Lienesch shows that what emerged from the period of change was an inconsistent combination of political theories. The mixture of classical republicanism and modern liberalism was institutionalized in the American Constitution and has continued--ambivalent, contradictory, and sometimes flatly paradoxical--to characterize American politics ever since.
Originally published in 1988.
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"[Lienesch's] special interest is with concepts of change, decay, reform and destiny. . . . His treatment of religion as a formative influence on [American political thought] is original and important, and especially his emphasis on the millenarianism that was so surprisingly popular in the late eighteenth century."--William Brock, The Times Literary Supplement
"Lienesch has written an impressive study of the transition from classical republicanism to the beginnings of modern liberalism in America between the early 1780s and 1800. . . . This book will quickly achieve the stature of the most prominent republican and liberal readings of the ideological bases of the American founding . . . and will stand . . . as a major contribution toward bridging the gap between these partially contradictory analytic traditions."--Choice
". . . an interesting book on a timely topic. . . . Those interested in [the theoretical orientation of the United States' founding generation] would do well to take a look at this new book by Michael Lienesch."--Richard Myers, Canadian Journal of Political Science