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1 - Introduction

The People’s Two Bodies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2021

Alin Fumurescu
Affiliation:
University of Houston
Anna Marisa Schön
Affiliation:
University of Houston
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Summary

The first chapter offers a general overview of the interpretative framework that guides the selections and commentary in this volume. One thing has remained a constant fixture in American history: the enduring belief in an American exceptionalism. This book suggests that, besides the remarkable endeavor of leaving the Old World and of framing a new government by the people for the people, what has made American political thought exceptional is the unique combination of theoretical influences that were intertwined during the founding era. American statesmen combined two languages—liberalism and republicanism—and two conceptions of the people: the understanding of the people as a corporate entity and as a multitude of individuals. This paradigm of the people’s two bodies may be nothing more than a fiction, but it shaped American history and institutions profoundly. The guiding threat of the subsequent chapters is to trace the combination of republican and liberal ideas about the people and about representation in the primary sources from the Puritans’ arrival on the shores of New England to the Civil War.

Type
Chapter
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Foundations of American Political Thought
Readings and Commentary
, pp. 1 - 12
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Introduction
  • Alin Fumurescu, University of Houston, Anna Marisa Schön, University of Houston
  • Book: Foundations of American Political Thought
  • Online publication: 09 July 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108774154.002
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Introduction
  • Alin Fumurescu, University of Houston, Anna Marisa Schön, University of Houston
  • Book: Foundations of American Political Thought
  • Online publication: 09 July 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108774154.002
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Alin Fumurescu, University of Houston, Anna Marisa Schön, University of Houston
  • Book: Foundations of American Political Thought
  • Online publication: 09 July 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108774154.002
Available formats
×