This book provides a complete overview of the American Founders’ political theory, covering natural rights, natural law, state of nature, social compact, consent, and the policy implications of these ideas.
The book is intended as a response to the current scholarly consensus, which holds that the Founders’ political thought is best understood as an amalgam of liberalism, republicanism, and perhaps other traditions.
West argues that, on the contrary, the foundational documents overwhelmingly point to natural rights as the lens through which all politics is understood. The book explores in depth how the Founders’ supposedly republican policies on citizen character formation do not contradict but instead complement their liberal policies on property and economics. Additionally, the book shows how the Founders’ embraced other traditions in their politics, such as common law and Protestantism.
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