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Searching for the soul of the American amalgam: a reply to Paul Carrese

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Professor Carrese's constructive and insightful critique of my article ‘Ancients, Moderns and Americans: The Republicanism-Liberalism Revisited’ raises four points of disagreement between us. These include, first, Carrese's contention that I have improperly ignored the influence of Montesquieu's political thought, Protestant Christianity, and classic common-law thinking on the political thought of the American Founders; second, the question of how far the Founders sought to develop the moral character of the citizenry directly through constitutions and laws, especially acts designed to promote religious belief; and third, Carrese's argument that scholars should not follow Rogers Smith in tracing out the role of illiberal ideologies in the American Founding. Finally, in addition to disagreeing about these substantive issues, Carrese and I also disagree about the methodological question of how the study of the political thought of the American Founders should be conducted. Let us consider each of these points in turn.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: St Ambrose University, 518 West Locust Street, Davenport, IA 52803, USA.

Publication date: 2001-01-01

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