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The Revolutionary Writings of John Adams presents the principal shorter writings in which Adams addresses the prospect of revolution and the form of government proper to the new United States. This collection illustrates that it was Adams who, before the Revolution wrote some of the most important documents on the nature of the British Constitution and the meaning of rights, sovereignty, representation, and obligation.
.".. includes the complete newspaper exchange between Novanglus (Adams) and Massachusettensis (loyalist Daniel Leonard), as well as extensive diary excerpts and characteristically frank personal letters"--Jacket.
The fundamental article of my political creed, declared John Adams, is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratical council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor. Equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody, and in every respect diabolical. The consequences of this article for Adams' thought are nowhere better articulated than in this anthology, which presents his remarkable attempts at constructing a complete political system based on constitutional, balanced, representative government.
John Adams could be, and was on occasion, cantankerous, stubborn, tactless, even rude. He was also prone to vanity and self-pity, and sensitive to what he perceived as slights, or attacks on his reputation or character. He also had a lust for fame, as did many involved in the founding of this nation. But if fame was the spur, it was also the driving force be-hind Adams' enormous energy, energy guided by a strong sense of honor and duty that was built into his character and stayed with him his whole life. Adams was a realist, with a profound sense of what people en masse are all about. He seems to have drawn that knowledge from his understanding of himself. He knew that each of us has the capacity for good or evil, and the gov-ernment of checks and balances he envisioned for the new nation they were building took this into account. Victory in the long struggle for freedom was certainly not assured. Many were Tories who wished to continue as British subjects. Many cared, but not enough to fight for the cause. We can be thankful for those who did, who initiated and carried on the War for In-dependence. Among them were the best and brightest the colonies had to offer. These were the people who tendered their lives, property, and sacred honor as collateral in the struggle for freedom. We can be grateful that John Adams was among them.
Traces the emergence of a revolutionary conception of political authority on the far shores of the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Based on the equal natural right of English subjects to leave the realm, claim indigenous territory and establish new governments by consent, this radical set of ideas culminated in revolution and republicanism. But unlike most scholarship on early American political theory, Craig Yirush does not focus solely on the revolutionary era of the late eighteenth century. Instead, he examines how the political ideas of settler elites in British North America emerged in the often-forgotten years between the Glorious Revolution in America and the American Revolution against Britain. By taking seriously an imperial world characterized by constitutional uncertainty, geo-political rivalry and the ongoing presence of powerful Native American peoples, Yirush provides a long-term explanation for the distinctive ideas of the American Revolution.
The fundamental article of my political creed, declared John Adams, is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratical council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor. Equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody, and in every respect diabolical. The consequences of this article for Adams' thought are nowhere better articulated than in this anthology, which presents his remarkable attempts at constructing a complete political system based on constitutional, balanced, representative government.
The framers of the Constitution chose their words carefully when they wrote of a more perfect union--not absolutely perfect, but with room for improvement. Indeed, we no longer operate under the same Constitution as that ratified in 1788, or even the one completed by the Bill of Rights in 1791--because we are no longer the same nation. In The Revolutionary Constitution, David J. Bodenhamer provides a comprehensive new look at America's basic law, integrating the latest legal scholarship with historical context to highlight how it has evolved over time. The Constitution, he notes, was the product of the first modern revolution, and revolutions are, by definition, moments when the past shifts toward an unfamiliar future, one radically different from what was foreseen only a brief time earlier. In seeking to balance power and liberty, the framers established a structure that would allow future generations to continually readjust the scale. Bodenhamer explores this dynamic through seven major constitutional themes: federalism, balance of powers, property, representation, equality, rights, and security. With each, he takes a historical approach, following their changes over time. For example, the framers wrote multiple protections for property rights into the Constitution in response to actions by state governments after the Revolution. But twentieth-century courts--and Congress--redefined property rights through measures such as zoning and the designation of historical landmarks (diminishing their commercial value) in response to the needs of a modern economy. The framers anticipated just such a future reworking of their own compromises between liberty and power. With up-to-the-minute legal expertise and a broad grasp of the social and political context, this book is a tour de force of Constitutional history and analysis.

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