Commonplace Book #76

By the 1970s…many writers were working hard to give communitarian ideas of justice a broader political theory and a deeper history.  A critically important site for both these projects was the history of the American Revolution.  There historians began to discover, alongside the merchant, lawyer, and planter elites and their talk of the inviolable rights of persons and possessions, another group of revolutionaries, for whom, the cause of liberty was etched not in rights but in devotion to the public good and to the cultivation of self-denying civic virtue…In opposition to those who imagined that one could make a great republic out of properly calibrated mechanics of checked and balanced interests, as Madison’s Federalist no. 10 most famously put it, they thought of publics as smaller, more intimately connected to their citizens, more demanding of their active will, and more dependent on their other-regarding civic virtue.

Daniel T. Rodgers, The Age of Fracture,

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