American political thought: the philosophic dimension of American statesmanship

New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers (2010)
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Abstract

This book focuses on the political thought of American statesmen. These statesmen have had consistent and comprehensive views of the good of the country and their actions have been informed by those views. The editors argue that political life in America has been punctuated by three great crises in its history-the crisis of the Founding, the crisis of the House Divided, and the crisis of the Great Depression. The Second World War was a crisis not just for America but for the whole of Western Civiliation and, in the wake of that war, a new crisis arose which came to be called the "Cold War." Just when that gave the appearance of being resolved, the world reached a new juncture, a new crisis, which Samuel P. Huntington dubbed the "clash of civiliations." The statesmen having political responsibility in confronting the first three crises in America's history came as close to philosophic grasp of the problems of liberal democracy as one could demand from those embroiled in the active resolution of events. Their reflection of political philosophy in the full sense informed their actions. Since we cannot confidently explain the future, Aristotle warned us to call no man happy while he still lives. Thus the book, in its third edition, keeps to its settled pattern of dealing with settled matters. The preface to the third edition confronts the three later crises and, to the extent consistent with truth, attempts to relate them to the first three. Morton J. Frisch was professor emeritus of political science at Northern Illinois University. He was the author or editor of several books, including Selected Writings and Speeches of Alexander Hamilton; Alexander Hamilton and the Political Order; and Franklin D. Roosevelt: The Contribution of the New Deal to American Political Thought and Practice. Richard G. Stevens retired from National Defense University as professor of political science in 1994. Since then he has taught as an adjunct professor of government at American University. He is co-editor with Matthew J. Franck of Sober as a Judge: The Supreme Court and Republican Liberty, and the author of The American Constitution and Its Provenance; Reason and History in Judicial Judgment: Felix Frankfurter and Due Process; and Political Philosophy: An Introduction.

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