The Foundations of American Citizenship

The Foundations of American Citizenship : Liberalism, the Constitution, and Civic Virtue

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Much of the literature on the American constitutional founding focuses on the creation of the institutions and procedures of government. This study of the debates over the ratification of the 1787 Constitution deals with the founders' conceptions of citizenship and civic virtue. Sinopoli argues that the first principles of the founders were politically liberal--yet, Federalists and Anti-Federalists alike were deeply concerned with fostering civic virtue. Participants in the constitutional controversies contested the psychological, social, and political conditions which promote a bond of attachment between the citizen and the state. This book situates the American founding controversy in the broader context of liberal theory and history--from John Locke to major figures of the Scottish Enlightenment. The discussion includes the influences of Adam Smith and David Hume, each of whom contributed to a characteristically liberal understanding of citizenship. Finally, the founders' arguments over the appropriate attitudes, beliefs, and roles for citizens are evaluated in light of civic concerns in current American political organizations and institutions. This work will be of interest to political scientists specializing in political theory, as well as those interested in American political thought, liberalism, and constitutionalism. Historians and philosophers interested in the founding of the United States as well as intellectual historians will be challenged by this work.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 222 pages
  • 162.8 x 243.8 x 22.4mm | 567.32g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0195070674
  • 9780195070675

Review quote

An important and interesting work of scholarship....A considerable contribution. * William and Mary Quarterly *show more

Back cover copy

Much of the literature on the American constitutional founding focuses on the creation of the institutions and procedures of government. This study of the debates over the ratification of the 1787 Constitution deals with the founders' conceptions of citizenship and civic virtue. Sinopoli argues that the first principles of the founders were politically liberal--yet, Federalists and Anti-Federalists alike were deeply concerned with fostering civic virtue. Participants in the constitutional controversies contested the psychological, social, and political conditions which promote a bond of attachment between the citizen and the state. This book situates the American founding controversy in the broader context of liberal theory and history--from John Locke to major figures of the Scottish Enlightenment. The discussion includes the influences of Adam Smith and David Hume, each of whom contributed to a characteristically liberal understanding of citizenship. Finally, the founders' arguments over the appropriate attitudes, beliefs, and roles for citizens are evaluated in light of civic concerns in current American political organizations and institutions. This work will be of interest to political scientists specializing in political theory, as well as those interested in American political thought, liberalism, and constitutionalism. Historians and philosophers interested in the founding of the United States as well as intellectual historians will be challenged by this work.show more