American Compact: James Madison and the Problem of Founding (American Political Thought (University Press of Kansas))

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9780700609604: American Compact: James Madison and the Problem of Founding (American Political Thought (University Press of Kansas))

For students of the early American republic, James Madison has long been something of a riddle, the member of the founding generation whose actions and thought most stubbornly resist easy summary. The staunchest of Federalists in the 1780s, Madison would turn on his former allies shortly thereafter, renouncing their expansive nationalism as a threat to the Constitution and to popular government.

In a study that combines penetrating textual analysis with deep historical awareness, Gary Rosen stakes out important new ground by showing the philosophical consistency in Madison's long and controversial public life. The key, he argues, is Madison's profound originality as a student of the social compact, the venerable liberal idea into which he introduced several novel, and seemingly illiberal, principles.

Foremost among these was the need for founding to be the work of an elite few. For Madison, prior accounts of the social compact, in their eagerness to establish the proper ends of government, provided a hopelessly naive account of its origin. As he saw it, the Federal Convention of 1787 was an opportunity for those of outstanding prudence (understood in its fullest Aristotelian sense) to do for the people what they could not do for themselves. This troublesome reliance on the few was balanced, Rosen contends, by Madison's commitment to republicanism as an end in itself, a conclusion that he likewise drew from the social compact, accommodating the proud political claims that his philosophical predecessors had failed to recognize.

Rosen goes on to show how Madison's idiosyncratic understanding of the social compact illuminates his differences not only with Hamilton but with Jefferson as well. Both men, Madison feared, were too ready to resort to original principles in coming to terms with the Constitution, putting at risk the fragile achievement of the founding in their determination to invoke, respectively, the claims of the few and the many.

As American Compact persuasively concludes, Madison's ideas on the origin and aims of the Constitution are not just of historical interest. They carry crucial lessons for our own day, and speak directly to current disputes over diversity, constitutional interpretation, the fate of federalism, and the possibilities and limits of American citizenship.

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From the Back Cover:

"Gary Rosen has given us the best study ever written of Madison's political thought and, therefore, since Madison had more to do with it than anyone else, of the principles embodied in the Constitution of the United States. This is an important book."--Walter Berns, author of Taking the Constitution Seriously

"By drawing our attention to Madison's rethinking of the social compact, Rosen enables us to appreciate more fully the Virginian's accomplishments both as a theorist of republican government and as a statesman."--Paul A. Rahe, author of Republics Ancient and Modern

"Rosen's deeply thoughtful analysis reestablishes Madison's place in the history of political thought and reminds contemporary Americans of the ongoing utility of Madison's political teachings."--Richard K. Matthews, author of If Men Were Angels: James Madison and the Heartless Empire of Reason

"Focusing on Madison's first principles, especially his complicated understanding of the social compact, Rosen sheds interesting new light on Madison's republicanism."--Drew R. McCoy, author of The Last of the Fathers: James Madison and the Republican Legacy

"An illuminating and richly thought-provoking new interpretation of Madison's entire career as a thinker and writer. Rosen's book will transform our understanding not only of Madison but of the significance and the application, in our time, of Madisonian constitutionalism. This is a pathbreaking contribution to the study of the political theory underlying the American Constitution."--Thomas L. Pangle, author of The Spirit of Modern Republicanism: The Moral Vision of the American Founders and the Philosophy of Locke

About the Author:

Gary Rosen is managing editor of Commentary and holds a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University.

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Book Description University Press of Kansas, United States, 1999. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. For students of the early American republic, James Madison has long been something of a riddle, the member of the founding generation whose actions and thought most stubbornly resist easy summary. The staunchest of Federalists in the 1780s, Madison would turn on his former allies shortly thereafter, renouncing their expansive nationalism as a threat to the Constitution and to popular government. In a study that combines penetrating textual analysis with deep historical awareness, Gary Rosen stakes out important new ground by showing the philosophical consistency in Madison s long and controversial public life. The key, he argues, is Madison s profound originality as a student of the social compact, the venerable liberal idea into which he introduced several novel, and seemingly illiberal, principles. Foremost among these was the need for founding to be the work of an elite few. For Madison, prior accounts of the social compact, in their eagerness to establish the proper ends of government, provided a hopelessly naive account of its origin. As he saw it, the Federal Convention of 1787 was an opportunity for those of outstanding prudence (understood in its fullest Aristotelian sense) to do for the people what they could not do for themselves. This troublesome reliance on the few was balanced, Rosen contends, by Madison s commitment to republicanism as an end in itself, a conclusion that he likewise drew from the social compact, accommodating the proud political claims that his philosophical predecessors had failed to recognize. Rosen goes on to show how Madison s idiosyncratic understanding of the social compact illuminates his differences not only with Hamilton but with Jefferson as well. Both men, Madison feared, were too ready to resort to original principles in coming to terms with the Constitution, putting at risk the fragile achievement of the founding in their determination to invoke, respectively, the claims of the few and the many. As American Compact persuasively concludes, Madison s ideas on the origin and aims of the Constitution are not just of historical interest. They carry crucial lessons for our own day, and speak directly to current disputes over diversity, constitutional interpretation, the fate of federalism, and the possibilities and limits of American citizenship. Bookseller Inventory # TNP9780700609604

