Cover image for Restoration of the republic : the Jeffersonian ideal in 21st-century America
Restoration of the republic : the Jeffersonian ideal in 21st-century America
Hart, Gary, 1936-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford, [U.K.] ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 292 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Originally presented as the author's thesis (Ph. D.--Oxford University, 2001).
Reading Level:
1580 Lexile.
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
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Material Type
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E902 .H37 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Rarely does scholarship anticipate the most dramatic events of the moment. In this timely work Gary Hart does just that, arguing for the restoration of republican virtues and for homeland security as an important first step. The American democratic republic has from its founding been aparadoxical success. Simultaneously attached to state and national power, citizens' rights and citizens' duties, American democracy has uniquely turned its reliance on consent from the governed into a powerful governing of the consenting. In a remarkable political feat, America's founders combinedmixed government, the language of popular sovereignty and a self-conscious emphasis on checks and balances to forge a republic that has weathered the test of time. The complex realities of the twenty-first century, however, have fundamentally challenged the underpinnings of this enduring Americanexperiment, repeatedly exposing the tensions at the heart of America's mixed system of government. What then is the nature of an American republic in an age of democracy? How can the democratic values of social justice and equality be balanced with republican values of civic duty and popularsovereignty? Bringing to light a long-neglected aspect of Thomas Jefferson's political philosophy--the "ward republic"--Gary Hart here offers a wholly original blueprint for republican restoration in which every citizen can participate democratically in the governing of his or her own life. Ofcrucial relevance for contemporary society, including its startlingly prescient plan for homeland security, Restoration of the Republic provides original insights into issues of national urgency as well as the timeless questions that bedevil the American democratic experiment.

Author Notes

Gary Hart represented the state of Colorado in the U.S. Senate from 1975 to 1987. A co-chair, with Warren Rudman, of the U.S. Commission on National Security for the 21st Century, he is the author of twelve books

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Arguments between right and left over individual freedom, states' rights and big government have been a staple of American politics. In this innovative reassessment of Thomas Jefferson's political theories, former senator and presidential candidate Hart attempts to secure a middle road that would promote the political participation of individual citizens while fostering a more effective federal structure. By explicating Jefferson's idea of the "elementary, or ward, republic" essentially a town meeting model as "the appropriate forum for direct citizen engagement in public [life]," Hart explores ways to adapt this paradigm. Urban and suburban neighborhoods could consolidate such functions as schools, police and health services; by becoming "local republics," they would "rationalize fragmented municipal governments." But while his concern with the individual's role in governance is pressing he cites "a recent survey" showing that 68% of Americans ages 18 to 34 felt "disconnected" from government many of his solutions are theoretical rather than immediately practical (betraying this book's origins as Hart's doctoral dissertation at Oxford) his vision of local control of schools, for example, disregards the important role the federal government plays in funding and regulation. While this is a valiant attempt to mine the past in order to plan the future, it may strike many as existing too much in an ivory tower rather than in the vibrant "local republic" Hart so admires. (Aug.) Forecast: Oxford is linking this book to the issue of homeland security by emphasizing Hart's recent stint as cochair of the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, but some reviewers and readers may not see the connection. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Introduction: "The Republic for Which It Stands,"p. 3
1 New Realities in Twenty-first-Century America: Economics, Politics, and Societyp. 25
Economic Globalization, the Evolving Nation-State, and the Decline of Ideologyp. 26
The Scope of Twenty-first-Century Change in Historic Perspectivep. 40
Original Objections to Small Republicsp. 46
Responses to Original Objectionsp. 49
Original Objections to Small Republics in the Light of Twenty-first-Century Realitiesp. 58
Restatement of the Elements of Authentic Republicanismp. 61
2 Is America Still a Republic? Sovereignty, Corruption, Civic Virtue, and Libertyp. 63
3 Jeffersonian Republicanism and the Restoration of the Republicp. 81
Jeffersonian Republicanismp. 81
Jefferson's Republican Ideal in the Context of the Constitutional Debatep. 117
Slavery and the Jeffersonian Republicp. 124
The Mature Jefferson and the Radical Republicp. 128
The Role of the Ward Republic in the Life of the Citizenp. 132
4 The Jeffersonian Republic in the Current Agep. 163
The Republican Polis in Twenty-first-Century Americap. 172
Public Education in the Authentic Republicp. 175
Social Welfare and Economic Justice in the Authentic Republicp. 194
Homeland Security and the Militia in the Authentic Republicp. 204
Education, Welfare, Homeland Defense, and the Republican Spiritp. 218
Conclusionp. 227
Notesp. 239
Selected Bibliographyp. 269
Indexp. 275