Topic 2:

Thomas Jefferson defined republicanism in these terms:

…a government by its citizens in mass, acting directly and personally, according to rules established by the majority… every other government is more or less republican, in proportion as it has in its composition more or less of this ingredient of the direct action of the citizens.

In light of this observation, what are the central tenets, or basic principles, of republican political theory? How are these tenets expressed (or opposed) in the thought of the various writers we have read up to this point in the course (choose 2 or 3 authors from the American Political Thought anthology)? How does the republican tradition inform the debates that characterize the practical politics of the early colonial and/or the founding periods?

Readings from “American Political Thought: A Norton Anthology”. 2009. By Isaac Kramnick and Theodore Low

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