This book is a collection of secondary essays on America's most important philosophic thinkers—statesmen, judges, writers, educators, and activists—from the colonial period to the present. Each essay is a comprehensive introduction to the thought of a noted American on the fundamental meaning of the American regime.
Alexis de Tocqueville asserted that America had no truly great literature, and that American writers merely mimicked the British and European traditions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This new edited collection masterfully refutes Tocqueville's monocultural myopia and reveals the distinctive role American poetry and prose have played in reflecting and passing judgment upon the core values of American democracy. The essays, profiling the work of Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Updike, Edith Wharton, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Willa Cather, (...) Walker Percy, and Tom Wolfe, reveal how America's greatest writers have acted as society's most ardent cheerleaders and its most penetrating critics. Christine Dunn Henderson's exciting new work offers literature as a portal through which to view the philosophical principles that animate America's political order and the mores which either reinforce or undermine them. (shrink)
“This important collection of essays will help all Americans to consider anew the relationship between the ‘spirit of liberty’ and the ‘spirit of religion’ at work in the American Founding. Michael Zuckert’s masterful response establishes him as one of the leading scholars of the period.” —Jean Yarbrough, author of _American Virtues: Thomas Jefferson on the Character of a Free People_ "_Protestantism and the American Founding_ is an extraordinarily rich and thought provoking dialogue on the religious dimension of the nation's foundations." (...) —Thomas L. Pangle, University of Texas at Austin “This collection of essays by some of the most eminent scholars in the field will have a wide-ranging influence on both academic and political debate on the vital interaction of religion and politics in historical and contemporary America.” —Garrett Ward Sheldon, University of Virginia’s College at Wise This welcome new textbook explores the relationship between Protestant theology and American political thought of the founding era. It gathers together both new and well-known essays by scholars and outstanding thinkers in political philosophy and is enriched by classic selections from Alexis de Tocqueville's _Democracy in America_. _Protestantism and the American Founding_ will serve as a valuable classroom guide for discussion and debate about issues in American and modern political philosophy. (shrink)