Anti-Federalists & Early American
ISBN10: 0875801897 ISBN13: 9780875801896 Contributors: Duncan, Christopher M. Publisher: Northern Illinois Univ Pr Published: Jan 1 1995 Weight: 1.35lbs. Height: 9.25" Width: 6.25" Depth: 0.75" Language: English
This book presents the "forgotten" thought of the Anti-Federalists as an important alternative to the Federalist tradition in American political history. In tracing Anti-Federalist concepts from their origins in prerevolutionary Congregationalist theology through to the writing of the U.S. Constitution, Duncan shows that Anti-Federalist theory underscores the religious, localist, and communitarian origins of the American political tradition. He argues that the Anti-Federalists were indeed the true representatives of the American Revolution and the political arrangements that resulted from it - men of a localist, communitarian faith in which political participation is an end in itself rather than a means to other objectives. As such, he concludes, the course bolstered by the Anti-Federalists represents a viable "road not taken" in America's national heritage.
Duncan challenges the dominant view among scholars of the American Anti-Federalists and counters the impression that the Anti-Federalists were liberals whose fear of government and power left them unable to articulate and to construct a lasting political association. Duncan shows that the Anti-Federalists engaged in a rigorous defense of republican political community and its associate ideal of public happiness, in contrast to the liberal ideal of private happiness expressed by their Federalist counterparts.
The Anti-Federalists and Early American Political Thought offers insights into a tradition of American political discourse that is relevant to contemporary arguments within political theory. The book will be of interest to students of political philosophy, American government and politics, and early American history.