A Theory of Republican Character and Related Essays

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Susquehanna University Press, 1994 - 166 trang
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This volume is a collection of four essays and two shorter pieces - all linked to the theme of the title essay. That title piece, "A Theory of Republican Character - for a Democratic Age," is a study in political theory. Taking his bearings from Aristotle's distinction in the Politics between the lowest form of mixed regime - a polity or republic - and the highest form of democracy, Wendell John Coats, Jr., attempts to establish a distinction within popular government between two kinds of characters or personalities, the republican and the democratic. The hallmark of the republican character is the practice of considering proposed laws and policies from the standpoint of their likely effects on both one's private interests and the general, authoritative context (i.e., a constitution) within which they occur and by which they are made possible. Coats makes his argument for the importance of such republican generalists in even an advanced, specialized democracy - necessary if political balance is to be maintained.
The second essay, "Some Correspondences between Oakeshott's 'Civil Condition' and the Republican Tradition," appeared in a volume of The Political Science Reviewer devoted to the thought of the twentieth-century English political theorist Michael Oakeshott (1901-90). It is included in this collection for its exploration of convergences between republicanism and classical liberalism - and for its treatment of divergences of republicanism and classical liberalism from advanced democracy.
"American Democracy and the Punitive Use of Force - Requiem for the McNamara Model," the third piece in this volume, is relevant not merely for its general policy considerations (which are still meaningful after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Gulf War), but because it views the use of armed force in the context of the preservation of a system of political authority - a republican affinity - rather than primarily as an "economic" exercise in the infliction of increments of "pain."
The collection's fourth essay is entitled "Drama and Democracy." It attempts to show how the pedagogic use of drama in the college classroom can help to keep political ways of understanding alive and respectable - in the face of the onslaught of scientific modes of explanation.
Two shorter pieces are included as appendices. The first, a public address entitled "Two Views of Aristotle's Politics" is included here for its opposition to the claim of some historians that Aristotle can hardly be of political relevance today. The second appendix is a review of Michael Oakeshott's The Voice of Liberal Learning, edited by Timothy Fuller. It is important here because Oakeshott's account of the liberal arts ideal of nurturing habits of comprehensive, individual judgment is typical of what Coats calls the "republican character."

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Trang 28 - The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity, of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government.
Trang 152 - The great and chief end, therefore, of men's uniting into commonwealths and putting themselves under government is the preservation of their property.
Trang 28 - ... the house of representatives, with the people on their side, will at all times be able to bring back the constitution to its primitive form and principles.
Trang 152 - Political power, then, I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death and, consequently, all less penalties for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community in the execution of such laws, and in the defence of the commonwealth from foreign injury, and all this only for the public good.
Trang 27 - Is it not the glory of the people of America that, whilst they have paid a decent regard to the opinions of former times and other nations, they have not suffered a blind veneration for antiquity, for custom, or for names, to overrule the suggestions of their own good sense, the knowledge of their own situation, and the lessons of their own experience?
Trang 60 - ... nothing that is contrary to, and inconsistent with, the clear and self-evident dictates of reason, has a right to be urged or assented to as a matter of faith, wherein reason hath nothing to do.
Trang 9 - But to separate the arts which form the citizen and the statesman, the arts of policy and war, is an attempt to dismember the human character, and to destroy those very arts we mean to improve.
Trang 143 - Ernest Lee Tuveson, Redeemer Nation: The Idea of America's Millennial Role (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968); Nathan O.
Trang 148 - He who is without a polis, by reason of his own nature and not of some accident, is either a poor sort of being, or a being higher than man: he is like the man of whom Homer wrote in denunciation: Clanless and lawless and hearthless is he.

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