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Book Description University Press of Kansas, United States, 1999. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.For students of the early American republic, James Madison has long been something of a riddle, the member of the founding generation whose actions and thought most stubbornly resist easy summary. The staunchest of Federalists in the 1780s, Madison would turn on his former allies shortly thereafter, renouncing their expansive nationalism as a threat to the Constitution and to popular government. In a study that combines penetrating textual analysis with deep historical awareness, Gary Rosen stakes out important new ground by showing the philosophical consistency in Madison s long and controversial public life. The key, he argues, is Madison s profound originality as a student of the social compact, the venerable liberal idea into which he introduced several novel, and seemingly illiberal, principles. Foremost among these was the need for founding to be the work of an elite few. For Madison, prior accounts of the social compact, in their eagerness to establish the proper ends of government, provided a hopelessly naive account of its origin. As he saw it, the Federal Convention of 1787 was an opportunity for those of outstanding prudence (understood in its fullest Aristotelian sense) to do for the people what they could not do for themselves. This troublesome reliance on the few was balanced, Rosen contends, by Madison s commitment to republicanism as an end in itself, a conclusion that he likewise drew from the social compact, accommodating the proud political claims that his philosophical predecessors had failed to recognize. Rosen goes on to show how Madison s idiosyncratic understanding of the social compact illuminates his differences not only with Hamilton but with Jefferson as well. Both men, Madison feared, were too ready to resort to original principles in coming to terms with the Constitution, putting at risk the fragile achievement of the founding in their determination to invoke, respectively, the claims of the few and the many. As American Compact persuasively concludes, Madison s ideas on the origin and aims of the Constitution are not just of historical interest. They carry crucial lessons for our own day, and speak directly to current disputes over diversity, constitutional interpretation, the fate of federalism, and the possibilities and limits of American citizenship. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780700609604

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Book Description University Press of Kansas, United States, 1999. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. For students of the early American republic, James Madison has long been something of a riddle, the member of the founding generation whose actions and thought most stubbornly resist easy summary. The staunchest of Federalists in the 1780s, Madison would turn on his former allies shortly thereafter, renouncing their expansive nationalism as a threat to the Constitution and to popular government. In a study that combines penetrating textual analysis with deep historical awareness, Gary Rosen stakes out important new ground by showing the philosophical consistency in Madison s long and controversial public life. The key, he argues, is Madison s profound originality as a student of the social compact, the venerable liberal idea into which he introduced several novel, and seemingly illiberal, principles. Foremost among these was the need for founding to be the work of an elite few. For Madison, prior accounts of the social compact, in their eagerness to establish the proper ends of government, provided a hopelessly naive account of its origin. As he saw it, the Federal Convention of 1787 was an opportunity for those of outstanding prudence (understood in its fullest Aristotelian sense) to do for the people what they could not do for themselves. This troublesome reliance on the few was balanced, Rosen contends, by Madison s commitment to republicanism as an end in itself, a conclusion that he likewise drew from the social compact, accommodating the proud political claims that his philosophical predecessors had failed to recognize. Rosen goes on to show how Madison s idiosyncratic understanding of the social compact illuminates his differences not only with Hamilton but with Jefferson as well. Both men, Madison feared, were too ready to resort to original principles in coming to terms with the Constitution, putting at risk the fragile achievement of the founding in their determination to invoke, respectively, the claims of the few and the many. As American Compact persuasively concludes, Madison s ideas on the origin and aims of the Constitution are not just of historical interest. They carry crucial lessons for our own day, and speak directly to current disputes over diversity, constitutional interpretation, the fate of federalism, and the possibilities and limits of American citizenship. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780700609604

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