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Ancients, moderns and Americans: the republicanism-liberalism debate revisited

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During the last decade, scholars have set forth a variety of interpretations to explain how liberalism, republicanism, and several other traditions of political thought interpenetrated and interacted within the political thought of the American Founders. This essay first identifies several alternative versions of the ‘multiple traditions approach’ and then provides a retrospective and prospective analysis of the debate over the intellectual origins of the American republic. Ultimately, I argue that scholars need to explore the way in which the Founders selectively adopted, creatively integrated, and substantially reconstructed these traditions into a conception of political thought that is at once peculiar and significant.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: St Ambrose University, 518 W. Locust St., Davenport, IA 52803, USA. Email:agibson@saunix.sau.edu

Publication date: 2000-02-01

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