University of Kentucky. Her articles and reviews have been published in History of Political Thought, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, History Compass, Annali di storia dell'esegesi, Quaker Religious Thought, Journal of Religion, Quaker History, and Pennsylvania History. She has also received fellowships and grants from the University of Chicago (1996–99, 1999, 2001, 2002); Haverford College (2000); the Library Company of Philadelphia/Historical Society of Pennsylvania (2002); the Newberry Library (2005); the National Endowment for the Humanities (2005); the American Philosophical Society (2006); the Huntington Library (2006); Association for Documentary Editing (2006); and the David Library of the American Revolution (2007).

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